So, I’m going to be honest – sports anime have never been my thing.
Not that I don’t think there are good ones out there. I know there are. But for some reason, they never really stuck with me. I’ve always been the sort of dark fantasy kind of person. The horror kind of person. I binged through Attack on Titan like it was nothing and I’m still waiting for Season 4 Part 3. I fell in love with the monsters of Jujutsu Kaisen and even more so with its prequel. I’m just not the biggest sports anime person.
But then I saw BLUELOCK, otherwise called Blue Lock. And wow. It might have changed the way I look at sports anime for the rest of my life.
If for some reason you’re like me, and you don’t want to watch a sports anime just because you don’t think it'll be up your alley, this is my recommendation to you, for the reason why you should check out the new anime series, BLUELOCK, which arrives on Crunchyroll today (October 8).
It’s Unlike Any Other Sports Anime Out There
I mean that with my whole entire heart. Granted, I have never read the manga for Blue Lock because again, I’ve never been the biggest fan of sports anime or manga. I always thought that it was a little too -- how do I say this without it sounding negative -- goody two-shoes.
And I mean that in the best way. There’s nothing wrong with a wholesome anime. I’m a huge fan of Spy x Family and that’s one of the most wholesome TV shows out there right now, but even that show has an element that’s darker when it comes to the war and the violence. It’s something that constantly keeps me entertained while also making me smile.
Many other sports anime out there aren’t like that. They’re good in a way that displays what teamwork is all about, or the true power of friendship or stuff like that, shows like Haikyu or Yuri on Ice, both of which are good anime to start out on.
But BLUELOCK is not that. Good lord, it’s not that.
From the moment this show starts, you are thrown into the ringer of what this show is about. There’s no sportsmanship. There’s no companionship. There’s none of that here. It’s basically a battle royale but without the killing. It’s an all out war to prove who the best soccer player is, no f’s given. It's a primal desire to be the best, and I love it. It’s unlike any sports anime out there right now and something I truly admire them for bringing to the small screen.
Isagi Is A Relatable Protagonist
Look, there are so many protagonists in anime that you can love and know that deep down, you really have nothing seriously in common with them. Goku from the Dragon Ball series is a good example because he’s sweet and kind but the dude is a literal god and it’s hard to really compare yourself to a god.
Eren from Attack on Titan is another good example where he’s such a complicated character that has been the product of so much foreshadowing throughout Attack on Titan that you have to love him – but he isn’t super relatable except for the fact that we can all yearn for freedom.
Isagi, the main protagonist of BLUELOCK is that perfect example of a protagonist that all of us would love. He’s a normal human with a normal dream – to be the best he can be. To win nationals. To be the best striker. It’s something that we can all relate to as we strive to work harder every day to perfect our talents.
He’s the perfect protagonist to root for because on a deeper level, we all understand that feelings that he has deep down about knowing what is right and wrong, but also knowing what he has to do in order to succeed.
It Throws You Right Into The Conflict
Something I loved about BLUELOCK is that you are thrown right into the conflict. It’s something that a lot of anime tend to do – just like Attack on Titan does within its first minutes, or even Spy X Family does as it establishes its central storyline, but I wasn’t really expecting that here.
Truth be told, I thought we were going to sit here for about ten episodes as our main protagonist made friends before the real conflict was introduced but nope, from the credits of the series, we get to see exactly what the issue is, and how that issue builds up in an overarching conflict of the best soccer players all striving to become the next best striker in the world.
What makes the conflict even better is that at first, everyone is against it. People are fighting against his idea of taking out everyone and abandoning their lives just so they could become a striker, but as time goes on and words are twisted, the conflict of staying becomes even more complicated. How everyone knows they don’t want to play dirty, but they must in order to win the game of BLUELOCK.
The “Antagonist” Is Genuinely Unsettling - Because He Makes Good Points
Okay, keep in mind that I’m not entirely sure if this antagonist is going to be the antagonist for BLUELOCK. I haven’t read the manga and I don’t like spoilers so I’m not sure. But from the first episode, the man that runs the whole entire BLUELOCK program, Jinpachi Ego, is creepy and unsettling in the best way.
Not because he just looks the part. The animators behind Ego’s design really outdid themselves because from the moment he stepped onto the screen, I felt disgusted because he felt like everything that could go wrong with sports. But what made him an even better antagonist is that he did make good points.
His view into the sports world is very grim, saying that there are so many players out there who don’t care for their team and would rather care about them doing well in a game rather than winning, and that’s true. There are people out there that are like that, and he tries to tell this to the potential strikers that in order to be the best, they need to think about themselves and how they can improve, not think about the wealth of the team.
And in a way, he’s right. While I am all for teamwork, if someone wants to grow, they can’t only focus on trying to help everyone else at the same time. As dirty as he plays with soccer, Ego is right in several areas. I don’t necessarily agree with the way he is trying to single out the best players through a bloody competition of skill and wit, but at the same time, I get it.
And that’s what makes him such a good villain. It’s like another Thanos from the MCU with his overarching goal of balance in the universe. He has an idea – just a terrible way to get to it. When the antagonist starts to make points that you yourself can almost agree with (or at the very least, consider their perspective), that’s when you know that’s a well-written character.
The Cast Of Characters Is Diverse And Unique In A Way Most Anime Aren’t
This is just something I have to put praise towards, but I love the cast of characters in this show. Many anime often tend towards one particular anime style and make most of the characters look that way, but BLUELOCK takes that and makes their characters look super different.
All of them have different hairstyles, different builds, different eyes, different personalities, different everything. They’re all created so differently and done in such a way where even after one episode, I already have, like, six favorites based off of their attitudes. Everything is so well animated and their designs are just as good.
BLUELOCK is a part of the 2022 TV premiere schedule and honestly, if you’ve never given a sports anime a try, check out this one. It’s a fresh take on the world of soccer and something that is truly engaging from the first minutes. You won’t regret it, even if soccer isn’t your favorite sport.
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A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.