Soccer (Football) is considered one of the most physically demanding sports out there and that is no lie. Soccer is intense and we’ve found ourselves loving the game here at Honey’s Anime despite our love for anime and anime sports. Many anime sports have tried to mirror soccer and while some have done incredibly well, others have reminded us that sports anime may never reach the levels of excitement seen in the real games. Blue Lock had us intrigued quickly as this wasn’t per se trying to be like a normal sports anime and we mentioned it in our first impression, but it kind of feels like a less intense death game mixed with soccer.
Did Blue Lock after 24 episodes continue to impress us or should sports anime just keep it simple and try to continue to mirror the IRL versions? We find out in our review of Blue Lock!
Here Your Ego Is Your Strength
Most sports anime are pretty basic, you take friends/schoolmates, throw them into a sporting franchise, and then watch them overcome challenges as a team as well as build up friendships/rivalries and work their way to the top! Blue Lock has some of those themes with our main star Yoichi Isagi joining a “training camp” called Blue Lock and joining hundreds of others in an attempt to show their prowess at soccer. Yet, the friendships made and seen in Blue Lock aren’t from those wanting to find success as a team but more so those who have their eyes on being on the top and making their way to the pros. Isagi and all of the other members of Blue Lock are Strikers which means they lack Goalkeepers, Center-backs, Midfielders, and so on, but are all Strikers aiming to get goals and score for their team.
This odd system means no team is truly competent in Blue Lock when they are forced to do things against their style of play but it equally puts every player on similar grounds. Isagi learns though that to be the best striker means you need to have a power that excels beyond normal and quickly deduces his power is spatial awareness or the ability to see the field from every position and make moves to adjust to the situation at hand.
Isagi does undergo some evolutions like his other “pals” Meguru Bachira, Hyoma Chigiri, and Seishiro Nagi but he becomes the center stage for most of the episodes of Blue Lock. Isagi begins to devour other players’ abilities and talents to further his own and he ends up becoming a truly steadfast main man in the world of Blue Lock which is nice to see in any sports anime. Blue Lock does an incredible job making you feel for Isagi and his struggles as well as the other minor/major players in the series despite many characters appearing/disappearing for reasons we can’t spoil.
Death Game, Minus Death and Horror
Explaining Blue Lock to someone completely unaware of the premise is kind of a challenge. Blue Lock feels like Danganronpa meets Captain Tsubasa—which we mentioned in our first impression—and that might paint the wrong picture if we don’t explain it more. Blue Lock has players all competing in various challenges and mock games with losses having various consequences.
In one sequence, Isagi is put in small teams that are allowed to take one other player per victory but if they lose, they equally lose a team member until there are no perfect teams made. Equally, the main loss from being removed from Blue Lock means the soccer hopeful can never play at a National level and means basically their future in soccer is dead. We love this fusion of genres as it shows just how far animation can go with sports and gives us hope for more series like Blue Lock in the future.
Animation That Hits Hard and Sometimes Misses
Studio Eight Bit—known for Absolute Duo, The Fruit of Grisaia, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime—does a pretty incredible job with Blue Lock and only occasionally falters here and there. When the animation hits hard, Blue Lock made us grip into our seats as if we were really watching a match of soccer on the screen but then there are times when Blue Lock feels a bit lazy like re-using some animations and having terrible—and we mean terrible—aerial moments that make characters look goofy.
When we first saw Isagi undergo his puzzle break-like reconfiguration—which was basically him trying to readjust to the match—it was really neat. After it is done a dozen more times and looks the same each time…it becomes tedious. Overall though, Blue Lock isn’t Eight Bit’s best animation but did the manga justice.
The Game Will Continue
If you worried the ending of Blue Lock was a bit anticlimactic—it did have a nice sequence of showing all the players who have made it this far—you weren’t alone. We at first were kind of ready to give Blue Lock a bit less love after the finale but were then told some great news. Blue Lock has already been confirmed for a second season and a future movie! This means more Blue Lock, more soccer and more reasons to dive back into Isagi’s world of Ego meets soccer!
Blue Lock took us by complete surprise here at Honey’s Anime! We’ve seen plenty of sports anime and Blue Lock feels like an entirely different creation than all the others! Yeah, the animation was a bit weak here and there but with great characters, a strong MC, and solid character development/plot, Blue Lock was 24 episodes we enjoyed and can’t wait for more!
What did you, viewers, think of Blue Lock? Did you love it or hate it? Leave a comment below to let us know! For more anime reviews from this winter 2023 season and future seasons, keep stuck to our soccer-loving hive here at Honey’s Anime!