Trust Japanese creators to pick any theme and turn it into a dystopian series, like the anime ‘Blue Lock’, where 300 teen Forwards are sent to a prison-like facility, where they get trained to become the country’s best soccer player. The goal of the facility is to mold selfish sportsmen who can help Japan’s dream of winning the Football World Cup. The trainer wants players to abandon the traditional notion of soccer being a ‘team sport’ and become egotists who’d rather take a shot of scoring a goal themselves, than passing the ball.
Based on the manga of the same name, 2022 series ‘Blue Lock’ has been animated by Eight Bit studio, and while the animation seemed slightly glitch-y the first few seconds in ‘Episode 1’, it smooths out soon enough and is just as good as any big ongoing anime series. The prime protagonist is Isagi Yoichi (voiced by Kazuki Ura), a forward player in his High-School, who is extremely disappointed when his team loses a chance at making it to the nationals. When he is picked for the mysterious ‘Blue Lock’ program, Yoichi doesn’t agree with the ‘egotist’ concept, but feels like it’s his only shot at representing Japan at a global level.
Also Read: ‘Blue Lock’ Episode 2 Review
While most Japanese sport series focus on hard-work and team-building, ‘Blue Lock’ stands out by putting spotlight on megalomania. One player is expected to crush the 299 others to win the treacherous training regime. It means Yoichi having to turn against those he looks up to, for he knows the winner will have to stand alone. Filled with low-key hilarious moments, the anime is amusingly dark, dwelling on the intrinsic selfish nature of humans. Be prepared for some blood, violence, disorder and a whole lot of twisted soccer.
It’s a 8/10 from me. You can stream it on Netflix. New episodes drop Sunday.
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