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Manga / Blue Lock

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May the best striker win.

In order to claim victory in the World Cup, the Japanese Football Association decides to enlist the help of an eccentric coach called Jinpachi Ego. He decides that the proper course of action is to raise an egotistical striker with unparalleled hunger for scoring goals.

His plan? Confine 300 players from all over the country into a prison-like facility called Blue Lock and pit them against each other until only the strongest one remains. Those eliminated will be banned from playing football in a professional capacity, while the sole survivor will become the national team’s striker.

Enter Yoichi Isagi, a striker who failed to bring his high school soccer team to the national tournament because he chose to pass to a teammate (who missed) instead of scoring on his own. He then receives a letter of invitation to Project Blue Lock, and he decides to join and chase after his dream of joining the national team and becoming the world’s best striker.


This unlikely blend of sports and survival game manga is penned by Maneyuki Kaneshiro (of As the Gods Will fame) and Yuusuke Nomura (Dolly Kill Kill) and began serialization in Weekly Shōnen Magazine in 2018. A TV anime adaptation has been announced for release in 2022.

Blue Lock provides examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Characters routinely enhance and expand their abilities during heated matches.
  • Accidental Athlete: Nagi Seishiro was dragged into playing football because Reo could see his potential. Rin Itoshi started playing football when he accidentally scored a goal during one of his brother's matches.
  • The Ace: The goal of the eponymous project is to make one. Several participants were also the aces of their teams.
  • Always Someone Better: Rin for all the boys at Blue Lock. Sae for Rin.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Jinpachi Ego’s philosophy on what is needed to be the ideal striker. Baro’s philosophy before his metaphorical defeat to Isagi.
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  • Bishounen: Hyoma Chigiri, with his feminine looks and well-kept appearance. The first few chapters can easily make one think they're the only girl inside Blue Lock just by his much more feminine design compared to his peers.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nagi Seishiro skips training and pretty much only plays football because Reo tells him to. His loss to team Z spurs him to put in some actual effort.
  • Cast Of Snow Flakes: Even minor characters have distinct character designs.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Chigiri. He almost got one in the past, and it’s the fear of finally getting one such injury that prevented him from giving it his all.
  • The Chess Master: Rin Itoshi. He manipulates the other players in their matches. Yoichi is also this to a lesser extent.
  • Chromosome Casting: As this is a manga focusing on professional male football, there are hardly any female characters of importance in the story. The only one that is plays commentary when she appears.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: There's been a few...
    • Team Z’s first match ends in disaster.
    • The first time Isagi’s team played against Rin’s team.
    • Rin, Isagi, Bachira, Aryu, and Yokimitsu against the Team World 5.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Most of the boys Isagi ends up being close with are players that he defeated or had defeated him. Nagi Seishiro being the most prominent example of this.
  • Desperate Object Catch: When Reo first meets him, gaming-obsessed Nagi performs an acrobatic maneuver in order to stop his device from hitting the floor. The incident convinces Reo that Nagi is capable of becoming a star football player by his side.
  • Down to the Last Play: Most of the matches end up being fairly close with the scoring of a single goal be enough to determine a match. This is also the case for the U-20 match, with Blue Lock's all-striker team barely making a 3-4 win in their favor.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Sae Itoshi. He’s a prodigy football player touted as the future of Japan’s men’s soccer, a member of the Men’s World 11, and a member of the Real Madrid Youth Team.
  • Fanservice: For female readers, gratuitous amount of shirtless boys working out and bathing.
  • Hot-Blooded: All of them, in one way or another.
  • Improbable Sports Skills: High-school footballers display skills even professionals would gawk at. The players' weapons range from only somewhat improbable (e.g. Chigiri's speed and Bachira's dribbling) to nearly impossible (e.g. Nagi's super-traps and Reo's ability to copy any move with 99% accuracy).
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism: One of the manga's main themes. To Jinpachi Ego, while a "collectivist" player can make their team better, they'll rarely be game-changers. This creates a balanced team, but not exactly a winning one. The Blue Lock project aims to create "individualistic" strikers focused on their own success (in the form of scoring goals) that'll be game-changers, something the Japanese national team currently lacks.
  • It's All About Me: Invoked. Ego's idea of cultivating the best football striker in the nation is based off of examples of other highly successful foreign teams and their common thread— that their success was tied to a striker who would only think of themselves as the star and their teammates as just a means to an end. All of the protagonists' training is meant to make them more honest with that selfish desire.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Shohei Baro before his awakening.
    • Sae Itoshi. How he treats other people including his own brother can be hard to read at times.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters There are over 300 boys participating in the Blue Lock Project at the start of the series. And with the introduction of Japan's U-20 team the cast is only getting bigger!
  • The Rival Rin Itoshi is this for all the members of Blue Lock. His brother, Sae Itoshi, is this for Rin.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Subverted. Zantetsu is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Kenyu Yukimiya, on the other hand, is the very definition of this trope.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There’s only one significant female character.
  • Tournament Arc: The second, third, and fourth stages of the Second Selection is just that: a tournament style series of stages where players in teams verse other teams in which the losing team loses a player. The first team to five players moves on to the Third Selection.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Subverted. In particular, Yoichi’s team loses twice against Rin’s team.