Blue Lock (Japanese: ブルーロック, Hepburn: Burū Rokku) (stylized as BLUELOCK) is a Japanese manga series written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yusuke Nomura. It has been serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine since August 2018, with its chapters collected in 27 tankōbon volumes as of December 2023.

Blue Lock
First tankōbon volume cover, featuring Yoichi Isagi
ブルーロック
(Burū Rokku)
Genre
Manga
Written byMuneyuki Kaneshiro
Illustrated byYusuke Nomura
Published byKodansha
English publisher
ImprintShōnen Magazine Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runAugust 1, 2018 – present
Volumes27 (List of volumes)
Manga
Blue Lock: Episode Nagi
Written byMuneyuki Kaneshiro
Illustrated byKōta Sannomiya
Published byKodansha
English publisher
  • NA: Kodansha USA
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runJune 9, 2022 – present
Volumes3 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by
  • Tetsuaki Watanabe
  • Shunsuke Ishikawa[a]
Written byTaku Kishimoto
Music byJun Murayama
StudioEight Bit
Licensed byCrunchyroll
Original networkANN (TV Asahi)
English network
Original run October 9, 2022 – present
Episodes24 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Blue Lock: Episode Nagi
Directed byShunsuke Ishikawa
Written byTaku Kishimoto
Music byJun Murayama
StudioEight Bit
ReleasedApril 19, 2024 (2024-04-19)
icon Anime and manga portal

An anime television series adaptation produced by Eight Bit aired from October 2022 to March 2023. An anime film adaptation based on the Episode Nagi manga is set to premiere in April 2024. A second season has been announced.

By November 2023, the manga had over 30 million copies in circulation, making it one of the best-selling manga series. In 2021, Blue Lock won the 45th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category.

Plot edit

The Japan national team finished 16th in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Japan Football Union hires the football enigma Ego Jinpachi. His master plan to lead Japan to stardom is Blue Lock, a training regimen designed to create the world's greatest egotist striker. Those who fail Blue Lock will never again be permitted to represent Japan. Yoichi Isagi, an unknown high school football player conflicted about his playing style, decides to join the program in order to become the best striker in the world.

Characters edit

Yoichi Isagi (潔 世一, Isagi Yoichi)
Voiced by: Kazuki Ura[2] (Japanese); Ricco Fajardo[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Ryōhei Takenaka (stage play)[4]
Meguru Bachira (蜂楽 廻, Bachira Meguru)
Voiced by: Tasuku Kaito[2] (Japanese); Drew Breedlove[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Nobunaga Sato (stage play)[4]
Rensuke Kunigami (國神 錬介, Kunigami Rensuke)
Voiced by: Yūki Ono[2] (Japanese); Alex Hom[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Shōta Matsuda (stage play)[4]
Hyōma Chigiri (千切 豹馬, Chigiri Hyōma)
Voiced by: Soma Saito[2] (Japanese); Aaron Dismuke[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Ryō Saeki (stage play)[4]
Wataru Kuon (久遠 渉, Kuon Wataru)
Voiced by: Masatomo Nakazawa[5] (Japanese); Mark Allen Jr.[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Jin Saori (stage play)[4]
Jingo Raichi (雷市 陣吾, Raichi Jingo)
Voiced by: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka[5] (Japanese); Aaron Campbell[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Takamichi Sato (stage play)[4]
Yūdai Imamura (今村 遊大, Imamura Yūdai)
Voiced by: Shōya Chiba[5] (Japanese); Jesse Pinnick[3] (English)
Gin Gagamaru (我牙丸 吟, Gagamaru Gin)
Voiced by: Shugo Nakamura[5] (Japanese); Lee George[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Kōki Muramatsu (stage play)[4]
Asahi Naruhaya (成早 朝日, Naruhaya Asahi)
Voiced by: Daishi Kajita[5] (Japanese); Spencer Liles[3] (English)
Okuhito Iemon (伊右衛門 送人, Iemon Okuhito)
Voiced by: Ryūnosuke Watanuki[5] (Japanese); Anthony DiMascio[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Takuro Sawada (stage play)[4]
Gurimu Igarashi (五十嵐 栗夢, Igarashi Gurimu)
Voiced by: Aoi Ichikawa[5] (Japanese); Kyle Igneczi[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Yuki Kakikawa (stage play)[4]
Ryōsuke Kira (吉良 涼介, Kira Ryōsuke)
Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura[5] (Japanese); Blake Shepard[3] (English)
Jinpachi Ego (絵心 甚八, Ego Jinpachi)
Portrayed by: Shojiro Yokoi
Voiced by: Hiroshi Kamiya[5] (Japanese); Derick Snow[3] (English)
Anri Teieri (帝襟 アンリ, Teieri Anri)
Voiced by: Eri Yukimura[5] (Japanese); Kasi Hollowell[3] (English)
Shouei Barou (馬狼 照英, Barō Shōei)
Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe[6] (Japanese); Matthew David Rudd[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Yuki Izawa (stage play)[4]
Zantetsu Tsurugi (剣城 斬鉄, Tsurugi Zantetsu)
Voiced by: Kazuyuki Okitsu[7] (Japanese); Matthew Elkins[8] (English)
Portrayed by: Takumi Masunaga (stage play)[4]
Seishirō Nagi (凪 誠士郎, Nagi Seishirō)
Voiced by: Nobunaga Shimazaki[9] (Japanese); Bryson Baugus[10] (English)
Portrayed by: Ryōtarō Kosaka (stage play)[4]
Reo Mikage (御影 玲王, Mikage Reo)
Voiced by: Yuma Uchida[9] (Japanese); Kamen Casey[10] (English)
Portrayed by: Shuji Kikuchi (stage play)[4]
Ikki Niko (二子 一揮, Niko Ikki)
Voiced by: Natsuki Hanae[11] (Japanese); David Matranga[3] (English)
Portrayed by: Kosei Tsubokura (stage play)[4]
Junichi Wanima (鰐間 淳壱, Wanima Junichi)
Voiced by: Ryōta Suzuki[11] (Japanese); Chris Guerrero[8] (English)
Portrayed by: Masahide Funaki (stage play)[4]
Keisuke Wanima (鰐間 計助, Wanima Keisuke)
Voiced by: Ryōta Suzuki[11] (Japanese); Chris Guerrero[8] (English)
Portrayed by: Masahiro Kawai (stage play)[4]
Sae Itoshi (糸師 冴, Itoshi Sae)
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai[11] (Japanese); Alejandro Saab[3] (English)
Rin Itoshi (糸師 凛, Itoshi Rin)
Voiced by: Koki Uchiyama[12] (Japanese); Matt Shipman[10] (English)
Portrayed by: Kōhei Nagata (stage play)[13]
Jyubei Aryu (蟻生 十兵衛, Aryū Jūbee)
Voiced by: Katsuyuki Konishi[12] (Japanese); Bradley Gareth[10] (English)
Aoshi Tokimitsu (時光 青志, Tokimitsu Aoshi)
Voiced by: Shinnosuke Tachibana[12] (Japanese); Jordan Dash Cruz[10] (English)
Ryūsei Shidō (士道龍聖, Shidō Ryūsei)
Voiced by: Yuichi Nakamura[14] (Japanese); Van Barr Jr.[15] (English)
Tabito Karasu (烏 旅人, Karasu Tabito)
Voiced by: Makoto Furukawa[14] (Japanese); Clifford Chapin[16] (English)
Eita Otoya (乙夜影汰, Otoya Eita)
Voiced by: Kengo Kawanishi[14] (Japanese); Davon Oliver[17] (English)
Kenyu Yukimiya (雪宮剣優, Yukimiya Kenyu)
Voiced by: Takuya Eguchi[14] (Japanese); Jim Foronda[18] (English)
Julian Loki (ジュリアン・ロキ, Jurian Roki)
Voiced by: Hiro Shimono[14] (Japanese); Kevin D. Thelwell[19] (English)
Leonardo Luna (レオナルド・ルナ, Reonarudo Runa)
Voiced by: Shin'ichiro Kamio[14] (Japanese); Brandon Acosta[20] (English)

Media edit

Manga edit

Written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yusuke Nomura, Blue Lock started in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine on August 1, 2018.[21] Kodansha has collected its chapters into individual tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on November 16, 2018.[22] As of December 15, 2023, twenty-seven volumes have been released.[23]

In January 2021, Kodansha USA announced that they licensed the manga for English digital release in North America, starting on March 16, 2021.[24] In January 2022, Kodansha USA announced that they would release the manga in print.[25]

The manga has also been licensed in France by Pika Édition;[26] in Germany by Kazé;[27] in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing;[28] in South Korea by Haksan Publishing;[29] in Italy by Panini Comics;[30] in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini;[31] in Thailand by Vibulkij Publishing;[32] in Indonesia by Elex Media Komputindo;[33] and in Argentina by Editorial Ivrea.[34]

A spin-off manga focusing on Seishiro Nagi, titled Blue Lock: Episode Nagi, began serialization in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on June 9, 2022.[35] The spin-off is written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Kōta Sannomiya.[36] Its chapters have been collected in three tankōbon volumes as of September 14, 2023.[37] Kodansha has published the series in English on their K Manga service.[38] In October 2023, Kodansha USA announced that the manga is planned to be published in print starting in Q3 2024.[39]

Anime edit

An anime television series adaptation was announced on August 12, 2021. The series is produced by Eight Bit and directed by Tetsuaki Watanabe, with Shunsuke Ishikawa serving as assistant director, Taku Kishimoto overseeing the series' scripts, Masaru Shindō providing the main character designs and serving as chief animation director, Hisashi Tojima serving as a chief action director, and Jun Murayama composing the music.[2] It ran for 24 episodes.[40] The series aired from October 9, 2022, to March 26, 2023, on TV Asahi's NUMAnimation [ja] block.[2][5][b] The first opening theme song is "Chaos ga Kiwamaru" (カオスが極まる, "Chaos Reigns") by Unison Square Garden, while the first ending theme song is "Winner" by Shugo Nakamura.[11] The second opening theme song is "Judgement" by Ash Da Hero, while the second ending theme song is "Numbness like a ginger" by Unison Square Garden.[42][43]

Crunchyroll has licensed the series and has streamed an English dub starting on October 22, 2022.[44][3] Medialink licensed the series in Asia-Pacific;[45] it is streamed on their Ani-One YouTube channel,[46] and on iQIYI,[47] bilibili,[48] Netflix,[49] and Animax Asia.[50]

Following the end of the first season, a second season was announced.[51][14]

Film edit

At the end of the first season, an anime film adaptation of the Episode Nagi manga was also announced.[14] The film will feature the staff and cast reprising their roles with Shunsuke Ishikawa, who served as assistant director for the first season, assigned to direct the film and manga writer Muneyuki Kaneshiro supervising the story.[52] It will premiere in Japanese theatres on April 19, 2024.[53] Nissy and Sky-Hi will perform the film's theme song "Stormy".[54]

Stage plays edit

A stage play adaptation of the manga was announced by Kodansha in December 2022. It ran May 4–7, 2023, at Osaka's Sankei Hall Breeze and May 11–14 at Tokyo's Sunshine Theater. The play was directed and written by Naohiro Ise. The cast included Ryōhei Takenaka as Yoichi Isagi, Nobunaga Satō as Meguru Bachira, Shōta Matsuda as Rensuke Kunigami, and Ryō Saeki as Hyōma Chigiri.[55]

A second play, subtitled 2nd Stage, ran January 18–24, 2024, at Kyoto Theater and January 25–31 at Hulic Hall Tokyo. The play was again directed and written by Ise and Kōhei Nagata joined the cast as Rin Itoshi.[56][13]

Video game edit

A smartphone game based on the series, titled Blue Lock: Blaze Battle, is set to be released in 2024 for both iOS and Android devices. A promotional video for the game, featuring Hey! Say! JUMP's Ryosuke Yamada, has been released.[57][58]

Reception edit

Manga edit

By August 2020, the manga had over 1.9 million copies in circulation;[59] by January 2021, it had over 3 million copies in circulation.[60] over 4 million copies in circulation by April 2021;[61] by August 2021, it had over 5 million in circulation;[62] over 6 million copies in circulation by February 2022;[63] over 8.3 million copies in circulation by March 2022;[64] over 9.3 million copies in circulation by June 2022;[65] over 10 million copies in circulation August 2022;[66] over 16 million copies in circulation by December 2022;[67] over 18 million copies in circulation by January 2023;[68] over 21.5 million copies in circulation by February 2023;[69] over 24 million copies in circulation by March 2023;[70] over 25.5 million copies in circulation by April 2023;[71] over 26 million copies in circulation by May 2023;[72] over 27 million copies in circulation by July 2023;[73] over 28 million copies in circulation by August 2023;[74] and over 30 million copies in circulation by November 2023.[75]

Blue Lock was the best-selling manga series in the first half of 2023 (the period between November 2022 and May 2023), with over 8 million copies sold,[76] while volumes 12–14 and 21–23 were among the best-selling manga volumes from the same period.[77] Volumes 22–24 were among the best-selling manga volumes of 2023.[78]

The series was recommended by manga author Hajime Isayama of Attack on Titan fame, for whom Yusuke Nomura previously worked as an assistant.[79] Blue Lock was one of the Top 3 Sports Manga Series of the "Nationwide Bookstore Employees' Recommended Comics of 2020" by Honya Club.[80] Blue Lock won the 45th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2021.[81][82] The series was nominated for a Harvey Award in the Best Manga category,[83] and Youth Selection category at the 49th Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2022.[84]

Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network, in her review of the series' first two volumes, called the "dystopian sports" concept something that makes it stand out among other sports series; however, she said that it is so "blatantly absurd that it doesn't entirely work". Silverman praised its art, noting Tite Kubo's overtones, and concluded that while the first two volumes are not perfect, there is enough going to make her want to read more.[85]

Anime edit

Bamboo Dong of Anime News Network described the first half of the first season, saying that while the superhuman abilities provide a good chuckle, the characters also go a long way in broadening the series' appeal for anime fans who didn't know or care about soccer. Dong praised the action scenes, noting that these plays are a "genuine thrill to watch", although she felt there are times when the consistency and quality dip. Nonetheless, she concluded that Blue Lock is a really good time, especially if they have a high tolerance for camp and absurdity. Action fans will enjoy the strategy sessions and head-to-head showdowns, while soccer fans will enjoy the impassioned and mildly angry love story to the sport, like armchair quarterbacking brought to life.[86]

Writing for The O'Colly, Baylor Bryant praised its dynamics in games, calling it both "strong" and "compelling". Baylor wrote that Blue Lock has flaws and is still a sports anime, while its climactic moments are still just soccer matches. However, the games are interesting, filled with their own storylines and each match showcases new and unique strikers with their own style and narrative they bring to the story. The writer described about the animation, noting that "it has moments, but with players moving around the field playing a game of soccer, it's not always clean and crisp." Nevertheless, despite the animation has limitations, the anime would be more enjoyable to watch if anyone wants more comedy and not tended to read the manga.[87]

Rafael Motamayor of IGN comparing the show to 2021's Squid Game, while describing it as "a fairly typical of sports anime". Rafael said that the anime does have some interesting things to say about sports, their competitiveness, and what it means to be a great athlete. The animation was criticized, saying that the use of 3D computer animation, and particularly the back-and-forth between CG and traditional 2D animation, became "jarring" to watch compared to Haikyu!! which has full fluid of movements. However, he concluded that it compensates for uneven CG with striking keyframes and fantastic use of visual metaphors.[88]

In 2023, Blue Lock won the New Face Award at the Japan Character Awards by Japan's Character Brand Licensing Association (CBLA).[89] The series ranked second in the anime category of Yahoo! Japan Search Awards, based on the number of searches for a particular term compared to the year before.[90]

See also edit

  • Tesla Note, another manga series illustrated by Kōta Sannomiya

Notes edit

  1. ^ Assistant Director (副監督)
  2. ^ TV Asahi lists the series premiere at 25:30 on October 8, 2022, which is effectively 1:30 a.m. JST on October 9.[41]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Blue Lock. Kodansha USA. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pineda, Rafael Antonio (August 12, 2021). "Blue Lock Soccer Manga Gets TV Anime by 8-Bit in 2022". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 15, 2021. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Mateo, Alex (October 21, 2022). "Blue Lock Anime Reveals English Dub's Cast, October 22 Premiere". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p 舞台「ブルーロック」開幕!潔世一役の竹中凌平「人生の活力になる作品に」. Stage Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. May 23, 2023. Archived from the original on May 17, 2023. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
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  7. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (July 16, 2022). "Blue Lock Anime Casts Kazuyuki Okitsu". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 16, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
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  18. ^ Foronda, Jim [@JimForonda] (April 8, 2023). "Who's looking to be the best striker in Japan? You'll see…it's me! Thanks to @RetroJono and @DashCruzVA for bringing me on #Bluelock as the English voice of Kenyu Yukimiya! He's set his sights on winning no matter what! (Couldn't get a screenshot on Android so I improvised! 😅)" (Tweet). Retrieved April 10, 2023 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Thelwell, Kevin [@KevinDThelwell] (April 1, 2023). "Alight I'll shut up soon I promise, but it's already rare when black characters appear in anime and EVEN MORE rare when there's one who even fits my type of voice. Been here nearly 5 yrs now and this is my 2nd black character✊🏿 It's not often I can say HE LOOKS LIKE ME FRFR" (Tweet). Retrieved April 2, 2023 – via Twitter.
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External links edit