Blue Lock is a shonen soccer anime, but it’s far from a typical sports series.
While most sports anime focus on teamwork and working together, Blue Lock abandons these principles.
Instead, the series features a grueling training program designed to produce an egotistical and self-centered striker.
Blue Lock Plot
The series begins shortly after Japan has been eliminated from the World Cup (in real life, this happened in both 2018 and 2022).
Determined not to let this happen again, Japan’s national soccer organization hires a weird and enigmatic coach to train promising young soccer players.
The training program is called Blue Lock. The goal is to produce a superstar player who will lead Japan to victory at the World Cup.
The coach, with the appropriate name Jinpachi Ego, believes that Japan’s emphasis on teamwork is actually a hindrance. Ego wants his players to be egotistical, confident in their abilities, and put individual glory first. Although the players compete as teams, they are warned that in the end, the program will produce only one individual winner.
In Season 1, we follow Yoichi Isagi, who has been invited to take part in the program. After a brutally frank introduction by Coach Ego, Blue Lock starts out with a competition which is vaguely reminiscent of Squid Game. Those who fail will be kicked out of the program — and lose any chance of ever playing for Japan.
The egotists who make it past the entrance exam are divided up into teams. Those teams play tournament-style matches in which the losers are disqualified.
In turn, the winning teams are narrowed down with player battles before the remaining players reach the next stage. At the end of the first season, the surviving teams must battle the World Five, which consist of some of the best players from around the world.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Assuming that the anime continues to follow the manga, season 2 will feature the Japan U-20, a team of young Japanese soccer stars (but separate from the Blue Lock program).
We should also see something called the Neo Egoist League — a league made up of Blue Lock finalists. Although they haven’t left Japan, the team names parody popular and successful teams in the European soccer leagues — Bastard Munchen (FC Bayern Munich), FC Barcha (FC Barcelona), Manshine City (Manchester City FC), Ubers (Juventus), and Paris X Gen (Paris Saint-Germain).
Blue Lock Setting
Blue Lock takes place in modern-day Japan, although the exact location is deliberately vague. Timewise, the manga is set sometime between 2018 and 2022.
At the time that the manga started, the Russia 2018 World Cup had just finished. Japan was eliminated in the Round of 16 stage. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was still four years in the future.
On the other hand, the first episode of the anime series aired just before the 2022 World Cup. It is therefore more vague about the Blue Lock program’s ambitious goal to win the World Cup.
The series is set almost entirely within the massive Blue Lock training facility. The facility obviously doesn’t actually have a real life counterpart, given its huge size and apparent location high up in the mountains.
While the main setting is vague, the main characters are from real places all over Japan. Their schools are fictional, but the schools’ locations are real. For example, Yoichi Isagi is from Ichinan High School in Saitama Prefecture.
Blue Lock Characters/Voice Actors
Yoichi Isagi — voiced by Kazuki Ura
Yoichi Isagi is the main protagonist out of the many Blue Lock competitors. Off the field, he’s generally nice and friendly enough. He also serves as a team leader in his group.
However, he’s also very determined to prove himself. On the field, Isagi embraces the egotistical philosophy of the ruthless Blue Lock program. He becomes a member of Team Z.
- Kazuki Ura also voiced Cobalt in Technoroid: Overmind, Kyousuke Aiba in Futsal Boys!, and Barbould in Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, among others.
Jinpachi Ego — voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya
Jinpachi Ego is the coach and leader of Blue Lock. Ego acts like an eccentric, and possibly psychotic, weirdo. He can also be cruel, and seems to enjoy insulting people. But he’s also apparently a technological genius, and an expert at soccer who played professionally in the past.
As his name implies, he is an egotist, and he put his personality, ideals, and philosophy into the Blue Lock program.
Despite his eccentric attitude and hammy gestures, people find his speeches to be surprisingly powerful and convincing.
- Hiroshi Kamiya previously voiced Levi Ackerman in Attack on Titan, Otonashi in Angel Beats!, Choromatsu in Osomatsu-san, and Trafalgar Law in One Piece, among others.
Meguru Bachira — voiced by Tasuku Kaito
Meguru Bachira is a forward on Team Z, and generally a good friend and/ or friendly rival to Isagi.
He’s also something of an oddball character, who claims to have a monster inside of him. Meguru is creative and unpredictable, which seems to help with his playing style.
- Tasuku Kaito also voiced Kohaku Oukawa in Ensemble Stars!, along with some minor supporting and background roles.
Rensuke Kunigami — voiced by Yuki Ono
Rensuke Kunigami starts out as a member of Team Z, along with Isagi and Bachira. He’s a strong player who believes in fair play. Kunigami is generally a nice guy, but dirty tricks make him angry.
His goal is to become a soccer “superhero.”
- Yuki Ono also voiced Josuke Higashikata in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable, Taiga Kagami in Kuroko’s Basketball, and Shunpei Natsukawa in Baka and Test, among others.
Rin Itoshi — voiced by Kouki Uchiyama
Rin Itoshi is a late arrival to the series, who makes his first appearance in episode 11. However, he soon becomes an important rival to the rest of the cast, including Isagi.
He is the strongest player in the program, and an arrogant rival. He is driven by the desire to be better than his brother, Sae.
- Kouki Uchiyama is the voice of Legato in Trigun Stampede, Tomura in My Hero Academia, Rui in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, and Soul Eater Evans in Soul Eater, among many others.
Blue Lock Trailers
Promo video for the Blue Lock season 2 sequel, available at EMOTION Label Channel at YouTube (Japanese only):
Official Blue Lock season 1 trailer, available on the Crunchyroll Collection YouTube channel (with English subtitles):
Blue Lock Release Dates
Muneyuki Kaneshiro created the original Blue Lock manga in 2018. Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine has published it since then.
A spin-off manga, Blue Lock: Episode Negi, started in 2022. The anime series started in October 2022.
In addition to the manga and anime, Kodansha also created a stage play version of Blue Lock. It was performed in May 2023 in Tokyo and Osaka. A second play has been announced for 2024.
In March 2023, the creators announced that there will be a season 2 of the series. They also announced a movie based on the Episode Negi spin-off.
Where to Watch Blue Lock
Blue Lock is available on Crunchyroll in multiple languages in many areas, including the United States. If Crunchyroll is not an option where you live, the series is also available on Netflix in Japan.