Blue Lock steps up to fill the void left by Haikyuu!!

Yoichi and Hinata are more alike than you think (Image via Sportskeeda)
Blue Lock's Yoichi and Haikyuu!!'s Hinata are more alike than you think (Image via Sportskeeda)

Last week, the Blue Lock anime adaptation took the world by storm with the release of its first episode. In just a few hours, the internet was fascinated by the enigmatic experiment designed by Ego Jinpachi. All over the globe, viewers are praising its animation, plot, characters, and unique approach to the sports anime genre.

A series this popular has not been seen since the release of the hit volleyball anime, Haikyuu!!. This classic show has often been regarded as one of the best anime of the sports genre ever created.

Could Blue Lock become the new best sports anime now that Haikyuu!! is over? Will Yoichi become the face of the sports genre, replacing Hinata?

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for the Blue Lock anime series.

Could Blue Lock’s Yoichi Isagi replace Haikyuu!!’s Hinata as the most iconic sports anime character?

Isagi as seen in the show (Image via Studio 8bit)
Isagi as seen in the show (Image via Studio 8bit)

Blue Lock is a series that tells the story of Yoichi Isagi, a high school football player who has worked hard his entire life to become the best.

When viewers first met him, his high school team was playing in the regional finals. The boy was about to score a goal when his coach forced him to pass the ball to another teammate. Isagi did, but his friend failed the shot, dooming the team.

After the tragic incident, Yoichi was invited to an experimental training program called Blue Lock, created to find Japan’s best striker. The man behind the idea, Ego Jinpachi, was convinced that only the most egotistical of players could help Japan obtain a World Cup after their loss in the 2018 tournament.

In this program, each of the 300 participants have to try and eliminate the rest of the competition in ruthless, cruel, and sometimes grueling events. Only the biggest egoist can survive the Blue Lock program and become the world’s next football idol.

How Blue Lock could take Haikyuu!!’s place

Hinata and Kageyama as seen in Haikyuu!! (Image via Production I.G.)
Hinata and Kageyama as seen in Haikyuu!! (Image via Production I.G.)

For many years, Haikyuu!! has been acclaimed by fans all over the world for its unique take on volleyball.

Unlike several other sports series, which often rely on the game they depict to attract viewers, Haikyuu!! attempted to create real bonds between the characters and the audience. While volleyball was still extremely important to the plot, the players were the main focus.

Hinata and his friends have become some of the most beloved anime characters of all time. Fans love their interactions, the development they constantly go through, and the motivation each of them has. The fandom also adores the message of friendship and team spirit that the show teaches viewers in every episode.

Only the biggest egoist can win (Image via Studio 8bit)
Only the biggest egoist can win (Image via Studio 8bit)

While Blue Lock’s manga has demonstrated that each character can create a real bond with the audience, the overall message of the series is not about cooperation. Yoichi and the rest of the Blue Lock participants are not there to make friends. They are actively working for the rest of the athletes to be eliminated, without any regard for their dreams and motivations.

Fans feel the struggle, the pressure, and the fear that the characters feel. Every new task, challenge, or soccer game could be their last. The fandom is cheering for their favorite character to survive the competition.

Sadly, in the end, only one will claim the title of Japan’s best striker and join the national team for the World Cup.

In Haikyuu!! teamwork is vital (Image via Production I.G.)
In Haikyuu!! teamwork is vital (Image via Production I.G.)

The two shows are quite opposite to each other.

One tries to help fans understand the importance of a team, while the other wants them to despise the other characters. However, they still have many similarities that are easy to miss when comparing them initially. In both anime, the characters are driven by their desire to become the best.

Hinata wishes to become the best middle blocker of all time, despite his relatively short height. Yoichi has tapped into his egotistical side to surpass the competition and be the one to win the Blue Lock experiment. Both heroes want to excel at their respective sports, which is why they work so hard every day.

Yoichi cannot trust anyone (Image via Studio 8bit)
Yoichi cannot trust anyone (Image via Studio 8bit)

The messages may not be the same, but they both want to inspire viewers to become the best version of themselves. The sport they play is important for their show plot, although not as important as the players. Their dreams, frustrations, tears, laughs, all those aspects are what make these shows truly awe-inspiring.

The art style, fluid animation, and amazing action scenes that the Blue Lock anime demonstrated in episode 1 could also contribute to its status as the new best sports anime. It is unlikely that the show will get the same level of recognition as Haikyuu!! did as it is only in its first season.

Nonetheless, in the future, people could be talking about Yoichi the same way they do about Hinata.

Final thoughts

Only time will tell if Blue Lock will be as popular as Haikyuu!! (Image via Studio 8bit)
Only time will tell if Blue Lock will be as popular as Haikyuu!! (Image via Studio 8bit)

For almost a decade, sports anime fans have talked about Haikyuu!! as the best series in the genre. The series gained the title with its amazing characters, realistic depictions of volleyball, and incredible art style. Sadly, now that it has ended, it is time for another anime to take its place at the top and fans believe that it could be Blue Lock.

Both series know how to attract a loyal audience, giving them outstanding episodes, relatable characters, and incredible depictions of football and volleyball. In the end, both series deserve to be enjoyed by fans, as the people behind them have worked hard to make them as enjoyable for the viewers as possible.

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Edited by Madhur Dave
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