Blue Lock and Giant Killing manga influence the Japanese team's jersey during FIFA World Cup 2022

Japan's upset win draws attention to their jersey (Image via Sportskeeda)

Anime fans have taken over social media in the wake of Germany’s shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Japanese team at FIFA World Cup 2022, and Blue Lock is one of the leading fandoms in this endeavor. To make matters more interesting, people are starting to remember that the Japanese team’s jersey was designed in collaboration with the illustrators of Blue Lock and Giant Killing.

Both mangas are football oriented, and the premises aim to revolutionize the game, although Blue Lock is more radical in its approach. The illustrators of both series contributed to the design of the traditional blue jersey with an origami motif and later collaborated to come up with several posters featuring their signature characters.

Japanese football team sports the design of Blue Lock and Giant Killing mangakas during their upset win in FIFA World Cup 2022


Both mangas are serialized by Kodansha Publication. Giant Killing is written by Masaya Tsunamoto and illustrated by Tsujitomo, while Blue Lock is written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yusuke Nomura. Tsujimoto and Nomura both worked on the jersey and expressed their joy at being part of such a project.

The sponsor, Adidas, detailed the process via a promotional video on their YouTube channel. Tsujimoto elaborated that for the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, they liked the idea of a blue shirt with white pants, which the Japanese team sported in the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Special editions of both franchises have featured their characters wearing this jersey on the cover. Blue Lock’s protagonist Isagi Yoichi was seen sporting this jersey on the cover of chapter 186. Along with this project, both mangas aim to awaken a national love for the sport, much in the same way Haikyuu did for volleyball. As Nomura said:

“I would be very happy if many people become interested in soccer through Blue Lock, and I hope that this project will serve as an entry point for people to become familiar with the sport.”

However, the football world remained largely uninterested in this fact until today’s upset win by Japan. Despite Gundogan scoring a goal from a penalty in the 33rd minute, Japan scored an equalizer in the second half via Ritsu Doan’s goal in the 75th minute. Then, in the 87th minute, Takuma Asano scored the winning goal for his country.

Final thoughts

The key visuals released by the Japanese National Team ( Image via Adidas's official site)
The key visuals released by the Japanese National Team ( Image via Adidas's official site)

Japan is primarily known as the country of anime and is often ridiculed by sports fans for its somewhat unrealistic portrayal of reality in sports anime or manga. However, this collaboration between the illustrators and the national football team has brought a healthier relationship to the forefront. Not only are anime fans becoming increasingly interested in the sport, but football fans are also starting to engage in the animanga world. Suffice to say, both of these mangas have contributed heavily to this change.