Attack on Titan's manga has finally come to a close, and the anime is soon to end as well later this year, bringing a conclusion to one of the most popular franchises of the 2010s. Thankfully, several new manga are currently being published in its wake, one of which has some surprising similarities and a nod from Hajime Isayama.
Blue Lock is a new shonen manga that's not about giant monsters in a post-apocalyptic world, but instead soccer, of all things. Despite being seemingly wholly unrelated to Attack on Titan, the soccer manga has the backing of that renowned franchise's creator. Here's what the series is about and how it bears some similarities to Attack on Titan.
What is Blue Lock?
Though the sporting premise of the series might not seem appealing to all shonen fans, Blue Lock still has several out-there ideas that keep it fresh and help it cleave close to a certain other manga. In the wake of Japan's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the story takes place, with Japan employing a radical idea to prepare for the 2022 tournament. It involves the aptly named Ego Jinpachi forging his own team to end Japan's "loser" streak by any means necessary -- emphasis on mean.
Isagi Yoichi -- Blue Lock's protagonist -- is one of the soccer players in Jinpachi's experiment. He was recruited due to his selfless passing of the ball to a less impressive player instead of scoring a goal himself. Jinpachi's idea for Isagi and 300 other players is to test their skills, pushing them to the limit and surpassing any other living soccer athlete. To accomplish this, he locks them in a gigantic prison-like facility called "Blue Lock," where they'll be honed into "egotist strikers."
Blue Lock's Similarities to Attack on Titan
This almost horror-like premise elevates the book beyond its sports trappings, and it's also gained in an unlikely fan. Hajime Isayama, the creator of Attack on Titan, gave the series a hearty recommendation. The two series seemingly couldn't be any more different, but there are some subtle parallels and reasons Isayama believes there could be overlapping fans.
For example, the Blue Lock prison, which keeps the characters contained, is somewhat similar to the walled city in Isayama's series. However, in this case, it keeps people in instead of keeping gigantic Titans out. Yusuke Nomura -- creator of Blue Lock -- was also a former assistant of Isayama, so the connection between the two mangaka is a personal one.
Isayama having read the series makes sense, as Attack on Titan's publisher, Kodansha, recently ranked it as currently being the most popular shonen manga. It even beat out more well-known titles such as Fire Force and That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime, suggesting a bright future for the book. Hopefully, those looking for a new manga to pick up will follow his recommendation and give Blue Lock a read.