Hajime Isayama, author of Attack on Titan, recently recommended Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura’s Blue Lock in a special insert for the manga in Titan’s penultimate volume 33, saying that ‘this is a manga that everyone in Japan should definitely read’. Isayama’s high praise is welcome, but not entirely unexpected, given that they are both published by Kodansha and explore similar themes.
In Blue Lock, author Kaneshiro takes a hammer blow to the traditional notion of Japanese collectivism in an attempt to create the ‘world’s greatest egotist striker.’ Filtered through the grandiose persona of Ego Jinpaichi and Japan’s recent sporting successes, the manga declares war on ‘Japanese loser football’ and elevates individualism above all else.
In much the same way, Attack on Titan is exploring these same ideas: this is why Hajime Isayama’s praise for Blue Lock is so apt. As the series barrels towards an imminent conclusion, it is asking the question: can the reader support the individualistic aims of the protagonist, even though they may have disastrous consequences? If Blue Lock turns the mirror on Japanese football and, indeed, the society which it inhabits, then Titan is doing the same for shonen manga.
— サッカー漫画ブルーロック【公式】 (@BLUELOCK_WM) January 10, 2021
Speaking of shonen manga, it should come as no surprise that Hajime Isayama is recommending Blue Lock given that he, Kaneshiro, and Nomura are ultimately represented by the same publisher: Kodansha. Even though they are serialized in different magazines (Blue Lock in Weekly Shonen Magazine, Titan in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine), no doubt the company wanted to use Titan’s immense popularity to boost one of their up-and-comers.
Nevertheless, the similarities between Attack on Titan and Blue Lock are simply too much to ignore, which makes Hajime Isayama’s recommendation worth listening to. With any luck, such high praise from such a respected creator speeds up the process of getting an anime adaptation (recently leapfrogged by Soredemo Ayumu wa Yosetekuru) and licensing the manga in English.
You can read Blue Lock via Magazine Pocket (Japan only).