Fall 2022’s upcoming series Blue Lock may seem like just another random sports anime, but the hype it’s already creating says otherwise. Based on a successful ongoing manga, the soccer series is highly anticipated by viewers — and it may even have a boost thanks to real-life athletics.
Debuting in about a month, Blue Lock premieres just a few weeks away from the 2022 Men’s World Cup. This sports synergy could in turn make Blue Lock into even more of an event, bringing its anticipation and hype even higher. Of course, it could also detract from the series’ success, turning what should be “free advertising” into a foul.
Soccer Anime Blue Lock Premieres Right Before the World Cup
Debuting back in 2018, Blue Lock is a rather unconventional sports series. Its storyline actually involves the FIFA World Cup, with Japan suffering a debilitating defeat. In response, the national team hires Ego Jinpachi to engage in the training regimen Blue Lock, which aims to create an unbeatable egotist of a soccer striker. Those who fail to make it through can never play professional soccer for Japan, meaning the 300 athletes chosen to participate in Blue Lock will be trimmed tremendously by its end. These stakes and the series’ tone as a whole is far more over the top than many sports anime/manga, which is likely why it’s become so popular.
The anime for Blue Lock is being produced by Eight Bit, with the series set to premiere in North America on October 8th, 2022. This is a little over a month before the real-life World Cup, which will kick off on the 20th of November. Given that Blue Lock is a soccer anime that directly involves the World Cup, there’s definitely potential for viewership overlap among the two. That’s especially the case given that soccer is so popular around the world, including in Japan. This could further boost the ratings for Blue Lock — but it could also stall the series’ views by interrupting it with the “real deal.”
The World Cup Airing Could Help or Hurt the Ratings for Blue Lock
Plenty of anime fans looking forward to Blue Lock are likely also soccer fans, meaning they’ll be just as excited about the World Cup. Even those who haven’t read the series’ manga may be anticipating the anime adaptation, seeing Blue Lock as a sort of “prequel” to or unofficial partnership with the real-world athletics. This could build up ratings even further as the series begins to intersect with the actual soccer tournament. At the same time, the FIFA World Cup could steal a bit of shine away from the airing of Blue Lock.
As mentioned, there’s likely some overlap between those wanting to watch Blue Lock and those who wish to do the same for the World Cup. Seeing the latter as it happens will probably take precedence, leaving catching up with Blue Lock on the backburner. After all, their air times will likely intersect as well, which could put the manga adaptation at a distinct disadvantage. Whichever way the ball rolls, Blue Lock is in a unique situation for a sports anime, with the cheers for the characters being potentially drowned out by those for real players.
Blue Lock is licensed by Crunchyroll, with the streaming service simulcasting the anime starting October 8.