The thing with high-paced manga in this day and age is that it’s very easy for an artist to go overboard with just how much they can handle putting out. I mean, I get why they end up pushing themselves when fans are hanging by their every word and demanding more content. And with how sports anime has skyrocketed, in general, it’s taxing to keep up with the demands and deliver a quality story at the same time. So, when the new sports Shonen sweetheart, Blue Lock, randomly stopped uploading for a bit, fans were concerned.
So, no. Blue Lock is far from being over. The manga did go on hiatus last year due to one-half of the pair that created the manga and their ongoing struggles with their health. Yusuke Nomura, the illustrator for Blue Lock, was apparently of ‘poor health’ according to the publishing company and so, Blue Lock went for a break of 3 weeks until they recovered enough to resume. And thankfully, despite the rumors of it being Covid-19 that got him so ill, they recovered, and the manga has continued since.
Sadly, however, news about artists and mangakas getting ill or being hospitalized isn’t a rare occurrence in the manga industry. It’s been a huge problem ever since the medium exploded. Which, again, makes sense why. Manga often came out on a weekly basis and comprised of not only a good story, but gorgeous art to compliment it. That takes so much effort and time that the mangaka is investing in their creation, often putting their own well being on the sidelines to make deadlines.
And oddly enough, it doesn’t matter if you’re a small indie creator or the brains behind a breakout manga series. Artist burnout affects almost everyone at some point, without discrimination. And with a manga that is starting to blow up like Blue Lock, having it go on a hiatus can prove detrimental. So, let’s discuss yet again how artists are working to damn hard to deliver on impossible standards throughout the fandom.
Blue Lock: Soaring High, But It’s Precarious.
Blue Lock is an outlier when it comes to the traditional sports manga we’ve been used to. Or maybe, it’s a call back to the sport manga of my childhood where you had a manga solely focused on the sports aspect of it all.
I’m talking stories like Slam Dunk, which were about high-stakes competition and trying to be the best in the scene. That’s not to say that sports manga now don’t focus on that sort of thing, because of course they do. Rivalries and getting better at the sport are still a core part of manga such as Haikyuu! and that remains true.
However, Blue Lock seems more like Shonen than anything. There is no ‘power of friendship’ scenario going on here; it’s very much pinpointing individuality as a characteristic and building the narrative on top of those characters and their skills. The goal here isn’t teamwork; it’s to be the best Striker in the world. And because it’s so laser-focused on that aspect, the art needed to depict it needs to be very dynamic.
Since its launch, it has gained a steady following of readers to the point that an anime series was greenlit to be aired in Fall 2022. This means there’s now even more pressure for the mangakas to work overtime.
Why We Need To Be Kinder Towards Our Favorite Creators:
When you like something, you give it compliments, right? Like when someone makes good food for you, you thank them for taking the time to create something for you. And that’s what should be happening with people working in manga and anime as well.
However, I feel like a system has been created where the mangakas especially are extremely overburdened and overworked. A lot of it is because, often, the manga only has a single person working on everything. That is simply far too much for someone to do, especially if they are on a deadline. And you have fans demanding more and more. And at some point, an artist might start neglecting themselves in order to fulfill the demands of others.
I’m not insinuating this happened with Blue Lock as well, but it very well could. And it’s why we need to be more understanding of the creators working hard on projects we like.