At this point, there is always something tragic that has happened to characters in Blue Lock, such as Kunigami Rensuke. Like, the poor boys in that series just cannot catch a break. And it makes no sense for these characters to go through so much suffering, when the series itself is just a simple sports manga and not, like, some dark and violent Shonen entry. But Blue Lock is definitely an outlier in this case. And so is how it treats its characters.
While we don’t know exactly what happened to Kunigami Rensuke after he was eliminated from the program, we do know that he entered a mysterious door that was tagged as a ‘Wild Card’. And later, he emerged from it a completely different human being, just in time for the Neo-Egoist League. He was always very serious about football, but after re-joining his old mates from Team Z, we have seen a remarkable shift. It is theorized that the Wild Card program is a sister program to the Blue Lock project, so maybe that had something to do with it.
But one thing is for certain: Kunigami Rensuke is a changed man. Then again, that’s true for almost every novice that has gone through the Blue Lock project, the brainchild of one Jinpachi Ego. This is a training program known for being an absolute wrecking ball hurling toward anyone who participates in it, with no holds barred. It’s violent, isolating and proving your merit here is the only thing that matters. But what’s worse than being in Blue Lock? Being eliminated from it. And that is what happened to Kunigami Rensuke.
But now he’s playing alongside Yoichi Isagi and the gang in the Neo-Egoist League. And he isn’t the person he was when we last saw him during the Second Selection arc. So today, let’s discuss what happened to Kunigani Rensuke and how the Wild Card comes to play in another round of Character Analysis. Get strapped in because there are a lot of wild theories flying around this one! Let’s discuss it.
Kunigami Rensuke: The Football Hero Dream?
Before we can get to discussing what happened to Kunigami Rensuke, we need to see who Rensuke even is. Unlike Yoichi Isagi, Meguru Bachira, or Rin Itoshi, we don’t get to see the scope of Rensuke’s growth during the Third Selection arc. But we do have plenty of information from before that time.
Much like his more skilled peers, Kunigami Rensuke is the kind of person that is genuinely balanced. He knows when to take his passions seriously and went to just let go and enjoy life. That doesn’t mean he was always calculated and calm when it came to certain situations. Of course, sometimes he’d be prone to being much more stubborn and butting heads with his opponents, or even his own teammates. But overall, he did almost come across as the ‘Big Brother’ figure to the other participants of Blue Lock. Even those he might not get along with, like Jingo Raichi. After all, all he truly wants is to be a ‘Football Hero’, in his own words.
However, he does end up questioning a lot of his moral ideologies after encountering Ryuusei Shido. Because of how seriously he took the sport, Rensuke was completely blindsided by Ryuusei, who was much more violent and impulsive. His ‘by-the-books’ style of playing was no match for the unpredictability of Ryuusei, someone who was the ideal candidate that Blue Lock required. And so, we see Kunigami leaving the Blue Lock training program, only to come across a strange door with a single title – the Wild Card.
What Happened In The Wild Card Program?
So, what the heck is the Wild Card program and what does it do? Well, we don’t know exactly what happened to Kunigami Rensuke when he decided to enter through the Wild Card door, but we can take a guess. See, the most agreed-upon theory for the Wild Card program is that it’s kind of adjacent to the Blue Lock project, both engineered by Jinpachi Ego.
Remember, the Blue Lock project is supposed to help filter through many potential players to find the absolute best Striker, with the perfect Ego to tackle everything that comes their way. Ego is the ideology that Jinpachi Ego subscribes to, where a player doesn’t depend on their team to help them score. Instead, they go after the wins themselves, completely selfish in their need to be the Top Dog.
But the Wild Card has a slightly different goal. It wants to birth a Legend in the sport, a Hero that will revolutionize how Japanese Football works. And so far, it feels like it’s picking those players that were eliminated from the original Blue Lock program, the ones who showed promise and potential but left for one reason or the other. The ‘Wild Card’ part implies that they are an unpredictable force that no one would see coming. And maybe the training to make them so is just as irregular.
The Birth of A New Kunigami Rensuke:
Calling the training in the Wild Card program ‘radical’, when you see Rensuke during the Neo-Egoist League, sounds about right. Because whatever happened to Kunigami Rensuke in the Wild Card program, has turned him into a completely distinct player.
Gone is his calm and balanced playing style, instead replaced by a method that is much colder and more focused. He’s almost dominating the field, taking the wins wherever he can get without any qualms. He has adopted a new philosophy on playing the sport, with a heavier focus on himself rather than sportsmanship. And yeah, he isn’t here to be anyone’s best bro anymore. He doesn’t even spare a word for Yoichi Isagi, completely disregarding any familiarity and jumping straight into the match.
Before, he’s always felt flustered over being praised and was extremely grateful to those that did end up befriending him. However, this isn’t the case anymore, seeing how his Ego has definitely grown since leaving.
He’s finally become the exact thing he was conflicted over before: an Egotistical player who only does things for his benefit. A pretty big change, I’d say!