I’m a huge sports anime fan and Blue Lock starring Yoichi Isagi (潔世一Isagi Yoichi) has taken the anime world by storm. With its 2nd season underway, it’s no wonder fans have been so curious to follow the journey of Yoichi through the competitive world of football. Especially when you consider how different Blue Lock is from the standard fare of sports manga we have been used to. Gone are the days of team building and friendships that lasted forever, because Blue Lock is all about the individual.
And it focuses on one character in particular: Yoichi Isagi, the protagonist of Blue Lock. Now, obviously, you could get the entire data set on him available on a wiki page. But here, we do things a little differently. Newer fans might have a harder time catching up to manga readers, who already have a pretty good idea of how Yoichi’s character arc will go. But I want to take a closer look at what makes him shine as the main character of a rather unconventional sports anime.
And I do mean unconventional. Blue Lock almost takes a Shonen-esque approach to the Sports genre, with a huge emphasis on individual wins rather than team successes. In the world of Blue Lock, you are on your own most of the time, struggling to survive in the competition of it all. Make no mistakes, this show takes no mercy on the characters it is starring. But that’s what makes Yoichi Isagi so perfect for a premise like Blue Lock, where all the focus is on leaving all the trivial stuff behind and having a single-minded devotion towards your goals.
It’s how we see Yoichi go from a plucky protagonist to an almost ruthless player, with no other dream than to be the best Striker in the world. And no, a good team isn’t going to cut it here because, in Blue Lock, enhancing your skills is the priority. I don’t think I’ve seen a sports manga this heavy on the actual sport since maybe Slamdunk? Not even that! But that’s exactly why I want to break down Yoichi Isagi’s character today and see what we may be able to determine from something that isn’t a wiki. Blue Lock is a death game, so how does Yoichi Isagi fare?
Who Is Yoichi Isagi?
Before we can take a deep dive into what Yoichi Isagi promises, we should take a look at the kid himself. Because honestly, a kid is exactly what he starts as. Yoichi is in his teens when we first meet him in Blue Lock, a 2nd-year student at Ichinan High School. He also happened to be part of the Ichinan High School football team, playing as a Forward. And for high school, he was doing pretty well.
But like many others, he had different aspirations than just playing football casually. No, Yoichi wants to be much greater than that. Like many of his peers, he aimed to get the top spot as Japan’s Ace. And that is only possible if he can get the best training there is, which isn’t easy when you’re playing in the little leagues like High School football. I mean, he grew up watching Noel Noa, his idol and the actual best player in the world.
So, after a loss that has him questioning his moral code, when he receives an invitation to a program that could advance him into the halls of the Greats, how could he refuse? And this is where we see him enter his actual journey, as the very few who got shortlisted for the elusive Blue Lock Training Program, commandeered by Jinpachi Ego. It’s here he realizes his full potential – while simultaneously seeing himself fall to his lowest. Because if there is one thing about Blue Lock, it’s that it never spares your feelings. And to be the best, you can’t be soft.
Yoichi Isagi: From Sweet Junior To Ruthless Senior
Usually, Shonen anime has a formula, right? And even normal Sports anime follow that style. The protagonist is always this very upbeat, friendly character whose biggest sin is being the friendliest, most annoying guy around. And, yeah, that’s what Yoichi Isagi starts as in Blue Lock, but his transformation is into something much different.
This is the first time I’ve seen the main character go from a positive team player to, well, an egotistical lone wolf. And that’s a good thing, at least when it comes to Blue Lock. He is still helpful, don’t get me wrong. He was always pragmatic and thoughtful, but a lot of his cheery optimism sharpens into something much more vindictive and steelier, especially when he decides to focus on his own growth VS trying to build up a camaraderie.
I mean, the growth had to happen somehow. Yoichi was initially so uncertain about his skills as a footballer, especially after he ranked second lowest in the Blue Lock Training Program. As thankful as he was to be part of it, the constant warring between his ideals and the programs led him to a lot of pain. For someone like Yoichi to grow more self-confident in his skills (and selfish in his wins), it went against his very beliefs. But that doesn’t fly when your mentor ends up being the man who created the very idea of Ego, the mantra that every athlete in Blue Lock’s universe thrives on.
So, Yoichi is thoroughly brought down to Earth and told he needs to get his act together, especially if he wants to rival the likes of Rin Itoshi. So, how does one come close in a field filled with prodigies? Sheer hard work, of course. And this is where we see Yoichi evolve, becoming much more assertive and developing his sense of Ego. When Team Z got its first win with Yoichi in the lead, this only made him more certain of his resolve.
While he made Rin the ideal, and his eventual rival, Yoichi knew he was a long way from ever reaching his position. For them to be equals, it was going to take ten times the effort on Yoichi’s part. But by the Third Selection arc, Yoichi Isagi was a changed man, with a charisma and reputation that put him near the same pedestal as Rin.
Superpowers Matter In Blue Lock!
Okay, I get this might be a weird one but if you’re someone who already follows other Shonen Sports anime, you know powers are a big thing in them. And Blue Lock is no exception. So, what powers does our front-runner have? Well, Yoichi Isagi is a host of variable abilities.
But let’s start with his position in the game first. Yoichi is a Raumdeuter, which means he can gauge the spaces in the game and use them to their best abilities to either distract the opponent or confuse them. This way, the risk of losing a goal on their end is greatly reduced and the Raumdeuter can level the playing field. But the catch is that they are limited in their dribbling skills, and not very quick-paced either. However, they make up for it by helping set up the goals themselves.
But if we just talk about the skills Yoichi has in his arsenal, the most important one is his Spatial Awareness. The best way to describe this is having the ability to completely analyze the playing field, down to opponents and their special abilities, also known as their weapons. It’s memorizing patterns and playing methods, to the point where you can actually predict how the game itself will play out. This ends up helping Yoichi in his position as Raumdeuter, helping him to optimize his skills to the max and making sure his team gets plenty of opportunities to score as many goals as possible.
And it helps that out of all the characters in Blue Lock that also have Spatial Awareness, Yoichi is on the most skilled spectrum. Hell, his Spatial Awareness is incredible that often his premonitions can override other Spatial Awareness visions, such as those of Rin or Ikki Niko.
According to Asahi Naruhaya, a former Team Z member, one of Yoichi Isagi’s greatest assets is his ability to adapt to any situation extremely quickly. If something changes the mid-game, Yoichi is very good at changing his method of playing to suit the current climate. That’s due to him being able to understand both his teammate’s and his opponent’s core playing styles and then countering them as he sees fit.
Then there is the Metavision, a weapon that Yoichi can use to get an almost omnipotent look at all the players currently on the field and determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Which, in turn, helps him even emulate their signature moves, as he did with Michael Kaiser, of all people. This, combined with his Spatial Awareness and positioning, has helped him become one of the most promising and dynamic players in all of Blue Lock.
Of course, he has other notable abilities as well. Like Goal Scent, where he can sense when a player on his team is in the ideal position for making a goal, thus passing the ball onto them. And there is his Reflex, which helps him counter any curveball coming his way, and his Off-The-Ball skills, which ensures that even when he doesn’t have the ball, he is making his team win by other methods. But the ultimate power move is Yoichi Isagi’s Flow State.
A Flow State is the state of Total Immersion that every skilled player in Blue Lock has. With Yoichi, it feels like a zone of absolute control. This is where all of his weapons come out at once and work with each other to determine the field and any distortions that might arise. This leads to either a very strong defense, or an attack that is so powerful and quick, it’s unstoppable to counter or even divert.
So, safe to say that our boy Yoichi Isagi is the perfect protagonist for Blue Lock. And with how the manga is going, we might see him dethrone some Top Dogs very, very soon!