While it hasn’t got as much hype as some other series, sports anime fans have found a lot to enjoy in Ao Ashi. The soccer anime of Spring 2022 has delivered exciting characters and bright animation, along with a fairly realistic depiction of the sport that will please fans. However, its success is also drawing comparisons between Ao Ashi and Blue Lock, a much-hyped soccer anime set to arrive later this year.
What is Blue Lock?
Blue Lock is an upcoming soccer anime that revolves around an extreme project designed to unearth Japan’s next great striker.
With the Japan Men's National Team a long way from their goal of winning the World Cup, the Japanese Football Association hires an eccentric coach with a unique idea. Believing that the team lacks an egotistical striker hungry for goals, he devises a plan known as Blue Lock.
Blue Lock sees promising high-school strikers from all over Japan come together and compete for the right to represent Japan, with losing students banned from ever representing the national team. The story follows one particular student as he competes as part of the process.
Is Ao Ashi Like Blue Lock?
While Ao Ashi and Blue Lock are both soccer anime, they take different approaches to the sport and have very different atmospheres as a result.
Ao Ashi has received praise for its refreshing and realistic approach to soccer. You can tell that the author cares about providing a realistic depiction of the sport and how it works. Beyond that, the series also uses classic coming-of-age and teamwork tropes that you’ll find in many sports anime.
Blue Lock, on the other hand, is much more focused on action and suspense than realistic depictions of soccer. The plot also focuses much more on individuals rather than teamwork, while there are also some action-fantasy elements in the series.
The Blue Lock manga has also been compared to Haikyuu in how it creates distinctive characters with clear strengths and weaknesses.
Ao Ashi vs Blue Lock: Which is Better?
Of course, which is better will come down to opinion, but it’s expected that Blue Lock will be the bigger success.
Blue Lock won the 45th Kodansha Manga Award in 2021 as a shounen manga. The series is also much more anticipated before its release than Ao Ashi was, as it somewhat went under the radar internationally.
However, it’s worth noting that Ao Ashi won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2020 alongside Kaguya-sama: Love is War.
Both series’ manga are selling at a similar rate, although Blue Lock may be slightly ahead. Ao Ashi has sold a few million more copies at the start of this year but has released many more volumes, also.
Ultimately, the biggest distinction between these soccer anime, and which one you’ll prefer, might be found in their award wins. Blue Lock won its award in the shounen manga category, while Ao Ashi won in a ‘general’ category.
If you’re a big fan of dramatic, action-oriented sports anime, then you’ll probably love Blue Lock. However, if you prefer realistic depictions of sports and the coming-of-age side of high-school series, then Ao Ashi might be the show for you.
Honestly, I can’t wait to watch both!
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