There will always be a market for sports anime, and that means that there are plenty of different fans of anime that talk about different sports, such as soccer, for example. In that regard, 2022 is the year of soccer sports anime because of shows like Ao Ashi and Blue Lock, which both talk about soccer. Ao Ashi is still ongoing as of this writing, but Blue Lock is yet to be released. So, which between Ao Ashi and Blue Lock is better?
At this point, it is difficult to tell which between Ao Ashi and Blue Lock is better because the latter hasn’t been released. On top of that, Ao Ashi is still ongoing. However, they both have different premises because Ao Ashi is more team-centric while Blue Lock is focused on competition between players.
While both Ao Ashi and Blue Lock talk about soccer, the thing is that there are different approaches to the same sport in both of these shows. Still, it is interesting to see how different these anime are from one another and which between them is the better soccer anime. In that regard, let’s look at what we know about Ao Ashi and Blue Lock.
Ao Ashi is an anime series that initially begins by putting the spotlight on the star player of a small rural town. This player is Ashito Aoi, who is known for being the only bright spot on his junior high school soccer team because he is quite unpredictable as a player. But the problem is that he can be a bit too self-centered despite his awesome skills.
During one of the most important games for the school, the opposing team was able to cause Ashito to lose his temper. This warranted his removal from the game as he saw his team getting eliminated from the tournament rather quickly. As such, Ashito lost all hope as a soccer player due to the loss that his team suffered.
However, a youth team coach named Tatsuya Fukuda sees Ashito’s potential, and that was when he invited him for a tryout in Tokyo. In that regard, Ashito finds himself in an unfamiliar setting where he has to bring out the best of his abilities. On top of that, he has to get rid of the selfish playing style he was known for in his junior high school years if he wants a life-changing career as a successful soccer player.
Blue Lock is a soccer anime that is based on the manga of the same title. The series focuses on a more extreme level of competition in soccer as Japan is in the middle of an experiment that is supposed to allow the country to find its next great striker.
In relation to that, the Japanese National Team seeks to win the World Cup but is a long way from that goal. That is why the country decided to conduct an experiment that is anchored by an eccentric coach with one of the most unique ideas that could help give the team the edge and talent that it needs to have a chance at the richest prize in all of soccer.
The coach believes that what the national team needs is an egotistical striker whose sole goal is to seek goals. For him, having an unstoppable striker is what’s going to allow the team to get to the next level. As such, he brings in all of the promising high school strikers from all over the country to compete for the right to represent the country.
This competition has a simple premise as the coach seeks to have all of those strikers compete against one another. Any losing students are banned from ever representing the country, and that means that the stakes are extremely high for all of the high school students involved. In that regard, the story follows one particular student who takes part in the competition in the hopes of one day representing the country in the World Cup.
Now that you know what Ao Ashi and Blue Lock are all about, let’s look at some of the differences between these two sports anime. Even though they both talk about soccer, you’ll be surprised at how different they are from one another.
The story of Ao Ashi tends to be focused more on what usually happens in high school soccer in the sense that it follows a character who was given a chance to prove that he has what it takes to become a great high school soccer star. The story is more on a high school team setting where different characters and players are also highlighted. On top of that, there is also a focus on the overall team setting of the sport.
Meanwhile, Blue Lock focuses on the competition between different players. It isn’t necessarily a team vs. team setup because the story is more focused on individual players competing against one another for the chance to represent the Japanese National Team in the World Cup. As such, it is more of a shonen anime.
Ao Ashi follows the story of Ashito Aoi and his quest to become a great soccer player at the high school level when he is given a life-changing opportunity to prove himself. That means that the focus of the anime dwells on Ashito’s own growth as a soccer player, as the series also highlights the journeys of the other characters and how they contribute to Ashito’s growth.
Blue Lock, on the other hand, focuses on the main character Yoichi Isagi, who is on a personal quest to try to become the great striker that the Japanese National Team needs. In that regard, the anime follows his journey as he competes against fellow strikers for the chance to become a member of the national team.
Ao Ashi tends to have a more realistic and refreshing atmosphere when it comes to sports anime. There are more realistic elements in the way that the sport of soccer is depicted as we get to follow a lighthearted story that uses the classic coming-of-age theme to tell the story. On top of that, it also focuses on teamwork as one of the tropes that you’ll also find in other anime.
Blue Lock, on the other hand, is more of an action anime that adds a lot of suspense to a series that doesn’t seem to be as realistic as other sports anime. In that regard, Blue Lock has more of a shonen atmosphere that focuses on competition and action rather than personal growth. On top of that, Blue Lock also focuses more on individualism rather than teamwork, considering that the anime does explore a competition between strikers.
It really is tough to say which between Ao Ashi and Blue Lock is better because both of these anime series talk about different characters in different environments, even though they both share the same focus point, which is soccer.
As such, it may boil down to the individual preferences of the viewers, as Ao Ashi and Blue Lock are very different from one another and aren’t merely mimicking one another in terms of their stories, characters, and themes.
Those who prefer watching sports anime that focuses more on the team set up and how each character grows in relation to the overall goal of the team might like Ao Ashi better. Think of it as something that’s similar to shows like Slam Dunk and Haikyuu!! in the sense that there are central characters, but there are also supporting characters that add to the overall evolution of how the main characters grow in relation to the sport.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that Ao Ashi was an award-winning manga in 2020, and that means that its quality is simply superb.
However, for those who prefer an anime series that is more focused on action and individualism, then Blue Lock should be better. This anime puts more emphasis on the growth of one character as a soccer player as he seeks to compete against all of the other strikers who are given a chance to fight for the right to represent Japan. That is why there are more elements of a shonen anime in Blue Lock.
As different as both Ao Ashi and Blue Lock are from one another, we do recommend that you watch both if you really love the sport of soccer. Watching both of these shows is the best way for you to really decide which between them is better.