Episode 3 of Blue Lock aired on Saturday giving us another solid performance with not much to really talk about. It’s yet another week of finishing an episode, enjoying it, and leaving little wiggle room to talk about anything in detail. While I expected a flashier matchup between Team X and Team Z, the episode still proved to be solid on most fronts, including Junichi Suwabe’s series debut as Baro. But it wasn’t just the character’s debut, it’s the fact that the episode actually revolved around him while simultaneously not revolving around him which made the direction of the episode kind of intriguing. The fact that Suwabe is the voice of Baro just simply made it that much better.
Baro Shoei Makes His Presence Known
Baro finally becomes Isagi’s first real competition in a match since he ran through the gates in episode 1 to be part of the Blue Lock. And while I expected more of a straight-up match rather than Team Z coming to the realization they need to work as a team, it’s more so that Baro actually became the reason for such realization is what took me by surprise. He didn’t need any development or backstory for us to know who he is. All he simply did was dominate on the field and even woke Isagi up a bit to know what he must do in order to survive the Blue Lock.
Suwabe has plaid many notable roles that involve being a teacher in some way shape or form. Whether it’s the rugged Yami Sukehiro from Black Clover training Asta or the strictness of Aizawa from My Hero Academia, most anime fans know Suwabe’s voice as soon as he speaks—it’s honestly too iconic at this point not to know. And while some of his roles involve being a teacher in some way to the main character, Baro is more so an antagonist than a teacher for Isagi at this point in the series. But it’s the fact Baro inadvertently taught Isagi one of the biggest roles a striker holds that just felt like he became the “formidable yet respectful” opponent. It made Isagi question his entire belief that he previously had as a striker, someone who wants to be the best striker in the world at that.
And again, having Suwabe play the role that Baro’s character represents left me with the feeling that we finally met our first cool, intimidating side character of the series—one with no room for any weakness. In doing so, this episode made me wonder how incredible the players in the higher groups actually are if Baro is in Group X. And as fans of Suwabe know, the characters he usually plays aren’t ones that are taken down so easily.
Lessons Learned Thanks to Baro
On the surface, it really didn’t look like Baro did all that much besides having an epic first goal and some intimidating close-ups. But the entire episode was actually focused on Team Z’s team development while making Baro the reason for their development in the first place. Baro literally became the reason why Isagi partially solved how to turn the game of soccer from 0 to 1. Even Jinpachi Ego credits Isagi and the rest of Group Z for finally getting on the right track–and all of that was thanks to Baro and what he was able to accomplish against them.
This lead me to see that the series’ plot development is actually different compared to most sports anime. A lot of times, the main character and their team lose to a big-time star and their team only to have the end goal of defeating them in the end. But what happened in this episode didn’t feel like that at all. It was almost as if Baro and his group were Isagi’s, and the rest of team Z’s, wake-up call. Baro didn’t prove to be someone they aim to beat. It was more of a “We got the snot kicked out us, but here’s how we learn from this and win going forward” and that was something I really enjoyed about this episode.
There was no cliche “We’ll see you again at the end of all of this” line or “Baro is my rival.” Nope. It was “We suck. We know we suck. Baro proved we suck. But let’s get this one last goal on them for morale purposes and figure out what we need to do going forward.” And that’s exactly what that final goal proved to be to them–that first step in turning soccer from 0 to 1. And that’s all thanks to Baro. And what I loved even more is that Baro didn’t acknowledge them, especially Isagi, either.
Episode 3 Wrap-Up
Episode 3 makes Blue Lock worthy of maintaining a spot in the top 10 of our weekly poll. But was it top-5 worthy? More than likely not. Both the plot and character development were there and the animation was great as always. If anything, the sound design was the best part of the production for episode 3. Put on some headphones and re-watch the episode and you’ll truly feel the impact of Baro’s and Rensuke’s goals.
Blue Lock is beginning to hit a consistent stride and that is crucial, especially for a sports anime. And it’s definitely making me turn around my initial thoughts on the series when it premiered. Blue Lock Episode 3 wasn’t perfect nor was it bad in any way. It was yet another all-around solid episode just like last week’s.
Blue Lock Episode 3 rating: 8/10
If you thought the episode was great then be sure to vote for Blue Lock in our weekly poll! Blue Lock Episode 4 will air on Saturday, October 29, on Crunchyroll.
Images via Crunchyroll
©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Yusuke Nomura, Kodansha/”Blue Lock” Production Committee