Blue Lock episode 8 aired on Saturday and it stood out to me in more ways than one. Perhaps I was more locked in this episode or it’s because the production feats were just that much more noticeable this time around, but either way, there were a few things that really caught my attention. And the fact it’s all going to lead to Bachira’s defining moment in this round against Team V has me all the more intrigued.
First Things First—Production
Maybe it was the blatant use of center composition in this episode that stood out to me but I have a boatload of shots from this episode that used center composition. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just extremely noticeable in this episode. And rather than using the rule of thirds, which was also noticeable a few times in this, center composition was the consistent go-to choice for a lot of cuts. And the 16 shots I provided below aren’t even all of them I noticed from this episode, with most being medium shots or close-ups.
But again, this isn’t a bad thing. Between Kuon’s disdain for the rest of his teammates in Team Z, and vice versa, and the players for Team V they’re about to face, a lot of these consistent decisions were actually necessary to really get the viewers to grasp just how serious this matchup is on all fronts. And the decision to completely switch up the art style when Isagi is in the room the night before the match was really a nice touch I didn’t expect at all. Usually, Blue Lock has thick line art and wonderful detail on close-up shots that don’t feel flat. But at that moment the night before the game, it’s almost as if the decision was done to pull back on those dramatic features to really give Isagi a pale, almost sickly expression that I thought resonated almost perfectly with that same feeling I used to have before a big game. The little wrinkles under his eyes that aren’t usually there were just one of these touches that amplified that feeling (also center composition).
Nagi is The Perfect Opponent For Isagi
Sure, we were introduced to new characters that make up the three-headed monster of Team V. And yes, Nagi is the most exciting character of the three. Not because Reo is a possessive weirdo or Tsurugi is Nagi’s annoying yes-man. But it’s because Nagi is literally Isagi’s polar opposite. While Isagi wants to work hard and climb to the top, Nagi has no particular interest in either working hard or climbing to the top. Everything Isagi does is calculated and requires an entire monologue thought process, Nagi just does everything effortlessly without any thought at all. Let’s not even ignore the fact the two are in stark contrast with one another even on a physical attribute level (black hair vs. white hair, blue eyes vs yellow eyes, etc.). Add the two being polar opposites of each other and you have an incredible clash that’s new to the series.
But it’s not just Nagi’s blatant contrast to Isagi, it’s also how he gets under people’s skin that makes him more unique than any other player Team Z has faced before. And what was the most interesting part of the entire episode was probably the very last second when Nagi upset both Isagi and Bachira–especially Bachira. All of our main characters from Team Z—Isagi, Kunigami, and Chigiri—have all had spotlight moments so far this season and that leaves one man left to show his true skills—Bachira. And the reason I’m excited for what’s to come even more is that, unlike Kunigami and Chigiri, this moment for Bachira has built up since day 1 when he and Isagi met. And to add on top of that, his “moment” will come in the most important match of his life.
An Indifferent Feeling
I can’t help but constantly remind myself that “If Team Z loses, all of our favorite main characters are going home.” And we all just know that’s not going to happen. So instead of leaving us with the thought, “They might all seriously be going home after this match” it’s “Okay, we know Isagi, Chigiri, Kunigami, and Bachira are the main characters. They have to win this game or else they all go home and the story is basically over.” And we can chalk that up to just being a sports anime trope in general that most series pander to, minus some like Haikyuu where losing is actually part of the development. But with Blue Lock, the focus is on beating your opponents and making sure they realize they’ve been beaten as well. And that if you lose, you’re officially done and your dream is crushed with no second chance.
And with this matchup, the thing that has me clamoring to know what happens next lies in their characters. It’s the entire motive of wanting to know HOW they will overcome this challenge and beat Team V rather than wondering if they’ll win or not. It was properly stated at the beginning that it’s a win-or-go-home scenario. So while I do like the aspect of wondering what guys like Bachira will do to overcome this hump, I also don’t like the feeling of knowing they’re probably going to win as well.
That being said, I think some overlook the fact this episode did a marvelous job of setting up those ways of possibly beating Team V and overcoming this obstacle. Kunigami is determined to surpass Kuon in goals. Bachira will do “whatever it takes” to keep playing alongside Isagi. And Isagi wants to figure out what that extra piece to his own formula is that can produce more goals. The only odd man out with no set goal this game was Chigiri, which was kind of a surprise. But either way, these three could’ve possibly had wonderful foreshadowing in this episode and we may not even realize it until something happens.
Blue Lock Episode 8 Wrap Up
Blue Lock Episode 8 wasn’t the best this season nor the worst. It did most things right and gave us some exciting moments here and there, but most importantly it did its job as a setup for the next episode. The production decisions were neat and really drew my attention this time around. There were a couple of hiccups in composition here and there (like when Reo is walking down the steps before he meets Nagi) but nothing too noticeable unless you keep an eye out for it. Overall, it was another great episode of Blue Lock.
Episode 8 rating: 8/10
Images via Crunchyroll
©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Yusuke Nomura, Kodansha/”Blue Lock” Production Committee