Blue Lock is a Japanese manga series. Focusing on the sports genre, specifically football, the series is set after the results of the Japan soccer team after the 2018 World Cup. The anime adaptation finally started in October 2022 and if you’re a fan of the series, as you probably are because it’s great, we have a treat for you. In this article, we are going to give you a list of the 10 best anime like Blue Lock you definitely need to check out if you like football-themed anime series. The series are going to be listed in random order.
1. Captain Tsubasa
Original Release: October 13, 1983 – March 27, 1986
Number of Episodes: 128
We start our list of best anime like Blue Lock with Captain Tsubasa. Tsubasa Ozora is a Japanese boy with an immense passion and talent for football who dreams of winning the world championship. Together with his family, he moves to the city of Nankatsu, where he enrolls in public school for the last year of elementary school.
After meeting Ryo Ishizaki, captain of the school football team, he decides to challenge the goalkeeper of rival Shutetsu, Genzo Wakabayashi, who enjoys the reputation of being almost unbeatable, a record that will end due to Tsubasa’s fault.
On the day of the match, Tsubasa meets Roberto Hongo, a great Brazilian player of Japanese origin, saved by Tsubasa’s father sometime before, after he had tried to commit suicide due to an eye problem that had forced him to end his career prematurely. In gratitude, he will become Tsubasa’s personal coach and refine his technique.
After joining the Nankatsu football club, Tsubasa starts his first match playing as a defender in the derby with rival Shutetsu, preventing Izawa, Taki, and Kisugi from scoring in the first half, while in the second half he moves to attack, allowing his team to emerge undefeated for the first time from the confrontation with rivals.
Later a team with the best elements of all the schools in the city is created to face the national championship, and Tsubasa becomes the tip, dragging Nankatsu to the final victory against Kojiro Hyuga’s Meiwa.
Original Release: July 2, 2016 – December 18, 2016
Number of Episodes: 24 + 5 OVA
Days anime revolves around Tsukushi Tsukamoto who is a shy and awkward boy who has recently attended Seiseki High School. While visiting Sayuri Tachibana, his childhood friend, and his senpai at work, Tsukushi is targeted by a group of bullies: to save him is Jin Kazama, an eccentric and extroverted school friend who invites him to play a game of soccer while not knowing it.
For Tsukushi, the match proves his incapacity, but Jin’s great talent fascinates him enough to convince him to join the school football club. Unfortunately, the Seiseki team is very famous and requested by young people from all over the country: Tsukushi will therefore have to give his best with effort and perseverance to be accepted.
3. Inazuma Eleven
Original Release: October 5, 2008 – April 27, 2011
Number of Episodes: 127
Inazuma Eleven revolves around the Raimon team which, a few decades earlier, was considered one of the strongest football teams, but today the club is in danger of being dismantled due to a lack of members. It will be up to Mark Evans, the team captain, to restore Raimon to glory by winning the prestigious Football Frontier championship.
The aliens invade the Earth, however, they give the earthlings a chance: if they are defeated in football, the aliens will leave the Earth. Mark will defend the fate of the planet together with other players from all over Japan. Football Frontier International is organized and Japan will field its best elements to win this competition worldwide.
4. The Knight in the Area
Original Release: January 7, 2012 – September 28, 2012
Number of Episodes: 37
The Knight in the Area follows Kakeru Aizawa who is the younger brother of Suguru Aizawa, a football prodigy belonging to the Japan under-15 national team. Prior to the start of the series, Kakeru left his position as a forward after a traumatic experience that prevented him from playing with his left leg and settling for a managerial position.
After the two are hit by a truck, Suguru dies and his heart is transplanted into Kakeru. With it, Kakeru returns to football to fulfill his and his brother’s dreams of winning the World Cup.
Original Release: April 9, 2022 – September 24, 2022
Number of Episodes: 24
Aoashi tells the story of young Ashito Aoi in his third year at Ehime City Middle School and his meeting with football coach Tatsuya Fukuda.
Ashito, despite being talented, is a difficult boy, but Fukuda believes in him and invites him to join his own team. Ashito could very well change the face of Japanese football.
6. Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun
Original Release: July 2, 2017 – September 17, 2017
Number of Episodes: 12
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun centers on Aoyama who is a young football prodigy who has never lost a single game in his life, only he is also a neat freak. A member of the Japan Under-16 team, he created a surprise by choosing to join the Fujimi high school club, modest and unknown. With his teammates as crazy as they are determined, he is determined to bring Fujimi high school to the top of the national championship.
7. GIANT KILLING
Original Release: April 4, 2010 – September 26, 2010
Number of Episodes: 26
East Tokyo United, (ETU) is a Tokyo football club on the verge of relegation. To revive his fortunes, given that even the most ardent fans are abandoning him, the managers decide to hire a new coach, Tatsumi Takeshi, a former great football champion with experience as a manager for an amateur English team.
The season did not start well for the ETU which, after a draw with Tokyo Victory, suffered five losses in a row which, after the victory with Nagoya, was followed by a series of victories. This is followed by a series of drawn matches, a defeat, and a match won against the Osaka Gunners.
Original Release: November 7, 1993 – December 25, 1994
Number of Episodes: 58
Up next on our list of best anime like Blue Lock we have Shoot!. From an early age Toshi, Kenji, Jim, and Cindy were a close group of friends. Also in middle school, the three boys played on the school soccer team and Cindy cheered for them.
The strength of this group of friends had brought the team one step away from the final of the national championship of the category; unfortunately, Kenji had been involved in a fight between gangs of thugs and according to the rules of honor and loyalty in force, the whole team had been disqualified from the tournament.
Kenji had retired forever and the dream of winning the championship was shattered. A few years have passed since then and the group of four friends so united has now dissolved: each of the boys has taken other paths and has other interests.
Toshi decides to enroll in the Kakegawa Scientific High School because his idol Kubo plays on the institute’s football team, without knowing that Cindy, Kenji, and Jim are also enrolled in that school.
9. Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
Original Release: September 11, 2002 – September 10, 2003
Number of Episodes: 52
Hungry Heart: Wild Striker soccer anime revolves around Kyosuke Kano. He is a boy with a rebellious and impulsive character, the younger brother of the famous Milan footballer Seisuke Kano, who transmits to him his passion for the game of football. In fact, over the course of the series, Kasuga discovers that he was adopted following the death of his biological parents in a car accident when he was just one year old and that his biological father, Keisuke Narumi, was a promising forward.
Tired of being subjected to constant comparisons with his famous professional footballer brother, Kyosuke decides to stop playing football, dyes his hair orange, and becomes a hooligan.
Subsequently, he gets back to football, first coaching the women’s club of the Joyo Akanegaoka institute and then resuming playing by joining the men’s club of the same institute.
His teammates are the Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo and the English-born goalkeeper Koji Jefferson Sakai, with whom he forms a promising but discontinuous trio of freshmen who first aspire to conquer the starting position and then to win the regional championship by beating Kokuryo, the strongest team in the region.
10. Ganbare, Kickers!
Original Release: October 15, 1986 – March 25, 1987
Number of Episodes: 26
Number 10 on our list of best anime like Blue Lock is Ganbare, Kickers! The story is about a soccer team made up of children who attend Kitahara elementary school, and who initially do not have a good striker. But when little Kakeru Daichi’s family moves to that city, the child decides to join the team just as a striker, proving to be a valid soccer player.
With the help of Kakeru, the line-up becomes complete in every sense, and this motivates the team to challenge the very strong “Red Devils”. Despite Kakeru’s team losing 10 to 1, the young striker from Kitahara incredibly managed to score a goal against the opposing goalkeeper, Uesugi, hitherto considered invincible.
Kakeru’s team subsequently gets to participate in the national championship. Meanwhile, the team’s goalkeeper, Hongo, falls in love with Ayumi Daichi, Kakeru’s sister. The team later hires a new professional coach, whose instructions help the team make it to the league semifinals, where they meet the Red Devils again.
After a dramatic match, which takes up two twenty-minute episodes, Uesugi’s team finally manages to defeat Kakeru’s team, which comes out devastated by the game.