The Japan National Soccer Team’s Solution from “Blue Rock The Japanese national team’s solution from “Blue Rock”!
A hint to break down the barrier of the "Top 8" in the World Cup⁉︎ The craziest soccer manga in history!
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is now in its final stages, with the third-place game to be played at midnight Japan time on December 18, and the final game at midnight on December 19.
Unfortunately, Japan’s team was defeated by Croatia in the first round of the final tournament, and the dream of reaching the “Top 8” was left unfulfilled for the next tournament. However, as coach Hajime Moriyasu said at the press conference upon his return to Japan, the Japanese national team showed us a “new era. The day Japan beat the superior Germany and Spain in Group E, the “toughest” qualifying round in the history of the World Cup, is an accomplishment that would have been unthinkable 29 years ago, when Japan first competed in the World Cup.
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The next World Cup will be held in 2026. The number of participating countries will increase by 16 over this year’s tournament to 48, and the road to the finals is expected to become even more difficult with the addition of tournament-style matches before the Round of 16. The question on every soccer fan’s mind is, “What does Japan need to do to win the World Cup? I am sure that is the question on the minds of soccer fans. And the more one loves soccer, the more one may dream of such a player.
One such dream is the soccer manga “Blue Rock,” which has been attracting attention as both a dream and a “problem work” that brilliantly highlights the weaknesses of Japanese soccer.
The manga outrightly rejects the “friendship” elements of teamwork and bonding, which are considered virtues of the sport. Quoting from the comments of Noel Noah, a character in the manga who won the FIFA Ballon d’Or, the world’s player of the year, and other world-class strikers such as Eric Cantona and Pele, he asserts, “What Japanese soccer lacks is the rare egoist who only cares about scoring goals. The film depicts a group of 300 high-school footballers from all over Japan who, in a “blue prison,” struggle and struggle to climb up the ladder, aiming only for their own victory.
The ruthlessness of the death game, in which the life of an athlete is on the line, is thrilling to read. On the other hand, one cannot take one’s eyes off the players, who change as they go through the grueling ability selection process, to see who will be chosen as the last man standing. The manga is set in the aftermath of the 2018 tournament, which ended in the last 16, but if you read it at this point in time, keeping in mind coach Hajime Moriyasu’s words, “I think that improving the individual abilities of each player will help strengthen Japan,” you will find yourself thinking, “If only they had put this into practice. If you read this article with this in mind, you can’t help but feel the passion and strong determination of the coach, who said, “If only we had put this into practice.
This manga exposes the issues facing Japan’s current national team and provides insight into what it will take to reach the “long-desired top eight” at the World Cup. Blue Rock” contains many ideas that the Japanese soccer world can learn from.
The first volume of "Blue Rock" is now available for free!
Interview and text by： Minako Nakamura