The author of the Blue Lock series has said that Japan’s goalscorer vs Spain, Ritsu Doan, is the most ‘egoistic’ player on the national team.

Japan’s progress in the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been the stuff of dreams for both fans of the national team and almost every single ‘neutral’ fan watching the tournament around the world.

After an outstanding victory over Germany, Japan would lose to Costa Rica, only to bounce back with a memorable 2-1 win over Spain to reach the last 16.

Following the team’s first win at the World Cup, fans immediately began to compare the team to the Blue Lock anime, which is adapting Muneyuki Kaneshiro’s original manga series.

Interestingly, Kaneshiro previously said that Ritsu Doan was the most ‘egoistic’ player on Japan’s national team…Doan would go on to score the equalizing goal against Spain in dramatic, Blue Lock fashion!

Blue Lock author breaks down Japan vs Germany

Muneyuki Kaneshiro, author of the Blue Lock manga series which has been adapted into an anime by Studio Eight Bit, recently sat down with the Asahi outlet to discuss Japan’s performance in the World Cup.

The mangaka would open by stating that Japan’s victory over Germany was “a historical moment” for the entire nation, adding that “as a soccer fan, I would like to say “Thank you” to the Japanese national team for winning the match against Germany.”

“In the first half, Japan was less aggressive than expected, and I honestly felt that it was the toughest game in the history of Moriyasu Japan. However, in the second half, they changed their lineup and became a completely different team. It became an interesting game like a “stabbing match” in which we were not afraid of scoring goals.” – Muneyuki Kaneshiro, via Asahi.

Kaneshiro then explained the ‘stabbing match’ analogy, sharing how it was Japan “who “stabbed” first [when] Ritsu Doyasu scored the equalizer, but I felt that everyone, including Kaoru Mitomo, Takumi Minamino, and Takuma Asano, who were involved in the play, had the spirit of “I’ll decide.’”

“I felt that this was the result of the players who said, “I’ll take care of it,” rather than an interlocking “someone else should score,” and I felt good about that. Asano, who scored the second goal, I had felt that he was a “crusher” who held the ball up front with his body. He kept believing that he would score the goal, and scored it without hesitation. I think it was genuinely cool to see his efforts come to fruition on the highest stage.” – Muneyuki Kaneshiro, via Asahi.

Japanese players vs Blue Lock characters

Following Japan’s incredible win against Germany in their opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it was no surprise that fans immediately began comparing the real life stars of the Japanese men’s national team to the characters of Blue Lock.

Kaneshiro confessed that “I feel that Doan is the most “egoistic” player in the Japanese national team.”

“He has a kind of “me-me-me” swagger that is not typical of the Japanese, and even though he is not very big, he does not let his size get the better of him. In addition to his natural skill, I feel that there are more and more occasions for him to cut in and shoot by himself.” – Muneyuki Kaneshiro, via Asahi.

Similarities were then drawn to Japanese footballing icon Keisuke Honda, who was one of Kaneshiro’s favorite players.

“I used to like Keisuke Honda. I remember his FK in the second half added time against Belgium. It was quite a distance, but instead of passing, he aimed directly at the goal. You could say it was a gamble. The goal was unfortunately blocked by the opposing goalkeeper, and the subsequent CK triggered a comeback loss, but if it had been scored, he would have been a hero who changed the course of history.” – Muneyuki Kaneshiro, via Asahi.

The best time to be a football fan

Whilst the entire Japanese sporting nation celebrates the progression of the team through to the Knockout stages, Kaneshiro noted how “It was the Japan-Korea tournament 20 years ago that made me a soccer fan.”

“I felt it was a “crazy festival” that the whole world was excited about. After that, I got hooked on the soccer game “Winning Eleven” and played soccer with friends, and gradually started watching the J-League and European leagues. I played with a fictional team called “Kanesirona,” named after an acquaintance of mine, and named all the players after Barcelona.” – Muneyuki Kaneshiro, via Asahi.

The Blue Lock mangaka supports his hometown team of Gamba Osaka, but is also a fan of Manchester City and Real Madrid, as “they want to be able to gather talent like in a game and make their dreams come true.”

Ironically, this interview was published before Japan’s incredible 2-1 victory over Spain on December 1.

Japan now faces Croatia in the Round of 16 knockout games, set for Monday, December 5.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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