Blue Lock - 15
Blue Lock's latest episode shows us the end result of Isagi's self-reflection over what exactly he's good at on the soccer field. But in the process of this, will he have to get over the one inch hurdle of being a proper dick and accepting that he'll have to crush many dreams to make his own come true?
STOP COPIES ME
Isagi's biggest strength is his adaptability, but this episode shows us that part of this skill also rests on his ability to plagiarize other people's skills. Where his eye for detail allowed him to pick up on exploiting Naruhaya's weak spot and using his own techniques against him.
I assumed that Isagi would potentially be a master tactician and that'd be it, but this revelation gives credence to the idea that the next batch of matches he'll be a part of will rely on how well he can personally adjust to an opponent's strategy if he uses the skills he picks up along the way against them. As if every match was a Kirby game where Isagi would have to take an opponent's skill and weaponize it against future rivals.
It helps to set him apart from the rest by making him more of a Jack-of-all-trades where he wouldn't need to master any of his skills if he familiarizes himself more with the people he works with and leans on what they excel at too. At the same time, it does feed into his personal complacency, considering how he tried to show pity to Naruhaya by letting him down gently even after dunking on him throughout the whole game.
Even if Isagi's development to trust in his adaptability skills came from this match, his sensitivity towards both the criticism he takes and the cruelty he deals out make him an odd fit for the Blue Lock program. It also makes him susceptible to Ego's initial critique that he leans more on luck than consistency to win, considering how it took Barou and Naruhaya's personal flaws to overcome their skills.
THANKS A LOT, DREAM-KILLER
Naruhaya's rise and fall was depicted in such a short span of time, and yet, his motives and backstory make it really sad to see him leave. He tried his damndest to drag Isagi down to his level as average players who are being coasted along by monstrous behemoths on the field.
But his fatal flaw was that Isagi's adaptability is not the kind of skill he can pull out of his own rear the same way. Naruhaya's ego caused him to completely whiff one of Isagi's signature kicks when a pass to Barou would've likely kept him in the game.
Even with Naruhaya's humble disposition about being average, he still gets profusely bothered by the notion that others are outperforming him, causing him to overcompensate by hoping mind games would be enough to win a game. He never had room to be as selfish or confident as the other players, but his rivalry with Isagi pushed him to
It gets even worse considering how he entered Blue Lock to make money for his poor family. He was expected to be the breadwinner with his soccer skills since most of his siblings are too young to take care of themselves and his parents are gone. He gambled too much on soccer to uplift his family out of poverty only to have his hubris get the best of him by the time Isagi rolls on over to apologize.
It really sucks and the show's "eat or be eaten" mentality about each other's skills doesn't make it any easier to see the story just abruptly end for Naruhaya. It was an odd Bicycle Thief ending where you're just left with the impression that he's got nothing left going for him now that he's lost his meal ticket.
ALEXA, PLAY "I DON'T WANT YOU BACK" BY EAMON
On a lighter note, the next batch of episodes are gonna be really spicy considering how it'll wind up being a reunion between Reo and Nagi. It was hilarious to see how hard they lean on the idea of Reo being a scorned ex who is waiting for the day he can show Nagi that he's living his best life without him.
At the same time, he is also all too dedicated to using his toothbrush as a flower, ripping off the bristles as he does the old tried & true "he loves me, he loves me not" game. Compared to Isagi acting miffed that Bachira would be so quick to tell him to get on his level if he wants to see him again, Reo's outright anger about being jilted by Nagi is going to make for some awesome fireworks when they go head-to-head sometime soon.
ED2: ?Numbness like a ginger? by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN