The official website of Italian football giants Inter Milan revealed that the club has kicked off its collaboration with the Blue Lock manga series in Japan.
Two new illustrations were released as part of the collaboration, and it revolves around the club’s preseason preparation which is currently happening in Japan.
Both illustrations feature Blue Lock characters Roichi Isagi, Seishiro Nagi and Rin Itoshi in Inter Milan jerseys. The first illustration served as a match-card the Inter vs Al Nassr friendly, while the second one, which reveals the Nerazzurri’s away jersey, was their match-card for the friendly again Paris Saint Germain which took place on Aug 1, 2023.
According to the official website, this collaboration “provides an opportunity to celebrate the tour in Japan and engage [Inter Milan’s] Japanese fanbase, although that’s not all.” It is also seen by the club to reach out to new generation of fans across the globe.
As a part of this collaboration, Inter Milan’s star midfielder Nicolo Barella attended an event where he got to meet the authors of the manga. A dedicated installation [Inter X Blue Lock] was also made in the city of Tokyo to further build relation.
During the 2023/24 season, various collaboration pieces of original content will be produced and other exclusive events will take place. Nerazzurri fans will also have the opportunity to wear a special Inter X Blue Lock T-shirt, which will be launched on the market in the coming weeks.
Blue Lock is a Japanese manga series written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yusuke Nomura. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine since August 2018, with its chapters collected in 24 tankobon volumes as of May 2023.
An anime television series adaptation produced by Eight Bit aired from October 2022 to March 2023. A second season and an anime film adaptation have been announced.
By May 2023, the manga had over 26 million copies in circulation, making it one of the best-selling manga series. In 2021, Blue Lock won the 45th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category.
MAL describes the plot of the manga as:
After reflecting on the current state of Japanese soccer, the Japanese Football Association decides to hire the enigmatic and eccentric coach Jinpachi Ego to achieve their dream of winning the World Cup. Believing that Japan has lacked an egoistic striker hungry for goals, Jinpachi initiates the Blue Lock—a prison-like facility where three hundred talented strikers from high schools all over Japan are isolated and pitted against each other. The sole survivor of Blue Lock will earn the right to become the national team’s striker, and those who are defeated shall be banned from joining the team forever.
Selected to join this risky project is Yoichi Isagi, a striker who failed to bring his high school soccer team to the national tournament. After choosing to pass to a teammate who missed instead of scoring on his own, he could not help but wonder if the results would have been different had he been more selfish. Using this golden opportunity given by the Blue Lock Project, Yoichi aims to clear his doubts and chase his ultimate desire—to become the greatest striker in the world and lead Japan to World Cup glory.
Source: Official website of Inter Milan