Blue Lock’s latest episode tackles how much of a miserable teammate Barou is for Isagi and Nagi. But as it turns out, Isagi comes to realize Barou presents a unique obstacle for the team that can easily be exploited if he builds his strategy around Barou’s mistakes.
OH DEAR, OH DEAR. GORGEOUS.
The Chef Ramsay format is right there, so I’ll be starting off by coddling the other characters for having great chemistry. Nagi and Isagi had gotten so used to working with each other that they know exactly what compliments their playstyles while they were building their strategy around avoiding Barou.
It might not have been sustainable, but it was enough to strike fear into their opponents who figured that Barou’s failures would define their overall performance. And since Nagi and Isagi are better at reading each other now, they get to hog up the glory of being admirable teammates who know each other like the palm of their hand.
It’s the kind of synergy that sort’ve just works with Reo’s team. I’d argue that this is their biggest weakness as a team since Chigiri is great with speed and Kunigami can steal relatively well. Their strengths are awesome, but rely on whether Reo’s head is in the game considering how his strategic planning is how Chigiri and Kunigami thrive.
Reo is versatile and can work well as a teammate who can adapt to his partners’ strengths. It’s why he helped Nagi become a beast, but it’s also why I can see that Nagi wasn’t feeling as challenged by Reo’s presence. Their chemistry is great, yes, but Reo’s adaptability makes him less of an ambitious, talented player and more of a smarter foe on the field.
Reo is still pissed that Isagi swept up Nagi, so that could potentially screw with his plans to use Chigiri and Kunigami to topple Nagi and his “new friends”. With his mind being his greatest asset on the field, it’s also the easiest for him to get lost in considering how much Nagi’s presence already sets him off after Nagi walked away from him.
YOU F###ING DONKEY!
But even if Reo is emotionally compromised, his weaknesses aren’t nearly as much of a liability as Barou’s selfish tendencies. Isagi is desperate to seek out a chemical reaction with Barou and find what could click between the two of them, but Barou is too selfish and would deliberately sabotage his team if it means he gets to ball-hog.
While Isagi can see that Reo’s main talent is relatively similar to Isagi’s own strengths, it’s here where the conclusion he comes to is cynically using Barou’s weakness to their benefit. That is, they build an entire strategy around Barou being a screw-up whose mistakes are so predictable that they could easily intercept a ball that Reo’s team tries to steal from him.
By tricking Barou into “passing” the ball to Isagi/Nagi after getting it stolen from him, they concocted an absolutely hilarious scenario where Barou has to deal with knowing that his strategy of ball-hogging is so horrible that his teammates can thrive if they assume he’s a crappy player.
Barou is steamed by having his words thrown right back at him, but his stubborn fixation on ball-hogging keeps working against his ego as each stolen ball is funneled directly back to his irate teammates who rip the glory right out from under his nose.
While they might not be able to 100% lean on turning Barou’s failure into a goal-scoring opportunity, Isagi should be confident enough to understand that, for some players, his best way of working with them is to work against them. Hopefully, the next episode will be able to conclude the match with a climactic ending and better animation than some of the wonkier shots from this episode.
I like how Isagi didn’t go through a whole Shounen angst arc for this problem and built upon his previous learning to overcome Reo rather rapidly.
Reo on the other hand is definitely played as a heel. I don’t see how the team chemistry can be salvaged given his core attitude.