「俺がいない」 (Ore ga Inai)
“I`m Not There”
Episode 21 of Blue Lock proves that sometimes, the best strategy is no strategy as Isagi’s team is able to throw off Rin by unpredictably trying to dunk on each other. But as Bachira continues admiring the people around him, he discovers a newfound insecurity in being left behind by the people he’s sought out.
NOTHING GOES OVER MY HEAD! MY REFLEXES ARE TOO FAST…
This episode was hilarious because it revealed that Rin’s ultimate weakness is when his opponents go AWOL and stop working with each other. Where Barou winds up being the team’s saving grace because being a reckless idiot who disobeys everyone is the correct answer they needed this whole time.
They are so used to listening to each other and playing by the book that Rin can already read their moves. So naturally, the way the story remedies this problem is to bring in Barou as a necessary evil to completely throw Rin off of his groove and mix him up. It makes it all the funnier when Isagi’s angst-ridden monologues are cut off completely once Barou decides he wants to channel his lion Animorph and steal the ball off of him.
From that point forward, it ends up creating the humorous tactic of winning by outright confusing Rin and deliberately disobeying each other’s commands to wing it on their own merits. It makes sense given how much of Isagi’s team owes its success to its individual members’ greatest strengths. Ego was constantly harping on Isagi’s team for operating off of luck, but while luck dictates how their strategies change, it’s their unpredictability that allows them to make it far enough to swipe up multiple team members.
One of the larger issues that surface in the episode, however, is Bachira’s resolve. As he starts sensing his fellow players’ and opponents’ improvements, he starts to realize that he hasn’t grown as much since he began Blue Lock. He was able to coast along easily by the merits of his monster, but with Isagi’s transformation into a player as intimidating as Rin, Bachira reaches a fork in the road for how he’ll catch up.
His main goals currently have been to find like-minded soccer players who intrigue him and cultivate friendships among them so that he’d no longer be seen as a giant weirdo for his love of soccer. But now that he’s reached a point where the players are as scary as Bachira, if not more so, he’ll have to re-evaluate his own personal goals.
Bachira’s spent most of this arc waiting for Isagi to catch up with him and Rin, but it caused Bachira to get too comfortable with not challenging his own skills. Currently, his biggest issue is whether he can rely entirely on his monster to push him forward, or if he’s being used by the people around him to build his self-worth over his connections with others. His feverish obsession with Isagi borders on a romantic connection, while his partnership with Rin has rendered him into his puppet or yet another NPC.
Bachira’s longing for a close confidant makes him easy to mesh with on the field, but also hinders his own personal performance as he’s pigeonholed himself into the side-kick position. Where he’ll have to confront his monster to re-analyze his approach and understand whether he’d be able to be an ace by his own merits without feeling overly reliant on his team to give his performance worth.
At the same time, he’ll also have to confront his past considering that his scariness as a player likely contributed to his complex. Every time he was awesome by his own merits, his colleagues and opponents considered him to be a disgusting freak, contributing to his personal complex around being seen as a weirdo loner who relies on himself to summon up impressive physical feats of agility.
If Bachira is going to develop as his own player, he’ll likely have to come to terms with being around players in Blue Lock who would not only refuse to judge him for being scary on the soccer field but would give him outright praise if he tapped into his scarier monster abilities. I am hugely biased when it comes to Bachira, but I think what gravitates me the most towards him is how he is both a simple character to understand, personality-wise, and a psychologically complex character who is still constantly trying to figure himself out. He represents both the chaotic spirit of the wildcat egoist and the portrait of a creative who is regularly at odds with whether he wants to be an unrestrained genius or a beloved team player.