Standard multigrid methods are not well suited for problems with anisotropic discrete operators, which can occur, for example, on grids that are stretched in order to resolve a boundary layer. One of the most efficient approaches to yield robust methods is the combination of standard coarsening with alternating-direction plane relaxation in the three dimensions. However, this approach may be difficult to implement in codes with multiblock structured grids because there may be no natural definition of global lines or planes. This inherent obstacle limits the range of an implicit smoother to only the portion of the computational domain in the current block. This report studies in detail, both numerically and analytically, the behavior of blockwise plane smoothers in order to provide guidance to engineers who use block-structured grids. The results obtained so far show alternating-direction plane smoothers to be very robust, even on multiblock grids. In common computational fluid dynamics multiblock simulations, where the number of subdomains crossed by the line of a strong anisotropy is low (up to four), textbook multigrid convergence rates can be obtained with a small overlap of cells between neighboring blocks.