Captain Tsubasa

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Captain Tsubasa
Captain Tsubasa (キャプテン翼) first edition (manga 1981).jpg
Cover of the first tankōbon volume, featuring Tsubasa Oozora
(Kyaputen Tsubasa)
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original runApril 13, 1981May 9, 1988
Volumes37 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byHiroyoshi Mitsunobu
Produced by
  • Hiromichi Shigegaki
  • Hyota Ezu
  • Masao Kodaira
Music byHiromoto Tobisawa
StudioTsuchida Production
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run October 13, 1983 March 27, 1986
Episodes128 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Captain Tsubasa: Europe Daikessen
Directed byHiroyoshi Mitsunobu
Produced byHiromichi Shigegaki
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byHiromoto Tobisawa
StudioTsuchida Production
ReleasedJuly 13, 1985
Runtime41 minutes
Anime film
Captain Tsubasa: Ayaushi, Zen Nippon Jr.
Directed byHiroyoshi Mitsunobu
Produced byHiromichi Shigegaki
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byHiromoto Tobisawa
StudioTsuchida Production
ReleasedDecember 21, 1985
Runtime60 minutes
Anime film
Captain Tsubasa: Asu ni Mukatte Hashire
Directed byNoriyoshi Nakamura
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byHiromoto Tobisawa
StudioTsuchida Production
ReleasedMarch 15, 1986
Runtime35 minutes
Anime film
Captain Tsubasa: Sekai Daikessen!! Jr. World Cup
Directed byTatsuya Okamoto
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byHiromoto Tobisawa
StudioTsuchida Production
ReleasedJuly 12, 1986
Runtime57 minutes
Original video animation
Shin Captain Tsubasa
Directed byOsamu Sekita
Produced by
  • Kaname Sakamoto
  • Masaki Sawanobori
Written bySatoshi Namiki
Music byOsamu Totsuka
Released 1 July 1989 1 July 1990
Episodes13 (List of episodes)
Captain Tsubasa: World Youth
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original runApril 18, 1994September 1, 1997
Volumes18 (List of volumes)
Original video animation
Holland Youth
Directed byYoriyasu Kogawa
Produced by
  • Kyotaro Kimura
  • Michihisa Abe
  • Minoru Ohno
Written byYoriyasu Kogawa
Music byTakeo Miratsu
ReleasedNovember 6, 1994
Runtime48 minutes
Anime television series
Captain Tsubasa J
Directed byHiroshi Fukutomi
Produced by
  • Etsuko Komatsu
  • Hidetaka Ikuta
  • Koji Kaneda
Music byMichihiko Ohta
StudioStudio Comet
Original networkFuji TV
Original run October 21, 1994 December 22, 1995
Episodes47 (List of episodes)
Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
MagazineWeekly Young Jump
Original runDecember 1, 2000May 13, 2004
Volumes15 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002
Directed byGisaburō Sugii
Produced by
Written byKaoru Kurosaki (screenplay)
Music by
StudioGroup TAC
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run October 7, 2001 October 6, 2002
Episodes52 (List of episodes)
Captain Tsubasa: Golden-23
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
MagazineWeekly Young Jump
Original run2005May 2008
Volumes12 (List of volumes)
Captain Tsubasa: Kaigai Gekito Hen
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
MagazineWeekly Young Jump
Original runMay 2009May 18, 2012
Volumes8 (List of volumes)
Captain Tsubasa: Rising Sun
Written byYōichi Takahashi
Published byShueisha
  • Grand Jump (2013–2019)
  • Captain Tsubasa Magazine (2020–present)[1]
Original runDecember 28, 2013 – present
Volumes14 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byToshiyuki Kato
Written byAtsuhiro Tomioka
Music byHayato Matsuo
StudioDavid Production
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
Original run April 2, 2018 April 1, 2019
Episodes52 (List of episodes)
Related media

Captain Tsubasa (Japanese: キャプテン翼, Hepburn: Kyaputen Tsubasa) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yōichi Takahashi since 1981.[2] The series mainly revolves around the sport of association football focusing on Tsubasa Oozora. The series is characterized by dynamic and exciting football moves, often stylish and implausible. The plot focuses on Tsubasa's relationship with his friends, rivalries with his opponents, training, competition and the action and outcome of each football match. Across the multiple Captain Tsubasa series, the plot shows Tsubasa's and his friends' growth as they face new rivals.

The Captain Tsubasa manga series was originally serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump comic book magazine between 1981 and 1988, with the chapters collected into a total of 37 tankōbon volumes. This was followed by numerous sequels. Captain Tsubasa and its sequels have sold over 80 million copies worldwide,[3] making it one of the best-selling manga series. The original manga series was adapted into a TV anime series, produced by Tsuchida Production, whose first season premiered in Japan on the TV Tokyo network between October 1983 and March 1986. Numerous movies and television series have followed with the latest one airing between April 2018 and April 2019.

Captain Tsubasa became one of the most memorable manga and anime worldwide, most notably in Japan due to how it popularized association football. Multiple real life players have been inspired to become professionals after seeing the series. In a poll conducted by TV Asahi in 2005, the Captain Tsubasa anime series ranked 41 in a list of top 100 anime series.[4]


Captain Tsubasa[edit]

Tsubasa Oozora is an 11-year-old elementary school student who is deeply in love with football and dreams of one day winning the FIFA World Cup for Japan. He lives together with his mother in Japan, while his father is a seafaring captain who travels around the world. Tsubasa is known as the Soccer no Moshigo which translates as "heaven-sent child of football". When he was only barely a year old, he was almost run over by a rushing bus while playing with a ball. However, Tsubasa held the ball in front of him which served as a cushion for most of the impact. The force of the bump blew him away, but he was able to right himself with the ball. Hence, Tsubasa's motto of "The ball is my friend". Ever since he was little, he always went out with a ball. His mother concludes that he was indeed born to only play football. At a very young age, Tsubasa already had amazing speed, stamina, dribbling skills and shotpower – he astounded anyone who saw him play.

At the beginning of the story, Tsubasa and his mom both move to the city of Nankatsu, a fictional town in Shizuoka Prefecture well known for their talented elementary school football teams and where Tsubasa meets Ryo Ishizaki, a football-loving young student who often sneaks out from his mother's public bath houses and chores to play football. He meets Sanae Nakazawa (also known as Anego) an enthusiastic girl who also loves football and helps cheer the Nankatsu high school team on and Genzo Wakabayashi, a highly talented young goalkeeper whom he soon challenges to a game in Nankatsu's annual sports festival. He also meets Roberto Hongo, one of the best Brazilian footballers in the world who is a friend of Tsubasa's father and who starts living with Tsubasa and his mother in order to train Tsubasa. Roberto becomes a mentor to Tsubasa and helps him to harness his football skills, convincing him to join Nankatsu Elementary School and its fledgling elementary school football team, which Roberto later coaches as he passes his techniques onto Tsubasa.

Tsubasa meets Taro Misaki, who has travelled around Japan due to his father's job and soon joins Nankatsu. The two become the best of friends on the pitch and real life, forming a partnership soon to be renowned as the "Golden Duo" or "dynamic duo" of Nankatsu. Soon Tsubasa and his Nankatsu team start taking on the best of elementary school football, meeting such talented players as Kojiro Hyuga, Ken Wakashimazu, Jun Misugi, Hikaru Matsuyama and many others. Tsubasa's Nankatsu squad wins numerous youth national championships and he wins the U-17 World Championships for Japan by defeating Italy 2-1, Argentina 5-4 in the group stages, France 4-4 (PK 5-4) in the semifinals and eventually defeat West Germany 3-2 in the finals before leaving the country to play in Brazil.

World Youth[edit]

Tsubasa leaves Japan for Brazil and starts playing, with his mentor Roberto as the manager, for São Paulo[5] (F.C. Brancos in the anime),[6] in Brazil's premier professional league, Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, winning the final against Flamengo (F.C. Domingos in the anime) 4–3. While in Brazil, Tsubasa gets to meet several talented Brazilian players, such as his teammate and roommate Pepe, who comes from a humble background, as well Flamengo star striker Carlos Santana, a prodigious yet emotionless talent.

Enthusiastic football-loving youngster Shingo Aoi, whom Tsubasa once played against while in the high school national championships, leaves Japan to play football in Italy, where he hopes to play for a major Italian professional team. After arriving in Italy, however, Shingo gets tricked by a man who gives him fraudulent promises of getting him selected for an Italian team. After Shingo is taken to a badly furnished field, the man runs away, stealing all his money. Shingo realizes that he is swindled and tries hard to get his money back, doing such jobs as shoe-shining, until his enthusiastic attitude catches the eye of one of the coaches of Inter Milan (Intina in the anime), who sign him to play for their squad as an attacking midfielder.

The Japan's youth side plays the first phase of AFC Youth Championship without Taro Misaki, Makoto Soda, Hiroshi Jito, Shun Nitta, the Tachibana brothers Masao and Kazuo and Kojiro Hyuga. After Tsubasa, Wakabayashi and Shingo join the team, it defeats Thailand 5–4 after being 4–1 down at one stage. In the second phase, Japan beats Uzbekistan 8–1, China 6–3 and Saudi Arabia 4–1. In the semifinals, Japan beats Iraq 3–0. The Japanese win the Asia Youth title beating South Korea 2–0 and qualifying for the FIFA World Youth Championship.

In the first phase, Japan defeats Mexico 2–1, Uruguay 6–5 and Italy 4–0. In the quarterfinals, they beat Sweden 1–0 and Netherlands 1–0 in the semifinal. The Japanese win in the "Great Final" the World Youth Championship, defeating Brazil 3–2 after extra time with Tsubasa scoring a hat-trick and the golden goal despite the fact that Brazil used a new player at the extra time called Natureza, who became the third person to score a goal on Wakabayashi from outside the goal area – the first being Karl Heinz Schneider of Germany and second being Sho Shunko of China.

Tsubasa moves from São Paulo to FC Barcelona[7] (FC Catalunya in the anime), in the Spanish Liga, after the end of the FIFA World Youth Championship final, taking his childhood friend and now wife, Sanae. He asked her out before moving to Brazil and the couple maintained a long-distance relationship before he proposed to her after the World Youth Championship.

Road to 2002[edit]

While Tsubasa moves from São Paulo (Brancos in the anime) to Barcelona[7] (Catalunya in the anime), Kojiro Hyuga is bought by Juventus F.C. (F.C. Piemonte in the anime). Tsubasa plays very well in training, displaying all his skills, but the Dutch coach Van Saal (Edward in the anime, inspired by Louis van Gaal, who coached Barcelona at the time) demotes him to FC Barcelona B,[7] the reserve team that plays in the second division, because Tsubasa and Rivaul (inspired by Rivaldo) cannot play together whilst Rivaul holds a key position for playmaking.[6]

Meanwhile, Kojiro Hyuga plays for his first game for Juventus (Piemonte in the anime) against Parma in the Italian Serie A, but does not score because his physical imbalance is exposed by Parma defender Thoram (inspired by Lilian Thuram). Juventus coach Carlo Monetti replaces him with David Trezeguet (David Tresaga in the anime), who scores the winning goal as Juventus beat Parma 1–0.

In Germany, Genzo Wakabayashi[2] and his Bundesliga team, Hamburger SV (Grunwald in the anime version), play against FC Bayern Munich (Routburg in the anime version), led by Karl Heinz Schneider. Wakabayashi makes many great saves, impressing players and coaches from both teams, but in an attempt to win at the final moment despite the coach's decision to aim for a draw, Wakabayashi left the goal area to take a free kick shot that was stopped at the last second, which gave Bayern a chance to counterattack on an undefended goal, allowing them to win 2–1.

In Spain, the Liga begins and the match between Barcelona (led by Rivaul) and Valencia CF (San Jose in the anime) (who have just bought Tsubasa's old rival Carlos Santana) ends 2–2. Tsubasa watches the match from the tribune (in the anime version, Tsubasa plays as a substitute in the match and scores a goal).

In the second stage of the Japanese J.League, Júbilo Iwata, led by Misaki, Gon Nakayama (inspired by real player Masashi Nakayama), Ishizaki and Urabe, defeat the Urawa Red Diamonds led by Hayato Igawa and Sawada, 2–1. In other J.League matches, FC Tokyo, led by Misugi, draws 1–1 with Consadole Sapporo, led by Matsuyama.[8] In Italy, Hyuga and Aoi are bought respectively by A.C. Reggiana and A.S.D. Albese.

In Spain, Tsubasa plays three matches with FC Barcelona B and he records 12 goals and 11 assists in three matches. Tsubasa is inserted in the Barcelona lineup because of an injury of his rival Rivaul as well as the disastrous results of the Barcelona (one point in four matches) and plays the Súper Clásico against Real Madrid C.F., who have just bought his old rival Natureza. Tsubasa ends the match with three goals and three assists and Barcelona wins 6–5.

Go for 2006[edit]

This is the epilogue of Captain Tsubasa Road to 2002 and it is composed of five chapters. This manga follows Kojiro Hyuga and Shingo Aoi in Italy. In this manga, Kojiro Hyuga was loaned out to Reggiana while Shingo Aoi was loaned out to Albese. Kojiro Hyuga makes a hard training and he makes his debut scoring a hat-trick.[9]


While Tsubasa plays for Barcelona against Real Valladolid, recording a goal and an assist in a 2–0 win, the 23 players of Japan's U-22 national team ("The Golden-23") are convoked to play two friendly matches against Denmark and Nigeria in preparation for Summer Olympics. Two futsal players, Kazami and Furukawa, who previously played for Japan national futsal team, join the national U-22 football team and display great skills, scoring two goals in a training match. Meanwhile, the Japan U-20 side led by Takeshi Sawada win the AFC Youth Championship, defeating South Korea 6–5 on penalty kicks in the final. In Brazil, Minato Gamo, the former coach of the U-20 national team, tries unsuccessfully to convince Soga, a Japanese player who plays in CR Vasco da Gama, to join the national team. Meanwhile, Tsubasa's wife Sanae informs him that she is pregnant. In Japan, the match with Denmark ends 4–2 with the following scorers: Misaki (J), Haas (D), Nitta (J), Nitta (J), Matsuyama (J) and Haas (D). In Germany, Hamburger SV plays a Bundesliga match and Genzo Wakabayashi is not in the line up because of the bad relationship with the coach Zeeman, starting rumors that Wakabayashi would leave Hamburger SV. A lot of teams were interested in signing Wakabayashi such us ACF Fiorentina, A.S. Roma, Bayern Munich and SV Werder Bremen.

Meanwhile, Minato Gamo wants to convince Igawa, a player who can play in all the roles (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward), to join the national team. Also in Spain, Barcelona plays a league match against Real Betis and Tsubasa scores two goals and makes an assist for Rikaar. In Japan, Wakabayashi joins the national team.

The match between Japan and Nigeria begins and Nigeria plays very well, as it has two champions Ochado (who plays in Paris SG, based on Jay-Jay Okocha) and Bobang (who plays with Shingo Aoi in Albese). After some minutes from the beginning of the match, Nigeria has the first great opportunity to score the first goal in the match with a penalty kick, but the Japanese goalkeeper Genzo Wakabayashi saves in corner kick. Wakabayashi saves another shot and makes an assist for Ken Wakashimazu, who scores a goal with an overhead kick. However, Nigeria scores two goals with Bobang and Ochado. At the end of the first half, Nigeria is winning 2–1. Meanwhile, Minato Gamo convinces Gakuto Igawa to join the national team. The second half begins, the Japan attacks during the injury time Misaki scores the equalizing goal. The match ends 2–2.

In Spain, Barcelona wins 3–2 the match against Valencia led by Carlos Santana. In Japan, the match between Japan and Paraguay ends 3–0 with the following scorers: Gakuto, Wakashimazu and Nitta. In Spain, Barcelona plays against Atlético Madrid and Fersio Torres (inspired by Fernando Torres) quickly scores a goal. However, Barcelona replies quickly and Tsubasa scores two goals.

The Asia qualifications begins and Japan beats Malaysia (6-0 for the first match and 5–0 for the return match), Thailand (2–0 for the first match, 3–0 for the return match) and Bahrain (3–0 for the first match and 5-0 for the return match) and qualifies to the third round. In the third round, Japan beats Vietnam 5–0, draws against Saudi Arabia 1-1 and loses against Australia 3–1. Standings after day 3 (of 6): Australia 9, Japan and Saudi Arabia 4 and Vietnam 0. Only the first classified is admitted to Olympic Games. In the day 4, Japan defeats Saudi Arabia 2–0 while Australia defeats Vietnam 5–0. In day 5, Japan defeats Vietnam 4–0 and Australia draws against Saudi Arabia 1–1. Standings after day 5 (of 6): Australia 13, Japan 10, Saudi Arabia 5 and Vietnam 0. In the last day, Japan plays against Australia (had Japan defeated Australia 3–0, 4–1, 5–2 and 6–3 or more, it would have qualified to Olympic Games, while had Japan won 3–1, 4–2, 5–3 or such, it would have played a playoff against Australia. Japan scores the first goal of the match against Australia, thanks to Tachibana brothers. However, the Tachibana brothers get injured and are substituted by Wakashimazu and Nitta, who scores another goal. Japan tries to score the third goal, but all their shots hit the bar or are saved by the goalkeeper. In the second half, Australia scores the goal of 2–1, but Japan reacts and scores two goals (scorers: Igawa and Misaki). Japan ultimately wins 4–1 and qualifies to Olympic Games.

Kaigai Gekito Hen[edit]


One-shot released in Japan in 2009, which comprises 24 chapters. This one-shot tells the Serie C1 final season match between Reggiana and Albese, with both teams directly vying for promotion. This match is the challenge between Kojiro Hyuga (Reggiana) and Shingo Aoi (Albese). Hyuga scores two goals in the first half, showing to be strongly improved in physical game. However, in the second half, Albese reacts and scores two goals. Hyuga eventually scores the victory goal in the last minute, allowing his team to be promoted into Serie B. Albese is disappointed for its defeat because they wrongly think that U.C. AlbinoLeffe won against Ravenna F.C and overtook them in standings. However, Albinoleffe lost 2–1 to Ravenna, tying both teams in third place, and this means that both Reggiana (1st) and Albese (2nd) are promoted. Both teams celebrate their promotion.


This one-shot started in February 2010, in order to celebrate the series' 30th anniversary. It tells the return match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. From there on, seven more chapters are added in which first two goals from Barcelona been rejected by the referee. The match goes on and Rivaul finally scores a genuine goal, followed by one from Real Madrid. In the second half, Natureza scores the second goal 10 minutes before the end of the match. Tsubasa scores the draw goal with a flying drive shot in the added time and the match ends 2–2.


Author Yōichi Takahashi was inspired to write Captain Tsubasa after watching the 1978 FIFA World Cup.[10]

Yoichi Takahashi was delighted by association football after seeing the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The matches, players and fans' love towards the sport inspired him to write a manga about football.[11] Another relevant aspect on this decision was the fact that Takahashi liked football more than baseball because he considered the players to have more freedom during matches.[10] Despite football not being popular in Japan, Takahashi aimed to depict it through his manga and to reach the general public.[11] Because of the non-popularity of the subject, getting the approval to write the manga by its publisher, Shueisha, took between 2 and 3 years, which was also difficult since it was his first manga.[10] Rather than using professional players, the manga author instead used children as protagonists, hoping readers would identify themselves with the cast. Nevertheless, Takahashi already had in mind that through the series the main characters would grow up and become professionals.[11]

In the making of the cast, Takahashi designed multiple characters with different traits in order to deliver multiple traits that would serve as obstacles for Tsubasa to surpass. The large number of characters made Takahashi careful with their designs and he wanted to give each of them recognizable features. One of Tsubasa's early rivals, Jun Misugi, was given skills that surpassed the protagonist's. As a result, he gave Misugi a heart condition that would balance the match between their teams. When asked why Tsubasa's teams always win, Takahashi stated it was because he aims the manga to be long and thus a defeat would reduce its length.[11] While the series was initially aimed at children, Takahashi was surprised at how, across the years, it has also attracted adults, as well as at the impact it had on Japan's football. When talking about its themes, Takahashi stated the main one is honor, which is meant to be superior than money, something which people value more.[11]

As Takahashi liked European football due to its competitive level, he decided to make Tsubasa leave São Paulo and join Spain's F.C. Barcelona at the age of 21. In 1998, Takahashi traveled to Barcelona and enjoyed the Camp Nou stadium so much that he was inspired by it to make the Barcelona team Tsubasa's future team. Nevertheless, Takahashi asserted it was a decision taken at random and joked that Tsubasa would have joined the Real Madrid if he had visited Santiago Bernabéu.[12] For this part, Takahashi started using professional players inspired by real-life football stars, most notably Rivaul (inspired by Rivaldo) who would mentor Tsubasa in Barcelona. Due to Tsubasa's inexperience in his debut as an adult, Rivaul becomes his mentor.[13]

As of 2010, the manga had been translated into English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.[14] As of 2017, several volumes were available in an official Arabic translation and a third of the first print run of these were donated to Syrian refugee children by the publisher, Kinokuniya.[15]



The first manga is Captain Tsubasa published 1981–1988 in Weekly Shōnen Jump in a total of 37 volumes.[16][17]

  • Captain Tsubasa Boku wa Misaki Taro (I am Taro Misaki) (1984, one-shot)[18]
  • Captain Tsubasa: Saikyo no teki: Holland Youth (1993, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa: "World Youth" Saga (1994–1997 in Weekly Shōnen Jump; 18 volumes)[19][20]
  • Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002 (2001–2004 in Weekly Young Jump; 15 volumes, 144 chapters)[21][22]
  • Captain Tsubasa Millennium Dream (2000, one-shot)[23]
  • Captain Tsubasa Final Countdown (2002, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa FCRB (2004, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa Golden Dream (2004, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa: All Star Game (one-shot; 5 chapters)
  • Captain Tsubasa: Golden-23 (2005–2008 in Weekly Young Jump; 12 volumes)[24][25]
  • Captain Tsubasa Japan Dream (2006, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa Kaigai Gekito Hen (May 2009 – February 2012 in Weekly Young Jump; 8 volumes)
    • In Calcio (May 2009 – September 2009 in Weekly Young Jump; 2 volumes)[26][27]
    • En La Liga (February 2010 – February 2012 in Weekly Young Jump; 6 volumes)[28][29]
  • Captain Tsubasa Live Together (2010, one-shot)
  • Captain Tsubasa: Rising Sun (2013-ongoing in Grand Jump, then in Captain Tsubasa Magazine, 14 volumes)[30]


  • Captain Tsubasa Mirai Bunko (2013–2014): a trilogy of light novels by Hitomi Wada retells the first story arc of Captain Tsubasa.[31][32]


The original Captain Tsubasa manga series was quickly adapted into a TV animation series, produced by Tsuchida Production, whose first season premiered in Japan on Tokyo Network between October 10, 1983 and March 27, 1986. This first series adapts the first 25 volumes. Four animated movies followed soon after, between 1985 and 1986, continuing the storyline. In 1989 a new animation series, Shin Captain Tsubasa, was produced by Shueisha and CBS Sony Group, Inc. and spanned 13 original video animations (OVAs). Shin Captain Tsubasa adapts the manga from volume 25 to volume 36.

The animation series was followed soon after into a second adaptation, entitled Captain Tsubasa J, which was produced by NAS and Fuji Television and animated by Studio Comet. It was a retelling of the first volumes that continued adapting the manga where the previous series had stopped. It aired between October 21, 1994 and December 22, 1995 in Japan on the Fuji TV network and spanned 47 episodes, as well an original video animation, Captain Tsubasa: Holland Youth, which was published in 1994.[33]

The animated franchise was continued on further into a third adaptation, Captain Tsubasa: Road to Dream, also known as Captain Tsubasa ~ Road to 2002, animated by Group TAC, which aired in Japan by TV Tokyo between October 7, 2001 and October 6, 2002, with music published by Avex Mode. All of the versions of the Captain Tsubasa animated series have been broadcast by the animation satellite television network Animax across its original network in Japan and later across its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, South Asia and other regions. English dubs of all series have aired on Animax Asia[34][35][36][37] and some episodes of the English dub were released on VCDs by Speedy Video Malaysia.[36][38][39][40] It has been broadcast across several other regions around the world, including Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

In 2018, Captain Tsubasa had a new anime also broadcast in TV Tokyo.[41] It is directed by Toshiyuki Kato and produced by David Production.[42] Viz Media have licensed the new anime series.[43] The series aired from April 2, 2018 to April 1, 2019. An English dub began airing on Primo TV in the United States beginning August 4, 2018.[44] An Viet dub began airing on HTV3 in Vietnamese beginning October 20, 2018. An Indonesian and Thai dub began airing on RCTI in Indonesia and PPTV in Thailand, respectively, on February 3, 2019.[45][46][47] An Arabic dub began airing on MBC 3 in the MENA region beginning December 1, 2019.[48][49]

Video games[edit]

Captain Tsubasa has been adapted into multiple video games:

Reception and legacy[edit]

The manga series had a circulation of 70 million volumes within Japan as of 2008.[59] The manga has a cumulative circulation of 80 million worldwide as of 2018[60].In 2001, the Captain Tsubasa anime series was ranked forty-ninth in Animage's "Top 100" anime productions list.[61] The anime adaptation has also been very popular in Japan. In 2005, Japanese television network TV Asahi conducted a "Top 100" online web poll and nationwide survey: Captain Tsubasa placed forty-first in the online poll and thirtieth in the survey.[62][63] In 2006, TV Asahi conducted another online poll for the top one hundred anime and Captain Tsubasa placed sixteenth on "The Celebrity List".[64] The third television series was also highly popular in 2002, earning high ratings.[65]

Captain Tsubasa has inspired prominent footballers such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Alessandro Del Piero, Fernando Torres, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sánchez and Andrés Iniesta to play football and choose it as a career.[66][67][68][69][70][71] It also influenced Stephen Chow's film Shaolin Soccer (2001) and a line of Adidas running shoes.[72][73] Manga group Clamp have also produced dōjinshi works related with the Captain Tsubasa characters.[74]

In 2004, when the JSDF provided humanitarian assistance in Samawah, Iraq, stickers of characters from the manga were posted on "twenty-six water wagons" which became known by the children. The news was reported as an example of how Japanese pop culture could have positive results for "cultural diplomacy and regional promotion."[75]

A bronze statue of Tsubasa Oozora was erected in the neighborhood of the anime's creator in Katsushika, Tokyo in spring 2013.[76] Tsubasa and Misaki appeared in the video for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the closing ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics.[77] Tsubasa and Misaki performed their twin shot in one scene and Tsubasa appeared on his own later with his signature overhead kick. In a match from Japan for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Japanese fans held a tifo featuring an illustration from the manga with multiple messages that supported the team.[78]

Nippon also made an article where they noted how Tsubasa became one of the most likeable fictional characters due to his dream and career in the series which at the same time influenced others.[79] Espin Of noted one of the series' most notable features was how Tsubasa's skills allowed him to perform goals while his training with his teammates also generated appeal to the viewers. His passion for the football and initial relationship with goalkeeper Genzo Wakabayashi was also noted to be worthy notes.[80] THEM Anime Reviews noted that Tsubasa obtained a highly international reputation but found the animation from the 1980s dated in the modern times. Additionally, he found Kojiro Hyuga's actions and his trainer's drinking problems might leave negative impressions on viewers. Nevertheless, they found the story appealing and wished it was licensed for an English release.[81] highly praised the series, stating that its surprising length proves the success of the series. Additionally, the manga was noted not for only bringing style to football, but also likeable characters which were rightfully adapted in the anime series.[14] In The Imperial Sportive: Sporting Lives in the Service of Modern Japan, Sandra Collins acknowledges Captain Tsubasa and Takehiko Inoue's Slam Dunk as mangas that helped to popularize football and basketball, respectively, in Japan during their serializations. Similarly, Miho Koishihara referred to these two mangas as responsible for increasing the popularity of their respective sports with the writer noting that Captain Tsubasa focused on realistic growth in comparison to previous works.[59] In Sport, literature, society : cultural historical studies noted the appeal of both the manga and its title character as one of the main reasons for becoming one of Japan's most popular soccer series referencing its popularity throughout its serialization.[82]

A series on which Captain Tsubasa exerted a great influence was Masaya Tsunamoto's Giant Killing.[83]

During the US occupation of Iraq, the Japan Self-Defense Force put Captain Tsubasa stickers on their water trucks. At the same time, the Japan Foundation provided an Arabic-dubbed season of Captain Tsubasa to the largest television station for free.[84]

In late 2018, the Katsushika City organized the "Captain Tsubasa Cup, Gotta Win!" campaign during the yearly Junior Soccer Tournament to help bring tourists to the city and keep young men active, and gave Takahashi the Honorary Citizen Award for the manga's positive impact on the city.[85]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]