Ahoy Captain Cats here and today we are going to talk about one of the most beloved sports manga and anime series of all time that turns 40 this year and that series is Captain Tsubasa and how still to this day has an impact on the beautiful game of soccer.

The series was created by Yoichi Takahashi, he was inspired after watching the entire 1978 FIFA World Cup Final and in an interview with Nippon back in 2011 had this to say:

In my third year of high school, I saw the [1978] FIFA World Cup in Argentina on television and discovered the excitement of the sport. My curiosity piqued, I did some research into soccer. I learned that in Europe, soccer was far more popular than baseball, and the number of soccer players was much greater. Soccer was the world’s number one sport, I realized. Baseball was actually among the subjects I dealt with when I first started writing manga, but there were tons of baseball manga out there at the time. So I thought I might as well go with soccer, a mostly unexplored sport. – Yoichi Takahashi

In 1981 he released Captain Tsubasa on Weekly Shonen Jump and it became a hit not only in Japan but around the world, most notably Europe, Mexico, Central, and South America because in those parts of the world, soccer wasn’t just a game, it was a religion in itself. If you don’t believe me look at this and see for yourself.

The series is about a boy named Tsubasa Oozora who dreams of playing for Japan on the grandest stage the world gets to see every four years, The FIFA World Cup Finals, and bring home the trophy to Japan. Over the years we see Tsubasa grow up, play both national and international levels with clubs and the Japanese National Team.

Captain Tsubasa not only helped Japan fall in love with Soccer but inspired many generations of players all over the world, males, females, boys, and girls to one day play for their nation’s team and their dream clubs. Soccer players such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Alessandro Del Piero, Fernando Torres, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sánchez, and Andrés all stated that they were inspired by this series and became players themselves.

Very few anime series have left an impact on a grand scale like Captain Tsubasa and to this day Tsubasa is still a hero to many soccer fans and players all over the world. If he was allowed in the talks of who are the most influential soccer players of all time, he would be up there with the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, George Best, Johan Cruyff, Jorge Campos, and Diego Armando Maradona.