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Sunday, January 07, 2024 

Captain Tsubasa manga series drawing to a close

Japan Today announced the long-running Captain Tsubasa sports manga is going to be ending, as its creator is retiring:
The Japanese creator of "Captain Tsubasa" said on Friday that he was blowing the final whistle on the beloved cartoon series after a run of 43 years.

Yoichi Takahashi began writing the comic strip about 11-year-old soccer prodigy Tsubasa Ozora in 1981 and it grew into a global smash hit that inspired future superstars such as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

Known as "Holly e Benji" in Italy and "Super Campeones" in Spanish-speaking Latin America, it spawned animated films, video games and even statues in Takahashi's hometown in eastern Tokyo.

But the 63-year-old announced in the latest edition of Captain Tsubasa Magazine that the series will end in April, citing his worsening health and changing conditions in the manga industry.

"It was not an easy decision and it might make those who enjoy reading Captain Tsubasa disappointed and sad, but I hope you understand my decision," he wrote in a letter to readers.

Takahashi hopes the character will live on in some form and intends to draft ideas that can be used for future adaptations.
A shame it has to end in manga format, but it could probably continue in animation, as it has since 1983, in several TV miniseries and OVAs, along with a few movie-length entries. I got a feeling Tsubasa's the kind of creation some western audiences today wouldn't have what it takes to appreciate, because it's about drama and suspense of playing soccer, rather than action adventure, and because it builds on Japanese culture. Which is too bad, obviously. Inspiring sports manga tales like these are just what the industry really needs now.

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