Captain Tsubasa Creator Announces Retirement; Series To Officially End In April 2024

He’s planning to do a draft of the final arc, and he hopes that another manga author or a “robot” could finish the job for him.

©高橋陽一/集英社・キャプテン翼シーズン2 ジュニアユース編製作委員会

One of the most popular Football anime out there, Captain Tsubasa is finally coming to an end with two mangas: Captain Tsubasa – Rising Sun” & Captain Tsubasa – Memories, dropping their final chapters in Captain Tsubasa Magazine issue 20 in April 2024.

This is because series creator Takahashi Youichi confirmed on Jan 4, 2024, that he’s retiring from professional manga drawing due to his old age & health problems, ending his 43-year-old career at the age of 63.

He states in a special message that he had been thinking of retiring as a mangaka for the past few years, around the time when he started “Captain Tsubasa GOLDEN23”. He originally thought he’d complete the “Olympic arc” before retiring, but unfortunately, that won’t be possible anymore.

It dawned on him when he realized that, with old age, he wouldn’t be able to work as much as he used to do before.

He states that he’s currently struggling with a fortnightly series with 50 manga pages per month, compared to a weekly series of 80 pages per month during his youth.

However, during his 20s, his body aged considerably due to “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo”, a condition where vertigo occurs when the position of the head is altered. This makes him dizzy and even causes him to lose his balance when he gets up from his chair.

Morever, his eyesight has deteriorated to the point where he’s having difficulty focusing while drawing mere lines on a sheet of paper.

The sudden demise of his role model, Shinji Mizushima (author of baseball mangas: Yakyuukyou no Uta, Dokaben, Ikkyuu-san) on Jan 10, 2022 shook him to his very core, making him think about his career and life as a whole.

He states,

“It was then that the death of Mr. Mizushima Shinji, an author I greatly admired and who had been my role model since I was a teenager (he had inspired me to want to become a mangaka), occurred at the age of 82.
Having already formed a friendship with him through amateur basketball, I thought he’d be fit even at over 90 because of his incredible vitality, so I was very shocked.
This news made me think about my way of life as a mangaka.
Indeed, Mr. Mizushima announced his retirement about a year before his death.
I thought about whether I should continue to draw as a mangaka to my physical limits, like Mr. Mizushima, or whether I should consider something else. Every time I heard about the deaths of manga authors such as Mr. Mizushima, I realized that I had no guarantee of being able to test in my current situation for many years to come.”

Regarding the story of his original manga Captain Tsubasa, Takahashi Youichi says that if he had to stick to his original plans, including the general idea up to the final chapter of his series, he might have to draw for another 15 or 30 years.

With this in mind, he had started “Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team” for a mobile game app after “Rising Sin”.

In addition, he’s planning to do a draft of the final arc, and he hopes that another manga author or a “robot” could finish the job for him, so that it would fulfill his dream of having the entire Captain Tsubasa series adapted in anime form.

“Even as a draft, if I left a “story” behind me, perhaps in the future, with the advance of technology, a “robot” could create a “Captain Tsubasa” manga based on cr scenario.
After my death, another mangaka might draw it based on this draft.
What’s more, it could even be adapted to anime. As an author, having the entire “Captain Tsubasa” series adapted to anime is also one of my wishes, and if all the stories up until Tsubasa lifts the World Cup are adapted to anime, that would be something extraordinary.”

Furthermore, the author has discussed how he might present the “Captain Tsubasa” story to his readers in the future with the publishers at Shueisha, and hopes to be able to announce this after the publication of the last issue, number 20 of “Captain Tsubasa Magazine”.

Till then, he’ll be concentrating on creating the conclusion to “Captain Tsubasa Rising Sun THE FINAL” and “Captain Tsubasa MEMORIES 4”.

(Volume covers of Captain Tsubasa Rising Sun and Captain Tsubasa MEMORIES)

About Captain Tsubasa:

Captain Tsubasa is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yōichi Takahashi, which was originally serialized in Shueisha’s shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between 1981 and 1988, with the chapters collected into a total of 37 tankōbon volumes, which was further followed by various manga sequels.

By 2023, over 90 million copies of the manga had been distributed globally, making it one of the most popular manga series. Because it popularised association football in Japan, Captain Tsubasa became one of the most popular manga and anime series in the world. The series has inspired a number of actual players to pursue careers as professionals. The Captain Tsubasa anime series rated 41st on a list of the top 100 anime series compiled by TV Asahi in 2005.

MyAnimeList describes the plot for the Captain Tsubasa 2018 anime as follows:

Captain Tsubasa is the passionate story of an elementary school student whose thoughts and dreams revolve almost entirely around the love of soccer. 11-year-old Tsubasa Oozora started playing football at a very young age, and while it was mostly just a recreational sport for his friends, for him, it developed into something of an obsession.

In order to pursue his dream to the best of his elementary school abilities, Tsubasa moves with his mother to Nankatsu city, which is well-known for its excellent elementary school soccer teams. But although he was easily the best in his old town, Nankatsu has a lot more competition, and he will need all of his skill and talent in order to stand out from this new crowd.

He encounters not only rivals, but also new friends like the pretty girl Sanae Nakazawa and the talented goalkeeper, Genzo Wakabayashi, who shares the same passion as Tsubasa, and will prove to be a treasured friend in helping him push towards his dreams. Representing Japan in the FIFA World Cup is Tsubasa’s ultimate dream, but it will take a lot more than talent to reach it.

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