New Captain Tsubasa
For the background on the Captain Tsubasa story, refer to the TV series review. Tsubasa and his friends in the Japanese Youth League must now face tough European competition, and they realize that the European soccer scene is vastly different than anything they've experienced back home.
Not being a native Spanish speaker, I hadn't really paid attention to the Super Campeones dub as a child, so Eric's digital sources of this series were my first introduction to the Captain Tsubasa universe. Fortunately for me, I happen to share the same passion for the sport of world football (soccer) that he does, and I can understand why this series has hooked fans the world over.
Of course, it wasn't because of the animation. While probably equivalent to television quality in the late 80s, New Captain Tsubasa was really an experimental OAV tie-in to a very popular (albeit by now already aging) TV series. Speed lines and dramatic, exaggerated pans dominate the playing field, and it's very obvious that most of the "trick shots" the characters exhibit have very little to do with real physics, and everything to do with how many camera tricks the animators can get away with considering their limited budgets.
One of the things that took me by surprise was just how high-pitched Tsubasa's voice is. You see, Tsubasa is voice-acted by a woman (Ogai Youko), and while that works fine for Tsubasa's youthful self in the original series, it starts sounding really strange the older he gets. In that sense, Tsubasa seems a lot like Son Gokuu in Dragon Ball Z, all buffed out, but with the voice of a chipmunk. It's really tough getting used to that.
While I hadn't had the time to get acquainted with the accessory characters, it's obvious that the voice cast was able to regain some of that camaraderie they'd had in the original. Everyone seemed very comfortable with his or her roles, and any overacting throughout the course of the episodes I viewed (come on, this is a sports series!) was entirely plotted and intentional. Nostalgic, even.
Yeah, it's kinda silly and overblown, but watching New Captain Tsubasa gives me a bit of regret that us American kids were left out when it came to having all the cool cartoons. I certainly would have picked this over Captain Planet any day of the week!
Maybe someday in 2005-2006, someone will get the bright idea to actually pitch a soccer anime to one of the American networks. Or maybe not. But next time you wonder how in the world Japan can field a better soccer team than the United States on a given day ... blame Captain Tsubasa.
Breezy, entertaining sport series that's given to occasional fits of excess drama and aimed at an audience that's largely nonexistent in the States. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Limbs get broken - this series is no more and no less violent than actual soccer. Apart from that, it's fine for kids.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS digital source, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Partial (2/13)
New Captain Tsubasa © 1989 Takahashi Yoichi / Shueisha / CBS / Sony
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