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It's the final whistle for Captain Tsubasa manga as its creator Youichi Takahashi announces his retirement

More than 40 years of goals, kicks, and drama are coming to an end.

Captain Tsubasa anime season two key visual
Image credit: Studio Kai

There aren’t many sports manga that have been more influential than Captain Tsubasa. It first debuted more than 40 years ago and has been running intermittently ever since, with six mainline series in the franchise and multiple anime adaptations over the years. Now, it looks like the final whistle will blow for Tsubasa as series creator Youichi Takahashi will retire in April 2024.

The decision to retire has not been taken lightly for Takahashi. In the announcement in Shueisha’s Captain Tsubasa magazine, he explained that it has been on his mind for the past few years. The issue isn’t a lack of material or motivation – the problem is a lack of time. The mangaka, who is over 60 years old, believes it will take him over 40 years to complete the story he has planned for the teenage soccer star, a task he simply doesn’t feel his failing eyesight will allow.

With that in mind, the final chapters of the two current Captain Tsubasa manga will be published in the 20th and final issue of the Captain Tsubasa magazine in April this year. However, that doesn’t mean that we’ll never see our favorite Japanese soccer ace in action again. Takahashi is considering drafting storyboards so that others can continue drawing the Captain Tsubasa manga after he’s retired.

It seems like Takahashi is still highly motivated to tell the Captain Tsubasa story, so we have to wonder if this is another Hayao Miyazaki situation, where he comes back out of retirement in a few years because he still has more stories to tell. For now, though, it looks like we’ll have to say goodbye to one of the most celebrated manga creators of all time.

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