Hotaru Yamaguchi and Takahiro Ougihara of Cerezo Osaka, twin shoot, soccer, Captain Tsubasa

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is almost upon us, folks! And if you’re a manga fan, just pick your poison to get properly revved up: the first volume of the Captain Tsubasa remix has been available since May in convenience stores all over Japan, Volume 1 of the new series Captain Tsubasa: Rising Sun just came out,  and then there is the comic’s upcoming exhibition in Tokyo.

As if that weren’t enough, the Japan Professional Football League (J. League for short) has been collaborating with the über-influential soccer manga on a project called “Dream Shoot”. In it, as the name suggests, J. League players take on the challenge of bringing to life the dynamic and often over-the-top soccer moves featured in the long-running comic.

So today, we bring to you Part Three of the collaboration, in which three athletes from the Cerezo Ōsaka team reenact the “Twin Shoot”. Read on to view all three awesome videos, as well as to learn a little more about the manga series and its exhibition (because let’s face it, Flash Kicker, as it’s known in the U.S., never made it big here unlike the rest of the world). Even for a soccer newb like me, the “Dream Shoots” are a sight to behold!

Captain Tsubasa: Rising Sun volume 1

▲ I’ve aged 12 years since 1981!

• A brief history

Captain Tsubasa was first published 33 years ago, during a time known as the “winter of soccer” due to the sport’s unpopularity in Japan. Indeed, this was years before the J. League officially kicked off in 1993. The series grabbed the nation’s attention, sure enough, and made kids drop their baseball bats; it wasn’t long before principals had to warn their students to not attempt overhead kicks and the “Skylab Hurricane” during recess. Unsurprisingly, many of today’s athletes started soccer because of the manga, and devotees say that Japan’s World Cup debut would have been much later than 1998 if it weren’t for Tsubasa.

The series is officially published in ten countries (though even more pirate copies abound) and the anime was broadcast in at least 25, so it’s no wonder that Tsubasa became a veritable vade mecum for pro players worldwide. It has nurtured and inspired a multitude of superstars, including Hidetoshi Nakata and Lionel Messi. Andrea Pirlo is said to have learned the offside trap from the series, and as a kid, Alessandro Del Piero used to imitate the character Kojirō Hyūga by rolling up his uniform sleeves.

▼ Del Piero with an original drawing signed by creator, Yōichi Takahashi!

Alessandro Del Piero and original Captain Tsubasa illustration by Youichi Takahashi

• Dream Shoot Part III

This time around, the special move being attempted is the “twin shoot”: the titular character and his best friend, Tarō Misaki, first pulled this off purely by coincidence when they were in grade school. Not only is the kicking power doubled, but according to anime physics (our favorite kind!) the force causes the ball to rotate irregularly and rapidly wobble, which keeps the goalkeeper from focusing on it. The timing needs to be flawless and the kicks need to be equal in force, so only players who understand each other perfectly, such as this duo and the Tachibana twins, can achieve the shot.

Captain Tsubasa, twin shoot

The challengers from Cerezo Ōsaka are Takahiro Ōgihara and Hotaru Yamaguchi, the latter of whom is in the Japan Squad for the upcoming World Cup. As they reminisce about the manga in the video, they seem awfully sure that they’ll succeed. Watch what happens after teammate Yūki Kotani passes the ball from behind!

These two have been playing together for years ever since their days at Cerezo’s youth academy, so as Yamaguchi put it, of course they made the shot! The comments came pouring in from Japanese admirers, saying “Too cool!”, “The most moving one yet!”, and “I’ve replayed the shot like ten times!”

▼ Check out Collaboration #1, a reenactment of Makoto Sōda’s “Razor Shoot”:

▼ Collaboration #2, the “Handōshū Sokujinhō (um, the Swift Recoil Cannon Kick?):

For Tsubasa fans, seeing their favorite characters’ (seemingly) impossible techniques perfectly executed by pro athletes must truly be a dream come true. While you wait for the next project, why not get your otaku on at the Ueno Royal Museum’s “Captain Tsubasa Exhibition”? It’s open from June 14 through July 6 to tie in with the World Cup.

▼ I promise I’ll be finished soon!

Captain Tsubasa sculpture, unfinished, exhibit at Ueno no Mori Museum

So what will the next collaboration deliver? Perhaps the Tachibana twins’ acrobatic “Skylab Hurricane”? With some willing athletes and a little practice, we can definitely dream. If you have never seen this Cirque du Soleil-esque move, check out the video below!

▼ The PS2 version of “Skylab Hurricane” starts around 0:50. Who’s your J. League pick?

▼ Er, let’s make sure the Dream Shoot rendition is a bit cooler than these guys’:

Sources: Dream Shoot, Captain Tsubasa-Ten, Grand Jump, Ueno Royal MuseumWikipedia 1, 2
Images: Facebook 1, 2, Alessandro Del Piero Official Blog, YouTube
Videos: YouTube 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

[ Read in Japanese ]