Here we are at last: the final episode. The big one. And it was pretty good, actually, I thought! By the way, the fansubbers made a gag sub track for the finale and there are some hilarious moments on it, I recommend giving the episode a watch with them on.

They’re saying what we’re all thinking. I could turn this review into a whole essay about my nostalgic love for lame gag sub tracks, but I will refrain. I will say, though, that if this were the actual Captain Tsubasa dialogue, the show would be improved. Even taking into account the fact that a decent percentage of it is in Turkish. Speaking of which, shoutout to those Turkish guys for providing the English subs, the Anglosphere doesn’t deserve their charity.

But onto the official version of the episode. That’s right, they tied. That’s what they were building up to. We just watched all of that bullshit, and the end result was “They’re all winners, yaaaay!” It just might be the biggest cop-out in anime history. And god damn it, I respect that on some level. But mostly I’m just salty that Toho have to share this win. Couldn’t we just have them win outright? Isn’t it a little disrespectful to Hyuga and Toho that they aren’t even allowed to win with Tsubasa half-crippled? Would the acceptance of the inevitability of defeat not be a valuable lesson for Tsubasa to learn? The answer to all of these questions is “Shut the fuck up”.

At least Hyuga in general was super cool this episode. That equalising goal was amazing, it looked completely sick. Tiger Shot beats the shit out of Drive Shot in terms of aesthetics every time, though. And, to be honest, probably in terms of accuracy too. Tsubasa is not a jobber, but the Drive Shot is a jobby move and the sooner we can acknowledge that the sooner we can move on as a society.

I have to say, while I will once again state my eternal gratefulness to David for not having this match last, like, 20 episodes, I think the pacing felt a little off. Not off in an “oh god, I have lost all concept of time, am I even still alive” sort of way like with the ‘80s finals match. But I feel like Toho didn’t get nearly enough time in the spotlight because there just wasn’t as much time to get to them as there might have been, as the show had to make the choice to focus on what was really important: Tsubasa falling down and getting back up again, occasionally being yelled at by the doctor, and then firing as many drive shots as he can manage before falling down once more. Vital content, utterly vital.

Anyway, after the match the rest of the episode was basically Hyuga/Tsubasa fanservice, mainly consisting of them taking their shirts off and talking about how great they both are. I mean look at this.

How gratuitous. I’m telling you, Tsubasa might be more talented on the pitch, but Hyuga’s got the star quality. He’ll be raking in the endorsements once his pro career takes off. I mean who would you want endorsing your product, this flaming ball of passion or Tsubasa?

This shot is also beautiful, it’s like La Pietà.

Side note: I cannot believe Morisaki made the MVPs list. I hope he knows it’s purely because there are only like 15 players in the tournament who get anything resembling regular coverage.

I loved all the little hints towards the Europe arc at the end, with brief Misaki and Wakabayashi scenes. Not to mention a cameo from the illustrious Karl Heinz Schneider, the young emperor of West German (or I guess just regular German in this reboot) – no, all European youth football.

Overall, I think this was a nice, fitting end to the wild ride that was Captain Tsubasa. It was tough going at times, but I’ve enjoyed watching and covering this reboot. Would I recommend it over the ‘80s anime? That depends. It’s certainly a better introduction to the franchise, but watching the original is an experience all on its own, and it’s special in its own right. Plus the OVAs and movies cover the Europe arc which is sweet. However, this is the more watchable and more visually appealing version by a mile. It’s had pacing issues of its own, with some matches being positively raced through, and the animation hasn’t always been amazing, but the tongue-in-cheek vibe of the show was perfect and made it a lot of fun to watch. But if you enjoyed this and have some free time on your hands, definitely check out the original – there are a lot of funny little moments that had to be cut out of this version for time reasons.

I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to Captain Tsubasa for the moment, but I’m thankful for its steadfast presence over the past year, and I’m hopeful that there’ll be at least one Europe OVA or something. They’ve been mentioning it a ton but I’m not sure whether or not it’s a “we’re gonna cover this” sort of thing. Just please, for the love of god, nobody ever adapt the Nationals arcs again. We’re done with those now. Everyone knows what’s happened.

P.S.: Always remember, the ball is your friend.