RIYADH: Saudi company Manga Productions recently announced a partnership with Tsubasa Co., which will see the two entities collaborate on production, the distribution of “Captain Tsubasa” and various other projects.
Attending the signing ceremony was world-renowned mangaka and creator of “Captain Tsubasa,” Yoichi Takahashi.
CEO of Manga Productions Essam Bukhary told Arab News: “Generations have been inspired by ‘Captain Tsubasa’ for more than 30 years. The partnership of Manga Productions with Tsubasa Co. aims to extend our vision of inspiring the heroes of tomorrow and enriching the creative content industry both locally and globally.”
“Captain Tsubasa,” known as “Captain Majid” in Arabic, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takahashi in 1981 and beloved by the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia in the 90s. The series revolves around an 11-year-old student with a deep passion for football.
Known as Tsubasa Ozora in Japan, Captain Majid follows his dreams of one day winning the FIFA World Cup in Japan and takes viewers on a journey of rivalry, friendship and talent.
According to the “How Arabs View Japan survey” conducted by Arab News and YouGov, 75 percent of respondents ranked “Captain Majid” as their favorite anime of all time.
“Captain Tsubasa” became one of the most memorable manga and anime series worldwide, most notably in Japan, due to how it popularized association football. Many real-life players have been reportedly inspired to become professionals after seeing the series.
CEO of Tsubasa Co. Yoshiro Iwamoto said: “I’m delighted to see the ever-growing popularity of ‘Captain Tsubasa’ internationally and especially in Saudi Arabia and (the Middle East and North Africa) region throughout different generations. We look forward to our partnership with Manga Productions, the regional pioneers in the creative content industry, and building future successes through ‘Captain Tsubasa’ and business opportunities.”
“Captain Tsubasa” was first released as a Japanese manga series, which then transitioned into an anime series that aired between 1983-1986.
The series was then dubbed into multiple languages, airing in Arabic in the Middle East in 1990 and gaining international popularity.
By 2010, the manga had been translated into English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
Since 2017, several volumes have been available in an official Arabic translation, and one-third of the first print run of these were donated to Syrian refugee children by the publisher, Kinokuniya.
“Captain Tsubasa” has sold over 82 million copies worldwide and is among the best-selling manga series in the world, with the anime series ranking 41 in a list of top 100 anime series.