This is part of the series:
1980 to 1984 marked great development and diversity in Jump. The second part of the WSJ Illustrated Guide would probably tell you more about the growth of the magazine and the rise of its future mangaka superstars.
On our end, this period is monumental. Why? It is in this period that a bond was established between the fans of Shounen-Ai and Shounen Jump. As the authors of shounen-ai experimented with more mature themes and story lines, their fans started to starve for the genre. Unlike today wherein you have tons of mangakas for BL, there were only a select number of authors who tried to write shounen-ai. Later on, their fascination for boy stories led them on a quest to find other tales that exhibited the same potential as those that have been written by shounen-ai mangakas.
Their search ended with a tale of a young boy named Oozora Tsubasa and his journey to achieve his goal of representing becoming a world class football (soccer, for Americans) player.
1980-1984: The Captain Tsubasa Fantasy
I cannot remember when and where, but I do know for a fact that the first yaoi doujinshi published was that of Captain Tsubasa’s. And I wouldn’t wonder why. It had elements, such as friendship and rivalry, to match those found in shounen-ai mangas. To look closer into its ‘shounen-ai’ potential, let’s look into the setting and the characters of Captain Tsubasa.
Captain Tsubasa’s story begins when Oozara Tsubasa moves to a new town and joins the local soccer team. In here he met great friends who eventually pushed themselves to the limit in order to become great football players someday. It was a tough dream, but they knew that with Tsubasa around, they can pretty much do anything. As they played in the national tournament, they met other great players for the Japanese team. Eventually these guys became Tsubasa’s team mates for the National team.
Just by looking at my summary, Tsubasa’s story is no different than any other sports-based story out there. However, the strong ties and chemistry between some players as well as the tension between rivals drove the fangirls insane. Might I add that their youthful innocence was an extra factor to the story. Misaki saying things such as “I’ll always be by your side, Tsubasa” totally set their hearts a flutter. In the 1960s, these lines wouldn’t have meant nothing. But by the 80’s, with the influence of shounen-ai, these lines were gold.
Of the lot, the most obvious was Tsubasa’s relationship and his on-field partner Misaki. To many fans, they are as good as a married couple. And when they had to part ways, they still kept their friendship and often thought of each other when they’re on the field. If Tsubasa was here, I could have done this. If Misaki was here, I could have done this. This deep-rooted partnership became jailbait for many fujoshis. When I first caught Captain Tsubasa on the telly, I can’t help but admire the relationship between these two kids. Both were completely dedicated to the sport and both know knew very well that they would need each other’s talent to fulfill their dreams of becoming great players. As some fangirls put it, their love is so true.
Another interesting pair from Tsubasa became the starting ground for one talented mangaka. For her, she saw romance between a dedicated striker and his ever-faithful goalie. The strong ties between Meiwa’s Kojiro Hyuga and their goalie Ken Wakashimazu only proved their sexual attraction towards each other. Hyuga was a ruffian and Ken was the guy who kept him on a leash. Her SM experiments between these two characters took off and eventually became the base of her own shounen-ai tale, Bronze. The mangaka is Minami Ozaki, a true fujoshi who made Takuto and Koji icons of yaoi.
I had a shot in reading some of her Tsubasa doujins and they were bleeping hot1. Since it was an old doujin, most of the dialogue were handwritten with Ozaki’s scratchy handwriting which is greatly compensated by her wonderful art. If you have read Bronze, you may immediately think that this was a Bronze doujin, but then you’ll realize that on some scenes that showed the rest of the Japanese football team. Only then you’ll realize that it’s a different story altogether.2
Anyway, the Tsubasa fandom remains as one of the strongest fandoms in Japan. There are still a lot of circles tackling Captain Tsubasa today. I have a feeling that as long Tsubasa is aiming to get that World Cup, we’ll still be seeing Tsubasa doujins being created.
For the next installment, we’ll look into the internationally popular Zodiacs, another big name mangaka(s) creating doujins for a big name Jump Title, and may I add dance poses too? The age of heroes sparks more creativity for the dear fujoshis so better watch out! :33