THE KICK-ADDICTS GUIDE TO KICK-OFF
Ah, this blessed time. The World Cup is upon us again, bringing with it its all-conquering game spirit and heat waves of 'football fever' all the way from South Africa to our little TV sets. Going with the rhythm, this week we have a rather old anime featured in our centerfold, followed by a somewhat jotted-down-suggestion-list of all the most talked about football anime out there. So, technically this is not a full-fledged review, rather a mixed article, but do enjoy it anyway. And of course, a happy World Cup to everyone. May we have minimal power-cuts this season… or something like that.
Captain Tsubasa (AKA Flash-Kicker)
The most amazing thing about Captain Tsubasa is how practically all anime-lovers have heard of its name and caught at least one glimpse of it in some place or another despite the anime being, let's face it, literally ancient. Yooichi Takahashi started and finished drawing the first 37 volumes of the manga way before many of us were even born. Then it became popular and Takahashi kept drawing… and he's still at it. The latest manga sequel is currently ongoing and honestly, nobody really knows when it's going to end. 1981-2010 and onwards, now that's some record.
The anime (the initial arc, CT J and the 'Road to 2002' sequel) aired on Animax. The story revolved around Tsubasa Oozora, an elementary kid with the burning dream of getting his hands on that cherished World Cup. The initial arc had cartoon-esque (no offence) animation, given the '80s quality, and the characters were 'funny'-looking: they either had a gullible puppy-eyed face or a mean, frowning DBZ one. Variety was not an option and no, just adding a little moustache and beard here and there to the same face did not necessarily do the trick. And thus Tsubasa and his girlfriend had the same identical faces, with the only visible difference being their hairstyles. Imagine that.
'Road to 2002' came with better graphics, background art and of course, more mature athletic bodies for the players, yes, but the trademark Takahashi faces did not change. That made the characters look really weird, again. But enough with the characters, let's talk football for now. And yours truly means some totally insane animated football with Phoenix Drive Shoots, Blazing Tiger Shots, Boomerang Passes, Eagle Tackles, Falcon Shoots, Banana Shoots, Hurricane/Tornado attacks and a near-superhuman goalkeeper who failed to protect only three goals during the entire run of the show. No, yours truly does not know why animals, food or forces of nature should be even remotely associated with football moves but let me tell you this much: they sure made watching the show super-fun! No wonder 'Shaolin Soccer' was inspired by this anime. Heck Wikipedia even boasts that Tsubasa ended up inspiring real-life players like Zidane, Totti, Del Piero and Hidetoshi Nakata. In fact, Tsubasa became so popular all over the world that they had him change his name in different regions: Captain Majed for the Saudi Arabians, Captain Falcão for the Portuguese, Captain Hawk for the Polish and Oliver Hutton (also Atton, Atom) for the Europeans and Latin Americans. Thus, the baby-faced boy with a Christiano Ronaldo-ish hairstyle (was he inspired by Tsubasa, too? Who knows), also known as Soccer no Moshigo or "heaven-sent child of soccer", became a beloved global legend. See, you can even smell a little of Maradona in him. Amazing.
Here's a short list of other well-known football anime, because Tsubasa is old and practically huge with gazillion episodes and arcs and the notorious 'DBZ syndrome' of dragging one 90-minute matches to five or six episodes. Anyway, the list:
1. Hungry Heart (AKA Wild Striker)
3. Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
4. Soccer Fever
5. Ashita e Free Kick (AKA Free Kick Toward Tomorrow)
6. Akakichi no Eleven (AKA The Dark Red Eleven)
7. Dragon League
8. Goal FH
9. Inazuma Eleven
10. Moero! Top striker
11. Iron Leaguer (mixed)
12. Ganbare! Kickers
13. Giant Killing (2010)
That's all for this week. Take care.
Heating Up South Africa, WAGs Style
By Osama Rahman
A day before the biggest stars on the planet converge, we believe it is best to shift our interests on another, more beautiful aspect, of the beautiful game. Since it's too early to provide a list of World Cup Team 11, let's focus on this delicious World Cup WAGs 11. Sure the Lampards and Villas are exciting to watch, but their wives and girlfriends are really what will keep us enthralled during match-breaks. So, here's our super-drool-inducing WAGs 11, 2010.
Manager: Victoria Beckham- Who other than Queen Victoria herself to lead her charges, as they run rampant, shopping, attracting paparazzis and headlining the back-pages. Victoria has immense experience, balancing superstardom and duties of a wife, while keeping Beckham on a straight path. Surely, she has a lot to share and teach.
Goal-Keeper: Alena Seredova First runner-up at Miss Czech Republic and her country's representative at Miss World 1998, Alena is as hot as they come. Drawing from the experience of her boyfriend, Gianluigi Buffon, Alena will be as good at stopping shots as she is at stopping heartbeats. Who would ever score past her?
Centre backs: Toni Poole, John Terry's wife, may not be the ideal head-turner, but she has the makings of a great centre back. Still fit enough for a second glance, Toni Poole showed great resilience, strength and leadership when Terry's scandalous affair came to the fore this year. These qualities and the fact that she is so cute, make her an ideal WAGs centre back. Her ideal partner is one completely in contrast to her. Nuria, Pique's girlfriend, is so gorgeous that it's a surprise she is almost unheard of. Keeping away from the media's limelight, even her last name is unknown.
Fullbacks: Ok, unfair as it may be, we need to include Cheryl Tweedy. First of all, she is fine. Like, really, really fine. Secondly, she is already a superstar, thus her jerseys would sell more than icicles in Iran. Sure, she has divorced Ashley Cole and shouldn't be a WAG, but she still is, because of all those reasons. Plus, her rapid rise to fame, tells us that she can be quick as she rampages forward. Complimenting her would be sweet-natured Charlene Suric, who has a thing with Gael Clichy. Charlene has a very nice name and a nicer face to go with that. Plus, she is petite, yet strong, another great fullback quality.
Centre midfielders- Without doubt. Alex Curran, Gerrard's wife, would be an ideal centre-midfielder. Yes, she is delicious, a model (of course) and also a columnist. These things tell us that she is versatile, creative and a go-getter. Goal-oriented too, something which we believe midfielders should be. Her partner in crime can obviously be Nagore
Aranburu, partner of Xabi Alonso. So, here we can start off the infamous Liverpool connection. Plus Nagore is finer than red wine. And ravishing too. Also, the elegant actress already has children, so she can be relied upon to boost the young princesses in the squad.
Side Midfielders: Lauren Pope, the rapidly rising UK star actress, DJ and entrepreneur is heartbreakingly gorgeous. She isn't very smart though, as she is dating Shaun-Wright Phillips who is practically a nobody. However, Pope is so gorgeous she makes even Phillips look good. And as a pushed-back winger, her creativity and adjustment to rhythm (DJ you know?) will be just the things needed in crucial situations. Also, she can be considered a dead-ball expert, by the virtue of the fact that she is with Shaun. Get it? On the other side of the field, we can throw in Sylvie van der Vaart. Sylvie is drop dead gorgeous, one of those rare qualities in today's world. Her husband will surely have taught her enough to do some serious damage.
The Hole: Who plays in the hole behind the striker? Why Bianca Kajilich, of course. The American actress may have separated with Super Bro Landon Donovan, but she is so tight, not including her would be equal to posting silly satirical pictures on Facebook. Yes, excluding beautiful WAGs is a sin indeed. And if there's anyone who we want holed up, it's Bianca. She is THAT fine.
Striker: Who else but Abigail Clancy? One of Britain's top lingerie and cat-walk models, Abbey makes you cry when you know that you just aren't good enough for her. No one is. Especially her buffoon of a boyfriend, Peter Crouch. What she sees in him is hard to understand, but easier to digest when you realise that Abbey is a BLONDE MODEL. Go figure. The 5 ft 9 inch babe is fit enough to be a striker on any team, any given day. We don't want her too exhausted since she is so delicately pretty, thus Lauren Pope better put in some good crosses. We love Abbey.
And there you have it, the WAGs 11 2010. Though we would love to include some subs like Zaira Noira or Eva Gonzalez, but that will be just too much to handle. So, while the ladies turn green and the boys turn red, it's time to cheer, cheer and drool at times. World Cup 2010…what else can be bigger than that?
Football in Pictures
By Osama Rahman
Football fever is all that's rushing through the whole wide world right now. Everyday will be bringing a new feast of top class international matches and of course we just can't wait. But how to fill the time between those matches? Those long tedious hours waiting for the match to start are indeed gruesome. So, in order to ensure you aren't deprived of any football, anymore, peep these awesome football movies just before the real kick off.
Goal! The Dream Begins released to much hype in 2005, mainly because it was the first soccer movie advocated by FIFA. Kuno Becker and Alessandro Nivolo depict Santiago Munez and Gavin Harris respectively. The movie chronicles the life of the former, starting from his illegal immigration to his arrival in England. The story is fast-paced and viewers can be expected to remain glued to their sets. However, the constant twist of fate gets tiresome at one point. The constant show of stars such as Zidane, Lampard and Raul manages to bring the viewer back from the brink of boredom. The movie is then followed by Goal II, where we see Santiago travel all the way to Real Madrid. This time however, Munez's struggle to find himself amidst his stardom while trying to aide the ageing Gavin Harris to re-discover his form dominates the story. Perhaps Goal II's more star-power both from the many superstars at Madrid to Kuno's own experience, makes the second installment stand out more.
But if seriousness isn't your forte, then take a peek at Bend It Like Beckham. The movie revolves around Jess Bharma, an Indian girl who aspires to be a footballer like her idol D. Becky, and Jules Paxton, a British girl who is also into soccer. Jess' undoubted talent is spotted immediately once she is taken to a trial by Jules. While Jess' conservative parents vehemently oppose their daughter's involvement in the sport, Jules supportive father is overshadowed by her mother's belief that sports isn't for girls, citing Sporty Spice's example in numerous hilarious occasions. There's also a love story hidden in all that mess, however don't confuse it with the love story Jules' mother believe. In a strange twist, Jules' mother starts believing that her daughter is in love with Jess and this ensures further comedy. Certainly a feel good movie and cheesy at times, all that is nicely covered by the interesting cultural clashes present in the movie. Of course, Anupam Kher's presence makes the movie work than it would otherwise have.
If love and comedy doesn't work for you and your tastes border on the ridiculous, then check out Shaolin Soccer. This movie is apparently the most famous Hong Kong movie ever. Stephen Chow, the Jim Carrey of the East, portrays Sing, a strict follower of the ways of the Shaolin. In a world lost of all its charm and with the philosophy of Shaolin being forgotten, Sing retains his old school values when everyone around him forgets them. Joining forces with a former soccer star and a young woman who has mastered the skill of Kung Fu, Sing reunites all his friends and blends the mystical world of the deadly arts with the beautiful game of football. What follows is the most ridiculous football matches ever. How this movie managed to win so many awards all over Asia is a wonder indeed. With crazy shots, saves and tricks that can even put a hybrid Cristiano Ronaldinho to shame, this movie is supposed to be a barrel of laughs, though it just doesn't do that, at least for this writer. Shaolin Soccer is as much a tribute to the beautiful game as Hit Em' Up was to Notorious B.I.G. (it wasn't).
These are pretty much the most famous soccer movies. For fans looking for a more Deshi flavour, there is always the Box-office shattering Jaago to look up to or even that obscure flop Hindi movie where John Abraham pretends to be a professional football player who sucks and manages to do so really well. And if Bend it like Beckham doesn't do it for the ladies, may we suggest a healthy screening of She's the Man? With all the world going Football, there is no point for us missing the scene. Enjoy!