Genzo Wakabayashi (若林 源三, Wakabayashi Genzō) is a major character of Captain Tsubasa, considered Japan's #1 keeper.
Wakabayashi first appeared in Captain Tsubasa (1981), chapter 1. He is an extraordinary keeper who can catch almost anything thrown at him. Not many shots can come past Genzo. He is also one of the best keepers in the series.
Since the beginning of the series, he has greatly supported Tsubasa in order to fulfill both their dreams of making Japan winning the World Cup and the Olympics. He also desires to face Tsubasa in the UEFA Champions final match both leading their respective teams from their clubs in Spain and Germany.
Captain Tsubasa (1981) story
Kids' Dream arc
He is a prodigious player like Tsubasa Ozora, finding in him his equal and eternal rival. He first appeared as the opponent to beat in the Interschool tournament between Nankatsu and Shutetsu, where both teams obtained the city championship. He gets injured due to an accident on a match against Mizukoshi. A player stepped on his left calf after Genzo landed on the green to brace for a catch. Due to his injury, he was never able to stop Hyuga's bullet shot. Only in the 2001 anime, the events turned different (Genzo with great difficulty was able to stop Hyuga's same shot). After this event, Hyuga from Meiwa appeared in the training session of Nankatsu SC (the selection team of said city) and challenged Wakabayashi, being able to score against the latter with a bullet shot. Wakabayashi admitted he was not good to play for the next games but he only played in the match against Shimizu FC in order to allow Nankatsu to go to the National Tournament. In the tournament finals, as a teammate of Tsubasa in Nankatsu SC they both obtained the elementary school national championship flag.
J Boys' Challenge arc
At twelve, he went to Hamburg city in Germany with his trainer Tatsuo Mikami. There, in training camp sessions, he met Karl Heinz Schneider, and from then on their rivalry started. Three years have passed, and Japan Jr. had a campaign in Germany. The first match was Hamburger SV and Japan Jr.. Hamburg started with Wakabayashi and Schneider, while Japan had Hyuga as the captain. In said match, at first Hamburger willingly allow Japan to attack, but all shots were saved by Wakabayashi. Only after Hamburger decide to play for real that Schneider shows his play. Schneider tells Wakabayashi he himself will make a rampage for his farewell match. After Wakabayashi stops Hyuga's Tiger Shot, Schneider is given the ball for a counter. Wakashimazu is injured and Morisaki entered. Even after everyone notices Tsubasa Ozora's arrival, Schneider remembers Tsubasa being the one Wakabayashi told him about. All Japan don't allow Tsubasa to play, however. Schneider scores two more goals. Despite Wakabayashi allowing a free goal from Hyuga. Still, Japan loses 1-5.
International Jr. Youth tournament
After that, Mikami saw a sad Wakabayashi. Mikami said that he was sorry for making him get the "evil role", but Wakabayashi said that Mikami didn't have to be sorry and he was happy for watching a new Hyuga in that field. And, he also asked if he could be a member of the Japan Team.
Mikami accepted it and he became the second keeper of the team, using the jersey #22. However, he was on the bench for the whole tournament, until the match against Germany Jr., due to Wakashimazu's right-hand injury from the semifinals. Wakashimazu said that if his hand was all right he wouldn't allow Wakabayashi to play, but he had to play this time. During the finals, after a tough encounter where Wakabayashi and Schneider continue their rivalry during the match, and thanks to his Japanese teammate efforts, Japan won 3-2 against Germany Jr.
World Youth tournament In World Youth, both of his arms were injured because of previous encounters with Brian Cruyfford and Stefan Levin. For the World Youth, his arms were getting recovered as the Final Tournament started. However, he still managed to protect All Japan's goal in the Asian Preliminaries of the World Youth, against strong opponents such as Thailand Youth, Saudi Arabia Youth, and China Youth (where Xiao Junguang was the first one to score him a goal outside the P.K. area). Due to his injuries, he could play no other game of Asian qualification more, but since Wakashimazu had traveled from Japan and joined the team, the Japanese goal was safe.
He could not dispute the group matches of the World Youth Cup, so he could continue to focus on his recovery under the eyes of his trainer from Germany Hans Kleiman himself, whom Gamo had hired. Gamo set him up for the quarter-final against Sweden Youth, where he was able to settle his previous score with Levin. Japan will move into the semi-final against Netherlands Youth with a golden goal (1:0). There, Genzo settled his score with Cruyford.
Against Brazil Youth
In the first half-time, Japan Youth defended their goal successfully, whereupon they were 0:0 until half-time break, but they were exhausted by the continuous offensive attacks of the Brazilians. Genzo could block Carlos Santana's Rolling Overhead Kick and the Skywing Shot. However, in the 14th minute of the 2nd half-time, he was beating by Santana, scoring 1:0 for Brazil. Shortly thereafter, he again holds one of Santana's slippers with both fists, which he again injured himself and was still having medical attention. Even so, he managed to send the ball to Tsubasa to score the tying goal, and then Japan Youth won the upper hand with a 2:1 thanks to Misaki. When the countdown (from 60 seconds) ended, Natureza entered the field, which shortly afterward could switch off Tsubasa and beat him (again, from outside the P.K. area!). The decision to win should therefore bring another golden goal in extra time. When Santana and Natureza attacked once more, Genzo was able to block Natureza Volley shoot, and was injured again and finally replaced by Wakashimazu. As a result of his team efforts, Japan Youth won the World Youth Cup with a 3:2 victory against Brazil.
Road to 2002 / Golden-23 arcs
In Road to 2002, Bayern Munich, with Schneider, Levin and Xiao, won 2-1 against Hamburg. Because of Wakabayashi's "unnecessary" overlap near the end of that match, Hamburg's coach held a grudge towards Wakabayashi, and he ended up not being able to play anymore.
Thus, in Golden-23 arc, he joined U-22 Japan. He perfectly defended Japan's goal in the beginning of the Asian preliminaries, giving a feeling of safety to the team. However, being severely injured to the eye in the match against Australia, he became unable to play the rest of the preliminaries.
Rising Sun arc
In Rising Sun, his eye was healed, and he completely defended Japan's goal during all the practice matches that he played against Olympic New Zealand, Olympic Mexico and Olympic Argentina. He later made it into the final 23 members of the Japanese Olympic team. In the quarter-finals of the Olympics, Wakabayashi got injured as he was kicked by Schneider, blood splashed everywhere and he was brought to the hospital and replaced immediately. There, his former coach Mikami and the Draxler family which took care of him when Mikami left Germany, also followed him to the hospital and transfused their blood since he had severe bleeding. He had undergone a surgery which ended up leaving 100 stiches on his back. After the game was finished, Schneider came to hospital and there Wakabayashi told him that since he wants to challenge Tsubasa, he will join Bayern Munich for the next season and he wants to win the Bundesliga and also the Champions league with Schneider.
To be updated as series progresses.
Charismatic and personal, Genzo is highly dedicated to those he holds close to him and stays firm to his decisions. He is fairly private when it comes to his own emotions, only sharing them with people he trusts highly. Genzo is one of the more mature characters throughout the series, but isn't always entirely logical or practical, having gotten into fights a few times. He treasures those he holds close and cares for, wanting the best for them, going as far as to ruin his relationship with the members of All Japan Junior Youth team, all of whom he'd known since elementary school, by provoking them just so they could get stronger and strive to beat him and the Germany Junior Youth team (this lead to his short fistfight with Kojiro Hyuga during the Japan vs. Germany match in the J Boys' Challenge arc). Genzo only told Tsubasa about his true intentions, showing how much he trusts him.
When he first appears at around ten years of age, Genzo is cocky and selfish - something he had gained as a byproduct of his impressive ability as a goalkeeper even when going against others in senior high school. He has striven toward being the world's best goalkeeper ever since he was very young, and his dedication toward this goal is apparent throughout the rest of the series. Even if he was self-centered, though, Genzo was one to stay true to his word - he was beaten by Tsubasa when they first officially met and left the field they were fighting over to Nankatsu, as promised, and went to the Shutetsu vs. Nankatsu game specifically to play against him and put their duel to an end. Genzo finally opens his eyes and realizes there's much more to focus on during a match than just one person and not to underestimate a team, losing his cocky nature in favor of someone more humble, though for the most part, he remains the same throughout the series.
In other media
In 1983 anime series
Genzo was appointed in U-13 Japan for the U-13 International Tournament in Europe. He wears the number 1. This tournament occurs in a fever dream of Tsubasa shortly before the 16th National middle school finals against Toho, where he faced Steve Robson and Schneider (1983 anime), famous for his "Telepathy saving" technique, and is mentioned only in the anime.
- Europa Daikessen: Genzo was U-13 Japan the main keeper and used the #1 jersey, but still he only played for the second half time of the game against All Japan Jr. Youth in order to stop all shots from the German ace striker Schneider by using his parrying shot stops, and his Sixth Sense abilities.
- Ayaushi! Zen Nippon Jr.: After the first refusal from the JFA to be part of U-14 Japan, in the final minutes of the 2nd half-time, the executives allow him to be the final keeper, after Wakashimazu and Morisaki's defeat against Schneider.
- Sekai Daikessen!! Jr. World Cup: He is the official keeper of Japan Jr. for the Junior World Cup tournament.
- Saikyo no Teki! Netherlands Youth: It was mentioned that he, as the main goalkeeper of Hamburger SV, played against Brian Cruyfford in the Netherlands Youth campaign in Germany and lost, being injured from one of his hands in the process. He soon travels to Japan to cheer for his team, specially Wakashimazu at the third and final match against the Dutch team.
- Main article: Genzo Wakabayashi/Techniques
- Main article: Genzo Wakabayashi/Gallery
- Along with Ishizaki, he is one of only two characters who originally appeared in the 1980 oneshot pilot Captain Tsubasa that continued to appear in the regular series.
- His name is Benji (Benjamin) Price in the Latin American and European dubs, Benji Wakabayashi in the Brazilian dub, Waleed in the Arabic dub and Thomas Price in French.
- Genzo is currently the only rival that hasn't lost against Tsubasa in an official match.
- Genzo admires the German keepers Sepp Maier and Toni Schumacher.
- In the 2018 version, he saved a rugby ball, baseball, handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey puck, tennis ball, and javelin during the turf war, while in the original version, only the first three were shown.
- Also, in the 2018 version, Genzo's gloves are green with black trims with yellow palms, a nod to the 1983 anime.
- Wakabayashi has worn all primary color uniforms in the anime: red and green (training), white and azure (Hamburger), orange and lime green (1994), bright orange (classic), gold (Tatakae Dream Team), purple (World Youth) and black (2001).