Genzo Wakabayashi (若林 源三, Wakabayashi Genzō) is a major character of Captain Tsubasa.
Wakabayashi first appeared in Captain Tsubasa (1981), chapter 1. He is an extraordinary keeper, recognized as one of the best in the series. Since the beginning of the series, he has been greatly supporting Tsubasa in fulfilling their shared dream of making Japan winning the World Cup.
I'm Genzo Wakabayashi! The birth of the SGGK
Genzo Wakabayashi was the third son of a rich family. Spoiled by his father, he usually made absurd demands for his birthdays, such as a private football court with lights to play the night, 100 volumes of world football videos and a school ground exclusively for football. He was serious about using those gifts to fulfill his objectives in football, however, since he genuinely loved the sport. For his 10th birthday, Wakabayashi asked for the best goalkeeper coach in the world as his personal coach. When Wakabayashi learned that the chosen coach, Tatsuo Mikami, was a bronze medalist upon meeting him, he looked down on that achievement, saying that was only third best while he asked for the best coach. But, as Mikami admitted, his abilities were proportional to his attitude, and he indeed felt that Wakabayashi could change Japanese soccer in the future and that he might become the best goalkeeper in the world. On Wakabayashi's part, despite the way he acted, he also respected Mikami, especially after Mikami told him his thoughts about the goalkeeper position and mentioned the idea of becoming an SGGK.
As Wakabayashi became a regular in Shutetsu, he demanded Mamoru Izawa, Hajime Taki, Teppei Kisugi, Shingo Takasugi and Yuzo Morisaki to use honorifics when addressing him even if they are the same age, since he was a regular and they weren't. However, this was only to motivate them to get better, as he recognized the abilities of them and even admitted that to Mikami. Izawa, Taki, Kisugi and Takasugi were initially angry at Wakabayashi for acting in such a conceited way, but after being told about Wakabayashi's true feelings by Morisaki, as well as getting invited to Wakabayashi's house to train with high schoolers, they realized that Wakabayashi was a good guy at heart.
Thanks to the daily training at Wakabayashi's house, the five 5th graders were promoted to the A-Team, and Izawa, Taki, Kisugi and Takasugi were even chosen as starters for the Shizuoka Prefectural Tournament finals against Shimizu FC. The benched 6th graders weren't happy with the decision however, and one of them accused Wakabayashi's father of using his influence to make the coach do that. Upon hearing that, Wakabayashi grabbed said guy by the collar and harshly scolded him, saying that he wasn't chosen simply because he was not as good, and being rich or poor did not matter in football, since the sport had a lot of things that money could not buy. He then told his four classmates to prove themselves in the match. Shutetsu eventually scored the winning goal thanks to the collective effort of the five of them - Wakabayashi included.
Shutetsu qualified for the 5th Juveniles National Tournament, and eventually became champions. After the finals, Wakabayashi told Mikami that the latter would become the best goalkeeper coach in the world once he wins the World Cup. He also asked his classmates to drop the honorific, as they already became starters, but they kept on using it since they grew accustomed to it.
Wakabayashi became Shutetsu's captain. He caught Tsubasa Ozora's attention after showing his abilities during the quarrel with Ryo Ishizaki. After receiving the ball that Tsubasa kicked from the hill to his house, they had a short confrontation on the street where Tsubasa repelled Wakabayashi's shot by making the ball go under the bus and into the keeper's arms. They then have a duel, with Shutetsu's B-Team joining Wakabayashi's side. Tsubasa dribbled past the whole B-Team before making a header, which was punched away by Wakabayashi. Then, Roberto Hongo, a former member of Brazil national team return the ball to Tsubasa with a pass. This time, Tsubasa's Diving Header put the ball into the goal. Wakabayashi became angry and did not accept it since it wasn't a real match, and said they will continue their duel in the interschool event.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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 defeated 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 and silver (World Youth) and black (2001).
- In specific, adding -san to Wakabayashi's name.