is a Japanese soccer manga and anime series, authored by Yōichi Takahashi. The manga series was serialized in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion. The anime series was produced by Nippon Animation and Animax, and premiered in Japan on Animax between September 11 2002 and September 10 2003, spanning a total of 52 episodes.
Animax later aired the series across its other networks worldwide, including its English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, and its other networks, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Latin America and numerous other regions. The anime series has also been broadcast, translated and dubbed in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and other languages.
German-based sportswear brand Puma were the commercial sponsors for the anime series, with many of the clothing and sportsgear sporting Puma's brand.
Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
tells the story of Kanō Kyōsuke, a teenage high-school student, who, at the beginning of the series, has just transferred into the Jyoyō Orange high school. Kyōsuke's older brother is the illustrious and extremely famous A.C. Milan soccer
player, Kanō Seisuke, who had first taught him how to play and love the game of soccer and whom he has greatly admired since childhood. After Seisuke left Japan to sign with Italian powerhouse A.C. Milan, people started comparing Kyōsuke with his brother, and criticizing him due to his different playing style. Living in his brother's shadow, Kyōsuke's love for the game slowly started to evaporate and lessen, and he eventually lost most of his passion for it.
After his transfer to Jyoyō and a fated meeting with Tsujiwaki Miki, an enthusiastic girl with a lot of passion for soccer and who soon reinvigorates his love for the game with her determination to excel, Kyōsuke's deep love and passion for soccer returns to its fullest and soon joins the Jyoyō soccer team, making several friends, such as his fellow freshmen, Sakai Jefferson, a talented goalkeeper, and Rodrigo, a passionate Brazilian transfer student. Kyōsuke, along with his friends at Jyoyō, invigorated with Miki's care and help, and by his love and determination to excel in soccer, takes on the best, and discovers an immense and determined passion for the game.
- Note: Names are given in the original Japanese order, with the family name, or surname, followed by the given name. This is also the format used in the English dub.
- Called Orangehead jokingly by some of his friends, Kyōsuke learns the tricks and trades of soccer from his illustrious elder brother, A.C. Milan playmaker Kanō Seisuke. After Seisuke's departure, he slowly loses interest in the game, but rediscovers his love for it after a fated meeting with Miki. Initially joining as the coach of Jyoyō's girl's soccer team, the determination exhibited by the girls, especially Miki, invigorates his passion for soccer, and soon he joins Jyoyō's male soccer team, emerging as their ace striker. In the last episode, he becomes a player for AFC Ajax.
- Kyōsuke's closest friend, and the captain of the female soccer team in Jyoyō. He later falls in love with her.
- A transfer student from Brazil, who wants to become a pro in order to help his family. Rodrigo is Jyoyo's playmaker, who earns the interest of several professional J-League clubs. In the final year, he becomes the captain of Akanegaoka.
- Known for charming all the girls in school, he is Jyoyō's goalkeeper. He is also known for his superior acceleration speed.
- He's known as Sergeant Chin. He played forward in junior high.
- Jyoyo's team captain in the first year.
- Known for his hot-headed attitude. In the first year, he has troubles with Rodrigo's individualist attitude, as he believes teamwork is the key for victory. In the second year, he's chosen to be the sub-captain, and has to deal with Yūya and his group.
- He's called Ōsaka by Kyōsuke. He's the series' comic relief for his bald look. In second year he is chosen by Sako as the new captain.
- Anime-only character. Called Nesthead by Kyōsuke. Kyōsuke's rival in 2nd year for the forward position. He also falls in love with Miki and battles with Kyōsuke in order to win her heart.
- Anime-only character. The fastest in the team. Yūya's buddy. He and Muroi joined soccer to help Yūya make it into the J-League, as a way to thank him for getting them out of their lives as outcasts.
- Anime-only character. Replaces Kamata in 2nd year as defender. Known for his Mohawk look. Like Shinkawa, he started playing soccer to help Yūya make it into the J-League.
- Coach of Jyōyo men's soccer club. He was formerly a powerful forward for the Japanese National Team.
- Jyōyo's team manager. He used to play soccer in middle school, but due to an injury he cannot play anymore.
- Jyōyo dormitory's cook.
- Jyōyo's nutritionist and cook. She has some feelings for Seisuke, who asked her to watch over his brother in his absence.
- Kyōsuke's brother. When he was young, he led both his Middle and High School's soccer teams to the nationals and won, and was in the top three in High School. A world renowned player before 17, he also had a J-League contract before 21, and later became the AC Milan star and captain. He also had excellent academic grades. Furuki
- Ryosei's team captain. He plays ID (Important Data) soccer. Makoto Iguchi
- Kokuryō's ace goalkeeper. He also plays with the Japan youth team. Kamiyama Yuujirou
- Kokuryō's ace striker. Kyōsuke's rival as the best striker in the region. JYT member.
and , (midfielders)
- Kokuryō's dynamic duo. They are members of the JYT.
- Known as Kanō Seisuke Jr. Tenryū's captain. He's Kyōsuke's rival as the best player in high school soccer in Japan.
- Like Murakami Kazuo, he was a former Japanese football player. He was the first man to ever score a goal in a World cup for Japan, since this was their first time to play the tournament. Narumi Keisuke
- Biological father of Kyosuke. He holds a mark in japanese football. Lost his life in a car accident shortly before being called to the Japanese football team. Kyosuke was in the car, but managed to survive the accident. Narumi Mitsuko
- Biological mother of Kyosuke. She lost her life in the car accident along with her husband. Coach Numakawa
- Head coach of Tenryu High and Japan Under 22 delegate. Toda and Ueno
- Both are side backs for Jyoyō's Soccer Club. Kamata "Sergeant Chin" teachs them some defensive techniques in the first year. Sakai also tells them what to do in some trainings and matches.
- Jyōyo Akanegaoka High School (Jyōyo Orange Hill) - Kyōsuke Kanō's high school team. Members: Sakai Jeferson Kouji, Toda, Ueno, Kamata (graduated), Muroi, Ichikawa, Shinkawa, Esaka, Sako (graduated), Tanaka, Rodrigo, Kanou Kyosuke, Kiba Yuya, Sasao, Shimizu (graduated), Omura (graduated).
- Ryōsei High School - Known for their ID soccer, based on data collected by their captain, Furuki.
- Yamanomori High School - A school in the mountains known for their teamwork.
- Kokuryō high school - The regional champions and Tenryū's rival school. Members: Kamiyama, Iguchi, Fujimori Twins
- Tenryū High School - The national champions. Seisuke Kanō's former high school. Members: Seisuke Kanō (graduated), Kagami, Sawamura, Suzuki, Mishima, Aida
- Japan Under 22 delegate - Chosen by coach Numakawa to represent Japan in the Amsterdam Preliminaries. Members: Kanou Kyosuke, Kagami, Kamiyama, Iguchi, Fujimori Twins
- Jyoyo Asahigaoka High School - Sister school to Jyōyo Akanegaoka High School.
Similarities and differences with Captain Tsubasa
Yoichi Takahashi still used the same formula he used in Captain Tsubasa
, but in a less exaggerated fashion. Like in Tsubasa, he included a character with Brazilian origins and a character with European style. Nevertheless, players do not have signature or trademark moves like Tsubasa's Drive Shot or Hyuga's Tiger Shot. Instead, Takahashi made his striker characters competent at any kind of shot. Unlike Nankatsu's team (from Tsubasa), who always won championships, Jyoyo did not win any national championships in the anime; and in the manga, their first national victory is told afterwards, without giving any detail.
Tsujiwaki Miki told Kanō Kyōsuke that she became interested in soccer after reading a soccer manga which can be assumed to be Captain Tsubasa. In episode 27 of the anime Esaka Masashi told Kamata Gohzo that Kanō Kyōsuke learnt the overhead kick after watching an episode of Captain Tsubasa the previous day.