Captain Tsubasa isn't the best in regards of Character Development, but some moments are huge tearjerkers.
- Matsuyama and Yoshiko having to say goodbye to each other as she's leaving to USA. This is made even worse/better in the original TV series, since the last part of the episode where this happens is fully dedicated to them and expands his Race for Your Love as well as their last meeting.
Yoshiko: "W-why did you come here...?! You had no right to!"Matsuyama: : "Near the soccer field, I tried to call out to you, but you didn't look back and didn't see me. I tried to chase after you but I fell down, and that's when I hurt my leg... But please, don't cry!"Yoshiko: But...Matsuyama: "Please don't. Because if you do, you won't be able to dry your tears with your handkerchief on my bruised knee..."Yoshiko: "MATSUYAMA...!" [ Cry into Chest ]Matsuyama:: "Take care... Write to me, I'll write back, And I'll keep the Hachimaki you made for me. Thank you, thanks for everything!"
- The picture above comes from Yoshiko Trying Not to Cry right before she has to leave in the 2002 series.
- "Tsubasa yo Hashire". Every time this song plays, something very emotional happens (such as during Nankatsu vs Musashi match, when Tsubasa finally starts playing seriously).
- Misaki giving up on living with his Missing Mom because he doesn't want to lose his dad.
- And then he reconciles with her her new family after his half-sister begs him to visit her
- Schneider's struggle to deal with his parents's inminent divorce and his tears of joy when Mom and Dad decide to not split up
- Tsubasa's rejection of Kumi's feelings (in the sweetest, kindest way he can) and her choosing her friendship with him and Sanae over her love for him and then running away in tears so he won't see her cry anymore.
Kumi: "I love you, Tsubasa-sempai. And I always will. But I do understand there's somebody else in your heart. So I want to support you, I have no bad feelings! So Tsubasa-sempai, please tell everything to Sanae-sempai. Tell her "I love you". That's how a guy like you should do it. But even then... I'm happy that I could tell you how I feel today, Tsubasa-sempai!"
- Santana's tale of Parental Abandonment that made him an Emotionless Boy. Cranked Up to Eleven in the 2002 series.
- And then there's him meeting up with his Missing Mom and immediately accepting her back in his life.
- Hyuga's mother temporarily becoming an Ill Girl as well as Hyuga having a huge Heroic B.S.O.D. at both the prospect of losing his mother and the memories of his father's death
- Matsuyama telling Tsubasa that he'd rather be with his unconscious girlfriend in the hospital rather than playing against the Swedish team and Tsubasa quietly supporting his decision despite how messy it'll be for the team.
Matsuyama: "Tsubasa... It's really painful for me to throw away the dream that I've pursued with everyone else. I'm really sorry for that. But I won't return as long as Fujisawa is still unconscious. Right now, for me, Fujisawa is more important than soccer!"Tsubasa: "... Got it, Matsuyama." [places his hand on his shoulder before leaving]
- Overlapping with the former... There's Levin's Dark and Troubled Past, where we learn how he lost the fiancee he loved so much in a car accident. Specially when the reader sees what kind of woman Karen was and witnesses the flashbacks to her Famous Last Words.
Karen: " Levin... your dream... Make it true. Become the best soccer player in the world... for me..."
- Any time Tsubasa and Roberto are on opposite sides, Such as in the 3rd movie and during the Jr World Cup in World Youth. In World Youth, Roberto is given the post of coach and trainer for the Brasil Jr Team and give a few days for Tsubasa to pack his belongins and leave. Tsubasa see each other again during the finals and Roberto became a very bitter man, obviously shaken and saddened because he must face his pupil. Even though Roberto tries as much as possible to not let his personal feelings get in the way of his job.
- Roberto, fully realising that Tsubasa is the key player in the Japan Team, plans a strategy in which Tsubasa will never get the ball and will be all alone during the match. As time flows, as the match continue, Roberto's Jerkass Fašade breaks little by little and it finally breaks when Brasil is defeated and congratulates Tsubasa for such an awesome performance.
- What is even sadder is the fact that Roberto has imagined his Brasil team to be centered around Tsubasa. We even have a panel where there is a Tsubasa in Brasil uniform, wearing the sacred number 10 as well as the captain armband.
- The Read to 2002 series takes the scene where Roberto leaves Japan and Tsubasa has an Heroic B.S.O.D. when he fails to catch up and handles it in a subtler, but pretty poignant way. Instead of having Roberto return right after the Nankatsu/Meiwa match with Tsubasa, Natsuko and Sanae chasing after him, the series has him hanging around for some days and then leaving. Additionally this happens right after Misaki leaves Shizuoka and Wakabayashi says he's going to Germany, there are additional scenes with Roberto and the Locked Out of the Loop Tsubasa... and instead of having Tsubasa go to the airport note , he desperately searches for Roberto in the downtown area and ends up at the local soccer field, sobbing his heart out under the rain and calling out to Roberto.
- In Road to 2002, there's a scene where Wakabayashi, Kaltz and Schneider have flashbacks to their childhood-teenage times in the middle of a spat that follows an almost goal from Schneider and finishes with Kaltz being expelled, despite Wakabayashi's efforts; after this, Wakabayashi concludes that they can't afford to play soccer solely for fun any longer, despite cherishing these happy days. In both manga and anime, the situation's damn sad.