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Manga / Whistle!

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Whistle! is a Shonen Jump soccer manga by Daisuke Higuchi, about a soccer-mad Determinator, Sho Kazamatsuri, who, due to his short height, was left on the sidelines by his old school's soccer team, Musashi no Mori school. Unable to play the soccer he loves so much, Sho tranfers to Sakura Josui Junior High School, and from there, begins to hone his skills and realize his dream of becoming a professional soccer player.

Along the way, he meets many friends and rivals, among them, teammates soccer genius Tatsuya Mizuno, Kansai boy Shigeki Sato, science geek Daichi Fuwa, and the Musashi no Mori players themselves, as they struggle together to improve their soccer skills, overcome their weaknesses, and find unity in their teamwork to be the best they can.

Well-written and well-drawn, Whistle! was written as a tribute to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea/Japan. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1998 to 2002, and it was adapted into a 39-episode anime series that ran from 2002 to 2003.

It was followed by a manga sequel known as Whistle! W, which ran in Ura Sunday from 2016 to 2021.

Whistle! provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Tatsuya, Shigeki, Seiji, Katsuro, Tsubasa, Tenjo.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Tatsuya and Shigeki, aren’t bad, BAD boys, but they’re bad and badass enough to get the most Valentine’s Day chocolates out-universe, and Tatsuya somehow managed to receive an entire fan base group in AND OUTSIDE OF his school. That’s saying something.
  • Ascended Extra: Yuki is this in the anime, to a certain extent. Though she never elevates to main character status, she is given a tiny bit more focus and becomes a sort of Implied Love Interest for Sho.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Daichi Fuwa
  • Badass Bookworm: Daichi Fuwa
  • Badass Normal: Compared to a lot of his teammates, Sho's skills actually aren't anything special. However, he still manages to gain the respect of everyone he plays with AND against, with his persistence and his ability to read plays.
    • Badass Adorable: He's arguably the cutest person in the show. Even Tatsuya's aunt wants to take him home with her.
  • Big Fancy House: Tatsuya's. His teammates are well-impressed.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Naoki Inoue and Shigeki with a hilarious manzai skit (this had more emphasis in the anime).
  • Break the Cutie: Shigeki's backstory
  • Break the Haughty: Takashi Narumi gets taught a bit of a lesson every now and then.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Shigeki, who is rather lazy, fools around a lot and often jokingly pretends to be scared of other skilled players, is one of the best players in Sakura Josui and Kansai Select. Seiji from Musashi no Mori is quite similar. Also, Shoei Takayama from Kyushu Select, who is a very naturally talented athlete but he too fools around very often.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Ryoichi Tenjo is half-Japanese and half-German, and can be seen trying to learn German during his time with Tokyo Select.
  • Butt-Monkey: Santa Yamaguchi, and to a lesser extent, Naoki Inoue.
  • Character Development: Shigeki starts off as a slightly out-of-control and undisciplined Cheerful Child delinquent who liked fighting and generally doing whatever he wanted. He disliked having to deal with responsibility, and ran away from things that hurt him emotionally instead of facing them. He matures a lot during the second half of the series, and stops running away from things when they get too hard.
  • Chick Magnet: Tatsuya finds fangirls everywhere although he doesn't pay much attention, even though he is aware of them. Shigeki has his share of fans and even beat Tatsuya in the amount of Valentine's Day chocolate he received. Many female classmates also think Sho is cute (although that's slightly more little-brother-esque) and cool. Seiji (from Musashi no Mori) also has his share of admirers. Girls from Tsubasa (from Hiiba)'s class wanted to form a fanclub for him on his first day at school.
  • Cool Big Sis: Katori-sensei towards the Sakura Josui team. Coach Akira Saionji towards just about all the soccer players. Ko Kazamatsuri is a male example.
  • Cool Old Guy: Tatsuya's father, even said outright by one of his teammates. Also, Oyassan.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Not very often, but Sakura Josui does solidly kick the ass of one of the teams that looked down on them, to their dismay and shock. This was after a bit of a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech from Sho. To rub salt to the wound, the female students from said school all end up fangirling over Tatsuya.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Daichi, Tatsuya.
  • Determinator: Sho. And how!
  • Delinquents: Initially, Shigeki. Teppei also scares his roommates at first with his old-school-delinquent look, although they later find out it was just because he wanted to make a lasting impression.
  • Dramatic Wind: Happens rather often. When it happens around or with Sho, it's usually quite symbolic along with a play on words, as Sho's last name is "Kazamatsuri", with "kaze" meaning "wind" in Japanese.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Sho after suffering his first major injury, during the epilogue.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Played for laughs with Kaoru from Sakura Josui, when Takai finally realizes where his eyes are.
  • A Father to His Men: The goalie Katsuro who was Tokyo Select's first unanimous choice for captain. Also, arguably Tsubasa Shiina, with the Hiba guys. Sho too, though never made captain, fits comfortably in this trope.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Played for laughs with Naoki Inoue when Shigeki finally remembers him.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Sho, during the match with Musashi no Mori. And again, in the last volume, during his final clash with Shigeki.
  • Generation Xerox: Sho pulls off the exact same zero-degree angle goal corner shot just as his father.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Sho just about dozes off anywhere. Shigeki can also be seen often dozing off in class.
  • Heir to the Dojo: Well, it's not a dojo, but Shigeki makes a promise with his father; if his team, Kansai Select, cannot win the tournament, then he will give up soccer and take over his father's family business - something he has been avoiding for a long time
  • Heel–Face Turn: Arguably Shigeki who secretly joins up with the Kansai Select team in the Toresen Tournament so that he can have a chance to play against Sho, who is a member of Tokyo Select.
  • Heroic Resolve: Sho hates to lose because he wants to continue playing soccer for as long as he can. Part of the reason he is a Determinator.
  • I Am Not Left Legged: Ryochi's nanny reveals that he uses his right leg because of the fact he wasn't accepted into Mashashinomori and was kicked out of the spring champion.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Shigeki plays this up; he is from Kansai and often acts the role of the fool.
  • Implied Love Interest: Yuki Kojima, in the anime only.
  • Important Haircut: Yuki Kojima when she is confronted by Tatsuya (and Sho), who tells her to move forward with her love for soccer and start her own club, instead of angsting about not being able to play and taking it out on others. Also, Coach Matsushita when he joins the others and becomes a coach for the Toresen training program
  • Instant Fan Club: A classmate declares this on Tsubasa's first day of school in Hiba.
  • Jerk Jock: Takashi Narumi
  • Junior High
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Tatsuya is portrayed as cool and composed on the outside, but often is more emotional on the inside. As the series progresses, he loosens up a bit and is able to express his emotions more (and is encouraged to do so).
  • Mentors: Most of the coaches; in particular, Souju Matsushita and Akira Saionji. Oyassan and Ko Kazamatsuri also give Sho good advice from time to time.
  • My Soccer Is Stronger Than Yours
  • New Transfer Student: Sho at Sakurai Josui. He gets mistaken for a star soccer player from Musashi no Mori. It doesn't go well, but spurs him on to improve his skills.
  • One-Gender School: Subverted and Lampshaded; Musashi no Mori is originally thought to be an all-boys school, but the end of the last manga volume reveals that it is co-ed, though split into genders.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Shigeki occasionally uses one.
  • Parental Abandonment: Shigeki's father initially didn't want him, due to Shigeki being the son of him and his mistress. His mother was going to be properly married, though this doesn't necessarily mean 'abandonment' on his mother's part. Either way, it's depressing.
  • Power Trio: Eishi, Yuto, and Kazuma. Also, Sho, Tatsuya, and Shigeki, although sometimes Daichi is added in as the fourth guy.
  • Pretty Boy:
    • Shigeki seems aware that he is good looking and popular and occasionally flaunts it a little
    • Tatsuya, though usually aloof, is also aware and even has an omake about him getting ready in the morning (which includes him washing up and trimming his eyebrows, and declaring, whilst looking in the mirror, "I look great as usual!")
    • Tsubasa is often mistaken for a cute girl.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: Teppei during the match with Tohoku Select.
  • Put on a Bus: Towards the end of the anime, Shigeki
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Shigeki (red) and Tatsuya (blue). Also helps that Shige usually wears warm-colored clothing whilst Tatsuya wears cool-colored clothes.
  • The Runaway: Shigeki
  • Satellite Character: Mamoru Tanaka and Ippei Toyama. Nothing is known about them except that they are classmates and the wingbacks of Sakura Josui.
  • Sitting on the Roof: The Sakura Josui team have a meeting on the school roof during lunch.
  • Shorttank: Yuki
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrines and Temples: Shigeki resides in a shrine.
  • Slasher Smile: When Shigeki has one of these, it means that the other party is about three seconds away from a severe beatdown.
  • Sneezing: Katori-sensei, when Shigeki thinks that Yuki could probably do a better job as a manager.
  • Spin-Offspring: One of the two main protagonists in Whistle! W is Kouga Tenjou, son to Ryouichi and nephew to Sho, who married Ryouichi's little sister Irene note  between series.
  • Stacy's Mom: Tatsuya's mother sends the whole Sakura Josui team gawking.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shigeki is a Type A. It's pretty heart-breaking, actually.
  • Team Mom: Yuki as the manager, and Katori-sensei, too.
  • To Be a Master: Just about all the soccer boys, most especially Sho.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yuki and Miyuki
  • Tournament Arc: The schools' first tournament, and then the Toresen Tournament between the different regions.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Averted with Sakura Josui, who lose against Musashi no Mori the first time, and are unable to win enough games in the next tournament to meet them in the finals. Also subverted with Tokyo Select who were the underdogs in almost every Toresen Tournament match, but when it came to them meeting Kansai Select in the finals, it was never made abundantly clear who won the match.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Daichi is a science geek who often notes the direction of the wind blowing, and the physics of the position and angle the opponent is shooting from, in order to save goals.
  • You Go, Girl!: Yuki Kojima also dreams of becoming a pro league player, and travels abroad to achieve her dream.