“Holly e Benji” – 32 years since its first broadcast in Italy (and Malta)

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It was July 19th 1986 when the thanks to the ‘overspill’ transmission from Italy, Maltese children (and not only) were hooked on by the Cartoon series Holly e Benji. The series was transmitted by Mediaset.

Produced and produced in 1983 by Tsuchida Production , the series consisted of 128 episodes that tell only the story of the first ‘generation.

The original name was Capitan Tsubasa.

In Italy , the cartoon series appeared in July 1986 , with the names changed because Reteitalia had requested it from the dubbing company because their policy was to give an ‘Italian’ and ‘English’ versions of the Japanese names.

The series used to start at 1600 (GMT + 1) and used to inspire many children who loved football.

The story is about a Japanese kid, Oliver Hutton, nicknamed “Holly”, whose goal is to win the World Cup. The son of a ship captain and a housewife, Holly moves to Fujisawa City, near Shizuoka, when she is about to start her final year in elementary school. There are two schools in this city, Newppy (public) and St. Francis (private).

After meeting Bruce Harper, captain of the Newppy elementary team, and some of the members of the team, he decides to enroll in the homonymous school and to challenge the goalkeeper of rival Saint Francis, Benji Price, who enjoys the reputation of being almost unbeatable, fame which will end because of Holly.

On the same day of the challenge, Holly met Roberto Sedinho, a great Brazilian player of Japanese origin, a friend of his father who, due to an eye problem, was forced to end his career prematurely. In gratitude, she will become Holly’s personal trainer and refine her technique.

After joining the Newppy football club, Holly begins his first game playing as a defender in the derby with rival Saint Francis, preventing Paul Diamond, Ted Carter and Johnny Mason from scoring in the first half, while in the second half we see him in attack allow his team to go out undefeated for the first time by comparison with rivals. The game ends 2-2 dts with goals from Mason (Saint Francis), Holly (Newppy), Benji (Saint Francis) and even Holly (Newppy).

The Italian jingle of the first series of the same name, “Holly and Benji, two champions”  was composed by music by Augusto Martelli and text by Alessandra Valeri Manera (credited as Alinvest) and Nicola Gianni Muratori , is interpreted by Paolo Picutti (credited as “Paolo”). A new version of this acronym dates back to 1993 , interpreted in this case by the Little Cantori of Milan.

This jingle in addition to being used in various television programs, is also used in various home video editions of the series.


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