Going on right now in Russia is the 2018 World Cup, the premier tournament for national football/soccer teams from countries that are not the USA. That makes it the first World Cup held more than a decade after French player Zinedine Zidane’s 2006 headbutt felt ‘round the globe.
And I was about to completely forget that! Then, yesterday, while at work not doing a whole lot of anything (being the day before the American Fourth of July holiday and such), I got this intriguing notification from the Tumblr app on my phone, saying that somebody had used a GIF in their post that was originally in one of my posts.
Upon clicking it, I found out that it was from somebody watching yesterday’s Colombia vs. England game for the Round of 16, hoping that their team would deliver a physical fuck-you to one of the English players and, in their words, “ride out in a Zidane-inspired blaze of glory.”
Aaaand cue the GIF.
So why the hell was I posting soccer headbutt highlights in the first place? Well, back in my somewhat more frequent Tumblr-posting days, I had started watching the first episode of anime TV series Space Brothers—a fantastic show (brief sidenote) that always puts a big smile on my face yet have not seen nearly enough of and really need to continue—and the Zidane headbutt featured prominently in it.
During the childhood flashback that shows why brothers Mutta and Hibito both wanted to become astronauts, Mutta relates that their pivotal UFO encounter happened during Italy and France’s game in the World Cup, where Zidane’s iconic outburst took place; hence, the scene where the GIF (and thumbnail) came from. It’s yet another moment—along with Mutta’s birth first, then Hibito’s birth as well—that Space Brothers chronologically and charmingly ties to a big day in sports history.
The show, however, was not done with the moment right then and there. It was the second time they used the headbutt—when they made it “plot-relevant”—that truly and completely won me over. By making me die with laughter.
It started with senpai Mutta giving some parting advice to his kouhais.
The context behind it was that Mutta, now an adult, had been working as a designer for an automobile manufacturer. His little brother Hibito, on the other hand, was an astronaut preparing for a NASA mission to the moon. One of them was achieving their childhood ambitions! However, Mutta’s supervisor thought it would be somehow acceptable to insult his brother.
That was when a volatile concoction of brotherly love and righteous anger overtook him.
And I. Fucking. Lost it.
That was the precise moment when the show completely and totally stole my heart. Like oh my God HE LITERALLY EXCLAIMS “ZIDANE!” WHEN HE CALLS HIS ATTACK.
Everybody raise your glass in tribute to a legend. Cheers.