Japanese animations, known as anime, are one of the most popular forms of TV series as well as movies in today’s Japan and abroad. These were hand-drawn or, in the case of new ones, computer animation-based works that can represent a variety of different topics. With multi-genre styles, Anime became one of the most renowned parts of Japanese culture.
Such huge popularity allowed creators to introduce a lot of diversity in terms of topics and themes. That is why everyone can find something interesting for themselves. One of the topics that deserve special recognition is anime sports. Though in most cases we are not dealing here with science-fiction or fantasy elements, the storyline and the entire world is so breath-taking and gripping and a lot of anime lovers look for anime sports recommendations.
In today’s list we prepared 11 very interesting and recommended options. They guarantee a rather diverse approach to sports in general. Although they all have pros and cons, they are surely worth watching. Even if you are not a fan of a particular sport discipline!
The first sports anime in the list is at the same time one of the most popular ones in general. It is a 24-minute anime series that is still ongoing. As of 2021, it has 85 episodes. Due to its popularity, the authors managed to create a story for five seasons. Importantly, there were also 5 OVA episodes and four compilation movies that had their premiere in theatres.
The anime is based on the Japanese manga that tells us a story of Shoyo Hinata. He is a boy who wishes to become one of the greatest volleyball players of all time. Because of his short height, his journey is much more difficult than for others.
Kuroko no Basket
Another sports manga that should interest you is Kuroko no Basuke, also known as Kuroko’s Basketball. It appeared at the end of 2008 for the first time and lasted until 2014 with 75 regular episodes and 3 OVA episodes. It consisted of 3 seasons.
The production tells us a story of a junior high basketball team from The Teiko Middleschool. They have been demolishing every other basketball team in Japan, gaining its renown as the best team in the past decades. After they graduated and went to different high schools, they all started to play in different basketball teams. Little did people know that besides five-star players, there was also another one – a freshman who joined Seirin High.
If we are looking for much shorter animation series, then we should certainly take into account Free!. Although it also had 3 seasons, there were only 12 episodes per season, giving us 36 episodes in total. It is a sports series based on swimming discipline.
Released in 2013, Free! is an anime that tells us a story of a swimming team from high school. It is the story of Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana, Rin Matsuoka, and Nagisa Hazuki. Though they shared childhood together, they had to part ways and move to different high schools. Now they reunite in order to attend one of the most prestigious swimming academies, Samezuka Academy.
Yuri on Ice
Figure skating seems like a sports discipline that no one should be interested with. However, Yuri on Ice proves that you don’t need to be a fan or even like the sport in order to enjoy this great anime. It is a great option for people who wish to finish the story within 1 season – there are only 12 episodes plus several OVA sections.
The anime focuses on a 23-year-old Japanese figure skater who, after a complete defeat in the Grand Prix Final, decides to suspend his career and return to home town. Interestingly, all the figure skating in the anime was also choreographed by Kenji Miyamoto. It means that in spite of its universal message and great storyline, it still remains realistic and faithful to the rules of the sport.
Some people do not consider street racing a sport. However, if we take into account a number of sport-like references and a great deal of skills required to perform as nice as the characters in the series, then we can safely say that Initial D and all the additions as well as movies are surely a great option and belong to the top anime sports.
Firstly, released in 1998, it had fifth standard episodes and one last, the so-called Final Stage that ended in 2014. The anime tells us a story of a student who helps his father and works as a delivery boy. Thanks to his family car, namely 1983 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex AE86, he delivers food to the customers. Though he hated it in middle school because he was forced to, his extraordinary driving skills were noticed. Now he tries to become the best driver in the Gunma Prefecture.
One of the most popular sports anime ever released and at the same time one of the oldest in this ranking. The first volume of manga of Captain Tsubasa appeared in 1981 and lasted until 1988. There have been 128 episodes overall. However, we need to remember about many different anime films, original video animations and spin-offs, as well as many other editions that took place in the universe.
As far as the plot is concerned, it is a production that focuses on one of the most popular sports overall, namely football. The story starts with 11-year-old Tsubasa Oozora, who is a student in an elementary school. Known as a heaven-sent child of football, his goal is to one day win the FIFA World Cup with Japan.
Ace of Diamonds
Another shonen type of anime series is Ace of Diamond. This is yet another sports discipline that may be of high interest for some of the people. The story revolves around Eijun Sawamura. He is a baseball pitcher. Interestingly, he had a very unusual changeup pitch that somehow occurred naturally. After graduating from middle school, he wants to join his friends in a local high school. However, he was discovered by one of the scouts that worked for the most prestigious school in the area, namely Seidou High.
The original run was not that long ago, because in 2013. With 126 episodes and 5 OVAs, the anime ended in March 2016. Interestingly, this was the first act of the anime. The second act, which started in 2019, lasts to this day because the manga is still being released.
Run With the Wind
An anime about running for a bit more mature audience? Run with the Wind first appeared in 2007 as manga. It took quite a long time for them to release an anime, because the first episode aired in 2018. It is a great option for those who love short series due to limited number of manga volumes and, therefore, limited number of episodes.
The story focuses on a former elite runner at high school, Kakeru. One time, he was chased for stealing food. However, a student from Kansei University decided to help him. Because he noticed our protagonist’s unbelievable speed, he persuades him to live in one of the old dormitories. What is more, Kakeru joins the team that is preparing for the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon.
The first season of the anime television series adaptation aired in October 2011. From that moment, the story of Chihaya Ayase has been on the TV on and off up to March 2020, when the third season was over. This is a bit of a different production, because it focuses on karuta. It is a card game known in Japan. However, because of its competitive characteristics, it has been a sport discipline for quite a long time now. This is why this particular option fulfils our anime sports recommendations.
As far as the story is concerned, we follow the history of a school girl. Chihaya Ayase loves to play karuta. However, at the urging of a new classmate, she decides to take part in the competitive karuta event, known as Hyakunin Isshu tournament.
This anime sports list is completed by one of the newest sport anime TV adaptations on the market, namely Megalo Box. Manga itself is one of the newest ones as well. It was originally run between February and August in 2018.As far as the anime is concerned, its first season appeared in April 2018 and ended in June the same year. It received a lot of positive feedback. As a result of that, we can hope for the second season of the series coming in 2021.
This sports-oriented anime takes place in a futuristic Japan. There, the society is divided into licensed and unlicensed citizens. The first group lives in prosperity and wealthiness, whereas the second one needs to stay on the outskirts in the slum. Megalo Boxing is one of the most popular sports. It is quite similar to regular boxing, but because of a metal frame that the boxers need to wear, most of the attacks are lethal. We follow the story of Junk Dog who at the beginning is unlicensed. However, after a forgery, he enters the Megalonia tournament and decides to fight gearless in order to climb the ranking much faster.
How to pick the right sports anime for you?
As a result of huge variety in terms of sports discipline, genres, and networks, most people feel confused. The anime sports list presented above covered only a margin of interesting options that differ in many terms. However, thanks to them, we could familiarize ourselves with the top anime sports currently available.
But what to do in order to find the right option for you? Well, first of all, we should regard the sports discipline we want to watch. Another thing worth knowing is the age range as well as sub-genres, so we can avoid themes we are not interested with. In addition to that, the air time as well as the number of episodes is quite crucial as well. The last but not least thing to note is the general feedback and ratings of the anime sports.
First of all, remember to choose the right sport
Though it seems like a silly thing to mention, sometimes it is a good option to start from browsing anime sports recommendations and picking only those that have an interesting discipline in them. If we are not the fans of a particular sport, we may lose quite a lot and not be able to enjoy the production properly.
Obviously, sometimes we face anime series that guarantee an extraordinary scenario and character development. In such works, we often forget about the discipline in question, because it plays the background role.
Specify the age range and the sub-genre
If you looked closely at the anime sports list presented up above, then you noticed a huge discrepancy in terms of age suggestions. Most anime TV adaptations have divisions on demographic groups. We can name Shonen, Shojo, Seinen, and Josei.
The two first are the most popular ones and they respectively refer to young boys and young girls (at the age of 12-18). Seinen and Josei are the productions for older teenage buys as well as the adults. Seinen for men and Josei for women. It is obvious to say that there are also family-friendly positions. Also, there are those recommended only for a mature audience. It is all because of an abundance amount of brutality and gore scenes.
Picking the right sub-genres is, together with the age range, one of the most crucial aspects in terms of choosing the right anime. All the anime sports recommendations present us additional information regarding the story, the theme of the anime as well as possible side stories.
Summary and conclusion
Top anime sports can be both very long and extremely short. That is why it all depends on your pick. The anime sports recommendations that we presented are quite diverse. As a result, you can choose the right option for you, depending on your own preferences as well as requirements.