Sports anime , as its title suggests, is a genre that focuses on one sport. Over the years we have had many representations of the most famous sports, such as baseball, basketball, tennis, etc., but we also have slightly more exotic exponents, such as ice skating and ballroom dancing.
For this reason, in this list we will not only talk about the highlights of what we all know, but we will also try to mention those anime that are not so well known or so famous that extol a less stereotypical sport.
Without much further ado, let’s start with this list:
Hajime no Ippo
Hajime no Ippo is one of those anime shows its sport in all its glory. The protagonist is called Ippo Makunouchi, and the story shows his struggle to succeed as a boxer and in life, despite initially being a weakling who was always the object of ridicule by others.
The series demonstrates the power of perseverance and diligence throughout history
Similar Highlights: Ashita no oe, Megalo Box, Rainbow, Baki the Grappler
Diamond no Ace
The years pass, and Diamond no Ace does not end. Few sports anime have lasted as long as daiya , and the manga has been in print since 2016. With three seasons and no end in sight, the story of Eiju Sawamura, a baseball pitcher, never ceases to amaze viewers.
The first season follows Seidou and his main rivals as they try to help the third-year students go to nationals during the summer tournament.
Similar highlights: H2, Princess Nine, Cross Game, Major, Ookiku Furikabutte, One Outs, Samurai Giants, Ippatsu Kanta-Kun, Yakyuukyou no Uta, Touch, Azusa, Otetsudai Shimasu!, Play Ball… One of the favorite sports of the Japanese is baseball, there are many examples!
YowaPedal is an anime that makes anyone smile as it combines the excitement of sports with the quirkiness of competitive cycling. This sport may sound a bit strange, but this is not why we should leave this story aside, since one of the strengths of the series is that it shows it from very interesting perspectives.
Onoda Sakamichi is an otaku who wants to join his school’s anime club, since he doesn’t have many friends his age. One day, the woman in charge of the cycling club realizes that the boy has cycling skills, since he travels long distances on a bicycle that does not work for that purpose.
Similar Highlights: Over Drive, Long Drivers, Idaten Jump, Nasu: Andalusia no Natsu
Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteru
This series is one of those gems lost between seasons. Featuring a huge cast, 11 main characters and two featured leads, it touches on topics like school violence, emotional abuse from superiors, self-improvement and much more.
Kakeru Kurahara is known to have a bad attitude, and one day, he has the “misfortune” to run into Haiji Kiyose, who watches him run and becomes obsessed with his posture and excellent form. Haiji decides to harass him until he moves into his shared bedroom. From there, a peculiar alliance is formed when Haiji explains to Kakeru that he is forming a club of eleven runners to participate in the Hakone Ekiden race, one of the most difficult and prestigious in the country.
Similar Highlights: Prince of Stride, Battle Athletess Daidoukai
Sport: American football
Eyeshield 21 is an anime with a great reputation for being action packed and entertaining. Humor is also an important part of the series, combined with the physicality of the sport, this anime guarantees fun and laughter.
The story follows Sena Kobayakawa, a young man who gained extraordinary speed skills, who was discovered by the captain of the Devil Bats team.
Similar Highlights: There are no other football anime out there, but if you’re looking for a sport similar in its grittiness, perhaps rugby is second best. There are some rugby series, such as All Out!!, Try nights, number 24, Ani x Para: Who Is Your Hero?
Haikyuu! is a series whose strength lies not only in how cool it makes the sport it’s based on, but also in its focus on a cast of characters growing as a team. And we can’t fail to mention that the animation is way above your typical sports anime.
The protagonist is Hinata Shouyo, who aspires to become a small giant in volleyball. After meeting the famous king of the court, Hinata is motivated to improve to face this rival with better skills. However, what is his surprise when he discovers that this same rival will be part of the team where he plays in high school…
Destacados similares: Atakka Yu!, Atakku Nº1, Ashita e Attack!, Harukana Recieve (para voleibol de playa)
Kuroko No Basket
Kuroko no Basket easily dethrones any classic basketball anime that has ever existed. Why? Because one, it has the perfect cast to do it, two, the animation is excellent, and three, the way it brags about the sport the series is about is pretty amazing.
The Generation of Miracles was a basketball team that gained fame and acclaim throughout Japan. However, the team was eventually to disband as its members had to graduate. Once separated, we meet Kuroko, the “invisible” member of this prestigious team with a particular ability to make his presence on the court unnoticed.
Destacados similares: Slam Dunk, Dear Boys, Buzzer Beater, Mitsu x Mitsu Drops
Yuri!!! On Ice
Sport: Ice Skating
Yuri!!! On Ice is a very good exponent of a sport rarely shown in conventional anime. With extremely endearing protagonists and their evolutionary plot that makes you invest your emotions in them from episode one, Yuri!!! On Ice is a wonderful way to satisfy your curiosity about such a peculiar discipline.
La historia sigue a Yuuri Katsuki, un joven aspirante a medallista olímpico cuyo talento no está pulido, pero su pasión es palpable. Un día, el prodigio del patinaje y su mayor ídolo, Viktor Nikiforov, lo ve patinar por casualidad y decide tomarlo bajo su tutela. Juntos, emprenden un camino donde ambos están pisando terreno desconocido, Viktor como entrenador, Yuuri como alumno que tiene mucho por aprender. Además, el “rival”, Yuri Plisetsky, también es de notar, con una personalidad tsundere que encantará a cualquiera.
Destacados similares: Como es de esperarse, no hay muchas series enfocadas en el patinaje artístico excepto Ginban Kaleidoscope y Skate-Leading Stars
Prince of Tennis
Probablemente uno de los primeros sports anime de muchos, Prince of Tennis tiene un lugar destacado en la memoria colectiva. No muchos anime mezclan la imposibilidad del espectáculo y la exageración tan magestuosamente como este, y por eso se merece un lugar en esta lista.
Ryoma Echizen es un prodigio del tenis a los 11 años, y al momento de unirse a la escuela secundaria, se abre paso rápido como un joven promesa y logra un lugar dentro del equipo en tiempo récord. La serie sigue a Ryoma y al resto de Seigaku en los diversos partidos que deben jugar para llegar al campeonato nacional.
Similar standouts: Baby Steps, Ace wo Nerae!, Softenni, Teekyuu, Usakame, Hoshiai no Sora , and for table tennis, Ping Pong the Animation is an interesting example because of its experimental animation. There is also Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, Ike! Ina-chuu Takkyuubu and other exponents of table tennis.
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club has some of the best animation on this list. It is a series about inter-school competitive swimming, which also has a cast of charming characters and lots of humor. Follow the typical form of the prodigy who does not know what to do beyond his talent, and the group of friends that helps him grow and be a better person to stand out in his discipline.
The series follows Haruka Nanase, a young swimming prodigy who feels connected to the water. However, he has never felt identified with the competitions, nor the need to win, but his friend and rival Rin Matsuoka, yes, and thanks to him, Haruka begins to question where to go in the future and if only having talent is really enough. enough.
Similar highlights: Dive!!, Keijo!!!!!, Umisho
Sport: Japanese traditional archery
Another very recent series that stands out for having a lot of soul, Tsurune shows a peculiar dynamic of the prodigy who lost his abilities and finds an adult mentor who helps him. The father/son dynamics with the team coach, who is an extremely important character, and the relationships between the characters stand out.
When Minato Narumiya realizes that he is suffering from sudden anxiety, it is too late. Causing his team to lose a trophy, he decides to quit archery forever, even though it is a precious memory he has of his late mother. Upon entering high school, he receives an invitation from the archery club, but he is not sure if he is willing to go through that again, even though his old friends from high school have already joined.
Destacados similares: Arjuna, Otogi Zoshi, Kaichuu!
We are undoubtedly talking about a classic when we mention Captain Tsubasa . I doubt that there is any adult or young person who is a fan of the genre and does not know Tsubasa, but if necessary, we will give a brief summary.
Tsubasa, a soccer fanatic with a passion for learning to play, moves to Nankatsu with his mother, a place renowned for its school soccer teams. Upon arrival, he thinks he was the best player in his old school, but he faces good rivals that increase his thirst to improve as a player.
Similar highlights: Inazuma Eleven, Hungry Heart: Wild Striker, Giant Killing, Whistle!, Aoki Densetsu Shoot!, Days, Ao Ashi… football is as popular in Japan as baseball, there are hundreds of examples.
It’s hard to find a new anime as popular as SK∞. Also known as SK8: The Infinity, it tells the story about a protagonist’s passion for his discipline, but in this case, it also focuses on a prodigious newcomer.
Reki Kyan is a skating enthusiast, developing in the sport through a competition called “S”, where other athletes compete inside a mine. But during one of these demonstrations, Reki ends up injured, and has to replace his skateboard.
When one day he discovers that his classmate, the foreigner Langa Hasegawa, has an innate ability to skate, they forge a friendship based on convenience, which will eventually transform into something much more genuine for both of them.
Similar Highlights: Air Gear, Eureka Seven
Ballroom e Youkoso
Sport: Ballroom dance
There are several anime that cover dance as a discipline, but ballroom dancing is a little explored sport. However, fans of this art can delight in a beautifully animated gem with a lot of heart.
The story follows young Tatara Fujita, a boy with no plans for the future, who has avoided conflict all his life. However, avoiding conflict doesn’t work out for him when some bullies harass him to steal money, and he is saved by Kaname Sengoku.
That day, Kaname invites Tatara to his dance studio. It’s not something that particularly appeals to the young man, but Sengoku’s bearing and commanding presence attracts him. When given the opportunity to dance with his classmate Shizuku Hanaoka, Tatara realizes that there is something special about the discipline worth exploring.
Similar highlights: IDOLiSH7 for fans of the idols, The iDOLM@STER , Love Live! School Idol Project, Kageki Shoujo!!
Sport: rhythmic gymnastics
Another story where the rookie is captivated by the discipline he has never seen before, Bakuten!! features all the clichés we love in the sports genre.
Shoutaro Futaba has never felt that he genuinely belongs to any of the disciplines he applies for. Even though he likes sports, he has no passion for any sport. But this changes when one day he ends up watching a rhythmic gymnastics competition on a whim.
There he discovers the Shoushukan High School team, and is completely blown away. And as if that were not enough, the score they obtained is very high despite the fact that the team is not complete. This makes him determined to join the team, despite being a complete novice in the sport.
Destacados similares: Hikari no Densetsu, Taiso Samurai, Ganbarist!
The discipline known as Kabaddi is an Asian game, very popular on the continent. That a specific anime was released for this sport is a very special detail for its fans. It is the official sport of Bangladesh.
In this story we will follow a young man who has become disenchanted with sports, and who now dedicates himself to livestreaming. But one day, one of her streams of him gets interrupted when a classmate seeks him out to recruit him for the school’s Kabaddi team.
Without much expectation, the young man follows his partner, and there he witnesses the second-year boys practicing the discipline. Yes, some of the rules seem ridiculous to him, but the intensity of the sport captivates him. Thanks to this, he agrees to join the team.
Similar highlights: There are no other anime about this particular discipline, but we can recommend a couple of sumo-inspired series, such as Aah Harimanada, Hinomaru Zumo and Abarenbou Rikishi!! Matsutaro
Girls & Panzer
Deportation : Senshadou
We know that at the beginning of the article we promised things out of the ordinary, so in this series we are going to follow a group of girls who are fans of a World War II military sport using tanks. The sport is called Senshadou and is based on elimination rounds between all the participants.
We meet Miho Nishizumi, the daughter of a family renowned for being great in the senshadou discipline. However, this does not fill her with pride, on the contrary, and she tries to separate herself from the sport as much as she can due to a traumatic event from her past.
When she decides to transfer to Ooarai Girls’ School, it’s thanks to the senshadou program being banned, but due to the announcement of a championship, Miho ends up involved in the school team eventually. She must overcome her past to enjoy her future and find the passion for the sport again.
Similar Highlights: High School Fleet, Saki, Strike Witches, So Ra No Wo To
These anime have a very special mix between the slice of life (daily life) and sports, enhancing the relationships between the characters and making the stories much more human and close, so that any viewer can identify with them. This is why it is a very commercial genre and easy to digest for viewers of all ages.
Have you ever thought that you would rather watch a series starring adults? Well surprise! Ryman’s Club, also known as Salaryman’s Club , follows a group of employees who run a badminton club within the company they work for.
The protagonist is Mikoto Shiratori, a boy who has just become unemployed and receives a job offer in a conglomerate, thanks to his experience in school badminton. Upon arrival, he refuses to play, but since it’s the reason they contacted him in the first place, he gives in.
The problem? His stunt partner is a 30-year-old guy who acts like a kid and every time he talks she gets on his nerves. In addition, there is much of his history with the sport that he does not dare to tell. But little by little, the more he plays with his classmates and gets to know them better, very special bonds are created between them.
Similar Highlights: Hanebado! it’s starring girls, and we have the new school proposal, called Love All Play.
dance dance dancer
Junpei Murao is a young man with a keen interest in ballet. However, seen as an inherently “feminine” discipline, Junpei fears that his classmates will discover his calling in sports. One day, however, an encounter with a beautiful girl leaves him emotional, remembering his true passion, and agreeing to enter an academy. His disposition and his athleticism are good starting points, but Junpei hasn’t studied the discipline since he was a child, and in order to catch up with his rivals, he will have to work much harder than them. The good thing is that the boy is not one to give up.
Similar Highlights: Most Recognized Princess Tutu was the first and only classical ballet anime, until now.
Gunjou no Fanfare
Sport: horse riding
In Japan, one of the few versions of legal “gambling” is devoted to horse racing. For this reason, equestrian sport has become part of the country’s culture. Yuu, a 15-year-old who is inspired to participate in the discipline after a career, leaves his previous career in the world of entertainment. We follow his development within the school team and his links with his new classmates. Although the path is full of obstacles, Yuu is determined to win the blind trust of his horse.
Similar Highlights: There is no other series like it, but Uma Musume Pretty Derby is about girls with horse features who go racing. The best quality we can recommend that includes horses is Gin no Saji , which is about a boy who runs a farm and raises various animals, including horses.
Houkago Teibou Nisshi
Hina Tsurugi has just moved to a small town near the sea. One day, she meets a girl who goes to the same school as her, and together they go fishing. Eventually, Hina accepts her classmate’s invitation to join the school’s fishing club, where they catch fish and taste various dishes with what they catch. Although at first, Hina was very afraid of the fish that she caught, she gradually grows fond of the sport.
Similar Highlights: Slow Loop, Tsuritama
Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story
Eve is a famous golfer who has almost superhuman abilities in the discipline. However, her playstyle is unconventional, and even extreme. But when she loses a match against Aoi Amawashi, a sports prodigy, Eve loses her trust. After both match, they establish a unique connection. The two have very different ways of looking at golf, but mutual respect and their combined skills could catapult them to new heights.
Similar Highlights: Dan Doh!!, Beat Shot, Pro Golfer Saru
What is your favorite sports series?