Ping Pong The Animation and Haikyuu are two of the best sports animes ever made, despite their niche status. Here are the top ten.
You probably haven’t seen a good sports anime if you believe the genre is uninteresting. A well-written sports anime is similar to a well-written drama, except that the focus is on actual sports. In order for the plot to be engaging, the characters must each have distinct goals and deep backstories that compel you to root for or against them. To keep the sports engaging and enjoyable, the animation must be of the highest quality.
The following are 10 examples of sports anime that feature well-developed characters, compelling storylines, and top-notch animation.
Allison Stalberg updated this page on March 24th, 2020. Numerous outstanding sports anime are being re-released and re-discovered because to the success of such shows as Haikyuu and Kuroko’s Basketball. As the popularity of this anime genre rises, we’ve added more titles to our collection.
In 2016, this sports anime focused on scuba diving aired for 12 episodes and an OVA. Every episode feels like its own mini-adventure, even though it’s based on a true story about scuba diving. The theme of friendship is prevalent throughout the series, as it is in all of the others on this list. Pikari and Teko, the two main characters, are a hoot to watch because one is quiet and reserved while the other is exuberant and outgoing. At first, Teko doesn’t know how to swim, so it’s a lot of fun.
The animation makes you wish you were in a seaside town where you could go scuba diving in the summer.
2. All Out
Fans of football need not fear, since there are sports anime dedicated to the sport. In this episode, Kenji Gion, a sports fanatic, serves as the protagonist.
It’s typical for a sports anime to follow a young man’s journey to becoming the best player he can be, and this one is no exception. There were a total of 25 episodes released between 2016 and 2017.
This series is unique in that it concentrates on karuta, a card game and sport that is only played in Japan. One of the few sports anime that feature a female protagonist. In 2013, it aired 25 episodes and a one-hour special. Despite the fact that the anime is based on a game that you’ve probably never heard of or played, it has a sizable non-Japanese following.
Characters in the show are adored because of how they grow and change as a result of their accomplishments and mistakes. Every character, no matter how minor, makes significant strides forward.
4. Ping Pong The Animation
The animation in this show is unlike anything else you’ve seen before. It’s different, and getting used to it may take some time, but you shouldn’t skip this sports gem because of it. A lot of risks were taken by the program, since there is no fan-service, enormous bright eyes, or items that are designed in an odd shape (like the ping-pong balls are not drawn as perfect circles).
It’s a pleasure to watch the characters grow and evolve. Their exchanges are casual, and there are even a few instances of brilliant dry humor sprinkled throughout. When it comes to personality differences between the two pals, one is outgoing and confident while the other is more subdued and cautious.
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5. Prince Of Tennis
In contrast to some of the other offerings on this list. The Prince of Tennis’s protagonist is already an excellent tennis player when the show begins. He’s actually a genius who’s already won a slew of titles.
Despite his abilities, he is unable to overcome his father. That’s right, there are concerns with dads. For the rest of the series, he joins the tennis team and works to improve his skills so that he can defeat his father.
6. Run With The Wind
The sport of running is the focus of this anime. As with the previous shows on this list, the focus is on the people in the plot. Everyone is fleeing for a variety of reasons and has brought their own burdens with them. Each of them has a unique and intricate interaction with the game. In spite of the ten-person cast, each character is given enough opportunity to stand out and express themselves.
In addition to the individuals, the program does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of a student dormitory. All of this is taking place when the characters are in college, so it’s understandable.
7. Yuri On Ice
There are many reasons why Yuri on Ice is one of the best animes out there. It presents homosexuality in a style that differs significantly from that of the yaoi genre, and as a result, it has gained a great deal of critical acclaim. The skating sequences, in particular, made me want to watch the entire performance again just for the stunning animation. Aside from giving life to the sport, the animation brilliantly conveys the distinct personalities of the main protagonists. Yuri, the protagonist, is a nerd and awkward outside of the skate rink. You can’t blame Viktor for falling in love with him after seeing him on the ice, when he changes into a completely confident and serious person.
You can see why this show had such a massive online following when it premiered in 2016 with everything that it had to say.
8. Hajime No Ippo
As far back as 1989, this manga has been in production! The series ran for 76 episodes from 2002 to 2004, then a movie, 26 episodes in 2009, and another 25 in 2013 and 2014. Some of its devotees have grown up watching it. Even video games are part of the brand!
The plot follows Makunouchi Ippo, a shy high school boxer, on his quest to break into the professional ranks. Best-selling and winner of the Kodansha Manga Award, this manga is a fan favorite.
9. Yowamushi Pedal
The “pedal” in the title indicates that this sports anime concentrates on biking, as evidenced by the subject matter. Sakamichi Onoda, the protagonist, is an otaku who wants to meet new people. However, since the school’s anime club disbanded, he’ll have to make do with the bicycle racing club. He’ll have to. The supporting cast is a lively one, led by a protagonist that deviates from the stereotype of a sports anime hero. The adversaries are just as unforgettable as the protagonists.
In contrast to Kuroko’s Basketball, some have suggested that Ace of Diamonds boasts a more impressive ensemble of characters. But ultimately, everything comes down to personal preference.
10. Ace of Diamonds
Because baseball is Japan’s most popular sport, this list would be incomplete without a great baseball anime. For whatever reason, this show has a lot more episodes than typical sports anime because of the popularity of baseball in Japan. 126 episodes and five OVAs are included in the series. Isn’t that a lot of sports?
I love the animation and the shonen vibe it gives off. Sometimes, for example, when a character is enraged, their eyes turn red and blue. Many fans think the sound effects are the best, and the sound of the bat striking the ball gives them shivers. In addition, the cast of characters is adored by the anime’s devoted followers.
11. Captain Tsubasa
It’s been quite the journey for Captain Tsubasa, who first appeared in a manga series in 1981. It has a manga and an anime series from the 1980s that have more than 100 episodes between them. In the years that followed, it was the subject of numerous feature films and anime television specials, including those from the 1990s, the 2000s, and most recently, the years 2018 and 2019. It can be a lot of fun if you’re a fan!
Soccer is at issue here. Characters who are easy to like and messages about teamwork make it a popular show. In terms of Japanese popular culture, it has left a mark.
12. Big Windup!
Although it premiered in 2007, this 25-episode sports animation is still regarded as one of the best. It’s all about the baseball, baby!. Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, therefore you can bet there will be a lot of baseball sports anime on this list!
The original manga was drawn by Higuchi Asa, who has a degree in sports psychology, and this show really shines because of it! This plot and the characters’ characteristics, as well as the challenges they face, make good use of the degree they earned.
13. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
The popularity of Free! can be attributed in part to the fact that it contains a lot of fan service. As a result, the film was aimed at individuals who enjoy seeing a large number of attractive male swimmers and sparkle in the ocean. Even while that outcome was expected, it astonished the anime community by drawing viewers who weren’t only there for the fan service but also loved the show as a whole.
The artwork is stunning and makes you crave a dip in the pool. Water sports have never looked so much fun and energizing. One of its strengths, like Haikyuu’s, is the depth of the character interactions. Obviously, we won’t tell you how it ends, but we will say that the dynamics of the several love triangles are quite tense.
14. Kuroko’s Basketball
An further 75-episode sports anime, this one aired from 2012 to 2015. Basketball is the primary focus of the show, which is renowned for its fluid animation and exhilarating basketball plays. As a fan, you’ll find yourself staying up till 3 am watching over 10 episodes in a row. Others have reported feeling a rush of excitement whenever a character they root for succeeds. That the show is unrealistic in terms of athletics is what makes it enjoyable and intriguing.
Just like in many of the other shows on this list, there is a lot of struggle and conflict in these stories. This makes the characters’ triumphs that much more real and satisfying.
If you’re a fan of anime, you’ve undoubtedly heard of this show or seen it somewhere. I think it’s a big hit with people.
Although the show’s focus is on volleyball, you don’t need to be an avid follower of the sport to enjoy it. As friends, teammates, and students in different school years, the show’s characters and relationships evolve with time. Unlike other sports anime, Haikyuu places a heavy emphasis on teamwork and communication.