If you’re a sports fan and you’re looking for a good sports series, then Anime probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind.
However, there are some thrilling sports-related Anime, so if you’re a fan of both genres or either one, these are definitely worth checking out.
Yes, they’re animation series, but don’t be fooled, Japanese animation is not only for kids, and most of these series have a young adult audience as the target.
Some are old classics, and others are newer.
In this list, you’ll find different sports like basketball, football, volleyball, tennis, and ice skating.
Of course, sports is just the trigger or the background to tell something else like romance, life stories, friendship, the value of teamwork, and so on.
So, if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, give one of these a whirl.
Slam Dunk (1993)
Slam Dunk is a classic in the sports anime subgenre.
Produced by Toei Animation and adapting the excellent manga by Takehiro Inoue, this series about basketball goes beyond basketball.
Hanamichi Sakuragi is a delinquent teenager and leader of a gang who has no luck with girls.
When he starts high school at Shogoku High School, and he meets Haruko Akagi, he instantly falls in love with her. Haruko is the first girl that is kind to him and not frightened by him.
It’s Haruko who introduces him to the Shogoku basketball team, even though Hanamichi is reluctant to join the team at the beginning.
He ends up joining the team because of his crush on her, and despite his bad temper and immaturity, he realises he loves basketball.
At the same time, Kaede Rukawa, Hanamichi’s chief rival, joins the team too. Later on, two talented players return to the side, and the four of them will show that teamwork and friendship are the keys to win both in life and the game.
Available on Crunchyroll US. If you want to watch it outside the US, you’ll need a VPN.
Captain Tsubasa (1983)
The manga created by Yoichi Takahashi in 1981 was soon adapted into an anime series.
There have been several sequels, with the most recent made in 2018.
The story is about association football and focuses on Tsubasa Oozora, a football player, and his friends and rivals. The author was inspired by the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina to make the manga.
Both manga and anime are famous for the dynamism of its scenes and sometimes the unrealistic way the football field is portrayed.
Captain Tsubasa is one of those anime with worldwide fame, and in Japan has inspired a lot of football players to pursue a professional career in this popular sport.
Available on Netflix.
Yuri on Ice! (2016)
The story of both figure skaters named Yuri being rivals in the Grand Prix series took the anime world by storm creating a faithful and colossal fandom.
The series was created for TV by Sayo Yamamoto, who was in charge of directing and writing, and Mistsuro Kubo, who created the original concept.
Both women dared not only to dive in the sports anime genre, but to go beyond the stereotypes and tell a story with strong characters development, documented information regarding the competitions and rules, and one of the best love and friendship stories portrayed in anime.
When 23-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki comes back home after facing defeat at the Grand Prix and other competitions, he feels depressed and uncertain about his career.
When he decides to mimic a routine made by his Russian idol Victor Nikiforov and the video goes viral, Yuri’s life changes forever.
Victor watches the video and decides in a whim to become Yuri’s trainer, leaving his figure skating career behind. This sudden decision will make Yuri Plisetsky, the young Russian prodigy and Yuri Katsuki’s rival, jealousy and anger.
From this point on, things will get complicated with both Yuri competing with each other for Victor’s attention.
A group of varied and unforgettable characters completed the rest of the cast of this series about friendship, rivalry, and personal growth.
Available on Crunchyroll in all regions.
The Prince of Tennis (2001)
Based on the manga of the same name by Takeshi Konomi, the story focuses on tennis prodigy Echizen Ryoma, who is always living in his father’s shadow, a former and famous professional tennis player.
Once Ryoma joins Seishun Gakuen junior highschool, he will meet new friends and rivals, and he would be able to follow his own path in the tennis career.
The Prince of Tennis has spawned a whole franchise that includes, anime, movies, dramas, musicals, and a lot of merchandise. Also, it has become the modern reference for tennis in anime.
Available on Amazon Prime Video.
Haikyuu means volleyball in Japanese. The original manga in which the anime is based on was written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate.
The anime was produced by the famous studio Production I.G. and began airing on April 2014, and it has a total of three seasons, with a fourth one coming soon in 2020.
The story focuses on Shōyō Hinata, a junior high school student who begins to play volleyball after falling in love with the sport while watching a match when he was in elementary school.
However, his first experience playing in a tournament is awful because his team suffers a crushing defeat against the junior famous and favourite team. From then on, Shōyō will commit to enter to that rival school and defeat the star player of the group.
Things won’t happen as he wants, and he and his rival end up in as teammates working together and combining their skills to reach the top.
Available on Crunchyroll.
As you can see, anime is full of sports stories, and the ones I’ve chosen for this list are only the tip of the iceberg.
As it happens with live-action sports movies, these stories go beyond sports to show different aspects of human relationships.
Some of these anime aren’t available in all regions in their respective streaming services, but if you want to watch them, you can easily avoid the regional restriction by using a VPN.
ExpressVPN is one of the best options you’ll find for streaming video with excellent quality.
So, you don’t have any excuses now. If you’re a sports fan, you don’t want to miss these incredible anime tv shows!