Confronting formidable opponents, surpassing insurmountable technical barriers, shedding tears of effort and frustration that are almost like blood. Anime with sports as its main theme has always captivated and attracted people, regardless of the era.
In this article, we will introduce 15 carefully selected popular sports anime so I hope you can find one to watch and feel hyped!
1. Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk is a legendary basketball manga that has left its mark in history. In 2023, the movie THE FIRST SLAM DUNK was released and became a big hit.
Hanamichi Sakuragi, a red-haired delinquent, joins the basketball club after catching the attention of the tall and beautiful Haruko, whom he has a crush on. Along with his unique teammates, including team captain Takenori Akagi, Kaede Rukawa, Ryota Miyagi, and Hisashi Mitsui, they aim to win the Interhigh championship.
With numerous memorable quotes and moments, Slam Dunk is a must-watch anime for sports fans.
Haikyuu!! is a volleyball manga that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump.
The story follows the protagonist, Shoyo Hinata, who admires the “Small Giant,” a former ace of the volleyball team at Karasuno High School. Despite his lack of experience and skills due to being in a weak middle school volleyball team, Hinata’s passion for the sport leads him to join Karasuno High School’s volleyball club as a spiker.
The series depicts Hinata’s encounters with his talented teammates, such as Tobio Kageyama, and their growth as a team through intense matches against other schools. Haikyuu!! showcases high school volleyball players’ challenges, friendships, and rivalries as they strive to become the best in the sport. The anime adaptation of Haikyuu!! has gained immense popularity for its dynamic animation, compelling characters, and exciting sports action.
3. Yowamushi Pedal
Yowamushi Pedal is an anime adaptation of the manga series by Watanabe Wataru, which is serialized in Weekly Shonen Champion. The first season aired from October 2013 to June 2014, and the series has been expanded up to the fourth season, which aired from January to June 2018.
Sakamichi Onoda a young otaku boy who lives in Chiba Prefecture and loves anime and games. Since his elementary school days, he has been cycling to his beloved Akihabara. He originally wanted to join his school’s Anime and Manga Research Club, but unfortunately, the club is on hiatus.
However, one day, Onoda is challenged to a bicycle race by his classmate, Shunsuke Imaizumi, and things take an unexpected turn…
4. Welcome to the Ballroom
Welcome to the Ballroom is a story that revolves around competitive ballroom dancing, depicting the growth of Tatara Fujita, a middle school student.
Tatara, who had no particular goals or dreams and was just passing his days, is saved from a group of delinquents by a mysterious man one day.
It turns out that the man is a professional ballroom dancer named Kaname Sengoku, and he forcibly takes Tatara to a ballroom dance studio. There, Tatara becomes captivated by the charm of ballroom dancing and determines to aim for becoming a professional dancer.
5. ALL OUT!!
ALL OUT!! gained attention as the first TV anime with rugby as its theme. Directed by Kenichi Shimizu, who has experience in rugby, the meticulous attention to detail in the direction is a highlight.
Kenji Gion, a first-year high school student who feels inferior due to his small stature for a male, becomes fascinated by the rugby club’s practice on the day of the entrance ceremony and decides to join. In the rugby club, there are unique members such as the caring vice-captain, Hachioji, and the reliable captain, Sekizan, but also the tall newcomer Iwashimizu who hesitates to join despite having no experience in rugby.
The story progresses with the friendship between Kenji and Iwashimizu, making it a true sports anime!
6. Burning Kabaddi
Burning Kabaddi portrays high school boys who are passionate about the sport of kabaddi.
Tatsuya Yoigoshi, a first-year student at Nokyo High School, was once a star soccer player in middle school. However, due to conflicts with his teammates, he left the soccer team and led a life disconnected from sports.
However, he gives in to the persuasion of his classmates and goes to observe the kabaddi club. At first, Tatsuya looked down on kabaddi as a “strange sport,” but gradually, its charm fascinated him.
7. Yuri!!! on ICE
Yuri!!! on ICE is an original anime that revolves around the theme of figure skating.
Featuring choreography by real-life choreographer Kenji Miyamoto, Yuri!!! on ICE beautifully depicts the graceful and intense world of male figure skaters, capturing the hearts of many female fans and becoming a major hit.
After suffering a humiliating defeat at a major competition and contemplating retirement, figure skater Yuuri Katsuki is approached by Viktor Nikiforov, a five-time world champion from Russia. Viktor, who Yuuri has always admired, suddenly offers to be his coach. With Viktor’s guidance, Yuuri sets out to make a comeback in the world of figure skating.
Based on a bestselling novel by Atsuko Asano, Battery is a baseball anime that aired in the “Noitamina” time slot on Fuji TV, which has also been adapted into manga, TV dramas, and films in the past.
The story revolves around the talented middle school pitcher Takumi Harada and his catcher Gou Nagakura. The two of them form a battery, a pitcher-catcher duo, and go through the challenges and triumphs of their youth. They acknowledge each other’s talents, sometimes clash, but eventually grow into the strongest battery on the field.
Battery portrays the journey of these two characters as they navigate the complexities of their relationship and strive to become the best in the sport of baseball.
9. Ace of Diamond
An anime adaptation of the popular baseball manga Ace of Diamond.
Eijun Sawamura enters Seidou High School, a prestigious baseball school. Although he has some technical flaws, he possesses the qualities of an “Ace,” with a strong fighting spirit and unwavering composure in tough situations.
He serves as the team’s pitcher, along with catcher Kazuya Miyuki and his other teammates, as they aim for the national championship at Koshien Stadium.
An anime adaptation based on the popular light novel High☆Speed! by Kouji Ouji.
Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana, and Nagisa Hazuki were childhood friends who won a swimming competition in elementary school. However, they drifted apart from swimming in their later years. One day, they reunite with Rin Matsuoka, a fellow swimmer, and together they decide to form a swimming club and return to the world of competitive swimming.
Chihayafuru is a coming-of-age story centred around Chihaya Ayase, a girl who aspires to become the queen of competitive karuta, a traditional Japanese card game.
In sixth grade, Chihaya Ayase became fascinated with competitive karuta after meeting the transfer student Arata Wataya. Along with her childhood friend Taichi Mashima, they quickly become engrossed in the world of karuta.
Although they grow apart after graduating from elementary school and each pursue their own path, four years later, as high school students, Chihaya and Taichi reunite and establish a karuta club with the hope of meeting Arata once again.
12. Kuroko’s Basketball
Kuroko’s Basketball is a basketball anime based on the manga by Tadatoshi Fujimaki.
There were five prodigies who were members of the basketball team at Teikou Middle School. They were known for their overwhelming strength, but there was a rumor among basketball insiders about the existence of a “sixth man”, whose records were non-existent.
The story revolves around Kuroko Tetsuya, the “sixth man”, and his high school basketball team at Seirin High School.
13. Farewell, My Dear Cramer
Farewell, My Dear Cramer is a sports anime set in a girls’ soccer team, which aired from April 2021. The anime is based on a manga of the same name serialized in Monthly Shonen Magazine, and the story is linked to the author’s previous work, Goodbye Football.
A movie adaptation was released on June 11, 2021, just before the end of the anime’s broadcast, and it gained significant attention.
Sumire Suo (known as “Sue-chan”), a third-year student at Kawaguchi Ikari Junior High School, is invited by her rival, Midori Soshizaki, to join the same team after losing their final official match.
The two of them, who entered Saitama Warabi Seinan High School, which is not a strong powerhouse in girls’ soccer, embark on a tumultuous high school life after meeting Nozomi Onnda and Coach Naoko Noumi.
DAYS is an anime about soccer.
The protagonist, Tsukushi Tsukamoto, used to be a bullied kid. Before entering high school, he meets Jin Kazama, who is the same age as him. Jin, who was actually a soccer prodigy, introduces Tsukushi to the joy of soccer through a futsal match.
Tsukushi, who may not have good athletic ability but possesses an unwavering determination to improve, and Jin, who is considered a genius but also puts in effort, join the soccer club at Seiseki High School, depicting the story of their contrasting personalities within the team.
Major is a TV anime series that aired from 2004 to 2010, comprising a total of 154 episodes across six seasons. It is a representative work of baseball anime.
The series follows the baseball career of the protagonist, Goro Honda, starting from his time in nursery school, through Little League, Mifune East Middle School, Meisei High School, Seiwa Academy High School, and finally, the minor and major leagues. It is an epic story depicting a young boy’s journey to become a Major League player.
The themes of friendship, effort, family, and overcoming adversity are prominent in Major. It is a classic sports anime with a straightforward and exciting storyline, making it a must-watch for sports anime enthusiasts.
Sports anime allows you to share your passion while peeking into the feelings invested in the sport. One of the great charms of anime is that you can enjoy the story itself, even if you have no knowledge of the sport.
Whether you enjoy anime about your favourite sport or venture into unknown territory, it’s all up to you. If you’re interested, please experience the excitement of youth through sports anime!
Be sure to keep checking back on our site for more great anime recommendations.