The world of sports is a fascinating one, and it’s exciting to watch athletes in action. However, if you’re looking for something that will really keep the adrenaline pumping (or, even better – make your heart race), look no further than anime! These shows are engaging enough to give anyone an edge-of-their seat experience without having to wait until the game day arrives.
For those who are not familiar with sports anime, it is a genre of Japanese animation characterized by high-octane action and exciting competitions. The thrill never stops in these stories as our heroes overcome challenges both on the field and off!
Surprisingly enough, for such an intense sports category, there isn’t much aggression involved, usually just short bursts during matches. But still plenty good ole’ fashioned fun to go around. We have compiled the best sports stories for all of you who is a fan of sports anime.
30. Welcome to The Ballroom
The Ballroom is a world of perfect synchronicity. Tatara Fujita, just your average shy middle school student with no plan for the future and only one confrontational incident in his life to date – manages to wander into this solemn realm because he was captivated by Sengoku’s commanding presence. When Kaname invites him to join their dance studio, it takes some time before Tatara realizes that all you need to be successful in competitive ballroom dancing is passion! So off they go on an adventure together: Shizuku Hanaoka, who loves her synchronized partner so much she has been known not to have partners at other studios; Kotaro Shimada, whose infectious laugh makes everyone around them happy.
29 Run With The Wind
The characters in this anime are all running for different reasons and come with their own baggage that they need to work through. They each have a unique relationship with the sport, too–even if it’s not always straightforward. It was great seeing how passionate everyone is about running! Not only can you see what these runners go through on their competitive journeys, but you also get an idea of college life along the way.
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Nagisa Aragaki’s love for her sport begins to distort. Unable to deal with the shame of defeat at the National Junior Badminton Tournament, she starts terrorizing members of her high school badminton club. Her gruelling drills bring some on verge tears while others quit altogether-the future looks exceedingly grim until Kentarou Tachibana joins as the new head coach. Not only Olympic level player, but he also comes bearing a secret weapon: The girl that defeated Nagisa.
The Chihayafuru series is one of the few sports anime with a female protagonist. What makes this special? It focuses on a purely Japanese card game sport: karuta. The focus on one girl’s journey into becoming an international champion really makes for some interesting and exciting moments, especially when she faces her own personal struggles as well as those from others around her who are also trying to succeed in their endeavors – whether they be related or unrelated to karuta itself.
26. Initial D
Takumi Fujiwara, the son of a tofu shop owner and daily driver to Akina himself, is not particularly interested in cars with little knowledge about car enthusiasts or street racers. He’s tasked every morning to deliver tofu without fail up and down Mount Akina. The Akagi Red Suns are an infamous team of street racers that plan on conquering Kanto racing courses until they’re defeated by this old Toyota AE86 during their drive back home from Akina. So, the legend of the Akina AE86 is born.
25. Musashi no ken
Musashi no Ken is a tale of battles and self-discovery. The story follows the protagonist, Musashi, as he grows from being just an ambitious kid with big dreams to becoming one of Japan’s most revered Kendo champions. The anime includes two distinct time periods in which it focuses on: when Musashi was still young and inexperienced; and his adult life where we watch him rise through society while maintaining all that made him who he is today–his fighting spirit!
It’s not just boring volleyball. Karasuno High School and its two new recruits are the keys to a newly revived team in Japan with many obstacles that will test their skills and friendship, but if they can break through all of those tall walls (pun intended), then you too might find yourself inspired enough to try your hand at this exhilarating sport! The anime focuses on individual characters from time to time to show the audience the struggles, the importance, and the contributions of each member.
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23. Baby Steps
Eiichirō is a young man who wants to make changes in his life. It’s here that he gains the skills and tactical knowledge needed to become an excellent tennis player through consistent training and persistence, without any superpowers or supernatural forces involved!
22. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
Free! was an anime that managed to please both fan service lovers and those who didn’t care for the skin scenes. It’s hard not to be charmed by this show, whether you’re a boy or girl, as it will make any swimmer want to jump in alongside these boys with their glittering water. Five swimmers meet new friends, rivals and teammates while navigating the waters of middle school life that are both challenging and exhilarating.
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21. Bamboo Blade
In this anime, Kojirou is a kendo instructor for Muroe High School, and he’s totally broke. But then an unexpected chance comes his way: His team must win against the senpai’s team to get free food! The only problem? Where to find girls skilled enough and willing to join the school’s kendo club. Bamboo Blade is an anime that can be described as a shoddy animation with comedy, drama, and romance. It’s worth watching because it makes fun of itself at random times to make you laugh while also providing charming characters for the viewers to love.
20. Big Windup!
Big Windup is a show about Ren Mihashi and his teammates, who are determined to compete at Koushien Stadium. The team is up against teams from schools with more resources than they have, which will test how far these players can go when faced with adversity for their sport. This brilliantly crafted and gentle yet enthralling show may not be your cup of tea if you find the main character too annoying – but otherwise, it’s an enjoyable watch!
19. Captain Tsubasa
The story of Captain Tsubasa is a passionate tale about an elementary school student whose thoughts and dreams revolve around soccer. In order to pursue his dream, Tsubasa moves from one town to the next with only one goal in mind: play on their best team. He encounters not just rivals but also new friends like Sanae Nakazawa (pretty girl) and Genzo Wakabayashi (talented goalkeeper). They’ll both prove themselves as treasured lifelong allies by helping him chase after all those goals!
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18. Yuri!!! On ICE
Yuri on Ice is a pretty special anime that covers same gender attraction in an interesting way. The animation was stellar, and it’s easy to want to re-watch the whole show just for the skating scenes. You can’t help but love Yuri, who sometimes gets flustered outside of his rink – but once he steps onto it, he turns into this confident person you cannot blame Viktor for falling so hard for!
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17. Kuroko’s Basketball
Tetsuya Kuroko is the shadow to Kagami Taiga’s light. As a player on Seirin High School’s basketball team, Kuroko Tetsuya uses his lack of presence and skill with passing in order to make an impact among opponents who are often flabbergasted by their inability to comprehend what just happened. He is known as the phantom sixth man on the court, a star player and one of the generation of miracles.
16. Hajime No Ippo
Ippo Makunouchi is a young, gentle high school student who gets bullied often. One day he meets an old boxing champion named Takamura Mamoru, and they teach him the art of fighting back. The more Ippo trains to become stronger with his newfound skills from this brutal sport called Boxing, he realizes that it’s not all about winning but also getting up when you’re knocked down because everyone falls at some point.
This boxing anime features a lot of character development and intense fights that show the audience strategies and tactics often used in the sport, except Takamura’s overuse of theatrics, that’s for professional wrestling! It doesn’t matter what your goals are in life as long as you keep pushing forward no matter how much pain or suffering there may be on the way, even if it involves a bear!
15. Ahiru No Sora
Sora Kurumatani has a lot to live up to. He can’t shoot the ball like Junpei; he’s got no hops either! But Sora is on the short side and doesn’t have any height requirements for basketball, so he decides that Kuzuryuu High School would be his last hope of becoming an elite player. When Sora gets there, it turns out their boys basketball team sucks which means they don’t even try or play in tournaments but instead choose to just screw around all day.
14. One outs
One Outs is an exciting anime about baseball. It’s not shocking to see much anime made about it, and One Out ranks among the best of them all due to its amazing sports actions that will have you begging for more episodes! Add this one to your must-watch list; don’t miss out on what promises a fun time with Toa Tokuchi, who gambles his whole world around gambling on his talent as a pitcher in electrifying fashion.
13. Cross Game
Cross Game is a combination of romance, comedy and drama. It will not only awaken the love for baseball in you, but it also helps one appreciate the small things life has to offer. Cross game is an excellent masterpiece worth seeing. Kou Kitamura is a boy who wants to become the best baseball player despite showing little interest in it publicly. He trains every day with Aoba Tsukishima, an excellent pitcher he secretly admires and longs for her attention.
12. Inazuma Eleven
Mamoru Endou is determined to bring back Raimon Middle School’s soccer club, Inazuma Eleven. To do this, he’ll need a little help and more than a little luck. Mamoru finds hope in the hands of Shuuya Gouenji–a brilliant young player who has given up on soccer. With passion burning bright like fireflies at night for those that have found something they love again after giving it all away, Endou knows what needs to be done: Bring out any talent possible from his teammates while gathering new players!
11. Ping Pong The Animation
The show features radically different animation and heartfelt storytelling that is highly unusual, even outside the sports genre. As childhood friends Smile and Peco share a love for table tennis, aka ping pong, they also grow together through life as it throws challenges their way. It’s an emotional journey of growth that you won’t want to miss!
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Tsurune is an anime that tackles the realism of life. With a central theme in archery, Minato Narumiya has been afflicted with ‘target pain’ since his last competition and now suffers from dejection. But one day, Mr Tommy comes to him as a talent powerhouse who decides to mentor this marksman-turned-dejected person back into an aspiring bowman again! Alongside two friends Seiya and Ryohei, Minato starts all over again–reminding us why friendship can be what drives life forward.
9. Slam Dunk
Sakuragi Hanamichi is your average, socially awkward middle schooler who has gotten rejected 50 times by girls. However, that’s only because he was chasing after Kaede Rukawa and playing second fiddle to him in popularity. In an attempt to beat his nemesis out of the game for good, Sakuragi joins the high school basketball team at his new high school, where This fun basketball anime takes place! Mind you that Sakuragi is not that good at the beginning and only has the inhuman ability to jump high and do a gorilla dunk, a variation of a slam dunk.
8. Ace Of Diamond
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan. So you know there must be a fantastic anime out there about it! The popularity of baseball in Japan is likely why this show has so many episodes (126) and 5 OVAs for fans to enjoy. If their animation isn’t enough to get your attention, then maybe some sound effects will do the trick? The story follows Sawamura Eijun as he trains and practices to become the ace pitcher of a prestigious high school team. His hope is that they restore Seidou High School, his new home, back into its former glory after its six-year absence from the Koushien championship.
7. All Out
The protagonist of the show, Kenji Gion, is a football fanatic who wants nothing more than to play professionally. But he has some obstacles in his way, including being benched for an entire season and getting into fights with teammates. His antics will keep you entertained through all 25 episodes!
6. Prince of Tennis
Follow Ryouma Ichizen and his aim to surpass his father, a legendary tennis player. Enrolled in Seigaku, he faces a lot of strong opponents and learns many things. Whether or not he’ll finally get out of his father’s shadow and become Japan’s best tennis player is something you’ve just got to see for yourself! The Prince of Tennis may be one of the best sports anime that started in 2000. The series is loaded with some positively out-of-this-world tennis action, and you might even be able to apply techniques from it to your next match with a friend (fat chance).
5. Yowamushi Pedal
The cycling-obsessed anime, “Yowamushi Pedal,” manages to stand out from the pack of typical sports anime. The protagonist Sakamichi Onoda is not your average athlete; he’s an otaku who just wants friends! When his school anime club shuts down, it doesn’t stop this determined young man and leads him on a journey across Japan with some memorable new characters along for the ride, including our favorite antagonists too. You’ll never look at riding in quite the same way again.
Pikari and Teko, two friends with very differing personalities, are the focus of this scuba diving focused anime. With 12 episodes that feel like their own little adventures and friendship being a major point in each episode, there is much to enjoy about watching them grow closer together as they learn more about the sport.
Gorou Honda, a little boy obsessed with baseball, has always admired his father, Shigeharu. Wishing to follow in his footsteps– Gorou dreams of becoming a professional baseball player while Shigeharu’s love for the sport is reinvigorated by their son’s admiration and support as he fights back against an injury that threatened to end both careers.
The international sport of soccer is a time-honoured tradition that crosses all borders, with the anime series Days following two boys as they embark on different journeys through this game. One central character doesn’t know how to play at first, but he soon learns from his teammates and inspires many other players in the process- much like a true leader should do! Tsukushi is one boy whose physical strength does not match his mental prowess: His first day of school starts with him being invited to watch Kazama’s team practice by Kazama himself – who then reveals just what potential lies within him when he becomes their leading player.
1. Eyeshield 21
Sena Kobayakawa is not just your ordinary chibi character. His notable running skill catches the attention of the captain of an American Football Club, and he becomes an enthusiastic member of the school team, despite his eccentric team manager, who can be very bad at times! Eyeshield 21 is filled with comedy, excitement and an electric cast of characters that would get you motivated to run with them all the way to the end zone.
We’ve taken a look at the best sports anime of all time. Did we miss your favorite classic sports anime? Let us know! And feel free to tell us what you think about our list or if you have any other suggestions for future installations in this series. Be sure to leave a comment and enjoy!