Top 10 Best Sports Anime Series of All Time
THAT EVERY ANIME FAN NEEDS TO CHECK OUT!
Sports anime will always remain a very special part of the anime world. This unique genre takes something competitive and exciting from our world and makes it even more intense. Sports anime usually follow the same shounen-formula; however, we can’t help but acknowledge the fact that these anime always manage to motivate us and keep us at the edges of our seats. One thing that I love about sports anime is that these anime are not specifically aimed towards an audience that loves sports. All of these anime can be equally entertaining for all kinds of anime fans. With that being said, what are the top 10 best sports anime series of all time?
There are a lot of sports anime out there that deserve our love and attention. Below, I have curated a list of the top 10 best sports anime series of all time that all of you need to check out. Before we get started, please keep it in mind that the list is based on my personal opinion!
Yuri!!! on Ice
Featured Sport: Figure Skating.
Yuri!!! on Ice is one of the most famous sports anime in the entire world with its amazing story and brilliant cast of characters. Being animated by MAPPA, the animation of this masterwork is nothing short of amazing. While it is quite popular, there are also some people in the anime community that dislike it because of its B.L. theme.
The plot of this original anime focuses on the life of a young man known as Yuri Katsuki. After a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Finale, Yuri comes back home and starts to think about his future. Being pretty unmotivated regarding figure skating, Yuri’s chance of success rapidly starts to decrease. However, all of this changes when a video of Yuri performing Victor Nikiforov’s skating routine goes viral on the internet. One day, the five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov himself, shows up at Yuri’s doorstep and offers to become his mentor. As a huge fan of the man in front of him, Yuri eagerly accepts his offer and starts to train once again. However, the journey ahead is not going to be an easy one!
Run with the Wind
Featured Sport: Running.
Run with the Wind is an intense sports anime that is a bit more realistic as compared to the other entries on my list. This anime has a pretty relatable cast of characters that manages to get us invested in the story. The animation studio behind Run with the Wind has also worked on many other masterpieces in the world of sports anime like Haikyuu and Kuroku’s Basket.
The plot of this anime follows the story of a young boy named Kakeru Kurahara, who used to be a former ace runner. One day, this boy steals some food from a convenience store and gets chased. As he is running away from his pursuer, the boy runs into Haiji Kiyose. Haiji is another student in Kakeru’s university, and he gets quite impressed by Kakeru’s agility. Haiji persuades this young boy to live together with him in Chikusei-sou, a run-down apartment where Haiji resides along with eight other students. Later, it is revealed that this apartment is actually the dormitory of the university’s track club.
Featured Sport: Tennis.
Baby Steps is one of the most underrated sports anime in the entire world! This anime might have a somewhat stale art style, but the overall animation is pretty good. The story of this anime is extremely complex and meaningful as it does not just focus on the sport itself. In my personal opinion, Baby Steps is the perfect sports anime for someone who is new to the genre.
The plot of this anime focuses on the life of an extremely hardworking student named Eiichirou Maruo, who spends most of his time doing something he does not even enjoy, studying. The boy decides to join the Southern Tennis Club at the beginning of his freshman year in order to stay healthier. During the free trial at the club, the boy meets Natsu Takasaki, a determined young girl who wants to become a professional tennis player. Eiichirou finds himself to be the complete opposite of this girl as he never tries to do anything that he loves. As the two become closer friends, Eiichirou’s view on life starts to change.
Featured Sport: Swimming.
Free! is a fairly popular show with a lot of mixed reviews because of its B.L. theme, just like Yuri!!! on Ice. This anime is an original by studio Kyoto Animation, and its animation will leave you in awe. The story of Free! can seem a bit cliché at first, but the anime gets better with every single episode.
The plot of this anime focuses on the lives of a group of high school boys who are in love with swimming. Together, Haruka Nanase, Rin Matsuoka, Makoto Tachibana and Hazuki Nagisa won a relay race in elementary school, but after that, they went their separate ways. After a few years, the boys reunited as high school students. However, Rin has completely changed now! The only thing important to Rin is proving that he is a better swimmer than Haruka. Choosing Rei Ryuugazaki as their 4th member, Haruka, Makoto and Hazuki decide to form Iwatobi High School Swim Club. As the story continues, the four of them get closer to each other and become better swimmers.
Featured Sport: Boxing.
Megalo Box is the first sports anime on my list that focuses on a fighting type of sport. Megalo Box adds a twist of fiction to boxing to make it even more intense and breathtaking. This anime has a very realistic and relatable story that is portrayed brilliantly by studio TMS Entertainment. The art style is quite unique, and the animation quality also deserves a lot of appreciation.
The plot of this anime follows the life of a young man named Joe. Despite being quite passionate regarding Megalo Box – a sport in which fighters use special gear to enhance their speed and power, Joe always forfeits all of his matches in order to earn money. However, all of this changes when the boxing champion named Yuuri steps in Joe’s boxing ring and easily defeats him. Joe is left with the challenge of becoming a professional Megalo boxer and beating Yuuri.
After this encounter, Joe leaves this pitiful life behind and starts training to become a real boxer. However, the road ahead of him is not going to be an easy one. With only three months left to qualify for Megalonia, Joe must face-off against all types of foes in order to take the number 1 spot for himself.
Ping Pong Animation
Featured Sport: Table Tennis.
This is an anime that often gets ignored because of its strange style of animation. Ping Pong Animation might look a little weird at first, but in reality, this anime is one of the most realistic and relatable sports anime that you can watch right now. Ping Pong animation gives us some of the most well-written characters ever and an extremely compelling story.
The plot of this anime focuses on the life of Makoto Tsukimoto and Yutaka Hoshino, two boys who are always there for each other. The two boys are nicknamed Smile and Peco respectively, and they grew up playing ping pong every single day. Peco is someone who wants to become a professional in the world of ping pong and takes the sport very seriously. On the other hand, Smile only plays tennis for fun. However, both of these boys are very good at the sport and absolutely love ping pong.
As they both try to get better at the sport, the journey of these boys just keeps on getting harder and harder, but they never give up hope and just keep on charging ahead!
Featured Sport: Basketball.
Anime fans today might not know about Slam Dunk. However, back in the 90s, Slam Dunk used to be a revolution in the world of sports anime. Even today, many sports anime draw inspiration from this classic! The studio behind this anime is Toei Animation, an animation studio that is has given us some of the most legendary shounen anime like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece.
The plot of this anime follows the story of a young boy named Hanamichi Sakuragi. This boy is famous for his height, bad temper and red hair, and he always gets rejected by girls. When he starts high school, he makes it his objective to find a girlfriend as soon as possible. However, the poor boy gets ignored by most of the students.
One day, a girl named Haruko Akagi approaches this boy and asks him if he likes basketball. Despite his hate for the sport, Hanamichi says yes in order to impress the girl in front of him. Haruko takes him to the gymnasium and asks him to perform a slam dunk. Hanamichi fails to do it, but his inhumane strength seriously impresses the young girl. Haruko informs the basketball team’s captain regarding this boy’s skill, and basketball starts to become a part of Hanamichi’s life.
Featured Sport: Boxing.
Fighting Spirit is another old classic on my list, just like Slam Dunk. This anime definitely deserves its spot on my list of the top 10 best sports anime of all time. Despite being animated all the way back in 2000, the animation of Fighting Spirit is something that you will truly fall in love with. The story of this anime follows the usual shounen-formula, but it still manages to get us totally invested thanks to the amazing cast of characters.
The plot of this anime shows us the tale of a hardworking young boy named Ippo Makunouchi. Ippo used to be a weak little kid who always got bullied by the kids around him. Running errands and getting bullied all day made Ippo despise his life. The boy always dreamt of changing himself but never had the passion for actually doing it. One day, while Ippo was getting bullied, he got saved by a boxer named Mamoru Takamura. Ippo fainted, and Mamoru took him to his gym to recover. When Ippo woke up, he found himself in awe because of his new environment. The kid asked Mamoru to train him, and his journey towards becoming a professional boxer began.
Featured Sport: Basketball.
Kuroko’s Basket is probably the most famous basketball anime in the entire world. This anime has an extremely well-built story that will get you completely immersed as soon as you start watching. The animation of Kuroko’s Basket is also pretty impressive as it has been handled by the highly acclaimed animation studio, Production I.G.
The plot of this anime follows the story of a young boy named Kuroko, who used to be a part of Teikou Junior High School’s basketball team. The basketball team used to be totally unstoppable, but the members of the team decided to go their separate ways after graduating from junior high.
Now, Kuroko is a part of Seirin High School’s basketball team, where he has found another capable teammate, Taiga Kagami. Together these high schoolers want to achieve greatness in the world of basketball.
Featured Sport: Volleyball.
Now, let’s talk about the most popular and my personal favorite sports anime of all time, Haikyuu!!! This anime focuses on the most unique sport and makes it extremely intense and exciting. The beauty of Haikyuu!! lies in the fact that it is not just a sports anime. This series focuses on a lot of different themes at the same time and manages to keep us at the edges of our seats in every single episode.
The plot of Haikyuu!! follows the story of a young boy named Hinata Shouyou. After getting inspired by an amazing volleyball player, Hinata decides to revive the dead volleyball club of his middle school. All the players practice very hard, but they end up failing in a tournament because of Tibio Kageyama. Hinata vows that he will one day surpass this mysterious and overwhelming player.
After enrolling in high school, Hinata quickly joins the volleyball team of his new school. However, to his surprise, his sworn rival is also a member of this volleyball team!