Updated: Mar 7
As sports anime has always produces great shows such as Slam Dunk and Hajime no Ippo. However, in recent year this genre has gained a massive following because of popular animes such as Haikyu, Free and Kuroko no Basket. If you don’t like sports anime then you probably haven’t found one for you. There are many different sports animes coving many different sports in different ways. This genre is just as extensive as any other anime genre in what you are looking for. I have complied a few series that are your traditional sports animes like Haikyu, but also provided animes with heavy influences of different genre that make it just as compelling and captivating. Hopefully you find an anime for you!
Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Shounen
1 Season, 12 Episodes
Japan's latest competitive sport, Keijo, is dictated by a simple set of rules: female-only participants must stand on circular platforms floating in a pool—referred to as "lands"—with the goal being to knocking off opponents using only their breasts and butts. We follow Nozomi Kaminashi as she enters the world of Keijo.
Keijo is not your typical “sports anime,” it more like an ecchi comedy with a sports concept. If you want to watch a sports anime but if you do not want anything serious then Keijo is your anime. The whole series is funny and ridiculous but entertaining. This is not your typical anime with a good story and compelling characters, Keijo is a dumb anime to make you laugh. The characters are likeable and story is fun. Many people turn away from this anime because of the heavy fan service but this what this anime is about.
Genres: Seinen, Drama
1 Season, 13 Episodes
After her crushing defeat of 21-0 at the National Junior Badminton Tournament, Nagisa Aragaki's love for her sport begins to distort. Ayano Hanesaki, the girl who defeated Nagisa six months ago has now joined the badminton team reluctantly. How do these girls confront each other?
Hanebado is one of those animes you are either going to love or hate. Hanebado has a lot of hate attached to it but it is really good in my opinion. I chose to add this anime to my list because Hanebado is a solid anime. The characters have depth and likeability. We watch the characters struggle with personally and how badminton helps them overcome these obstacles. Although I do feel that the anime is a bit rushed with the story and how the team interacts with each other. I would also like to point out badminton is a sport in which you play individually or a pair. It is hard to capture the team like atmosphere you see in sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. All in all, this is an anime you are going to have to watch to see if you like it.
13. Girls & Panzer
Genres: Action, Military, School Life
1 season, 12 Episodes,1 OVA, 1 Movie
Schools from around the world compete in a sport called Sensha-do, or “way of the tank.” "Senshadou" is a traditional sport using World War II era tanks in elimination-based matches. Widely practiced by women and girls alike, it's advertised as a form of art geared towards making ladies more prominent in culture and appealing to men. In this universe, "tankery," as it is colloquially known, is seen as a dignified martial art that helps girls hone their grace and femininity. Becoming a worldwide phenomenon over time, the influence of senshadou leads to the creation of a world championship which will soon be held in Japan.
Girls & Panzer is an underrated sports anime. Many people are discouraged from watching because it looks cute and in my opinion most of all-female sport animes are mediocre. Where many female sport animes are either ecchi or cute having a sports concept, but Girls & Panzer focuses on building good groups and group dynamics. This anime has parts were the narrative is mature adding depth as well as charm to anime. Overall, this anime is something to go out of your way to watch.
12. How heavy are the dumbbells you lift?
Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Slice of Life
1 Season, 12 Episodes
Hibiki Sakura a young high school with unhealthy eating habits decides it is time to lose some wait. Hibiki decides to join the newly opened Silverman Gym. At her orientation, Hibiki runs into student council president and school idol Akemi Souryuuin. What awaits them in the gym life?
This is just a fun anime to watch. Many people are discouraged from watching this anime because it is all “fan service.” Don’t get me wrong there is fan service in the anime, but it does no takeaway from the anime. The anime is providing a small breath of fresh air in comparison to other animes were you have characters ripping their clothing off because of their muscles or creating unrealistic moves/ techniques. How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift, throws the characters into numerous situations allowing them to tackle differing obstacles to improve themselves physically and emotionally. Although this anime doesn’t focus on some extravagant sport, it does focus on health. On how they characters try to better themselves. This anime inspires me to be healthier and hit the gym more.
11. Ahiru no Sora
Genres: Comedy, Drama, School Life, Shounen
1 Season, 50 Episodes
Sora Kurumatani made a promise to his mother, "I will dominate my first high school tournament". But as he joins the basketball club after entering Kuzuryū High School, he finds out that it's become a stomping ground for delinquents. A place where everything but basketball is done, but with Sora's genuine zeal for basketball, things begin to stir.
This is a coming of age story as our protagonist struggles with his short height to become a recognized player. Unlike other sports animes were they establish a fast pace introduction and characters with deep background; Ahiru no Sora is a slow-paced anime focused on the progression of the team as a whole. Allowing the story to become coherent and making the characters loving and charming. In comparison to other sports anime were the spirit for the sport is strong and at times overbearing, Ahiru no Sora has more of casual feel. Moreover, this is fun anime to watch.
Genres: Slice of Life, Drama, School Life, Josei
3 Season, 25 Episodes
Competitive Karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, with no dreams of her own. Arata Wataya is shy young boy with a passion for Karuta inspired by his grandfather, a Meijin (master). Will Arata show Chihaya the heart of the cards?
Don’t look down on a card anime if you watched Yu-Gi-Oh! and loved it. Chihayafuru is another anime with the concept of heart of the cards is with you. This an anime that is easily overshadowed by other animes and goes under the radar but when I say you are in for a ride; you’ll go places. Chihayafuru is a beautifully animated and it captures the fighting spirit of a any sports anime. We watch the characters struggle to become better players and creating long lasting relationships with Karuta members. We watch the character grow and improve as the series goes on. Chihayafuru is a charming, highly likable anime that provides a high level of entertainment. This is an anime you will not regret picking up.
9. All Out!!
Genres: School, Seinen, Comedy
1 Season, 25 Episodes
Rugby is a sport where anybody can be a star when they hold the ball. The rules are simple: one player has to carry the ball past the goalposts across the field while avoiding the other team, who are allowed to use all their force to knock the enemy down. However, the player can pass to a teammate behind them or kick the ball before they are tackled. Unlike other sports, the game continues even when the person holding the ball is taken down. We follow Kenji Gion a short but feisty and timid Sumiaki Iwashimizu two high school freshman at Kanagawa High School wanting to join their rugby team.
All Out is an anime in which you are going to hate or love. All Out has a unique art style that takes place in high school setting. It pretty much a muscle fetish. These high school students are built like body builders. This can be unappealing for many viewers. Aside from the different art style, the story is good. The characters are fun and likeable. We have compelling scenes as we watch the character struggle with the sport and themselves. The show has a lot of humor as we watch the characters interact with each other.
8. Run with the Wind
Genres: Drama, Comedy
1 Season, 23 Episodes
Former ace runner of Sendai Josei High School, Kakeru Kurahara is chased away from a convenience store for shoplifting. Shaking off his pursuer, he runs into Haiji Kiyose, another student from his university. Haiji is impressed by Kakeru's agility and persuades him to live in Chikusei-sou, the run-down apartment where Haiji resides along with eight other students. Little does Haiji know that the dormitory of the Kansei University Track Club. Will Haiji join the team? What will become of Haiji?
When I first saw this anime, I was discouraged from watching because I HATE running!! How could an anime about track and field be fun? Was it going to be any good? Boy, was I wrong! Run with the Wind is produced by Production I.G. This anime studio is a prime example of high-quality TV animation in the sports anime realm. Having produced some of the more popular animes with amazing artwork and animation production to capture a massive fandom (Haikyu); it does not disappoint with Run with the Wind. Unlike the other animes were it relies on the emotionally gripping yet overzeals to height the connection to anime. Run with the Wind is still gorgeously animated with a more humble, clean, sharp animation. As for the story, Run with the Wind has a more depth and dreamlike atmosphere. This anime evokes emotions from its audience for its insightful character and compelling story. Unlike your traditional sports anime, Run with the Wind is a more like a drama with sports elements. We the character bond and become a team. As well as, we see the personal growth of the character as conquers their inner to move forwards. Being totally honest I didn’t imagine an anime about running to be fun and exciting. I really enjoyed this series and I hope you do too.
7. Megalo Box
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life, Sports, Drama
1 Season, 13 Episodes
"They don't make tombstones for stray dogs" – JD
These are the words of Junk Dog, an underground fighter of Megalo Box, an evolution of boxing that utilizes mechanical limbs known as Gear to enhance the speed and power of its users. Despite the young man's brimming potential as a boxer, the illegal nature of his participation forces him to make a living off of throwing matches. However, this all changes when the Megalo Box champion Yuuri enters his shabby ring under the guise of just another challenger.
Megalo Box is an anime that is not for everybody. Megalo Box is a unique art style we do not see anymore. Megalo Box has a retro sensation of the 1990s, allowing many viewers to reminisce of the anime from the time. It has Cowboy Bebop and Hajime no Ippo vibes with a steampunk futuristic dystopia twist. This anime is the black sheep in the sports anime realm. This anime has grunge feel and is rough around the edges that can leave many intimidated with its crude humor alongside its trash talking. However, it leaves you fascinated with it and wanting more. Our Main character Joe, is the underdog. The show has you rooting for Joe wanting him to succeed. This anime sends a strong message that anyone can do anything they set their mind into. In 13 phenomenal episodes, we travel with Joe in his journey to become someone and succeed in his dream. This is anime you will not regret picking up.
*6. Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu
Genres: Drama, School Life
1 Season, 13 Episodes (movie in the works)
"Tsurune"—It's the sound made by the bowstring when an arrow is released, and the sound that inspired Minato Narumiya to learn Kyuudo, a modern Japanese martial art focusing on archery. However, an incident during his last middle school tournament caused him to quit the sport. But soon, many factors conspire to make Minato take up the bow once again: the start of a new Kyuudo club in his high school. What awaits Minato and his team?
Tsurune is an anime that is not popular because looks can be deceiving. One of the things I can say about this anime is how beautiful the animation is. Kyoto Animation does another fantastic job at creating a gorgeous anime with depth. Kyoto Animation not only does an amazing job with its animation but with the audio quality of show as well. Listening to the release of bow and soft tunes truly complement the show. What is Tsurune? To be exact it is the sound the bow string makes when releasing the arrow. This archery anime is simple to understand and is heavily character driven. As you watch the show you see characters struggle with the sport and each other. Trying to understand themselves and their passion for the sport. This anime focusses mostly on the dynamic of the members then the archery. We go on a small journey with the members to become a team and strive to become better. This anime does not have your traditional sports fighting spirit and it goes at slower pace to have you connect to the players and their inner turmoil. Overall, the show is really good if you like the characters and flow of the story.
5. Welcome to the Ballroom
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shounen
1 Season, 24 Episodes
Tatara Fujita is a shy middle schooler who has no particular plan for the future. He has gotten through life by avoiding any kind of confrontation and blending in with the crowd. But blending in isn't enough to get out of trouble, as some bullies harass him for money. Luckily, he is saved by a man named Kaname Sengoku.
You may be asking yourself how is ballroom dancing a sports anime? How could this be any good? Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is gorgeous anime that captures the fierce spirit of ballroom dancing. Competition is a beautiful thing. This anime has the characters struggle to accomplish their goal, and win. We watch the character struggle with personal issues and outside forces as they strive to better themselves in this competition. We watch them create fierce rivalries and overcome obstacle in honor of their goal as well as relying on their partners. Production I.G., known for making outstanding sports animes (Haikyu, All Out, Kuroko no Basket). In comparison to the other animes, Welcome to the Ballroom, leaves an unforgettable impression with its unique art style and character designs. One of the major points Production I.G. creates is amazingly smooth camera angles and timings. Being able to capture the unique body movements of each dance routine and have it been precise; as well as aesthetically pleasing show how unique this anime is. Not only is the animation on point but the soundtrack and scores of this anime are out done. The anime mixes in a variety that includes jazz, Latin, classic, and among others; mixing it with fantastically choreographed dance routines puts this anime on the next level.
4. Ace of Diamond
Genres: Comedy, Shounen, School Life
3 seasons, 178 episodes
The series follows one Eijun Sawamura, a good pitcher. Sawamura plans to go with his friends to a local high school and play baseball to the best of their abilities. However, one scout from the prestigious Seidou High approaches him and offers him a scholarship and a chance to make it to the nationals. Sawamura decides to pay a visit to the school, and it changes his entire outlook on the future.
Ace of Diamond is one of those animes that sucks you into a black hole of binge watching. Ace of Diamond excels at building up the SUSPENSE. Ace of Diamond builds the suspense to have every episode end in a cliffhanger, especially in the later episodes forcing you to keep watching. Ace of Diamond not only have you at the edge of you seat but the soundtrack to the series fits perfectly. You feel the intensity and passion of the players. The characters of this show are dynamic and charismatic. Ace of Diamond has an impressively large cast of characters which have depth and likability. This series focuses mostly on the main characters we are presented with great obstacles and challenges they must overcome. All in all, this is a great show you should start watching
3. Yowamushi Pedal
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Shounen
4 Seasons, 112 Episodes
Onoda Sakamichi is a rather timid, anime-loving first-year student at Sohoku High School. Upon entering high school, he tried to join the anime research club, but after meeting Imaizumi Shunsuke, a renowned cyclist since middle school, and Naruko Shoukichi, who swept the Kansai cycling championship, he ended up joining the competitive cycling club.
An anime show about cycling can seem boring and uninteresting. However, this anime pulls out all the stops when it comes to being a sports anime. It is heartfelt and wholesome as we watch Onoda become an elite cyclist. We watch him overcome his inferiorities and struggling to be a cyclist. However, Onoda is an earnest and hardworking character that want you to support him. We watch as the Onoda becomes part of team and how this makes him a better person. Moreover, this is a fun anime to watch.
2. The Prince of Tennis
Genres: Action, Comedy, School Life, Shounen
7 Seasons, 178 Episodes
Seishun Gakuen Junior High School, more commonly known as Seigaku, is one of the most prominent contestants in this battle of the finest. Their team line-up gets even stronger with the sudden arrival of a young prodigy from the West, Ryouma Echizen, who is determined to prove himself and escape the towering shadow of his legendary father. This fine addition changes the team forever.
Prince of Tennis is the first sports anime I ever watched as a child. This anime released from 2001- 2005. It is an older anime with a few bumps in the story and animation from the early 2000s, but it is a solid anime. This was one of the animes that help start the crazy for sports anime after Slam Dunk. This series focus on Ryouma as strives to become the tennis player there alongside his team. Working together they are able to achieve their dreams. Some might drop this anime because it is unrealistic, and it is superpower tennis. Although, the animation is unrealistic the story is good. We see how these characters become a team and how they persevere to become the best in Japan. It is a fun and classic anime to watch.
1.Kuroko no Basket
Genres: Comedy, School, Shounen,
3 Seasons, 25 Episodes, 4 Movies
Kuroko no Basket follows the journey of Seirin's players as they attempt to become the best Japanese high school team by winning the Interhigh Championship. To reach their goal, they must cross pathways with several powerful teams, some of which have one of the five players with godlike abilities, whom Kuroko and Taiga make a pact to defeat.
There is a lot of criticism surrounding Kuroko no Basket for being unrealistic and overexaggerated, but I don’t what nobody says. This was one of the most fun sports animes I have watched to date. It is a great combination of action and comedy. For all the serious sports anime fans saying it ruins the sport with its inaccurate representation of basketball. If wanted authentic representation of the sport I would go watch real basketball. Kuroko no Basket is dynamic and engaging with fun and charismatic characters. As anime produced from Production I.G. the animation is seamless and has great flow in its dramatization of their techniques. Alongside fantastic animation, Kuroko no Basket as has a great soundtrack to accompany the scenes. Overall, Kuroko no Basket is a fun anime that will have you entertained the whole way through.