The anime world is diverse. Starting from horror to covering genres of thriller, science fiction, humor, and even sports. Especially sports. Because for a lot of kids out there, sports anime was their first ever contact with the sports world. But the best thing about this particular genre is probably the level of relatability it presents to its audience. Most anime make you envision a world of magic and unrealistic scenarios, but sports anime are the most relatable of all the anime genres out there. Here is a list of some of the best sports anime –
KUROKO NO BASKET
Friendship, love, compassion, bravery, thrill, failure, success – this anime has got it all. Kuroko No Basket is an incredible anime that tells the story of the basketball circuit of Japan. Even though the story focuses mainly on two characters - Kuroko and Kagami, no character in this anime can truly be tagged as a “sidekick”. Every single character in this anime has a story to tell. A story that will leave a long lasting impression in your mind. The anime focuses around 5 unbelievably talented basketball players known to be a part of the “Generation of Miracles”. The five of them played together in middle school but once they graduated middle school, the five of them ended up in five different high schools and ends up building their own teams in their new schools and go head to head against each other in different basketball tournaments. Even though this anime might not do as well in the relatability scale given it portrays every single player from the generation of miracles to have extraordinary basketball skills, those skills aren't the focus of this anime. The anime explores the complexities of friendship and how friendships evolve when people grow apart. The anime explores the extents to which team bonding among member of a team can go and how that bonding impacts the success stories of a team or how that bonding keeps everyone in a team sane when they face failure. But that's not all this anime has to offer, Kuroko No Basket is also one of the funniest anime of all time which will cheer you up on any given day.
In terms of relatability and thrill, Haikyuu ticks all the boxes. The story focuses around a volleyball enthusiast, Hinata Shoyo, who does not fulfill the traditional criteria to be a volleyball player – being tall and muscular. But what keeps Hinata going is his unbreakable determination to be the best of best. Every time his team loses to a stronger and more experienced team, every time his teammates lose their desire to continue playing volleyball, he is the one person who never gives up nor lets anyone else give up. The storyline of this anime is very simple and straightforward, an underdog trying to surpass his own reputation of being the underdog. But what makes it one of the best anime of all time is its similarities to real life. The way it depicts teams handling failures, the power dynamics of different players in the field, the struggle of balancing studies and extracurricular activities, makes this anime an incredible work of art.
Captain Tsubasa, an anime that started in 1983, has influenced a whole generation of kids to fall in love with anime and football at the same time. Takahashi, the writer of the manga, decided to create Captain Tsubasa inspired by 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina. The manga was so popular that it ended up having multiple sequels. The main character, Tsubasa Oozora, is an 11-year-old school student who is deeply in love with football and dreams of winning the FIFA World Cup for Japan one day. The anime explores his journey towards that dream. But the reason this anime is still so special is that it inspired a generation of footballers who later went on to do great things in life. The anime-inspired footballers like Hidetoshi Nakata to play football professionally. It was also an inspiration for the movie Shaolin Soccer. It didn't end there. Captain was also the inspiration for a line of Adidas running shoes. Tsubasa appeared in a video for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the closing ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Slam Dunk, released in 1993, is still regarded to be one of the best basketball anime of all times. The story revolves around Shohoku High School basketball team and the infamous delinquent Sakuragi Hanamichi, the protagonist of the series. After his fiftieth rejection at the starting of the series, Hanamichi falls in love with Haruko Akagi, the sister of the captain of Shohoku Basketball team, Takenori Akagi. To impress the basketball fanatic Haruko, Hanamichi joins the Shohoku basketball team only to find out that Haruko has already got eyes for Rukawa Kayde, a talented basketball player who is also on Shohoku's Basketball team. This hilarious love triangle makes the whole story more amusing. This series has been sold over 121 million copies in Japan only making it one of the best-selling manga series in history.
HAJIME NO IPPO
There aren't many sports anime about boxing compared to the number of sports anime there are about basketball or football. But that's not the only reason why this anime is unique. Hajime No Ippo tells the story of an underdog boxer in the most realistic way possible. Makunouchi Ippo does not have any superhuman skills. The story focuses heavily on character development. Makunochi is kind, polite and as down to the ground as a genuinely decent person can be. He idolises his opponents and never holds any negatively during or after the match. The anime is written and illustrated by George Morikawa. George himself had a career in boxing and later acted as a coach for many young boxers. This is all the more reason as to why the anime is so very inspirational. This is one anime every boxing fan should definitely watch.
Megha is an anime fan. Judge all you want. You can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org