As sports anime become viral worldwide, many titles out there are getting more popular than others. How many of you know about Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket? How many fangirls get hyped about Free! and its sexy guys?
Despite the popularity of these big titles, there are a lot of sports anime out there that are not as popular and need a decent spotlight. They rarely pop up on Google’s ‘Top/Best’ keyword but are still worth to watch. Here are 10 sports anime shows that deserve more attention from anime fans:
Aoharu X Kikanjuu
Aoharu X Kikanjuu brings a new kind of sports to the anime scene: airsoft guns. The plot isn’t complex: the main lead learns to love airsoft, but the real charm of the show comes from the MC’s situation. Let’s just say that is there is a certain secret that spices things up. Since the sport features guns, the action scenes will surely stimulate your nerves.
Area no Kishi
Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you’ll be easily drawn to the world of Area no Kishi. The anime takes time to analyze the game and its strategies but it also covers the harmonious relationship between the members of the soccer team. It tries to be as realistic as possible, keep the complexity of the game and that said, and guide both fans and amateurs to level up their interest and allow themselves to create a passion for soccer and sports anime.
Season 1: Spring 2014 (25 Episodes)
Season 2: Spring 2015 (25 Episodes)
This tennis-inspired anime isn’t similar to the extraordinary shonen grooves of Ryoma Echizen from the popular series The Prince of Tennis. On the contrary, Baby Steps shows a more realistic story of a young boy who goes from being a novice to playing with confidence and determination. The anime isn’t merely about the strategies of tennis but also about the motivation needed to learn out of failure and weakness. There is also a little splash of romance that is integral to the development of the characters.
Big Wind Up! (Ookiku Furikabutte)
Even though it features the classic journey of young boys who are part of a baseball team, Big Wind Up! has a lot more to offer more than just the usual sports drama. It gives a more centered focus on friendship and teamwork, thus creating a well-crafted story that allows non-baseball fans to appreciate the team effort found in baseball. All the characters are given a fair amount of screen time as the anime tries to cover their unique place on the field, making them all aces in a single game. Moreover, the interactions between the characters is very entertaining and features more than enough comedy moments that perfectly blend with the sports side of the story.
Cart racing is not one of most popular sports, and Capeta wants to speed up the fandom to the most adventurous world of racing cars. The story highlights the struggles of the main protagonist, Taira Capeta, as he overcomes obstacles to win races and become stronger. It is not a complex story but is rather engaging as the focus on Capeta’s character development makes for an enjoyable ride. The show focuses not only on sports but also allows the audience to shed their tears with the sentimental moments.
A series related to baseball is quite a big thing for sports anime enthusiasts. However, Cross Game is something beyond the label. Aside from baseball, the series focuses on the lighthearted interaction between the main leads. The sports side of the show complements the drama, romance, and comedy smoothly. The characters are well-presented and their roles beyond the world of baseball are portrayed successfully. Cross Game is a great sports anime that explores the daily life of a baseball enthusiast and is simply fun to watch.
As much as you may love the hilarity of Slam Dunk and the fanservice of Kuroko no Basket with its gorgeous characters, Dear Boys offers something different to basketball enthusiasts. While most sports anime focus on the journey of the protagonist towards being the best, Dear Boys centers not only on winning a tournament but also on depicting how much fun the game is. The hard work and perseverance of the characters is truly inspiring and contagious.
Another sports series based on soccer, Giant Killing is different from other soccer anime because it incorporates a strong perspective on soccer in a more professional manner. The main lead, Takeshi Tatsumi, eventually becomes the coach of East Tokyo United and he struggles to make the club succeed. The central theme of the show is teamwork and is depicted through the team’s conflicts and search for solutions. What makes it different from other sports anime is that it tackles the fundamentals of the game, from game strategy to the essence of teamwork. Watching the anime feels like watching a real soccer team.
A unique sports anime about boat racing, Monkey Turn follows the cliche of the shonen route where the main protagonist, Kenji Hatano, aims to become the best in something. The show flows smoothly and features some quick character development and a unique sport that is not featured often. If you’re looking to spice your sports anime, Monkey Turn shouldn’t be ignored.
Taishou Yakyuu Musume
Taishou Yakyuu Musume is a girl-oriented sports series that revolves around Koume Suzukawa as she aspires to enter the world of baseball and prove that girls can also excel in sports. The show is far different from other sports series because Taishou Yakyuu Musume features both a traditional vibe and a cultural diversity among the characters. It re-emphasizes to the viewers that women, in a broader sense, have a freedom to choose the way they can achieve their dignity and autonomy in modern society. The show has a character-driven plot with some hilarious antiques and heart-warming moments. This is perfect for those wanting a women-empowerment story.
Good Sports Anime Are Not Always Popular
Have you watched any of the anime on this list? Do you have more to add? Whether or not these series are considered underrated, depending on your personal views, these series are still worth to try. Let us know!