Nowadays, sports genre is becoming popular in the world of anime. Whether you are a hardcore sports enthusiast or not, watching a sports anime is simply fun, and more than that, it’s something that makes you sweat out as watching an actual battle sequence.
As sports anime becomes viral worldwide, many titles out there are oftentimes getting a wide attention among fans as they give positive feedback and high star on various streaming sites. How many of you have read bunch of reviews on Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket? How many fangirls are getting hyped of the anime Free! for presenting the sexiest guys? Fandoms are getting larger and larger and seem to dominate the large scale of the sports anime. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not, in any way, disappointed. I am just amazed and I do watch these so-called “overrated” titles, too.
However, despite the popularity of these big titles in the mainstream industry, there are lots of sports genre out there that need a decent spotlight. They aren’t typically popped up on Google’s “Top/Best” keyword, but still worth to try. Here are sports anime shows that deserve a wide attention among fans. (*Note: Titles are listed in random order)
A series related to baseball is quite a big hype for sports enthusiasts, however, Cross Game is something beyond the label. Aside from the baseball entity, the series solely focuses on the lighthearted interaction of the main leads which is quite the entertainment. Nevertheless, the sports element of the show manages to complement smoothly with the drama, romance and comedy aspect, in which, characters are well-presented as to their role beyond the world of baseball. Cross Game is a great sports anime that explores the daily life of a baseball enthusiast which is simply fun to watch.
Cart racing is kind of exciting as one of the extraordinary sports, and Capeta is another show that will speed up your fandom in the most adventurous world of racing cars. The story mostly highlights the struggles of the main protagonist, Taira Capeta, as he overcomes the obstacles along his way, winning and becoming stronger through his determination, which inspires the audience in a more realistic approach. Though with lack complexity, what makes the story rather engaging is how they provide a wide emphasis on Capeta’s character development which I consider to be the most notable factor in the series. The show doesn’t only focus on sports but also, it allows the audience to secrete their tears through wide variety of dramatic moments.
AREA NO KISHI
I am not a soccer fan, but it was pretty amazing how I was easily drawn to the world surrounding the team sports, and Area no Kishi was able to deliver a fair amount of insights and various strategies involving soccer. The plot has a great potential as it centers on the strong bonding of family, friendship and the harmonious relationship among team members of the soccer team. It depicts a realistic phenomenal of the game from its basic approach to the complexity of the sports, and that said, it attempts to guide the viewers, particularly those who aren’t enthusiasts as I am, to increase their interest and allow themselves to create a passion for it.
Another reality show based on soccer, Giant Killing serves a new taste for soccer fans as the story incorporates a strong perspective on soccer in a more professional manner. The main lead, Takeshi Tatsumi, eventually becomes the coach of East Tokyo United while he struggles to make the club create a big future. The central theme of the show is teamwork which is depicted through conflicts and finding the solution out of it. What makes it different from other sports anime is the fact that it tackles a wide scope on the fundamentals of soccer, from its game strategy to teamwork. Watching the anime feels like watching a reality soccer team.
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 to prove that girls also excel on sports matter. The show is far different from other sports genre because Taishou Yakyuu Musume has a traditional vibes with cultural diversity among Japanese girls. It re-emphasizes to the viewers that women, in a broader sense, has the freedom of choice to achieve dignity and complete autonomy in the society. In addition to the theme on women empowerment, the show has a character-driven plot with some hilarious antiques and heart-warming moments that complements smoothly with the sports genre.
This tennis-inspired anime isn’t about the extraordinary shounen grooves as how Ryoma Echizen from the popular series The Prince of Tennis flawlessly showcases on tennis court. Contrary, Baby Steps illustrates the realistic development of a young boy from being a novice to the tennis sports until he learns to step his feet onto the ground with confidence and determination. The anime isn’t merely about the strategies involving the sports as it also motivates the audience to learn from their experience and get the strength out from their failures and weaknesses. In addition, what I particularly like about the anime is the little splash of romance which at least makes an essence for the development of the characters.
BIG WIND UP!
While it centers on the journey of young boys as part of a baseball team, Big Wind Up! has lots to offer more than what it seems as a sports anime. It tries to highlight the central theme of the story as sports anime which is about friendship and teamwork, thus creating a well-crafted genre that will let the non-baseball fans appreciate the gameplay of the team sports. The satisfying point of the anime is the fact that characters are equally given a fair amount of spotlight as featuring their unique disposition in the field, making them all aces in a single game. Moreover, the interaction of the characters entertained me a lot with its adequate hilarity which perfectly blends with the sports genre.
A unique sports anime about boat racing, Monkey Turn follows a cliche shounen route where the main protagonist, Kenji Hatano, aims to become the best in something. The edge of the show is the smooth pacing of the story and quick character development. The gameplay of the sports is pretty refreshing with the flow and splash of water which is something beyond the ordinary sports like soccer and baseball. If you’re looking for a new spice of sports anime, Monkey Turn shouldn’t be ignored in the list.
AOHARU X KIKANJUU
Blended with action and comedy, Aoharu X Kikanjuu brings a new world of sports which is associated with airsoft matters. The plot doesn’t have any complexity with its main lead who learns to love the airsoft, but the entertainment of the show is worth the hype, that is, the gender bender- the identity of the main lead as a girl is a secret and struggles to reveal it to his handsome teammates due to certain circumstances. The battlefield of airsoft and its gameplay and the wild shots of firearms make the most engaging element of the show. Action scenes stimulated my nerves and fairly satisfied me with its overall appeal.
As much as you love the hilarity of Slam Dunk and the fanservice of Kuroko no Basket with its gorgeous characters, Dear Boys on the other hand offers a different appeal for basketball enthusiasts. While most of the sports anime focus on the journey of the protagonist towards the gold, Dear Boys doesn’t only center on winning a tournament but also depicts the enjoyment of the sports. The hardwork and perseverance of the characters, especially Kazuhiko Aikawa, did inspire me and they gave me a deep sentiment through the dramatic involvement of the show.
So, what are your impressions on these titles? Have you watched any anime in the list? Are you planning to watch at least one of them? Whether these series are considered underrated or not, depending on your personal views, these series are still worth to try. Let me know your thoughts.