Nowadays, sports genre is popular in the world of anime. Whether you are a hardcore sports enthusiast or not, watching 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 getting a wide attention among fans as they give good reviews on these shows on various streaming sites. How many of you have read a bunch of reviews on Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket? How many fangirls get hyped of the anime Free! for presenting the sexiest guys? Fandoms are getting larger and larger and seem to dominate the large scale of 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 a lot of sports anime out there that need a decent spotlight. They do not typically pop 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 no particular 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, the characters are well-presented as to their roles 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 speeds 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 obstacles along his way, winning and becoming stronger through his determination which inspires the audience in a 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 with the sentimental 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 harmonious relationship among the members of the soccer team. It depicts a realistic phenomenal of the game from the 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 the game strategy to the essence of 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 in sports matter. The show is far different from other sports genre because Taishou Yakyuu Musume has a traditional vibe with a cultural diversity among the characters. It re-emphasizes to the viewers that women, in a broader sense, has a freedom of choice to achieve dignity and complete autonomy in 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 complement 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 that is integral 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 a lot 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 story that allows non-baseball fans appreciate the gameplay of the team sports. The satisfying point of the anime is the fact that the characters are equally given a fair amount of screen time 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 the adequate hilarity that perfectly blends with the sports genre.
A unique sports anime about boat racing, Monkey Turn follows the cliche of a 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 the quick character development. The gameplay of the sports is pretty refreshing which is something beyond an 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
Aoharu X Kikanjuu brings a new world of sports which is associated with airsoft matters. The plot doesn’t have any complexity with the main lead who learns to love 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 her 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. The action scenes stimulated my nerves and fairly satisfied me.
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 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 as 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 on 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.