In its history, the manga and anime industry has always been rich in content with references from different genres. Be it the best Isekai Anime, the best anime movies of all time, the best English Dubbed Anime, and the Best Anime Series on Netflix. Then there is favorite titles coming up in Winter 2023 anime season. Here we are talking about the sports anime genre that has covered from famous basketball to lesser ones like bowling.
Many students can’t get enough of sports. From tuning in to real-life sports games to watching anime athletes, there are many ways to get your sports fix. We’ve found that anime and sports go hand in hand, and this genre is particularly popular with students.
Let me share my curated list of old and new great names in sports anime from Haikyuu!! to Slam Dunk. These are the best sports anime giants that have grown exponentially in their story as well as a fanbase.
The Greatest and the Best Sports Anime as on December 2022
Haikyuu!! anime series continues to hold the top position in sports anime.
Haikyuu!! anime revolves around the volleyball team of Karasuno High School as they make their way up from being the ‘fallen giants’ and ‘the flightless crows’ after years of a slump back up to the top (literally the theme of Haikyuu Season 4).
The way back to the top is fuelled by the new Karasuno team powered by Hinata Shoyo and Kageyama Tobio, the weird power combo of Karasuno, the ace, Azumane Asahi, Captain Sawamura Daichi, Wing-spiker Tanaka Ryuunosuke, setter Sugawara Koshi, and two more freshmen, Tsukichima Kei and Yamaguchi Tadashi.
Karasuno moves forward on their journey after beating Shiratorizawa at the Inter-High finals and trains further with their friends and competitors from Dateko, Aoba Johsai, Fukurodani, and Nekoma. The appeal of Haikyuu lies in its dynamic character development and focus on collective character improvements and not a simple focus on a sole protagonist. The series has been a recipient of critical acclaim and has now reached one of its final arcs in the anime after the end of the Haikyuu manga in July 2020.
“Haikyuu!!” has a cast majorly of youth ready to take on the world powered by the best animation.
Slam Dunk represents one of the sacrosanct demons of Japanese comics. The story of Hanamichi Sakuragi is considered by many to be the best spokon ever in anime history. “Slam Dunk” not only features legendary moments of the sport in the anime but also brings about the iconic ‘street’ fights.
Slam Dunk manga was published on the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump for 6 years between 1990 and 1996. The manga has inspired a passion for sports, basketball in particular, throughout Japan.
The story of Hanamichi Sakuragi and the Shohoku basketball team is now getting ready to make its theatrical debut in Japan. Slam Dunk Movie 2022 has been scheduled for theatrical release on December 3, 2022, as confirmed by TOEI Animation.
Chihayafuru began as a josei manga that dabbled in the sport of Karuta, a traditional Japanese competitive game that roped in the protagonist, Chihaya Ayase. As a young, enthusiastic and bubbly person, Chihaya found love for Karuta in her childhood while playing alongside her friends, Taichi Mashima and Arata Wataya.
As the years go by, she loses her link with Karuta only to rediscover it in her high-school years. She forms a Karuta team with Taichi and others to play Karuta competitively and find Arata once again. Chihayafuru is a romance as well as a coming of age story that thrives in its beautiful animation and the magic of Karuta. Chihaya leads the Mizusawa Karuta club hoping to be the best Karuta player ever!
“Chihayafuru” anime is an underrated gem that represents the most unpopular sport of all those present in this list of sports anime: ‘karuta’. This is a sport that consists of memorizing 100 traditional poems that are later transferred to a competitive tatami. Ultimately, the goal is to run out of cards faster than your opponent.
Chihayafuru Season 1 to 3 have 24-25 episodes in each season. Crunchyroll has streamed all the seasons of the anime that is available on the platform! Sentai Filmworks has licensed the first two seasons of anime in North America for home video distribution. Netflix had also added Chihayafuru Season 3 to its catalogue.
Kuroko no basket
Kuroko no Basuke, also known as Kuroko’s Basketball, is an anime series all about a high school basketball team. If you have fond memories of playing high school sports, this comedy will take you back to the good old days.
In this series, viewers follow Kuroko’s journey through school and sports. There’s never a dull moment in this show, with a mix of suspense, action and laughs, emblematic duels such as the one between Taiga and Aomine. Plus, all the characters are easy to fall in love with. In short, if you want a sport based on spectacularity and fantasy, “Kuroko no Basket” is among the best options for sports anime. What more could you want?
Of all the sports anime, Kuroko no Basuke is up there with the most popular anime choices. Translated to Kuroko’s Basketball, this modern anime focuses on a basketball team’s wins and losses with a side of human drama to keep viewers entertained. Kuroko no Basuke is one of the Sports Anime on Netflix and also streaming on Crunchyroll, so get wrapped up in it today.
There are quite a few well-known soccer anime that have come before this. For lovers of the genre and the sport, Captain Tsubasa and Inazuma Eleven are also great places to start! So what sets Blue Lock apart in the best sports anime category? Blue Lock quite doesn’t do the ‘Power of Friendship’ trope which is very common in anime. The series also does not do superpower sports like Kuroko no Basuke. While these anime have made a mark on the audience, Blue Lock takes a big detour.
The characters in the show don’t have any superpowers that penetrate their sport and also move from the team spirit aspect of, well, team sports. The series revels in competition, egoism, and selfishness in the players and presents them as real competitors rather than creating a benevolent version of them.
Blue Lock is an absolutely stunning narrative, trying to find the egoistical striker who can bring Japan glory. The series has also been recommended by Isayama Hajime, the creator of Attack on Titan. Yusuke Nomura worked as Isayama’s assistant!
There are no announcements as of now for the release of a Blue Lock anime English Dub. However, considering the popularity of the manga itself and the anticipation around the release of the anime adaptation, it is almost sure that the anime will get an English Dub from Crunchyroll or Funimation or one of the popular Dubbing Platforms.
Blue Lock anime is slated to run for 24 episodes in two cours Season 1
The list of best sports anime is subjective. Reference to above anime within a genre does not mean that other sports anime are not equally gripping. If you are interested to explore, here are few more names like “Yuri!!! on Ice”, “Ping Pong: The Animation”, “Inazuma Eleven“, “Prince of Tennis”, “Captain Tsubasa“, “Eyeshield 21” or “Yowamushi Pedal”.