Do you enjoy watching sports on the big screen?
Sports anime is a genre that’s skyrocketed into the mainstream over the past few years. Like other athletic pastimes, such as sports betting online, these sports-based series continue to impress fans worldwide.
Typically, athletic anime focus on sports that are popular worldwide. For example, many series feature basketball, volleyball and even American football. No matter your sports preference, there’s an anime to meet your needs.
Whether you’ve watched athletic anime before or not, keep reading. We’re counting down the top five athletes in anime. Our list is based on fan-favorite status, the quality of the anime show and how dedicated they are to the sport.
You never know; you might find your next binge-watch series here. Enjoy!
Scroll down to learn more.
Toru Oikawa – Haikyuu!!
If you’re researching sports anime, Haikyuu!! is a series that will appear again and again. This Japanese manga series was released in 2014, and the team still produces episodes today.
This show is based on a volleyball team and its experiences in the championship league. However, we’re not focusing on the heroes today… Our first anime athlete actually plays for the opposing team.
Toru Oikawa is a character that anime fans love to hate. He might seem like an unlikely fan favorite with a deep backstory, a narcissistic personality and a standoffish style. But many Haikyuu!! watchers have grown to love this player — and we can see why.
Miyuki Kazuya – Ace of Diamond
Prefer to watch baseball? Don’t limit your viewing to real-life sports. Baseball is a popular pick in the anime world too. Our next character is from Ace of Diamond, an anime that follows a gifted baseball player on his journey through high school and the sport.
Again, we’re not focusing on the main character of this anime. The fan favorite here is Miyuki Kazuya, another character fans worldwide love. Kazuya is popular as viewers watch his confidence grow as the series progresses, which is a journey many fans identify with.
Kazuya is one of the most reliable players on the team. Some viewers don’t always agree with his strong opinions and outspoken views. But without strong characters, the team would be lost!
Reki Kyan – Sk8 the Infinity
Anime athletes don’t have to play team sports to be considered on this list!
Our next character pick is Reki Kyan from Sk8 the Infinity, an anime all about adventure, freedom and skateboarding. This is a popular pick for anyone who enjoys alternative sports and skating in real life.
Reki Kyan is obsessed with all things skateboarding, and many watchers share a love for this sport. But he’s not just a sportsman; Kyan is also goofy, positive and enjoyable to watch. However, watch out for his dark side. Kyan has self-doubt issues, and viewers will witness him working through these problems in the series.
Nagisa Hazuki – Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
In need of a new character to fall in love with? Meet Nagisa Hazuki from the Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.
Hazuki is a ball of positive and happy energy. Despite the challenges the swim club faces, you can count on Hazuki to bring positivity to any circumstance. Hazuki is a well-known fan favorite, and many watchers find his personality and resilience inspiring.
Hazuki isn’t one-dimensional though, he also has a trouble-making side which provides entertaining scenes every time. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club is a great mix of sports and comedy for all.
Sakamichi Onoda – Yowamushi Pedal
Did you know cycling anime also exists? That’s right! Yowamushi Pedal is all about a school’s cycling club. However, you don’t need to be an avid cyclist to enjoy this athletic series. In fact, the main character also stumbled upon this club by accident!
Sakamichi Onoda is a shy student that ends up in the cycling club while searching for the school’s anime club. Viewers love this character as they can watch him embrace the sport while making friends and growing in confidence.
As his courage grows, Onoda becomes a strong cyclist with the determination to win. This show has other elements too, most notably Onoda’s love of anime! If you want to watch a sports athlete anime with a character that shares your passions, consider Yowamushi Pedal.
No matter which series you start watching, there’s always an inspiring and relatable character around. Which anime athletes do you recognize? Have you found any new shows to add to your list? We hope this list has inspired you to try new shows!