Sports anime is well…anime about sports. If you’re one of those people that don’t think that you would like sports anime because you don’t like sports in general, then you should probably watch one. Sports anime is a pretty broad genre that covers everything from basketball to baseball, to tennis and even ping pong. You’d probably find at least one that piques your interest. Here’s a list of the top 5 sports anime that I think you should watch if you haven’t seen a sports anime yet, or if you’re into sports anime and are looking for something to watch:
5. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
Free has a lot of good plot points. It also has a decent story about a boy who’s obsessed with swimming and goes on many swimming-based adventures with his childhood friends and finds happiness and purpose. The story has a pretty nice easy pacing. It’s also kind of gay. I won’t lie, there are plenty of interactions between the characters that show that these characters may not be entirely straight. But most importantly, it gives you plenty of material to build your ship(s). You will find yourself suddenly caring about swimming for a while if you don’t already. Also, the characters are written well enough so that you can root for or against them with enough justification. In short, it’s your typical sports anime. If you want to watch sports anime and don’t know where to start, or if you simply like “plot” then this anime is right up your alley.
4. Yuri on Ice!!!
Yuri on Ice is absolutely stunning. The characters glide across the screen and History Maker is probably one of the most beautiful openings I’ve ever heard. Also, Yuri on Ice is probably one of the gayest anime I’ve ever seen. I won’t lie you’ll come for the stunning animation and hot anime guys and you’ll stay for the gay. The fan service is abundant yet tasteful, and the love story between Yuri and Victor is beautifully written. To be honest, it’s no wonder that this anime won anime of the year in 2016 (even though Mob Psycho 100 was in the running and should have won but I digress). If you’re anything like me, by the time you finish the anime you’ll have tears in your eyes, a new husband or two, and a new source for fan fiction. So, if you haven’t watched Yuri on Ice yet please do, or at least add it to your mile-long “to watch” list.
3. Megalo Box
This is one thing that is not like the others. Like at all. Megalo Box is really gritty and significantly more violent than the other anime on this list, but considering that it’s about boxing this should come as no surprise. If you like anime that’s set in a dystopian yet futuristic setting, then you should definitely watch Megalo Box. If you like protagonists that kind of look like Spike from Cowboy Beebop, then you should watch Megalo Box. If boxing, lovable criminals, and seeing technology and humanity coexist for sporting purposes is your thing then watch Megalo Box. If a sports anime with absolutely zero yaoi undertones is your jam, then definitely watch Megabox. Even if you don’t particularly like these things, still watch Megalobox. Why not? It’s only 12 episodes. What do you have to lose?
2. Kuroko No Baskue
Universally understood sport? Check. Attractive anime boys? Check. Stunning animation in really tense moments? Genuinely wholesome team dynamics? Check. Seriously, there’s a lot to love about this anime. Considering that this series has 75 episodes and a whole movie, I know I’m not the only one that thinks this. There’s a lot of good story plot but there’s not a lot of “plot” (sorry ladies). The animation is still good enough that you’ll end the anime with at least one crush and there are enough yaoi undertones so that you end the anime with a couple of ships that you will probably ride or die for. If you haven’t seen it (or don’t like it for some weird reason), you should probably change that.
You saw this coming. I saw this coming. Everyone who watches anime saw this coming. Of course, Haikyuu is the best sports anime. What other sports anime was going to be number one? Since we all saw this coming, I don’t have to explain why Haikyuu’s characters are amazing and complex, whether they’re on the protagonist’s team or not. I don’t have to gush about the animation and the art style and how it helps make the games more eye-grabbing and intense. I don’t have to talk about the sheer comedy this series brings. I especially don’t have to talk about the lack of fan service because it doesn’t take anything away from the story. I’m not going to talk about any of these things, because we all know. Even if you don’t think you know because you haven’t seen Haikyuu yet, you probably have someone in your life that talks about it constantly. So in a way, you do know. Also, the fact that Haikyuu has four seasons says more about how amazing this show is than I ever could. If, you haven’t seen Haikyuu, please stop reading and watch it because Haikyuu is peak sports anime.
Even though these are the top 5 sports anime to watch if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, these series only make up a small fraction of the number of sports anime that are out there. If you don’t like any of these series, that’s okay. If you don’t see your favorite sport on this list, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a sports anime for it. Unless it’s American football, then sorry. There is a rugby anime if that helps.
Jasmine is a 23-year-old writer, weeb, and overall nerd from Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite shows include Kill la Kill, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Criminal Minds. When she’s not writing or watching anime, she usually has her nose in a book or is just existing…y’know like a human person does.