Sports is one of the best niches in anime, deserving all the praise in the world. These animes have strongly built characters, relationships, and heart-stopping matches.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 sports anime of all time!
10) Diamond no Ace:
With over 100 episodes, Diamond no Ace has a lot of baseball content to offer. The anime primarily focuses on the rivalry between two main pitchers of Seidou high. The first is Eijun Sawamaru and the other is Satoru Furuya.
They join the team at the same time and have contrasting play styles and personalities. The anime is an epic tale of a baseball team with prideful and tear-jerking moments as we see them face setbacks and trials.
9) Yuri!! on Ice:
Figure Skating is a very taxing sport, especially for older competitors. Yuri!! On Ice revolves around Yuuri, who is trying to find his way to the upper echelons of figure skating.
The anime also displays a BL romance between him and his skating mentor, the legendary Victor, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats till the end.
8) Kuroko No Basket:
Kuroko No Basket takes a fresh step in the sports genre as Kuroko and his Seirin High team competes in high adrenaline matches.
It feels rewarding to see them take down teams with the players from the “Generation of Miracles” in the show’s iconic over-the-top style.
7) Baby Steps:
Baby Steps is a realistic anime that focuses on Eiichirou Marou’s journey. Many of us will find Marou to be relatable as he struggles to understand why he has to focus on academics as he tries to find footing in his passion.
It is very entertaining and touching to watch him develop his play style alongside fellow first-year, Natsu. As for the matches, Baby Steps wouldn’t make it to the list if it didn’t have smoothly animated, intense tennis matches!
6) Run With the Wind:
Running is arguably one of the most underappreciated sports. People think that it is comparatively easy, even though it has its own trials and tribulations.
Run With the Wind follows Kurahara Kakeru and Kiyose Haiji as the latter convinces Kakeru, a former runner, and his dorm mates to run the Hakone Ekiden, the hardest marathon in Japan.
The series delivers excellent drama with the help of its unique, lovable, and entertaining cast. The races are surprisingly tense, with the final race being one of my favorite stretches in anime overall.
The build-up for the race, too, is amazing as every character gets their own little arc in the span of 24 episodes. Run With the Wind is clearly one of the best sports anime of all time, and I would be lying if the ending didn’t make me cry.
5) Ping Pong the Animation:
While the initial look of the anime might not be as appealing, it is attractive in its own way. Adapted by the legendary Masaaki Yuasa, Ping Pong the Animation offers the most breathless action scenes.
Another differentiating factor about the series is its plot as it focuses on people who are not able to rise to the top!
Haikyu!! Is one of the biggest anime of all time, and for a reason. Watching Kageyama and Hinata run amok in the court is so satisfying. However, the show would’ve never risen to critical acclaim if it only had that going.
Haikyu!! Offers a cast so lovable that they feel real, and watching them struggle and win is a true journey. Some of their losses were incredibly crushing, to the point I didn’t feel like doing this in real life. And, their wins inspired me to clean my closet in just a few hours.
For me, Haikyu!! peaked in season three. Without giving any spoilers, the whole cour is one volleyball match, just one. And, I’m glad that they did justice to the match.
Overall, Haikyu!! Is a much watch, sports fan or not.
Chihayafuru is our dark horse pick, as nobody would expect an anime about a card game called Karuta to be this good. Chihayafuru has one of the tightest pacings in sports anime and follows Chihaya to become obsessed with the game.
Chihayafuru excels at making you love the characters. Then, it feeds you with their training, struggles, matches, and personal lives. While it does all of that, it doesn’t bore you for even a single second.
While the animation style is Shoujo-ish, the anime is actually a Josei, the Seinen counterpart for women. By the time all of the manga’s events are animated, there will be no doubt in your mind that Chihayafuru is one of the greatest sports anime of all time, if not the greatest.
2) Slam Dunk:
Created by the legendary Takehiko Inoue, Slam Dunk is arguably the most acclaimed sports series of all time. Inoue knows how to write a compelling story by driving characters to the right places, both physically and mentally.
With an amazing cast, Slam Dunk plays with our heartstrings during matches, especially as we get closer and closer to the finale of the anime. From the final match, we get a scene that is perhaps one of the most iconic in the medium.
1) Hajime No Ippo
While many of you may not be aware of this anime, Hajime No Ippo is the series to watch. With three seasons and more than a hundred episodes, Hajime No Ippo revolves around Makunouchi Ippo, a timid high schooler who vows to become a boxer.
The original manga started publishing in 1989 and is still ongoing, with more than 1400 chapters. And, till now, there hasn’t been a single chapter that bored me. The anime covers 556 chapters of the manga and is an absolute blast to watch as well.
Hajime No Ippo does everything that we’ve mentioned about all the other anime on the list, but it does them better. I’m not a guy who likes to rewatch things, but there are a handful of hour-long fights that I still rewatch frequently.
By the end of the series, many animanga fans consider Hajime No Ippo to be a serious contender for the title of the greatest series of all time, not just sports.
Which one is your favorite? Comment below!