22 sports anime that you must watch

Anime is frequently a platform for an extremely compelling narrative, ranging from beguiling high school dramas to otherworldly power fantasies. Nevertheless, some of the most intriguing anime shows in recent years have been those that focus on sports and fitness, despite the fact that it may not seem like the most logical fit.

The finest sports anime series may not necessarily be anchored in truth, unlike most feature films and live-action TV shows, but because the medium adds a completely unique wacky spin to sports, these shows can frequently be just as enjoyable as some of the best athlete biopics—if not more so. To that end, even individuals who have no interest in sports may find something to watch, from classic inspirational dramas to genre-defying sports comedies.


amanchu-sports anime

An OVA and 12 episodes of the sports anime Amanchu, which focuses on scuba diving, were released in 2016. Every episode seems like a unique mini-adventure. Like many other fantastic sports anime, friendship is a significant theme in this one as well.

The main characters of the programme are Pikari and Teko. One is really quiet, whilst the other is animated and has a peculiar personality. Additionally, Teko initially has no swimming skills. The television show will undoubtedly inspire viewers to buy some diving equipment and try out this activity.

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? Aka How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?

How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift sports anime

It might not be to everyone’s taste because the anime is an ecchi anime that focuses on fan service and uniquely anime feel-good humour. But the humorous stylings of this one will delight anyone who has ever pursued bodybuilding or regular exercise.

High schooler Hibiki Sakura, a gluttonous figure, serves as the series’ protagonist. When she starts to worry about her growing waistline, she makes the decision to change her life and joins a gym, but she faces impossible and sometimes funny challenges in order to stay committed to her fitness goals.


Chihayafuru sports anime

Chihayafuru is unique since it concentrates on karuta, a card game and sport that is only played in Japan. Additionally, it is one of the rare sports animes featuring a female lead. In 2013, Chihayafuru had 25 episodes and an OVA.

Despite the fact that Chihayafuru is about a game that Western viewers have probably never heard of or played, it has a sizable non-Japanese following. The series has received high praise from critics for its endearing protagonist and well-written secondary characters that won viewers over right away.

Eyeshield 21

Eyeshield 21 sports anime

Although some people might be surprised to learn that Japan does in fact have a professional league for the game known as the X-League, American football isn’t especially well-liked in the nation. The very brief anime series Eyeshield 21 also briefly included American football.

After years of avoiding school bullies, Sona Kobayakawa, a shy person, discovers a secret ability for sprinting and evasion. He then joins an American football team under the alias Eyeshield 21 while covering his face with a visor. Football enthusiasts may want to keep an eye out for this interesting series.

Yowamushi Pedal

Yowamushi Pedal sports anime

Sakamichi Onda is a high school otaku whose hobbies are limited to anime and nerd culture in general. However, Sakamichi is drawn into the world of cycling when a well-known rider and fellow student chances to notice his unexpected talent on his big, beach cruiser-like bike.

Yowamushi Pedal brings a lot of personality and fascination to cycling, a sport that isn’t frequently covered in mainstream media. It’s as much about breaking out of one’s shell and finding new loves and interests as it is about riding.

Run With The Wind

Run With The Wind sports anime

As the name of the series indicates, Run With The Wind is about running. The tale is centered on the characters. Everyone character has their own baggage to untangle and each has their own motivations for running. For the majority of them, running turns out to be a type of catharsis.

Although the ten-person squad is the main emphasis, each character gets plenty of screen time. Additionally, Run With The Wind is an anime about a bunch of college students, in contrast to many other sports-themed anime. This series will undoubtedly appeal to older audiences.

Blue Lock

Blue Lock sports anime

An anime version of Blue Lock will debut in October 2022. Despite the fact that the anime hasn’t yet been produced, the manga series was one of the best-selling in 2021 and has received positive reviews. Blue Lock is a football movie with a grim, dystopian edge.

Jinpachi began the aforementioned Blue Lock. Finding Japan’s top striker—someone egotistical who isn’t afraid to take the stage on the field—is a quest. Thousands of players are called to the venue and made to compete against one another. There will only be one national team member. Isagi prevented his squad from earning a big victory in the national competition. He sees Blue Lock as an opportunity to prove himself and improve as a player.

Prince Of Tennis

Prince Of Tennis sports anime

Prince of Tennis, which made its debut back in the middle of the aughts, deviates from the conventional sports anime plot. It portrays the narrative of Ryouma Echizen, a star player, rather than an underdog character. After migrating to Japan from the West, the young lad enrolls at Seishun Gakuen Junior High School.

The team becomes a force to be reckoned with his addition. Ryouma is a fantastic tennis player, but he wants to surpass his father as Japan’s best player and forge his own history rather than follow in his footsteps.

Sk8 The Infinity

Sk8 The Infinity sports anime

One of the most well-liked anime series to be launched in the winter of 2021 was Sk8 The Infinity. Fans of this cheery sitcom fell in love with practically every character in just 12 episodes. Skateboarding is the subject of this anime, which focuses on camaraderie and having fun.

Reki Kyan is enthusiastic about all facets of skateboarding, including the skating itself as well as fixing and creating boards. After losing his dad, Langa Hasegawa just returned from Canada. Before meeting Reki, who taught him the ins and outs of skating, he had lost all enthusiasm for life and had grown listless. He had no idea that because he had previously been a snowboarder, Langa had a definite learning curve for skating. They compete in “S,” a clandestine skateboarding competition, together.


Major sports anime

Major, a popular baseball-focused anime that first appeared in 2004, covers the career of Goro Honda, a well-known baseball star’s son whose career was cut short by injuries. Goro transforms from an innocent youngster to a bright major-league talent as he sets out to conquer hardship and flee the problems brought on by familial strife.

It’s chock-full of emotion, tension, and dramatic over-exaggeration, as is the case with every anime series. However, baseball is a very significant sport in Japan, and even Western baseball enthusiasts will want to watch this portrayal of the game that defines a genre.

Captain Tsubasa

Captain Tsubasa sports anime

Captain Tsubasa was first produced in 1981 as a manga series, and he has experienced a lot. Its anime series from the 1980s contains over 100 episodes, and its manga is still being published. Thereafter, Captain Tsubasa appeared in a large number of movies and OVAs, followed by numerous anime series in the 1990s, 2000s, and most recently from 2018 to 2019.

Soccer is Captain Tsubasa’s passion. It has gained popularity for its endearing characters and themes about cooperation. In terms of Japanese pop culture, it has left a small legacy.

Run The Wind

Run The Wind sports anime

Run with the Wind is a book adaptation, in contrast to the majority of anime that are adapted from manga. The show is about competitive running, as its name implies. But it also goes deeply into the mental catharsis of its protagonist, Haiji, in addition to the general story focusing on the development of its major characters in their sport.

Even though his high school team is made up entirely of inexperienced runners, Haiji sets his sights on the absurdly challenging university marathon relay competitions in Japan. Even if they don’t end up winning, the squad will have to overcome numerous obstacles on the road to even be able to compete against Japan’s top runners.

Ace of Diamond

Ace of Diamond sports anime

In Ace of Diamond, a teenage pitcher named Eijun Sawamura gains notoriety because of his distinctive pitching technique. His middle school team loses their final match due to overconfidence and ambition, but Eijun fights to improve as a high school player.

Eijun’s abilities get him into the prestigious Seidous High School in Japan, but he faces stiff competition from rival teams and his teammates. While it adheres to several well-known shounen sports anime plot beats, it’s undoubtedly one that baseball lovers who enjoy anime should watch.

Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball sports anime

Basketball has all the necessary elements to create a gripping and captivating anime series, thanks to its fast-paced quarters, dramatic time-outs, and high-intensity action. That explains why the sport appears in so many television programmes as a plot element.

Kuroko’s Basketball accomplishes the same thing, but it also gives the game a fantastical edge. There is a tonne of ridiculous passing, dunking, and motion that emphasizes martial arts. However, for fans of shounen anime, this one is ideal. Viewers seeking strategic gaming and lessons on real-life basketball may not get much out of this.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club sports anime

There is much more to the anime Free! than just its intense fan service strategy, which some viewers may find offensive. To begin with, it contains well-written characters that all experience fairly balanced character growth during the course of the film.

Second, Free’s fast-paced swimming events and rivalries keep viewers interested despite having a rather obvious premise. Additionally, because KyoAni produced the anime, the animation’s style and quality are nothing short of fantastic.

Ping Pong The Animation

Ping Pong The Animation sports anime

Toggle pong The animation has a distinctive visual language. Its art is among the most distinctive in the medium. Although it is odd and could take some getting accustomed to, spectators shouldn’t disregard this sporting treasure because of it. Because there is no fan service, huge multicolored eyes, and certain items are depicted in an odd way, the show took a lot of chances. For instance, the ping pong balls aren’t even perfectly round.

It’s wonderful to watch the characters in Ping Pong The Animation grow. There are times when their exchanges are smart and dryly humorous. The two pals are polar opposites; one is brash and vivacious while the other is reserved and submissive.


Yawara! sports anime

The title character of Yawara! is a young Judo prodigy who is being nurtured by her grandfather, who also happens to be a very excellent Judo instructor. The film is old but gold. Yawara is under pressure from her grandpa to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics, despite the fact that all she wants is to lead a regular life devoid of extreme sports. She must practice nonstop to achieve these demands.

Though it takes her some time, Yawara eventually discovers how to harness her natural aptitude and develops a new love for the game. Many consider it to be an underrated anime classic and a foundational sports animation.


Haikyuu sports anime

Haikyuu has earned its spot as one of the most well-known anime series of the contemporary period. Although the anime’s main plot revolves around the volleyball exploits—and mishaps—of a little lead character named Hinata, it meticulously delves into the backstories of all of its characters and never drags out the action.

Most spectators will be captivated to it because of how thrilling the volleyball action is on the court. But more than that, what makes this anime stand out from other formulaic sports adventures that have been consuming the genre are its characters.

Yuri!!! On Ice

Yuri!!! On Ice sports anime

Ice skating is a delicate, elegant art, and the professional renderings of it already make Yuri!!! On Ice is a noteworthy series. But when it comes to the narrative, you can’t help but be enthralled by the nuanced and titillating love developments.

Yuri!!! On Ice, a production of MAPPA Studio, centers on Yuuri Katsuki, a former world-class figure skater who now finds it difficult to stay active in the sport after losing his best form. A stroke of luck, however, sees Victor Nikiforov, a five-time world champion, show up at his door to tutor him when one of his prior performances goes viral. Even while returning to the global scene won’t be simple, with Victor’s help, he just could succeed.

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk sports anime

It’s hard to beat Slam Dunk. According to Sports Illustrated, it had a significant influence on Japanese society at the time of its debut and helped to make the sport more well-known there. The smooth transition between the sports-focused action and the characters’ regular high school antics is what made Slam Dunk such an incredible animation.

Along with that, it also places a strong emphasis on the technical aspects of the game and sprinkles in a few teachings for aspiring basketball players. Today, its animation technique might appear a little out of date, but the other features more than make up for it.

Hajime No Ippo

Hajime No Ippo sports anime

Although Hajime no Ippo’s main character’s boxing career follows a traditional fight-of-the-week formula, it still serves as the Rocky of anime. The predictability of the boxing contests in the series is another feature that sets it apart. Much like real-world sport, no matter how much a spectator tries to predict the results of its fights, the anime constantly shocks them.

Ippo’s journey from being bullied to becoming a boxing professional warrants a look for everyone searching for motivation to start exercising or just to improve their life.

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