Call it due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or if you are past that, it doesn’t matter when you are reading this, sports is always a thrilling genre in real-life as well as in anime. There are some well-written sports anime available for you to binge-watch with a rich background, underlying notifications, character arcs, and of course, a lot of sports involved. Anime is one of the most charismatic forms of animation and it is enough to make your adrenaline flow. We have gathered a list of the 15 best sports anime you can find on various platforms to binge-watch. This includes anime revolving around basketball, football, scuba diving, ping pong, and tonnes of other games. Tag along to read the entire list.
List of 15 Best Sports Anime
Rated as one of the best sports anime out there, Haikyuu!! offers interesting character development. Instead of relying on anime that showcase individuals with skills, Haikyuu!! focuses mainly on the character and his relationship with his teammates and friends and vice versa. The story revolves around the protagonist Hinata Shouyo who stumbled upon the game of volleyball whilst watching a championship match on TV. He is introduced to a volleyball team in his school pit against his rival Kageyama. That’s when the arc rivals compete with each other through a series of games and off-game drama that will glue you to your phone or TV until you watch the entire series.
Haikyuu!! Is filled with an amazing soundtrack with high-energy drama and deep character development. Watch out for the next game of volleyball on Haikyuu!! or connect yourself with the protagonist of any other character and engross yourself into the world of Haikyuu!!
2. Kuroko’s Basketball
If it’s all about basketball for you, Kuroko’s Basketball is the Lebron James of basketball anime you can find. Spread across 75 episodes that aired between 2012 and 2015, Kuroko no Basket has been rated as one of the best sports anime of the last decade. It’s not the usual good guy who wins every time but rather shows all the struggles, drama, wins and loses, and the god-like basketball moves that you will find very amusing. If you are a Jack Peralta fan, you wouldn’t stop yourself saying “Noice” or “Toit” every time you watch those sick moves.
Kuroko’s Basketball revolves around legends of the basketball team of Teiko Middle School. All these players are now in different schools and fighting against each other on the basketball court and otherwise which will surely raise the adrenaline levels in your body.
3. Ace of Diamonds
If you are in Japan, you would know just how popular Baseball is in the country. For all those who aren’t in Japan, Ace of Diamonds is a clear and decorated sports anime with a dedicated fanbase. The game has everything to do with baseball with players investing their time and soul in the game. They get blue or red-colored eyes when they are fired up and the adrenaline is shooting in their nerves. No doubt it is one of the longest-running sports anime with 12* episodes and 5 OVAs because it’s worth it.
Ace of Diamonds is a story of pitcher Eijun Sawamura who is at the top of the league in baseball in his high school. He transfers to Seidou High School where he comes across big players. Viewers are extremely vocal about the high-quality sound effects and animations that would leave you spellbound.
4. Slam Dunk
The title is enough to confer that Slam Dunk is all about basketball. The protagonist Hinamichi Sakuragi is turned off when it comes to girls. After getting rejected or shunned by 50 girls, Hanamichi is enraged and joins his high school basketball team serving both purposes of impressing his new sweetheart and his rival Kaeda Rukawa to whom girls crush.
This is when Hanamichi discovers his love for the game. Right from playing as a beginner to a total expert on the way, the protagonist assembles a team of players from the outcasts and misfits to bring his school to the top of the league. Slam Dunk is a formula of many things including a quirky storyline, amazing animation, and a lot of drama with sports.
5. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
I wonder what this sports anime is all about. Well, as the title says, it is all about swimming. Iwatobi is a place in Japan and the story is based in a city with pretty boys swimming in water that looks pretty good. The story revolves around the protagonist Haruka Nanase who is a gifted swimmer. He is one of the swimmers at Iwatobi Swim Club and pits against Rin Matsuoka who is his childhood rival.
The story doesn’t just have the good guy winning all the tournaments but offers much more to the viewers. It shows how characters develop as the series progresses with the two rivals becoming good friends at the end of the show although we wouldn’t reveal any spoilers about it. Better watch Free! Iwatobi Swim Club to rejoice the story and swimming as a main and recurring role.
6. Yowamushi Pedal
Disbanded by his school’s bicycle racing club, Sakamichi Onoda joins a different bicycle racing club. Unlike much other anime, the protagonist here isn’t illusioned or trying to be the best but rather, he has a natural talent for cycling. The characters on Yowamushi Pedal are sweet and funny and you would find the antagonists to be memorable as well.
This sports anime has won various recommendations such as one of the best anime training arcs of all time, best sports manga of all time, and so on. If you have a natural liking for cycling and racing, you would instantly fall in love with Yowamushi Pedal for sure. Give it a try. Well, there are many opinions about how this anime is better than others, including the one where Yowamushi Pedal is better than Ace of Diamonds. However, we leave it for you to decide.
7. The Prince of Tennis
The Prince of Tennis follows the story of Ryoma Echizen who unlike any other anime, is a tennis prodigy. He is a genius with many championships to his name but he doesn’t seem to be able to defeat his father. The sports anime is all about fiery trick shots and techniques on display. Go on a journey on Ryoma’s character growth and development and his relationships with rivals, coaches, and teammates.
Ryoma joins a tennis team in an attempt to defeat his father. It is all about daddy issues. The Prince of Tennis is one of the exciting sports anime on this list so do check it out.
8. Hajime-No Ippo
Rated as one of the best Shounen anime of all time, Hajime No Ippo was a big thing when back when it arrived in 2002 with over 7* episodes till 2004, then came to a movie, a renewed 2* episodes series in 2009. Finally, 25 episodes were aired between 2013 to 2014 so you can say Hajime No Ippo has been around for a long time now.
This sports anime revolves around Ippo Makunouchi who was bullied in high school. He befriends a professional boxer who trains Ippo to instill self-confidence. It follows the progress Ippo makes through his boxing career with legit moves, techniques, and adds dimensions to the opponents in the series as well.
9. Yuri!!! On ICE
Another must-watch sports anime of all time, Yuri!!! On ICE is a story revolving around Yuri Katsuki who is a dork and he is awkward outside the skating rink. The catch is, as soon as he enters a skating rink, he is confident enough to blow your mind. The animations are good and the skating tricks and techniques used look legit as well.
But that’s not all. It is also a love story between Yuri and Victor Nikiforov who is Yuri’s coach at the skating rink. Well, as you must have guessed, the story takes two men in an out-of-the-box homosexual romance story that you will see throughout the series as the story progresses. It has garnered a lot of positive responses from people and especially its refreshing depiction of homosexuality is what glues people on the show.
10. One Outs
One of the highest-ranking sports anime, One Cuts is all about Baseball which you know, is a popular sport in Japan. But it’s not just baseball, One Outs is about gambling as well as the protagonist Toua Tokuchi is a reckless gambler. The story revolves around him where he plays the game of “One Outs” to achieve 449 wins in the game. He is recruited by Hiromichi Kojima for the long-term losing team Saikyou Saitama Lycaons. However, Lycaons’ owner takes Toua as a threat.
This is where the story turns your heads around as it is a one-of-a-kind contract “One Outs” where Toua gets five million syens for every pitch hit and loses fifty million yens on giving up every run. Check out how the story unfolds at One Outs.
11. Run With The Wind
Sports Anime have mastered the art of storytelling and Run With The Wind is no different. Taking “Running” as a sport in the series, shows the characters and their stories including their relationship with the sport and so on. It is recommended by many anime viewers because all of its characters are memorable in their ways.
It’s the journey of Kakeru and Haiji, two college students who set out to win a 10-part relay race called Hakoden. Haiji assembles a team of misfits in an attempt to become the champion in Hakoden. It’s all about running as a sport if you love running, you’ll love Run With The Wind as well.
12. Eyeshield 21
Probably the only sports anime that has American football as its sport, Eyeshield 21 is all about Sena Kobayakawa who is a student at Deimon Private Senior High School. When Sena was escaping bullies at his school, an American football trainer in his school noticed him and recruited him to the team. That is when Sena develops the skills required to become one of the best quarterbacks, turning the team of misfits into champions in an epic, comedic, and extreme physical game of American football.
Sena must train spontaneously and tirelessly if he wants to take his team to the Christmas Bowl.
Baseball is very popular in Japan without any doubt. It is about Goro Honda who is a talented pitcher. He has all it takes to become a successful baseball player such as competitiveness, skill, perseverance but he has lost his goal numerous times. He is devastated after his parents died when he was very young. Despite all the hardships, Goro has the drive to become an ultimate pitcher fulfilling all his baseball dreams on the go.
You will take part in Goro’s baseball journey over the source of the series where he is making his way up to the majors. It’s not a fairy tale but rather a bag mix of injury, demotivation, and doubtfulness with the ultimate goal of scoring and winning the Baseball World Cup.
14. Ping Pong The Animation
Ping Pong The Animation isn’t that ordinary table tennis game anime but rather based on a manga series by Taiyo Matsumoto. The series revolves around two friends Peco and Smile where one is cocky and another is passive. They don’t share any passion except for table tennis and that is what will keep the viewers glued to their screens.
Unlike other sports anime, Ping Pong The Animation is known to take a different approach with weird framing, dutch angles, unusual character designs, and yes, ping pong balls aren’t circular if that sticks out for you. It also shows a rich background and growth of the characters so you will connect with these characters better.
After listing 14 out of 15 sports anime with male protagonists, here’s something for female anime viewers. The series ran for 25 episodes and an OVA back in 2013 and it is still regarded as one of the best sports and romance drama anime to watch right now. It is all about the Japanese game Karuta which is easy to play a card game. However, as you go forward on a competitive level, it requires both memory and quick responsiveness to be steps ahead against opponents. It is anime and thus, you will witness characters and their stories progress over time showcasing both ups and downs, successes and failures throughout the series that will help you connect with the characters.
And that’s the end of our list of the 15 best sports anime that you can find. Of course, we might have missed many due to the limited slots in the listicles but these sports anime are among the best. It includes sports like football, American football, running, swimming, basketball, baseball, running, among others as well. Do check out the list and let us know which one made you binge-watch it.