For fans who find pleasure in both anime and sports, and seek thrills and heart-pounding excitement, the best sports-themed animes weave unforgettable experiences. From intense matches that will have you at the edge of your seats to inspiring stories of perseverance, these shows captivate audiences with their dynamic characters and exhilarating action. Join us as we explore the top-tier gems of this beloved anime genre. 

‘Haikyu!!’ – Volleyball

On the peak is “Haikyu!!,” an anime that centers on volleyball. It is touted as the juggernaut and the very best of sports-themed animes. It is highly recommended for all kinds of viewers. You must have heard about it around. 

Driving the story of “Haikyu!!” is Shoyo Hinata, the protagonist – treading his way to becoming a volleyball superstar in their school – as well as the rest of its interesting characters. This show will immerse you into the joys of the sport even if you don’t particularly play volleyball. 

‘Hajime No Ippo’ – Boxing

Anime fans of the 2000s will remember watching “Hajime no Ippo” (whose English version is titled “Fighting Spirit.” 

This anime tells the story of Ippo Makunouchi, a teenage student helping his mom manage her fishing rental boat business. But he has become a target of bullies at their school. 

One day, his bullies beat him up. Thankfully, he got saved by Mamoru Takamura, a budding professional boxer. That has inspired Makunouchi to launch his boxing career, and the rest is history. 

This show also features the boxing techniques used by real-life world champions like Mike Tyson and Jack Dempsey, among others. Furthermore, it perfectly narrates a typical boxer’s life, the reason why they fight, their inspiration, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. 

‘Slam Dunk’ – Basketball

Of course, PVP Live isn’t forgetting about “Slam Dunk,” the anime that tells about one of the biggest sports in the world, basketball. 

“Slam Dunk” revolves around Sakuragi Hanamichi, a freshman at Shohoku High School who signs up for the school’s basketball team for an uncanny reason: to impress the girl he has a crush on, Haruko Akagi. Although he is a certified newbie in this sport, he has developed into how he can be relentless on the court. 

Anime fans who are also passionate about basketball should watch this show. 

‘Ping Pong The Animation’ – Table Tennis

“Pine Pong the Animation” is lined up as unique in terms of its art style. It is largely different from what anime fans have been used to, but this is definitely not a reason to avoid this show. It really took a lot of risks, as you won’t find gigantic, colorful eyes, and there are awkwardly shaped objects. The ping-pong balls themselves are not shaped in perfect circles. 

But its characters are oh-so-inspiring. Their conversations are very natural, and there are several moments of just witty, dry humor. For instance, two friends in the show are of the complete opposite, one being cocky and energetic while the other is passive and quiet. Its uniqueness has landed it on this list of the best sports animes. 

‘Yuri On Ice’ – Figure Skating

“Yuri on Ice” was hugely commended for its outstanding depiction of same-sex relationships. Its animation is stellar and has made fans repeat watching the whole show just for its ice skating scenes. The show brought its story and the sport to life while showing each individual skater’s inspiring personalities. 

The protagonist, Yuri Katsuki, is very confidence on ice. But, he is socially awkward. His idol,  Viktor Nikiforov, a Russian figure skating champion, therefore took Katsuki under his wing under seeing his practice one of his routines and his potential. Together, they forge a relationship as a dynamic figure skating duo and conquer the arena of competitive figure skating. 

‘Major’ – Baseball 

“Major” is an anime based on an award-winning manga series of the same name. Consisting of a whopping 154 episodes, it tells the heartwarming journey of Shigeharu Honda, a single father, with Goro, his son. As the dad worked to keep his pro career afloat, his son thought about joining Little League and playing Shigeharu’s original position. 

Viewers will see how Goro works so hard to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue his lifelong dream. From engaging in competitions in middle school to being sent for international competitions, Goro and “Major” capture the many heartbreaks and triumphs in this well-loved sport. 

‘Blue Lock’ – Soccer

“Blue Lock” is an anime that’s a testament that the hype around soccer is real. Its premise is critically acclaimed, partly due to the fact that it grooms football with a dystopian and gritty twist. 

The anime starts with the football enigma Ego Jinpachi creating Blue Lock, a training regimen designed to develop the greatest egotist striker in the entire world. Thousands of players were summoned to the program and forced to play against each other. It sounds like the Hunger Games, as only one would make it to the national team. A soccer aspirant, Yoichi Isagi, views Blue Lock as an opportunity to redeem himself and be a better player of the sport. 

‘The Gymnastics Samurai’ – Gymnastics

“The Gymnastics Samurai” holds the reputation of being the sole anime that tells about gymnastics as its primary, overarching plot. 

The anime’s plot isn’t as heavy as the others. It begins with Shoutarou Aragaki, a professional gymnast and former Olympian, who one day is unable to perform as expected. He commits himself to training daily, but his coach, Noriyuki Amakusa, recommends that he retire. However, the fate of Aragaki and his family will change significantly because of a certain “encounter.”

‘Yowamushi Pedal’ – Cycling

The story of “Yowamushi Pedal” starts with Sakamichi Onoda, a cheerful otaku who wanted to join the anime club at his new school. He wanted to make new friends. Unfortunately, he went in at a time when the club had already been disbanded, so he stumbled into the bicycle club instead. 

With its cast you won’t find it hard to fall in love with, including its entertaining villains, “Yowamushi Pedal” is a ride itself that you’ll enjoy from beginning to end. Its plot is not unrealistic like the other sports animes and it is also not your average slice-of-life anime. 

Be sure to include these sports-themed animes on your bucket list!

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