Top 10 Best Sports Anime Series

Updated on May 5, 2018
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Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.

Top 10 Best Sports Anime
Top 10 Best Sports Anime

As the genre name suggests, Sports Anime are shows that works around the themes and premises of sports. That means you’ll find real-life sports such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, and football centered on the plot of the show. These shows are usually true-to-life stories that mirrors what actually happens in real sports but with an added twist of dramatic cues and lots of intense action and feats.

Since there’s an abundance of sports anime already that are truly worth the anticipation and excitement, I’ve come to list down the Top 10 Best Sports Anime (based on my own honest opinion) for you to consider and add to your watch list. Believe it or not, many kinds of sports have made it to the anime world already (even ones that you might have least expected). But one thing is common for all of them, all of them will make you realize that watching sports in anime isn’t that predictable and boring at all. Actually, all of them, if not most, will get you hooked on the splendor of sports anime action without you ever even noticing.

Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk | Source

10. Slam Dunk

Coming in at Top 10 is a classic sports anime that well-deserves to be on this list. For a few hints, this show revolves around the sports of basketball. It has exciting stunts that closely mirrors that of real life basketball. Last but not the least, it has drama, lots of action, and a really funny comedic side to it. The anime I’m talking about here is none-other than – Slam Dunk!

Slam Dunk follows the story of freshman high school student, Hanamichi Sakuragi. For the very nth time, he was rejected yet again by the girl he was trying to court (for the reason that the girl already likes someone from the basketball team). So, much to Sakuragi’s disappointment, he lashes out his anger to the sport that made him a failure in love. But, when he meets another girl named Haruko who then teaches him Basketball, he soon came to love the sport to woo the love of his heart. There are hurdles to be passed though; the elder brother of Haruko is the gorilla captain of the basketball team, Akagi, and the crush of Haruko is the ace player of the team, Rukawa.

Ookiku Furikabutte
Ookiku Furikabutte | Source

9. Ookiku Furikabutte (Big Windup!)

Here comes another sport that’s a big staple in the anime world. I say staple because it’s one of the most used sports in anime next to basketball. And that sport, is the one popularly known as baseball. So, for the #9 slot of this list comes – Ookiku Futikabutte or also known as the Big Windup!

How should I put it? Umm…this show seemingly starts off as a Slice Of Life anime at its early parts. But then, as it gradually picks up, the tension also starts to burst. That being said, it practically statures you up for a literal big windup! And that’s a good thing if I must say. Besides that, most of the stuff in this one are so realistic yet so exciting that you might just find yourself rooting for the characters.

The story presents a first year high school student named Mihashi Ren whose self-confidence and self-esteem was totally crushed during his middle school baseball days. He actually doesn’t to pursue baseball anymore but, his new school badly needs a pitcher on the mound. While his attitude of not letting go of the mound comes off as selfish to most, he actually has pure genius talent in controlling the ball and his pitches. This skill might be useless its own (given how ridiculously slow Mihashi’s pitches are) but with Abe directing and supporting him, his skill becomes truly a force to be reckoned with.

Hajime no Ippo
Hajime no Ippo | Source

8. Hajime no Ippo

As a lot of people are getting too wild over the sports of boxing already, there actually exists an anime that’s centered on that sport. And that is, the boxing anime – Hajime no Ippo.

Hajime no Ippo is a boxing at its finest. You’ll see many boxing moves in this show you never thought existed. Yes, they exists! And all this time we thought that boxing was only all about frantic and random punches. But well, aside from that, this show teaches us the importance of perseverance and diligence as it exemplifies throughout the action and drama of the story.

Hajime no Ippo is about Makunouchi Ippo’s glorious struggle in boxing and in life. All his life, he was bullied and made to do tasks he never really wanted to do. He was a weakling with no confidence in his own self. One day, he was found by boxer named Takamura lying on the ground after some bullying and was brought to a boxing gym to recover. There, Ippo found his opportunity and the start-off to redeem himself. After much thinking and a few tests and hurdles, he decides to pick boxing as a career to ultimately change and strengthen his weak self and live for the dream of his life.

Baby Steps
Baby Steps | Source

7. Baby Steps

Being such an under-rated sports anime, I just can’t let it pass like that. For one, Baby Steps is very “new” and “unique” to its genre. By that, I meant it goes by a formula that takes a whole new approach in sports anime. The sports-theme in this one is tennis, and here we see a character that essentially threads the zero-to-hero route whilst making everything he goes through highly-anticipating and surprisingly winsome.

Baby Steps depicts the story of first year honor high school student, Maruo Eiichirou, and how came to pick up tennis as his sport. Prior to everything, he’s only just a student with excellent academic standing and with no experience in anything physical and sporty. But, as he started to feel empty and bored, he decided to give tennis a try not knowing that he’ll soon become very strongly dedicated to it.

Major
Major | Source

6. Major

It’s baseball yet again but this time, I present to you one of the longest sports series that actually goes by an aging/growing (time skip) timeline. That’s Major for you! It’s not just a sports-themed anime, it also presents heavy drama and some comedy on the side. Also, its captivating storyline and spectacular character development are its most effective points. And oh, did I ever mention the baseball action?

Major is about the life and sports-endeavor of Goro Honda. He picked up his love for baseball from his father who’s a really great baseball player. But, as his personal life and the sport he loves gets intertwined in a lot of twists and knots possible (including triumphs and tragedies), he musters up all the strength to live on and stay strong through the sport he loved the most - baseball.

Eyeshield 21
Eyeshield 21 | Source

5. Eyeshield 21

Standing proud as Top 5 on this list is an anime that’s all about American Football. Yes, that would be American-style football with all the intense bumping and ball-craze here on - Eye Shield 21! If I were to describe this show in one word, then that would be – crazy! The action in this show is so crazy that it’s also very entertaining and humorous. Also, pairing up with that craziness is the intensity which you’ll never tire-out watching. I knew that from the start that American Football would very physical and rough, but I never thought it could get any crazier than that (which is exceptionally great thing for this one).

Eyeshield 21 follows the story of Sena Kobayakawa, a high school boy who has gained exceptional speed from all the errands and running he went through while being bullied. This talent of his was discovered by the devilish bat-like captain of the Devil Bats American Football Team, Youichi Hiruma. While Sena was initially just asking to be the manager of the team, he soon finds himself running across the field as the legendary Eyeshield 21 dedicated to bringing the whole team to victory.

Yowamushi Pedal
Yowamushi Pedal | Source

4. Yowamushi Pedal

As unusual as it might seem, yes there’s a sports anime revolving around bicycles and cycling in general. For the strong points of Yowamushi Pedal, it’s actually a feel-good anime that combines the excitement of sports action and the peculiarity of the theme itself. Cycling might seem very odd at first, but this show doesn’t fail in trying to cater a brand new and positive perspective towards the sport. And the attitude of the main character isn’t as competitive as it should be, his attitude shows that playing sports can truly be an opportunity to create new bonds and enjoy it for what it truly is – and probably snag some victorious moments while doing so.

Sakamichi Onoda is an otaku who craves anime stuff and wants to join the anime club in his new school. Since he never really had any friends in middle school, he wanted to change this and have some in high school so that he can have some companions to share his hobbies and interests with. Due to his obsession on anime, he travels a very lengthy way with his mommy bike (which actually isn’t suited for long travels and steep roads) to Akihabara – the otaku paradise. With this scenario happening all the time, he unknowingly develops a remarkable talent for cycling, which in turn gets him into his school’s very own bicycle racing club.

Prince of Tennis
Prince of Tennis | Source

3. Prince of Tennis

Personally, Prince of Tennis is one of the first sports anime I’ve watched with a different albeit sensational formula in its core. This formula refers to the type of action that might seem out-of-this-world at first look yet feels that it’s very doable in real life. This kind of action is that sort of action that’s so spectacular and eye-catching that it’ll make you hold on to your so seat until the end of the show. And that’s Prince of Tennis in a nutshell.

The Prince of Tennis is none other than young tennis genius, Echizen Ryoma. Despite his age, Ryoma has won a lot of tennis championships already. But, no matter how he tries, he could never defeat this one person in the world when it comes to tennis – his father. For now, Ryoma enrolls in a school with an outstanding tennis team – Seishun Gakuen. And so, with a great team to play with and lots of obstacles to pass, Ryoma tries to become stronger in order to become one of the best and be able to finally defeat his father.

Haikyuu!
Haikyuu! | Source

2. Haikyuu!

Rushing in as the second best (Top 2) on this list is a sports anime that’s remarkably brilliant in terms of its overall plot and the fact it’s very well-rounded. Action is major part of it, but the storyline and the impressions of having a strong focus on teamwork and perseverance are nothing sloppy as well. In fact, Haikyuu shows-off its brilliance in a really fascinating and enjoyable way whilst making the viewer very attached to the players and sharing insightful lessons to be learned in the domain of sports.

Haikyuu follows the story of Hinata Shouyo as he aspires to be a little giant in the field of volleyball. Unluckily for him, his middle school didn’t have an interest and edge in volleyball that he resorted to playing the sport with the girls’ volleyball team, the neighborhood old ladies playing volleyball for recreation, and occasionally asking a few friends to toss the ball for him. During middle school, he managed to enter a competition with a sloppy makeshift team, only to be defeated miserably by the team of the King of the Court, Tobio Kageyama. And so from that experience, he vowed that he will find a high school with a legitimate volleyball team and defeat Kageyama once and for all. But, on his first step in high school, during his trip to the volleyball court, he meets the rival of his life trying to join the same volleyball team he is planning to join.

Kuroko no Basket
Kuroko no Basket | Source

1. Kuroko no Basket (Kuroko's Basketball)

And so, we’ve finally come to see the top-notcher of this list. Playing with a high-level of intensity capable of defeating the best of the bests, the cast of Kuroko no Basket (specifically, the Generation of Miracles) are marching around the court showing-off skills that can be considered near-perfect and unbeatable.

Out of all the sports anime that exists, this is the best of them all for me. All stunts in this show are insane! They might seem impossible and really god-like in terms of execution but, the show never fails to make you feel that the moves are actually very possible to do (but really very difficult). So, with those crazy stunts in play along with the unique attitude of the characters, this show easily fends off competition not just in basketball but even in this list. That is why it was crowned as Top 1 here on this list.

In junior high school, there existed a basketball team with a line-up of five (5) prodigies (given the fact that a prodigy only shows up once in ten years) crushing any opponent that comes their way and claiming victory in every match they play. That team is the Generation of Miracles of the Teiko Middle School. Years passed and the members of the Generation of Miracles have gone their separate high schools. But unknown to most, there actually exists a phantom sixth player from the Generation of Miracles whose legacy is just about to unfold. That player is Kuroko Tetsuya, and the school he chose to lead to victory is – Seirin Gakuen.

Are you an avid spectator of the sports genre in anime?

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Questions & Answers

  • How long did it take you to finish watching all ten anime?

    Frankly, I don't keep track of the time I spend watching anime. Just consider the following: 1 Anime Episode = 24 Minutes. Let's say an average anime has 12 episodes, then 24 Minutes x 12 Episodes x 10 Anime = 2880 Minutes (48 Hours)

Comments

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    • profile image

      milo 

      6 days ago

      Yumashi pedal is the best and Kuroko no Basket the worst

    • profile image

      CPartha 

      3 weeks ago

      without adding Diamond no Ace, Overdrive and One Outs, the list of sports anime can never be complete....sorry to say, but it is the TRUTH

    • profile image

      ❤️The Greatest Decoy, Hinata❤️ 

      3 weeks ago

      Haikyuu is #1!

    • profile image

      Himanshu 

      3 weeks ago

      @NO thanks for Buzzer beater I love basketball

    • profile image

      Gippeum Min 

      3 weeks ago

      How about free? it's a great anime also

    • profile image

      Sharat 

      4 weeks ago

      Diamond no ace is also a good sports anime

    • profile image

      Sports4Life 

      6 weeks ago

      Haikyuu isn’t really romance is it? I can’t see anything in the first 11 episodes

    • profile image

      Hi 

      6 weeks ago

      Why isn't Free! on this list?!

    • profile image

      Leo 

      8 weeks ago

      I really don't understand the hype on Kuroko, for me, in terms of story, execution and realism, Haikyuu is a lot lot better.

    • profile image

      2 months ago

      What about Yuri on ice

    • profile image

      Anime_lover 

      2 months ago

      Oh if you guys love anime a lot try other genres as well

      I like trying different ones each time.

      According to me I feel that FREE and PRINCE OF STRIDE should be added .But thanks for the list .I have already watched 4 of them and look forward to checking out the others

    • profile image

      Crystal 

      2 months ago

      To Mr. Jack

      It would be appreciated if you keep comments like that to yourself .I don't think you want all girls in the world campaigning against you, would you??

    • profile image

      No haters 

      3 months ago

      What the hell is with all the hate? This is the author opinion! If you want to share your opinion, do in a way that isn’t rude, or make your own goddamn list!

    • profile image

      NO 

      3 months ago

      what about Buzzer Beater

    • profile image

      Jack 

      4 months ago

      UGH having women in anime sports is so fucking unnecessary and annoying. Why can't it be all male?? I'm not gay but I just want to watch guys. I really enjoy that but that's normal.

    • profile image

      YO 

      4 months ago

      Sorry is one out

    • profile image

      YO 

      4 months ago

      All out ( Baseball) is deserved to have a place here as this list is incomplete

      The author make baseball a sport not only use muscle but brain too

    • profile image

      Someone Over the Rainbow 

      5 months ago

      This list is pretty good but...WHERE IS THE SWIMMING ANIME FREE! ON THE LIST????

    • profile image

      Nobody 

      6 months ago

      ok,ok,ok I get you guys but... You may keep your opinion but.. this is only an opinion of the author, I get it if you don't really like it. But, please... understand me... Its just the opinion of the author. I kinda loved the Kuroko no basuke series, and I know some people hate it, I saw a comment that it being 1st is false, And... If you guys have your own no.1 sports anime in your own opinion. You guys should not deny the author's opinion for it is THEIR opinion, And Its not your FRICKING right to JUDGE them.

    • profile image

      Ray 

      7 months ago

      Where is all out

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      7 months ago

      Where the hell is Yuri on Ice

    • profile image

      anonn 

      7 months ago

      -Just watched Baby Steps... not my cup of tea.

      -Prince of tennis is also pretty boring, Maybe just watch the first season if you really like tennis.

      I would add to the list:

      -Whistle (Soccer)

      -Hungry Heart Wild Striker (Soccer)

      -Initial D (Racing)

      -Hikaru no Go (Igo)

    • profile image

      H A 

      7 months ago

      Slam Dunk should be number 1, not number 10.

    • profile image

      lmao 

      8 months ago

      i don't get why KnB is always top of the list. I mean it's great and all, but others on the list are even better. Guess people like to jump on the bandwagon since it's basicallt the most popular

    • profile image

      Haha 

      8 months ago

      Haikyuu is the best anime of sports. It is realistic.

    • profile image

      adpdl 

      9 months ago

      You could try Cross Game and Taisho Baseball Girls. I'd allo recommand Keijo for being ridiculously fun and surprisingly good, if you don't mind permanent fan-service, that is.

    • profile image

      whatever 

      9 months ago

      no cross game?

    • profile image

      well 

      10 months ago

      Slam Dunk , Hajime No Ippo FTW!!

    • profile image

      Mae 

      10 months ago

      Gosh you people this is just the opinion of the writer of this page that this is set of list is his/her best sports anime, duh. Would ya respect that and keep your own opinion to yourselves...

    • profile image

      Wend 

      11 months ago

      Why is everyone complaining about Baby Steps and PoT? They are both amazing series. On the other hand, why is Kuroko no Basuke number 1? That's absolutely false. Unless it just happens to subjectively be your favorite there's no way it should be first. Objectively speaking it's writing is t great, it's characters are pretty one dimensional and bland. And it's pretty to look at but that's about it.

    • profile image

      ShreePoudel 

      12 months ago

      Free and Ace of diamond should be on the list

    • profile image

      Felurian 

      13 months ago

      Lost all respect when I saw Baby Steps on the list.

    • profile image

      15 months ago

      Hey! wheres the Yuri On Ice???

    • profile image

      animeFan 

      15 months ago

      The moment I saw Kuroko on the first place and Prince of tennis included, the list lost meaning to me.

    • profile image

      Anna 

      16 months ago

      haikyuu is the best!!! Hinata is so cute!!!

    • profile image

      JaviDi 

      16 months ago

      Diamond no ace is best anime of baseball

    • profile image

      Pantherlily 

      16 months ago

      Haikyuu should be in front of Kuroko no basket.

    • profile image

      sparspeix 

      17 months ago

      pingpong the animation is seriously my fav anime of all time haha

    • profile image

      Aa 

      17 months ago

      Am i the only one wondering why pingpong the animation is left out?

    • profile image

      CJWrites 

      17 months ago

      To everyone talking about Free, I felt like they didn't take the sport seriously. It was more about friendship and character development.

      Its like I like Yuri on Ice better as an anime but Haikyuu definitely does better as a sports anime.

    • profile image

      Haikyuu Fan 

      17 months ago

      Haikyuu should be first on the list

      followed by prince of tennis

      and third one should be kuroko no basketball

      Even if the prince of tennis s a bit unrealistic it stills gives off the feeling of wanting to be watched you know what i mean like you just cant stop watching it welll or me . Idk about you but for me i think prince of tennis deserves being on the list cause ven now that i finished watching it i still cant help the feeling of wanting to watch more

    • profile image

      18 months ago

      Ace Of Diamond ???

    • profile image

      Tsu 

      18 months ago

      idiots complaining how kuroko no basket not realistic.....its a anime....and a awesome one.

    • profile image

      18 months ago

      Where's Free!?

    • profile image

      18 months ago

      seriously i love kuroko no basket!!!! and why would people complain how its not realistic!

    • profile image

      xox 

      19 months ago

      PRINCE OF STRIDE: ALTERNATIVE

    • profile image

      Kp 

      20 months ago

      It's time for Keijo to be no 1...lol

    • profile image

      fizz 

      21 months ago

      ADD:definitely one outs, ping pong the animation, and update to include yuri on ice on the list.If you got space put diamond on ace

      KICK OUT

      would kick out prince of tennis(entertaining and fun, but is still long, repetitive and can be boring if you aren't fully driven by its characters), Ookiku Furikabutte(very solid and entertaining, a pleasure to watch, but I don't find anything truly special or fresh with it), Major(Personally I hate major because I think the mc is a real jackass for at least half the franchise, but idk if he grows out of it because I only watched 3 seasons, so take that hate with a grain of salt), baby steps(very awesome and great mc and story, but not every moment was enjoyable(one game really really irked me, so I couldn't stand to watch many episodes of that game))

    • profile image

      kkkk 

      21 months ago

      Omg finally people are agreeing with me!!!! Ace of diamond/diamond no ace should be on the list

    • profile image

      shin 

      21 months ago

      Gr8

      What about inazuma 11

    • profile image

      Mimi 

      21 months ago

      Where is Free? Free! is not on the list.

    • profile image

      Midna 

      22 months ago

      Honestly Haikyuu!! should be in the number one spot.

    • profile image

      Vinod 

      22 months ago

      In terms of sports I put Eyeshield 21 above Kuroko no Basket. Prince of Tennis is one big boring anime, I felt like I wasted my time.

    • profile image

      Dan 

      23 months ago

      Kuroko #1 ? lol that thing is the most unrealistic sports anime I ever saw

    • profile image

      XxMayGamerxX 

      23 months ago

      KUROKO NO BASKET IS LIT! I CRIED WHEN I LISTEN TO FANTASTIC TUNE AFTER THE ANIME END.

    • profile image

      Bankai 

      23 months ago

      Haikyuu should be #1... Kuroko is no realistic

    • profile image

      Polavarapu 

      23 months ago

      Haikyuu should be #1

    • profile image

      Dredz 

      24 months ago

      Sorry... Haikyuu should be #1

    • Cheeky Kid profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheeky Kid 

      24 months ago from Milky Way

      @Hannah Now you got me interested. I'll try to watch it soon.

    • profile image

      Hannah 

      24 months ago

      I wish Ping Pong: the Animation got more recognition. Personally, I believe it's one of the best sports animes. It offers some variety to what sports animes typically contain. I definitely recommend it. It's only 11 episodes so give it a shot!

    • profile image

      nina 

      24 months ago

      DIAMOND NO ACE!!! Very underrated but the art, action, character development, thrill and suspense is second to none. Sawamura Eijun is OP. HELL I thought Haikyuu was good but boy was I wrong.

    • profile image

      haruka 

      2 years ago

      Haikyuu is number one. nuff said

    • profile image

      Dresh 

      2 years ago

      where's Initial D? and Hikaru no Go?

    • profile image

      Usagi 

      2 years ago

      Is swimming considered a sport here?

      Where's Free?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      2 years ago

      1. Major

      2. Ace of Diamond

      3. One Outs

      4. Yowamushi Pedal

      5. Haikyuu

    • profile image

      sai 

      2 years ago

      why isn't daiya no ace on the list?

    • profile image

      jta 

      2 years ago

      Free! please

    • profile image

      Haru-Chan 

      2 years ago

      Another good sports anime is Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. It's about swimming and it gives off the lesson that you should learn to strive for your dreams but also not to let yourself be restrained. It's also about friends.

    • profile image

      Katrina 

      2 years ago

      Why isn't Ace of Diamond on this list?? It's amazing

    • Cheeky Kid profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheeky Kid 

      2 years ago from Milky Way

      @TheSenpaiWhoNoticedYou It sounds like Yuri on Ice will really be epic. I'm looking forward to it.

    • profile image

      TheSenpaiWhoNoticedYou 

      2 years ago

      *shouts* KUROKO NO BASKET MADE ME CRY WHEN IT ENDED. And if you're looking for more:

      Free!

      Prince of Stride

      Yuri on ice (coming later in 2016, but IT'S ABOUT TO BE EPIC, GUYS)

    • profile image

      Fujima 

      2 years ago

      lol...Kuroko no Basket (1) over Slam Dunk (10) ???? really?

    • profile image

      Haru 

      2 years ago

      Free! and Prince of Stride should be in the list as well

    • profile image

      otto 

      2 years ago

      1-Major

      2-kuroko no basuke

      3-Kenichi: the mightiest disciple

      the rest are boring.

    • profile image

      Prince 

      2 years ago

      well I watched 3 anime in the list: Kuroko no Basket, Haikyuu! and Baby Steps. And among these 3 baby steps is my fav. personally I didn't like kuroko no basket, though it started well but KnB missed something after just 15 episodes

    • profile image

      Tigaz 

      2 years ago

      Ace of Diamonds - *Definitely should be on the list

      Captain Tsubasa

      One Outs

      Knight of of Area

    • profile image

      Jaded 

      3 years ago

      how about Over Drive?

      a bycycle like yawamushi pedal,but i guess it is better.

    • profile image

      Katrina 

      3 years ago

      How about area no kishi. It's not complete yet but it's good

    • profile image

      Finn 

      3 years ago

      Watch Free! it is about swimming.

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