Top 10 Best Sports Animes

Here are some of the best sports anime with outstanding storylines, impressive graphics, influential themes, and unique characteristics.
The Top Ten
1 Kuroko's Basketball

This right here is the anime that destroyed the entirety of my spare time. Kuroko no Basuke is the gateway drug that began my sad addiction to sports anime despite my terrible hatred for sports. I really love that the main character is an awesome athlete, though he's awesome in an entirely different way than other sports anime characters usually are.

The characters' ways of relating to each other are entertaining and fun, and this series fleshes out the opponents' personalities quite well instead of simply having people there for the main cast to beat. It makes it far more interesting that the main character personally knows all of his team's strongest opponents as well, because it adds an extra element of drama.

2 Slam Dunk

Combines great and manly. To me, it's the greatest sports manga/anime of all time. Despite the fact of girly dude characters (to appeal to a female audience) and special powers/techniques, its realistic qualities are what make it appealing.

Slam Dunk's characters each have their own distinct qualities, which make them individual. Compared to other sports manga, I would say this one fares better not because of artwork, but demonstrating human-like character traits and strong story.

Slam Dunk is legendary, and one of the giants of sports anime and manga. Younger and newer anime fans probably don't realize that sports series would not be as popular as they are today without the influence of Slam Dunk and the impact it had on an entire generation.

It is the greatest basketball series there is, with realistic action (nothing supernatural) and good character development. It goes without saying that Slam Dunk should be #1 on this list.

3 Prince of Tennis

I believe that Prince of Tennis is the greatest anime there is because there is so much action, cliffhangers, and more. I love this show, and I think it teaches people a lot of life lessons, not just about tennis. I know a bunch of people complain about the ridiculousness of the tennis moves, but I think that adds to the charm of the show. It would get boring if it was just the same as watching a real tennis match.

Plus, there are a huge number of characters and teams to choose as your favorite and follow. Love this show, and I think it teaches people a lot of life lessons, not just about tennis. I know a bunch of people complain about the ridiculousness of the tennis moves, but I think that adds to the charm of the show. It would get boring if it was just the same as watching a real tennis match. Plus, there are a huge number of characters and teams to choose as your favorite and follow.

4 Haikyuu! Haikyu!! is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate. Individual chapters have been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since February 2012, with bound volumes published by Shueisha.

I was pleasantly surprised with this anime. It has the right amount of humor and action, and it's more realistic than other animes with their crazy power-ups. In this anime, we see the characters grow and struggle. They both win and lose, and we get to see the entire journey. There are no miracle wins, just hard work and effort being rewarded.

I think in the first season, it's even stated that you can be naturally talented at something, but if you don't apply yourself and learn the basics, you'll never truly grow. And that volleyball is a team sport, so no one can possibly win alone, no matter how good they are. I enjoy that the other teams on the show also have likable qualities that make you root for them as well, instead of being straight-up villains. Really an enjoyable anime with great characters and solid development!

5 Inazuma Eleven Inazuma Eleven (Japanese: イナズマイレブン, Inazuma Irebun) is a 2008 to 2011 Japanese anime television series based on Level-5's video game series of the same name. It aired on TV Tokyo from October 5th, 2008 until April 27th, 2011. A sequel called Inazuma Eleven GO, aired from 2011 to 2014... read more

One of my favorite anime ever. I watched it since I was, like, 10 years old, and it was what made me start liking soccer. I really loved the characters and their special moves. Those special shots and blocks were what made this anime so magical.

It may have its flaws, as it can be really repetitive and annoying at some points, and even way too predictable, but even knowing what was going to happen, that everything was going to turn out good, it made me cry in many parts. It's just magic. It makes you absorbed into it before you even know it.

6 Eyeshield 21

It is one of the most awesome animes ever written. I just wish that the producers of the anime had finished the entire manga series. It was extremely packed with high-definition action scenes that made me want to watch it again and again. Moreover, the characters had quality descriptions and behaviors that made me think of them as really cool. In a nutshell, Eyeshield 21 is cool, awesome, astonishing, impressive, inspiring, eye-opening, thrilling, and too many to mention. I just hope that more people will watch and continue to watch it.

7 Major

Amazing anime! I would definitely recommend this to anyone out there that enjoys sports in general, not just the sporty ones! Anyone! I, personally, am not a baseball player or a fan at all and have never been interested in it, but once I started, I just couldn't stop and finished all six seasons in 5 days.

I know that may be too fast, but it is a really great anime. Watch it till the 10th episode and I can guarantee you will not be able to move unless you have finished it!

I've watched every sports anime ever made, and Major is by far the BEST out of all of them. It has excellent character development and a complex storyline. It's not like Prince of Tennis with superpower moves or anything, but it's about baseball, life, and what one would do to achieve greatness.

It's inspiring and touching, with a mixture of tragedy and triumph. It's one of those anime where you feel sad when it's over.

8 The Knight in the Area

It's so disappointing to hear that this anime didn't sell as well as expected. I don't understand why it doesn't make high sales since it's a good anime to watch, with good characters and settings.

New episodes should be released as much as possible, as that would be the key for an anime like this. I would rate it 100 out of 100. It's the best sports anime I've watched so far.

I almost cried watching this anime, and it's also one of the greatest anime I have ever watched.

Its awesome story is just stunning. But why are there no more episodes after 37? I want all of them.

9 Hajime no Ippo Hajime no Ippo is a Japanese manga series created by George Morikawa, which was adapted into an anime series. It debuted in 1989 and focuses on Ippo Makunouchi, a shy high school student who takes up boxing. The series is known for its realistic portrayal of the sport, including the techniques, training,... read more

This is the only anime close to reality. Not too many fancy moves (I don't deny that there aren't any), but this is the most motivational anime out there. No other anime has influenced me and many other people to work hard and become stronger. I've heard my friends saying, "I started road work after watching this." I was no exception.

This anime never gets boring, with not too many fillers, lots of comedy, and no less action as well as thrill. One of my all-time favorites, this anime deserves the first spot, straight. Especially if you're a guy who wants to know "what it feels to be strong," let this nobody who got bullied by classmates figure the answer for you.

10 Captain Tsubasa

Captain Tsubasa interprets the dreams of young, determined children. Hyuga, Tsubasa, Misugi, Misaki, and others never gave up and eventually became what they were destined to. They inspired me a lot, and I am now working for my dream.

A legendary soccer anime, it shows you how great a dream really is. I used to watch this every evening when I was a child. But even now, I wouldn't mind watching it again and again.

I watched this, and it's awesome! I hoped they would have more episodes like in the manga, though. Tsubasa is so attractive! I wished he was real!

The Contenders
11 Free! Free! is a Japanese anime television series directed by Hiroko Utsumi and produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do.

It's so emotional and ties in with problems all of us have: schoolwork being boring, hating to study, friendships being lost, and friendships being reconnected. There are many hilarious parts too, such as Haru repeatedly jumping into the water before anybody can stop him (read: Gray from Fairy Tail). Then, the anime is not like some sports animes, where the characters keep winning everywhere. The first time, the characters lost the tournaments.

Not only that, but the characters are well-developed, and I feel like I know them inside and out. Plus, there are many internal messages being carried around - most importantly, "For the Team" and "Follow Your Dreams." Then, there's the last episode, where I saw these characters that I have fallen in love with bloom into aspiring young men, winning awards and achieving the dream that they have worked so hard for.

12 Ace of Diamond

Best baseball anime EVER! It's both comedic and serious. As a baseball fan and player, I can tell you that the strategy is true to the sport as well. The complex feelings of the players are portrayed realistically.

Right now, I only have one year of eligibility left before I graduate. Long story short, I've had three surgeries on my ankle and lost a big scholarship during my senior year of high school. I thought I'd never be able to play again, let alone run. But I've been proving the doctors wrong since day one. After the first surgery, they said I wouldn't be able to walk without wearing an ankle brace.

So, this is why Ace of Diamond is so special to me. For my last year of college, I want to play again. I've been working hard and counting down the days until try-outs in August. It has been really hard trying to get back to being the player I once was. Every time I feel like giving up, I watch an episode or re-read a chapter of Ace of Diamond, and I instantly regain my will to fight again.

My ankle is still very weak, but I ran a 6:50 mile on the beach yesterday. I limped my way back home, but I still ran. The doctors said that I wouldn't be able to do that. Next up: making instant direction changes.

But yeah, I guess I'm trying to say that this anime has become my favorite as well as my inspiration. I really do hope it becomes more popular because this anime will always hold a special place in my heart.

13 Yowamushi Pedal

I'm currently caught up with Yowamushi Pedal and waiting impatiently for next week's episode. I absolutely love the main character, who is an adorable dork, and his determination and commitment to his team are commendable. There are so many characters I love, with my favorite being Makishima, the main character's green-haired senpai with beautiful flowing locks.

Interestingly, the series even makes me root a bit for the main team's competition, instead of portraying them simply as the bad guys. I really like the characters from Kyoto Fushimi (if that's their name), and those from the champion team, which is really a first for me.

14 Hungry Heart: Wild Striker

This anime is just beautiful. It's got that classic air to it that makes you feel like you're watching a masterpiece. I really loved this anime a lot.

I finished it in just four days. I'd probably have finished it sooner if I didn't work such long shifts, but for those four days, it was what I looked forward to going home for.

This is a great anime. I watched the whole episode in two days and it feels as if it sucked me into the world of Hungry Heart. However, the ending was off. It's not how I wanted it to end, but it's still the best sports anime I have ever seen.

15 Basquash!
16 Hikaru no Go

Although it's quite old, and the manga remains permanently on hiatus, the plot and character development all but make up for it. The animation pays attention to details such as maturing the characters' appearance to suit the time passed in the anime world, and that's a huge plus.

The main character grows not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Who'd think that Go would be so interesting! It's still fun even if you don't know the rules of the game.

Hikaru no Go might be another underrated series, but its high rating reflects how popular it actually is. To this day, I still don't understand how to play Go, the sport incorporated in the series, but it's captivating.

The storyline and the characters are all endearing, and it's dangerously addictive. It won't disappoint to get started on this series.

17 Big Windup!

I really liked this series because it can get hilarious and serious at the same time. The plot is actually pretty much unique in its own way, and so are the characters! Even though I am not a sports fan and don't get really excited when I see a play, I really enjoyed every single episode! You don't need to know any rules to get thrilled over the game!

The series feels realistic and is likable because there are no exaggerations in actions. Mihashi's relationship with his team is interesting and complicated, but it feels nice. Mostly, I don't continue reading the manga when the anime is finished, but in this case, I just had to make an exception. Still, I wish there would be another season.

18 Capeta

Rank 20! You've got to be kidding me. I have watched almost all the animes mentioned above and can clearly say that this should be in the top 5. It is better than Initial D, Wangan Midnight, and other legendary racing animes.

The drama can make you cry. However, it has only 52 episodes, and the last 10 are not canon. You have to refer to the manga after that. The racing scenes are greatly drawn in the manga.

Great racing anime that has a great storyline but lacks a definite ending. It is very like Ginban Kaleidoscope, where it ends without the main character dominating at the sport they are in and leaves a lot to the author's imagination.

19 Inazuma Eleven Go Inazuma Eleven GO is a 2011 to 2014 Japanese anime television series based on Level-5's video game series of the same name. The animated series was produced by OLM under the direction of Katsuhito Akiyama and consists of 141 episodes.

The pride and love for soccer are all included in this anime. I think this anime is amazing!

This anime is better than the original one.

One of the best Inazuma Eleven Series.

20 One Outs

This anime is not as well-known as others, but thanks to HERO anime, I caught a glimpse of One Out around their second episode. I got curious about the anime and searched the internet for it. I'm thankful that I'm able to watch this anime. The truth is, this is my first anime about baseball that I have ever watched.

There are no special effects, just the real or the reality of a game that is being played. Anyone who can relate to baseball can surely watch this. Or even if not, just people like myself, I really enjoy watching this. And hopefully, they will make a season 2 for this.

21 Ashita no Joe

Well, it's certainly better than "The Prince of Tennis." I hate it when the main characters always push through, no matter the circumstances. This is why I prefer anime for mature audiences, or seinen.

I wish more people knew about this anime.

It's the best anime I have ever watched! The plot and characters are just awesome.

22 Air Gear

I enjoyed watching this anime. It is very good! I really am hoping for another season, regardless of ratings (even though they are everything in the real world).

It is comical at times and very interesting. At first, it may seem very typical and predictable, but it will get you glued and wanting more as you continue to watch it!

Air Gear is by far the best sports manga here. It has epic, badass fights, and the character development is astounding. Ikki's team, Kogarasumaru, trains so hard for what they accomplish, and to me, it is the best sports manga out there.

Though it may be a little too Ecchi for some people, other than that, Air Gear is an amazingly awesome manga.

23 Chihayafuru Chihayafuru is a manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu, serialised in Be Love and published by Kodansha.

I didn't think I'd enjoy this when I read about it, but before I knew it, I found myself watching it back-to-back, and it was actually very well done. I also liked the fact it introduced me to a new aspect of Japanese culture and introduced the game and its strategies really well. Two series were made, and the manga is ongoing.

This anime is more intense and interesting than your normal card game. Even I am guilty of judging this anime, and I was proven completely wrong. This anime has a seriously good plot with some comedy, wonderfully put lessons about friendship and team spirit, and also some developing romance.

It can get you hooked once you start getting into it. I never thought I would complete the anime, but I did that too, both the seasons, and I've even started reading the manga! This anime is seriously underrated.

24 Yuri!!! on Ice Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime television series about figure skating. The anime was produced by MAPPA, directed by Sayo Yamamoto and written by Mitsurō Kubo.

This anime deserves a better spot on this list. It has an amazing soundtrack, and you can pretty much root for any character since they are all quite unique. The actual ice skating always has you on edge to see what will happen next.

I love the characters, and I don't care what some people say, this anime has a good plot and good character development, especially if you compare it to other sports anime.

While this anime has way too much yaoi fan service, it still has some really good points. The skating moves and choreography are beautiful and extremely realistic. Also, the bond of friendship between the characters is really nice!

I don't know, maybe because I figure skate is the reason I enjoy and relate to this anime so much. I think that a lot of people are judging it harshly without widening their scope of vision.

25 Whistle!

I just watched this whole series in two days. I could honestly not stop watching this anime. By far the best soccer sports anime ever. It blows away Captain Tsubasa.

If you want a good, inspiring, and great sports anime, this is the obvious pick!

This is easily one of my most favorite sports anime ever. Unfortunately, it's not very popular, but the characters were awesome, and it definitely blows Captain Tsubasa away. It's just so much more interesting than the average anime.

I like it. It is one of the best anime that I have ever watched. I like the way the underdog becomes one of the best soccer players in the school. He is the best at playing soccer. I feel like I can relate to the way he plays soccer.

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