What are the best sports anime?

The beauty of anime lies in its ability to connect with fans through a wide array of themes. Although anime shows time slots used to be populated by young kids, this is not the case nowadays. Even adults get their own staple shows that keep them entertained. Creativity has got the best out of studios as there have been tons of new genres that anime boasts of. You may be a fan of shounen or isekai anime, but you can't deny that there have been lots of sports anime shows that made an impact on otakus worldwide. For starters, anime shows of this kind usually do not dwell on uber-serious portrayals of matches and game rules. Usually, additional elements of comedy and romance are injected into these shows to fit the tastes of anime fans. As a result, we are able to see a genre like no other and that is one consisting of slow-mo alley-oops, incredible home runs, and high-leaping offspeed attacks.

Whatever sport it is that you appreciate, there is surely an anime series that looks just like it. Also, you may not be the athletic type but you will surely get to enjoy sports anime just as everybody else does. Excited for some upcoming anime shows? Before you get consumed by titles from your favorite sub-genre, why not try watching some of the top sports anime available? If you are not familiar with the best shows that the genre has to offer, there's no need to worry. In here, we can help you with our best sports anime list

164 contributors
20 solutions
  1. 26



    Haikyuu is a sports manga and anime. It is about rivals Hinata Shouyou and Tobio Kageyama becoming teammates for Karasuno High School's volleyball team. The two becomes a powerful tandem and their journey begins.

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    Albert Jones
    Written on April 28, 2017
    "I had heard about Haikyuu!! from a friend whose tastes generally align with my own, so I felt pretty comfortable taking a chance on this purchase. It turns out I was totally glad I did - what a fun series! As a former high school volleyball player myself, I found that I could easily identify with the characters and put myself in their situations. Moreover, I enjoyed the quality of the picture and sound, the accuracy of the English subtitles, and the replay value that this series provides. If you're looking for an entertaining sports anime, this is one to get!"
  2. 17

    #2Hajime no Ippo

    Hajime no Ippo

    Hajime no Ippo is an ongoing Japanese boxing series. Timid high school student Makunouchi Ippo becomes inspired to become a boxer after meeting middleweight boxer Mamoru Takamura. He eventually joins Kamogawa Gym as a professional boxer.

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    Adrián Zamudio
    Written on January 27, 2017
    "If you're into sports and anime, then you'll definitely want to check out Hajime no Ippo. It combined boxing and anime into a great show you're sure to love. No need to look any further, this is the exciting sports anime you'll love."
  3. 15

    #3Kuroko no Basuke

    Kuroko no Basuke

    Kuroko's Basketball or Kuroko no Basuke is a Japanese sports manga series. After the legacy of "The Generation of Miracles," the members went in separate ways after middle school and became fierce rivals in high school.

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    Victoria Yao
    Written on June 28, 2018
    "OMG, I love Kuroko no Basuke, they're freaking lovable. Their relationship whats makes this show endearing, most especially Taiga and Kuroko. The matches doesn't matter that much to me. KagaKuro Forever xoxo!!!"


Did you know 85 percent of junior high students in Japan are likely to be part of a school sports club? In high school, the number ranges between 70 to 75 percent. For the North American school culture, joining a sports team isn’t as emphatic as in Japanese schools. This explains why Japanese anime is so familiar with this theme. For a good portion of the sports genre in anime, they tend to take place in either junior or senior high school. Examples of these are Ace wo Nerae and Prince of Tennis (tennis anime), Slam Dunk and Kuroko’s Basketball (basketball anime) and Captain Tsubasa, Days and Inazuma Eleven (soccer anime), to name a few. Japanese audiences tend to relate to these anime themes more than Western audiences. The explanation is quite simple. Japanese education encourages students more to join a sports team as compared to American schools. This genre of anime has produced some of the best sports anime

One of the earliest sports anime in Japan originated in 1968. It is the wrestling anime "Tiger Mask". It is about a professional wrestler who wears a tiger mask, which began as a manga. It ran for 14 volumes from 1968 to 1971 and was popular enough to be remembered by some people to this day. Definitely, sports anime have been a part of the anime culture. This is true not only for Japanese audiences but for every anime fan as well. There are various resources for downloading anime and apps to watch anime available. Fans can find the best anime of the sports genre and enjoy it. 

  1. 13

    #4Captain Tsubasa

    Captain Tsubasa

    Captain Tsubasa is a long-running Japanese sports manga, animation and video game series that focuses on Tsubasa Oozora and his soccer team as they compete in a series of tournaments.

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    Arthur Parker
    Written on May 15, 2017
    "Soccer and anime are two of my greatest loves, but I don't often find them together. Well, until I found Captain Tsubasa, that is, an anime series built around the great game of football!"
  2. 12



    Free! is a Japanese anime television series based on the novel written by Koji Oji. The story is about four boys participating in swimming tournaments. They eventually create a swimming club in their school's outdoor pool.

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    Matthew Gonzalez
    Written on April 8, 2017
    "Free is a good sports anime if you like swimming and coaching. It's mostly aimed at females but males can also enjoy the story and interesting setting."
  3. 9

    #6Ace of Diamond

    Ace of Diamond

    Ace of Diamond is a sports anime TV show that came out in 2013. It follows the life of Eijun Sawamura, a gifted baseball player who has an extraordinary pitching talent. His goal is to become the ace of Seidou High School.

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    $6.95- /month - Free trial available

    Ai Dai
    Written on September 18, 2019
    "Not really a fan of baseball but this was an awesome show nonetheless that anyone can enjoy. It was a great and fun journey to watch along with. Give it a try."
  4. 8

    #7Ping Pong the Animation

    Ping Pong the Animation
    Ping Pong The Animation is an anime in 2014 and an adaptation of the manga Ping Pong. The anime is about the growth of ping-pong players Peco and Smile as they enter competitive table tennis competition. 
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    Ronald Valdez
    Written on January 10, 2017
    "If you are interested in sports related anime this is a great series. The blu ray had a couple of small issues but nothing that made it unwatchable. If you are on the fence grab this show you'll really enjoy it."
  5. 7

    #8Yowamushi Pedal

    Yowamushi Pedal

    Yowamushi Pedal is about a young otaku named Onoda who wants to join his high school's anime club but it was disbanded. Since he had no luck in restoring the anime club, Onoda ends up joining a bicycle club when he takes on a challenge.

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    $9.99- Free trial available

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  6. 7

    #9Slam Dunk

    Slam Dunk

    Slam Dunk is a sports anime series in 1993. Delinquent Hanamichi Sakuragi plans to become a basketball player to impress Haruko Akagi. Sakuragi's motivation changed when he joins Team Shohoku and participates in the Japanese championship.

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    Walter Garcia
    Written on May 2, 2017
    "This is a great classic sports anime series! The animation is great and the story line is even better! Too bad the series was cut short as open-ended. I wish they'll continue Slam Dunk and do a crossover with Kuroko no Basuke :3"
  7. 6

    #10Eyeshield 21

    Eyeshield 21

    Eyeshield 21 is a slapstick comedy sports anime that first premiered on TV Tokyo in 2004. It follows the story of Sena, who's gifted with speed and agility, and his football team's progress to becoming the number one team in Japan.

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    Free- Varies by plan

    Chirag Pawar
    Written on March 29, 2019
    "Sports animes don't usually come this good especially those football or soccer animes. but this one is really cool and I've watched it"
  8. 6

    #11Air Gear

    Air Gear

    Air Gear is an anime released in 2006. It is an action-sports anime that is produced by ADV Films. It was based on the manga of the same name by Ito Ogure or commonly known as Oh! great.

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    Juan Valadez
    Written on January 20, 2017
    "This recommended solution is good, and the product in question appears historically well liked and rated by users, at least upon the Amazon site. However, the sports-related gaming market is significant, and growing rapidly. Air Gear is but one product in this market segment, albeit in the more limited anime genre. More information pertaining to the attributes and specific features of the game are needed to support this product as the best possible product solution."
  9. 5

    #12Prince of Stride: Alternative

    Prince of Stride: Alternative

    Prince of Stride: Alternative is a sports anime centered on characters who are into track and field. The anime tells the story of Nana and Takeru who want to restore their school's Stride Club to participate in city-wide relay races.

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  10. 4

    #13Yuri!!! on Ice

    Yuri!!! on Ice

    Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime TV show that tells the story of Yuri Katsuki, a figure skater that has experienced a big loss during the Grand Prix finals. He goes back home unsure if he will continue on until he meets Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov.

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    Catherine Medina
    Written on September 18, 2019
    "It's not often that an anime about figure skating gets made but this is one of the truly great sports anime that have come out recently. If you're not a fan of the sport, you should still give it a shot."
  11. 3

    #14Big Windup!

    Big Windup!

    Big Windup is a comedy and sports anime. The story is about Mihashi who is a rookie baseball player who seems to have a hard time with the sport until he transfers to a new school and works together with a star player named Abe.

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  12. 1

    #15Prince of Tennis

    Prince of Tennis

    Prince of Tennis is a sports anime TV series that tells the story of Ryoma Echizen, a 12-year-old tennis prodigy that has moved back to Japan after living in America. He now attends Seishun Academy Middle School where get meets other players from other schools.

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    Paul Young
    Written on September 18, 2019
    "If you love tennis, this is one of the best sports anime that you can watch. It may not be realistic but that is what makes it so fun to watch. Check it out now."
  13. 1

    #16Baby Steps

    Baby Steps

    Baby Steps is an anime TV series that recounts the journey of a high-school boy that becomes interested in taking tennis as his sport. With no experience, he learns the sport through hard work, discipline, and using his smarts one step at a time.

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    Cheryl Douglas
    Written on September 18, 2019
    "This has got to be one of the most realistic and meticulous sports anime that I have seen about tennis. It's refreshing to see this from an anime and is well worth your time seeing."
  14. 1

    #17Initial D

    Initial D

    Initial D is an anime based on the self-titled manga that focuses on the world of the Japanese street illegal races and has the spirit and the feeling of the classic racing games like Need 4 Speed or similar. 

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    Marilyn Perry
    Written on March 29, 2019
    "This is low-key one of the cool sports anime out there. Although the context is mostly driving I still love it and has a nice story too"
  15. 0

    #18The Knight in the Area

    The Knight in the Area

    The Knight in the Area is an anime centered around two brothers who are passionate about soccer. The brothers lead different lives since Suguru became a rising soccer player and Kakeru took on a managerial role after struggling on the field.

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  16. -1



    Chihayafuru is a sports anime about characters named Chihaya and Arata who are Karuta players. Chihaya met Arata and was inspired by the latter's talent in karuta, therefore, she takes on the challenge to become Japan's best Karuta player.

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  17. -2

    #20Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun

    Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun

    Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun, also known as Clean Freak! Aoyama kun, is a Japanese anime TV series based on the manga series of the same name by Taku Sakamoto. This centers on genius soccer player Aoyama who is obsessed with cleanliness.

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    Free- Varies by plan

    Aldo G
    Written on November 17, 2018
    "Aoyama is a young soccer genius who is a member of the Japanese team. His style of the game is “fair play”, but literally. She does not like to get dirty with the ball, so she does not even take it to make a pass if she does not wear gloves and, of course, she never gives her head, that her hair gets dirty"


Best What are the best sports anime
1HaikyuuTV Shows 26 Paid
2Hajime no IppoTV Shows 17 Paid
3Kuroko no BasukeTV Shows 15 Paid
4Captain TsubasaTV Shows 13 Paid
5Free!TV Shows 12 Paid
6Ace of DiamondTV Shows 9 Paid
7Ping Pong the AnimationTV Shows 8 Paid
8Yowamushi PedalTV Shows 7 Paid
9Slam DunkTV Shows 7 Paid
10Eyeshield 21TV Shows 6 Free

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