From bewitching highschool dramas to otherworldy power-fantasies, anime is usually a automobile for critically participating storytelling. But, whereas it would not essentially seem to be essentially the most pure match, a few of the most compelling anime sequence of latest years have been centered on sports activities and health.

Not like most function movies and live-action TV exhibits, these all-time finest sports activities anime sequence could not all the time be grounded in actuality, however, as a result of the medium brings an entire new quirky twist to sports activities, these exhibits can typically be as entertaining as a few of the finest athlete biopics—if no more so. On that word, from conventional uplifting dramas to genre-bending sports activities comedies, even these completely bored with sports activities could discover one thing of curiosity.


Up to date on July twenty second, 2022 by Tanner Fox: Shounen anime sequence usually function fantasy worlds far faraway from something resembling our personal, however some sports-centric sequence buck that development, focusing as an alternative on real-world occasions and actions. From weight lifting to long-distance operating, there is a surprisingly deep area of interest of sports activities anime on which some followers could also be lacking out.

Sports activities anime could also be extra grounded than genre-leading productions like My Hero Academia and One Piece, however the high-energy story crescendos and over-the-top characters followers have come to count on from the style largely stay the identical. These all-time-great anime sequence aren’t to be handed up!

How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Elevate?

Since How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Elevate is an ecchi anime that thrives on fan service and distinctly anime feel-good humor, it could not befit everybody’s style. However, for anybody who has been within the pursuit of bodybuilding or common health, the comedic stylings of this one are sufficient to entertain.

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The central character of the sequence is gluttonous excessive schooler Hibiki Sakura. When her increasing waistline begins to concern her, she decides to show her life round and joins a fitness center—however she should conquer insurmountable and sometimes hilarious odds to stay to her health journey.

Eyeshield 21

Characters from the sports anime Eyeshield 21.

American soccer is not notably in style in Japan, although it could shock some to find that the nation really does have knowledgeable league for the game generally known as the X-League. American soccer was additionally represented briefly via the comparatively short-lived anime sequence Eyeshield 21.

When the timid Sona Kobayakawa develops a hidden expertise for operating and evasion after years of illuding college bullies, he nameless joins an American soccer staff whereas sporting a face-concealing visor and going by the moniker Eyeshield 21. It is a distinctive sequence for which soccer followers could wish to look out.

Yowamushi Pedal

A still from the anime cycling series Yowamushi Pedal.

Sakamichi Onda is a highschool otaku whose pursuits don’t exceed the bounds of anime and normal nerd tradition. Nonetheless, when a well-known bicycle owner and fellow pupil occurs to find Sakamichi’s shocking prowess on his cumbersome, seaside cruiser-like bike, he is roped into the world of biking.

A sequence about popping out of 1’s shell and discovering new passions and pursuits as a lot as it’s about biking, Yowamushi Pedal provides fairly a little bit of character and intrigue to a sport that is not typically coated in most media.

Prince Of Tennis

Premiering method again within the mid-aughts, Prince of Tennis drifts away from the everyday sports activities anime narrative. As an alternative of specializing in an underdog character, it tells the story of a star participant, Ryouma Echizen. The younger boy joins the Seishun Gakuen Junior Excessive Faculty after transferring to Japan from the West.

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Along with his presence, the staff turns into a drive to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, regardless of being an ideal participant, Ryouma needs to change into the best tennis participant in Japan and create his personal legacy as an alternative of residing underneath his father’s shadow.


Spanning over a number of seasons and OVAs, Chihayafuru has an intriguing card sport known as Karuta at its fore. Each bodily and mentally demanding, the sport attracts its inspiration from the basic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. The principle protagonist of the sequence, Chihaya, first comes throughout this sport when she meets switch pupil Arata Wataya.

It is this fateful encounter that adjustments her life for the higher and introduces her to the fascinating world of aggressive Karuta. Tailored from an eponymous manga, the storyline of Chihayafuru is replete with well-developed characters and plot factors. Madhouse Studio’s stellar work with the present’s animation is a bonus that makes it all of the extra gratifying.


Goro Honda from the anime series Major.

A protracted-running baseball-centric anime that initially debuted in 2004, Main follows the profession of Goro Honda, the son of a distinguished baseball star whose profession was sidelined by damage. Out to beat adversity and escape the woes introduced upon him by familial drama, Goro goes from an harmless schoolboy to a promising major-league prospect.

As is the case with any anime sequence, it is stuffed with emotion, suspense, and hyperbolic over-exaggeration. But, baseball is a massively necessary sport in Japan, and even Western followers will wish to take a look at this genre-defining depiction of the sport.

Run The Wind

Not like most anime which can be tailored from manga, Run with the Wind is a novel adaptation. As its title suggests, the present is about aggressive operating. However, together with the generic narrative surrounding the progress of its major characters of their sport, it additionally delves deep into the psychological catharsis of its protagonist, Haiji.

Regardless of having a highschool staff stuffed with novice runners, Haiji units his eyes on the ridiculously laborious college marathon relay races in Japan. Profitable apart, to even be capable of compete in opposition to Japan’s finest runners, the staff should surpass many hurdles alongside the way in which.

Ace of Diamond

The cast of characters from the anime sports series Ace of Diamond.

Ace of Diamond tells the story of Eijun Sawamura, a younger pitcher who develops a repute because of his atypical fashion. Bold and considerably over-eager, his center college staff loses their last sport, however Eijun campaigns to change into a good stronger highschool athlete.

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Eijun’s abilities land him a spot at Japan’s infamous Seidous Excessive Faculty, although he is fraught with competitors from each competing groups and fellow teammates. Whereas it follows many acquainted shounen sports activities anime story beats, it is undoubtedly one anime followers who additionally occur to look at baseball want to take a look at.

Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball sports anime series.

The short-paced quarters, the dramatic time-outs, the high-intensity motion—the game of basketball has all the proper components to make up a taut and attractive anime sequence. That explains why so many exhibits use the game as a story gadget.

Whereas Kuroko’s Basketball does the identical, it provides a layer of fantasticism to the game. There’s an entire lot of unrealistic dunking, passing, and martial arts-centric motion. Viewers on the lookout for strategic gameplay and classes on real-life basketball could not get a lot out of this, however, for followers of shounen anime, this one completely suits the invoice.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Membership

Some viewers would possibly scoff at Free!’s intensive fan service method, however there’s much more to the anime than that. For starters, it has well-written characters, all of whom get comparatively balanced growth all through its runtime.

Secondly, regardless of having a reasonably predictable premise, Free! retains viewers intrigued with its high-octane swimming competitions and rivalries. To not point out, since KyoAni is behind the anime’s manufacturing, each the fashion and high quality of its animation aren’t any in need of being fantastic.


A still from the Judo anime Yawara!

Previous however gold, Yawara! options the titular teen Yawara Inokuma, a younger Judo prodigy who’s being raised by her grandfather, who additionally occurs to be a highly-skilled Judo teacher. Confronted with the pressures of competing for a spot within the 1992 Summer time Olympics, Yawara should practice relentlessly to satisfy the calls for positioned upon her by her grandfather, although she solely desires to stay a standard life free from hardcore athletics.

Finally, Yawara learns to harness her innate expertise and attains a brand new appreciation for the game, although it takes her time. it is a seminal sports activities anime that is acknowledged by many as a somewhat-overlooked anime gem.


Haikyuu!! vollyball sports anime.

Haikyuu is among the many hottest anime of the fashionable period, and it has rightfully acquired that place. Whereas its central premise rests on the volleyball adventures—and misadventures—of a pint-sized protagonist named Hinata, the anime intricately explores the backstories of all of its characters and by no means leaves a uninteresting second.

Its on-court volleyball motion is thrilling sufficient to maintain most viewers glued to it. However, greater than that, it is the characters of this anime that permit it to rise above different generic sports activities outings which have been overtaking the style.

Yuri!!! On Ice

The professional depictions of the fragile, lovely artwork of ice skating already make Yuri!!! On Ice a standout sequence. Nonetheless, with regards to its plot, it is laborious to not be captivated by its refined and scintillating romantic developments.

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Created by MAPPA Studio, Yuri!!! On Ice focuses on Yuuri Katsuki, a once-renowned determine skater who struggles to carry on to the game after dropping his peak kind. However, with a coincidence, one among his earlier performances goes viral, and five-time world champion Victor Nikiforov exhibits up at his door to mentor him. His journey again to the world stage will not be straightforward, however, with Victor’s assist, he would possibly simply make it.

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk is a basic. As remembered by Sports activities Illustrated, when it first premiered, it had an enormous influence on Japanese tradition and served to popularize the game within the nation. What makes Slam Dunk such an epic anime is the way it seamlessly shifts backwards and forwards between its sports-centric motion and the day-to-day highschool hijinks of its characters.

Together with that, it additionally closely focuses on the technicalities of the game and throws in a number of classes right here and there for aspiring basketball gamers. Its animation fashion may appear a bit dated at this time, however the entire different parts simply make up for that.

Hajime No Ippo

Primarily the Rocky of anime, although it follows a typical fight-of-the-week format, the boxing journey of Hajime no Ippo‘s major character is awe-inspiring. One other side of the sequence that makes it stand out is the predictability of its boxing matches. Regardless of how laborious a viewer tries to foresee the outcomes of its bouts, the anime all the time surprises with its outcomes—very similar to the real-world sport.

For anybody who’s on the lookout for some inspiration to begin understanding or simply to show their lives round, Ippo’s street from being bullied to changing into a boxing professional deserves a shot.

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