We couch potatoes know how hard it is to stand up, let alone go outdoors and move about. That’s why we need to watch something inspiring; below are five sports anime that will motivate you to get up and do some exercise – anime fan or not!
Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate – Volleyball
Haikyu!!’s wonderfully-written storyline has already driven many people to learn volleyball. Hinata Shouyou, after losing in his first and last junior high volleyball match, enters Karasuno High and meets his nemesis – Kageyama Tobio. Together, they help rebuild the reputation of fallen powerhouse team, Karasuno.
Your eyes will be glued to the screen during the intense matches (which is all of them) and the character development is brilliant, even within the minor roles. There is a lot of witty back-and-forth between the characters, which adds another dimension to the show. This unique anime really took off from the get-go, and the addicting soundtracks get even better with every arc.
Kuroko no Basket by Tadatoshi Fujimaki – Basketball
Kuroko Tetsuya, Kagami Taiga and their Seirin High basketball team battle the Generation of Miracles – a group of ridiculously strong players from Teiko Middle School.
Much to the viewers’ delight, the animation improves remarkably after its first season. Although some moves are over-the-top exaggerated (like starting tornadoes on the court), a few of the techniques were actually taken from real life players.
For example, Akashi Seijuurou’s elbow pass was taken from the flashy Jason Williams, a retired American basketball player. It doesn’t matter how much of a couch potato you are, you’ll end up copying the cool basketball moves at some point!
Prince of Tennis by Takeshi Konomi – Tennis
The series primarily follows Echizen Ryoma, a tennis prodigy and son of a tennis legend, who joins the strong Seishun Academy. He faces some outrageously powerful opponents as they compete for a place at the nationals.
This is the oldest anime on the list, and is a mainstay in the greatest anime of all time debate. Although the unrealistic tennis moves may not be to all viewers’ liking, it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off the screen.
The length of the series allows the audience to feel attached to each character, almost as if you are growing up alongside them. Seven seasons are certainly enough to keep you entertained.
Diamond no Ace by Yuji Terajima – Baseball
Sawamura Eijun, a pitcher with a rare throwing style, is invited to the prestigious Seidou High in Tokyo, famous for its baseball team. He was initially reluctant to leave his junior high friends, but began his journey towards the nationals with new teammates.
Viewers will fall in love with the protagonist’s positive outlook; you can’t help but cheer him on. The intricate bonds between each of the team members is one of the many highlights.
All sequences are matched with amazing soundtracks, and the artwork and animation is beautiful. The show perfectly sets the pace: very fast during action scenes, and slows down for the emotional scenes to sink in. A lot of goosebump moments. Prepare to be mesmerised.
Yowamushi Pedal by Watanabe Wataru – Cycling
This compelling sports anime follows Sakamichi Onoda, an otaku (anime geek) who cycles to Akihabara – the heart of anime merchandise in Japan – every week. One day, classmate and serious cyclist Imaizumi Shunsuke, takes notice of Sakamichi and challenges him to a race. Sakamichi completely outperforms himself and ends up joining his high school cycling club.
The animation is memorable, and the main characters feel a lot like those in the previously mentioned Haikyu!! series. Sakamichi’s heroic journey naturally attracts the audience, and credit to the writers for making cycling look attractive, too.
These are just a few of the many anime with a sports angle; it’s impossible to fit them all in this article. Here are some honourable mentions:
- Free! is a refreshing anime about swimming, where old friends reunite to form a kick-ass swimming club. The anime was adapted by Kyoto Animations from a Oji Koji novel.
- Yuri!!! On Ice is a series about competitive figure skating, with the main character at a crossroads in life. The producers recruited Japanese gold medal figure skater Kenji Miyamoto to choreograph skating scenes.
- Slam Dunk is a basketball anime, which actually came out before Kuroko no Basket. A very solid alternative if you need even more basketball in your life.
- Captain Tsubasa is probably the biggest anime focusing on football. It has been extremely popular on Hong Kong television since its release in 1981, leading to different spin-off shows, games and manga.