A lot of people, for what ever reason, have very mixed feelings about Sports anime. I have watched quite a few series after just one caught my eye and have been hooked on the genre ever since. I feel that I have to explain some of the great aspects of sports anime because people are definitely missing out!
Here’s a little list of of sports anime series that I have watched/am watching:
- Haikyuu (volleyball)
- Ace of the Diamond (baseball)
- Kuroko’s Basketball (basketball)
- Eyeshield 21 (american football)
- Yowamushi Pedal (cycling)
- Free! (swimming)
- Baby Steps (tennis)
- Ping Pong The Animation (ping pong)
- Slam Dunk (basketball)
Every single sports anime I have watched up to this point has had some of the greatest humor. Most of the time it is also good humor, as opposed to “oh no I fell on this girl and grabbed her boob” type of humor. In other words,the anime does not rely on ecchi scenes to keep it going strong. Most sports animes also use exaggeration animation to add to the humor of even the most basic of things. Some of the funniest animes I have seen have been sports animes. Most of the time, in animes like Ace of the Diamond, Kuroko’s Basketball, and Haikyuu, the show uses exaggeration and irony to throw in humorous moments. Other animes, like Ping Pong, have a smart and witty humor that makes you smile from the inside out.
Sports animes most always have pretty rad animation, even some of the older ones. Many scenes that are the equivalent of epic sword fights in other animes create the same intense atmosphere and mirror various moments. Also, many great sports animes get signed on to awesome companies like Madhouse and Production IG. There are some amazing moments in sports anime, like the zone in Kuroko’s Basketball, Sena’s Devil Bat moves in Eyeshield 21, and Smile vs Peco in Ping Pong. I find it fantastic how people can create anime that is exciting and action filled, without using magic, weapons, or super powers!
Lack of Death
In all of the sports animes I have watched, no character has ever died. (I believe there are some in which a character has died but it is by no means common. There are deaths that occur in the character’s past (like maybe a parent, guardian, or friend) but for most sports animes, death is not a key factor. In other animes, character deaths add to the plot or give a sense of disaster. Sports anime is different because characters do not actually die, but instead they suffer a different kind of loss. This suffering can be derived from a variety of things such as personal conflict, failure to help team, to hurt team in some way, or to be overpowered by an enemy. The equivalent of death in sports anime is represented most often by a teammate getting injured, being kicked off the team, or graduating from the school/program (it has the same feeling but the “dead” character is able to return if needed). For example, Chris, from Ace of the Diamond, is “killed” in the sports anime world because he suffers an injury and later graduates. Even though Chris is not really around anymore, his character is still able to play a role in the anime, as he helps characters to develop. Click to see my Character Analysis of Chris.
Sure the protagonists are great, but I have yet to see an anime of this genre lacks consistent and deep antagonist character development. Some of these antagonists could have their own animes. I can’t chose one anime as an example that doesn’t do a great job at developing their antagonists from the list I have given. Seriously! I think all the animes given have developed a fantastic amount of depth in their antagonist.
Most all sports animes revolve around team activities. Similar to a troupe or guild, the teams all have interesting characters that have their own problems to overcome but still are willing to help each other out. On most given teams theres a leader (usually not the main protagonist), best friend who supports the main protagonist, and a protagonist (usually has a unusual talent but is unpolished). There is pretty much always a rival, but it depends whether or not the rival is on the same team or an opposing team. These are probably my favorite things about sports animes. The team that surrounds the protagonist can have a lot of influence on the course of the anime. With so many moving parts it is always exciting when a team gets involved.
I hope you will check some sports anime because it is one of my favorite genres. Also, look out for Prince of Stride next season 🙂