Anime is an entertainment medium with infinite diversity and creative potential, with many unique genres and unorthodox stories to suit every sophisticated taste. However, special thematic tropics and narrative categories have a special place in the boundless landscape of the medium. Defined by certain storytelling similarities and universal features, these genres create a niche for themselves, uniting dedicated fans.
Sports anime is a massive category of shows that share many related features. The gripping, inspiring stories of young athletes who overcome strenuous obstacles and climb to the top of the discipline, motivate and inspire countless viewers. These shows have an unbounded potential to tell uplifting, heartfelt stories. Still, any sports anime fan will agree that the opportunity to experience them comes with the price of accepting a few unfortunate, harsh realities in the genre.
10 Sports anime characters are purposefully focused on athletic performance
Most fans of sports anime are not athletes themselves, and while learning about a new athletic discipline can be infinitely exciting, it can not be called the genre’s critical appeal. Unfortunately, most sports anime focuses so much on competitions and training that they forget to give the characters, the backbone of any sports series, a personality beyond their athletic passion.
Although the genre’s name clearly indicates the main focus of the anime, fans still long to see several different aspects of the favorite characters’ daily lives, personalities and interests outside of their hobby.
9 Character design tends to be a bit unrealistic
With most sports animations taking place in a school environment and with teenage protagonists, it is bizarre to see how many of them are not close to their age. The typical sports heroes can still behave like your usual rowdy high school students, but their athletic constructions can compete with Greek gods and professional bodybuilders.
Not all sports shows are guilty of giving the characters their unrealistic physiques, with shows like Sk8 Infinity and Baby steps keep the designs age-appropriate. Yet most men loom over ordinary teenagers and threaten to break the floors with a single mighty jump.
8 The genre can be quite formal and repetitive
An imperceptible but passionate underdog joins his underperforming sports club in high school. There he shows himself to the current members, trains diligently, often joins the local athletic prodigy, and goes to secure the school’s place in the final by defeating countless opposing teams.
It is a basic summary of history for most sports anime, and small variations of the formula hardly break the monotony of this repetition. While some series take the basic premises in more inventive directions, sports anime fans will still love to see more diversity in the genre’s tiring clichés.
7 The antagonists often invest more than the main characters
In most sports series, antagonists become some of the most well-developed, universally loved characters. But being linked to an antagonist is the biggest mistake an inexperienced fan can make, since the chances of seeing their favorite character again are pretty slim. Every investing match in a sports anime requires a challenging, sympathetic rival to increase the tension in the showdown.
And most writers excel at making the antagonists so inventive, interesting, and concrete that it can be devastating to see them defeated and no longer relevant to the action.
6 Sports in Anime is a privilege for high school students
The issue of setting diversity is not unique to the sports anime genre, but it is one of the biggest drawbacks to this category of show in particular. Although the attitude in high school can be related to the shonen demographics, it keeps the stakes for the competitions incredibly low.
The world of professional athletics is rarely touched on in anime, despite the fact that it offers countless opportunities for unique character development, tense narrative conflict and thematic maturity. Unfortunately, the options for those applying for a sports series with an adult cast are painfully limited.
5 Sports Anime blurs the line between fantasy and reality
With the incredible success of such sports series as Yuri !!! on ice and Haikyuu !!, realistic sports anime saw a new revival in the industry. However, most classic sports programs are still guilty of giving their characters absurd superpowers and unlimited athletic skills that will make even the most skilled professional jealous.
The over-the-top nature of most sports anime can be exciting in its own way. Nevertheless, it contributes to the fact that many anime viewers disregard sports anime as a genre, and perceive it as a childish, junk power fantasy.
4 Good female sports series are hard to come by
With most sports anime belonging to the shonen category, the majority focus on teams with boys or young men. While sports series with female protagonists exist, with Chihayafuru, Bamboo Leafor Hanebado Like some of the most notable examples, they remain a peculiarity and never reach the same level of popularity as their male-driven counterparts.
In addition, some of the most famous sports anime with female lead roles extremely sexualize their youth cast, making the niche of sports anime with well-developed female characters almost non-existent.
3 Managers and coaches do nothing to ensure the team’s success
Like most high school series, adults play a superficial background role in most sports anime. But unlike a typical part of life, teams in sports series should rely on managers, coaches and older athletes to improve their craft, hone their skills and develop useful strategies.
Most of the time, the coaches come up with a few quick remarks, give a sparse inspirational speech, or tell some matches to the audience. Yet their job of sharing wisdom and knowledge with the younger generations ends there.
2 There is only so much plot potential that can be explored in a sports anime
When the anime’s first premise is that a team should reach a certain point of excellence in its sport, whether it competes nationally or defeats a particularly difficult opponent, there are only so many potential scenarios the creators can explore without making the show tiring.
In every long-running sports series, there comes a moment where the matches begin to feel predictable, the opponents repeat themselves, and the outcome of a competition becomes clear before it starts. Unfortunately, most anime is designed to run as long as possible, making it difficult for sports series to go high.
1 Prepare to have some tissues handy
Sports anime attracts audiences with incredible animation, real themes of hard work and friendship, and massive cast of lovable, funny characters for all tastes. However, this exciting and cheerful genre often becomes quite dramatic, and threatens to leave all viewers drowning in tears.
Sports anime does not need sudden death scenes or horrific tragedies to make fans cry. The genre’s impeccable emotional storytelling is guaranteed to pull at the heartstrings, triggering the sad sobs as effortlessly as the tears of pride and joy.
NEXT: 10 sports anime that are so bad that they are good