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The 10 most popular sports anime, according to Ranker

The 10 most popular sports anime, according to Ranker

With the popular sports manga Blue lock planned for an anime adaptation in the fall of 2022 and Ao Ashi As of the last spring season, the number of great sports anime has only grown this year.

Although there are many incredible new sports anime coming out, there are many well-established classics in the genre. At Ranker, people have voted for the 10 best sports anime of all time. The list includes both newer titles and older anime that helped make the genre what it is today.

Note: Rankings are fan-voted, live and continue to collect votes, so some rankings may have changed after this release.

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10 Slam Dunk (1994)

Picture of Hanamichi and Rukawa in Slam Dunk

One of the first sports animations ever, Slam Dunk tells the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi. Hanamichi is an incredibly tall student who first starts playing basketball because his lover Haruko asked him to.

Slam Dunk is an older anime that can stand the test of time, having only been released in 1994. Unfortunately, despite a strong story, the show loses a lot of points due to not being completed properly. Instead, fans are looking for the whole thing Slam Dunk experience would need to read the manga to find out the true ending.


9 Prince Of Stride: Alternative (2016)

Riku Yagami and Takeru Fujiwara run in Prince of Stride

Prince of Stride is the story of two boys, Nana and Takeru, who want to revive the Stride Club at their school and their adventures with a view to reaching the top of the sport.

For fans wondering what kind of sport “skating” is: it is a completely fictional sport that combines elements of parkour with athletics. All fans of fictional sports like Quidditch may be interested in checking out and learning the rules of another interesting fictional sport, albeit a less magical one.


8 Yowamushi Pedal (2013)

A snapshot from the anime bike series Yowamushi Pedal.

Yowamushi pedal is a cycling anime that plays the casual cyclist and nerd Sakamichi Onoda. While Onoda loves cycling, he was surprised when he was recruited to join the school’s competing cycling team.

Yowamushi pedal has an interesting character journey for the main character that is not often used in sports anime. Usually, a character grows either to love the sport or starts out as a hypercompetitive fan of the sport. Pedal takes instead a character who already loves the sport, but who must find joy in the competition for it.


7 Hajime No Ippo (2000)

Hajime No Ippo plays a severely bullied young man named Ippo. During a very physical meeting with a group of bullies, Ippo is rescued by a boxer who awakens his love of boxing.

In any sports anime where the character does not begin as a fan of the sport, there is almost always an “awakening scene” where they realize the joy of the sport. This has a particularly funny but dark twist Hajime no Ippowhere the main character discovers the love of boxing after knocking on a punching bag with the bullies’ faces.


6 The Prince Of Tennis (2001)

The prince of tennis is the type of sports anime that shows someone starting the show as a star in their sport. In this case, the main character is the tennis prodigy Ryouma Echizen.

Ryouma does his best to make it on the school team despite his youth after spending time abroad, with his pure talents shining through. Tennis is an interesting sport for an anime due to the game’s solitary nature, but doubles is also a big part of the show. In particular, the show will have a sequel this year.


5 Free! Iwatobi Swimming Club (2013)

Free! Iwatobi Swimming Club shows a group of young men on their journey to become good swimmers and grow as people along the way.

Free! has an amazing slice-of-life protagonist in Haruka. The show also features a fun “antagonist” in Iwatobi’s rival school: Samezuka Academy. It is also known for being a fan service anime, one of the few that specifically focuses on male characters.


4 SK8 The Infinity (2021)

Ainosuke Shinbo and his skating altar, Adam

A skating anime based in Okinawa, SK8 The Infinity is a fun sports anime by the same director as Free! Iwatobi Swimming Club

SK8 Infinity has a fantastic cast and often focuses on the relationships of the young people involved instead of the skating itself, a common trend in sports anime. The character designs are as visually interesting as the character’s writing, with the antagonist “Adam” as a particularly funny villain.




3 Ace of Diamond (2013)

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

America’s classic pastime, baseball, is without a doubt Japan’s most popular sport. Therefore, it is natural that there would be a popular baseball anime out there that Diamantens ess.

The series plays Eijun Sawamura, a talented young pitcher invited to join the team of a prestigious private school. Diamantens ess uses this subsequent transfer of schools to put Sawamura in a fresh and uncomfortable environment, where he must thrive if he wants to be ace at his new school.


2 Kuroko’s Basketball (2012)

Kurokos Basketball sports anime series.

Kuroko’s Basketball is a basketball anime with an incredibly colorful cast that each has special and unique talents that are not necessarily realistic.

The show takes the sport of basketball and makes it feel like a magical duel, with the characters often performing superhuman feats. The show is unique among sports anime in this concept, where people who like the traditional shone can enjoy it more, and those who want slice-of-life may want to stick to other sports anime.


1 Haikyuu !! (2014)

Characters featured in volleyball anime Haikyuu !!

Youth rivals Hinata and Kageyama end up on the same volleyball team in high school in Haikyuu !!, a show considered the best sports anime of all time.

While Hinata and Kageyama’s rivalry is the focus of the show, Haikyuu !! sine many layers are its bread and butter. No show gives so much development to so many characters while making them all feel important. From Bokuto to Oikawa to Kenma, there are so many characters outside of Kurasuno to mess with.

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