Top 10 Most Popular Sports Anime Of All Time

When it comes to sports anime, it is always a thrill to see such a series, and fans adore this genre. This genre instils in the viewer a sense of excitement that leads them to fall in love with a specific sport. But, in such a fascinating universe, which sports anime is the most popular among fans?

Almost every sport has had an anime adaptation, and the anime business has a plethora of such shows. From the legendary anime series Slam Dunk to the most recent addition to the list, SK8 Infinity, all of these episodes are packed with mind-blowing games and passionate characters that will excite any anime fan.

However, before moving on, it is important to know which sports anime are some of the greatest and which ones you should definitely not miss out on. So, here are the top ten most popular sports anime series of all time:

1. Haikyū!! (19,283 votes)

What is Volleyball? How it is played? If you will ask these questions to an anime fan their answer will be, Haikyū!! Through Haikyū!! people came to know about Volleyball and its basic rules. It taught many great life lessons to the fans. It was one of the first sports anime that made a deep influence on the lives of normal people.

Many famous Japanese Men’s Volleyball Team players claimed that how Haikyū!! changed their life completely and it made them fall in love with the sport. Haikyū!! is not just a sports anime, it is beyond that. It shows the dedication, hard work and moments of emotions that can make you cry. And, undoubtedly it deserves to be on top.

2. Kuroko’s Basketball (12,443 votes)

The level of madness about this anime series can be said to be quite similar to that of Haikyuu. Kuroko’s Basketball is a bundle of entertainment, drama, fun and hilarious moments that surprises the audience at different stages of the anime series.

Kuroko’s Basketball follows the journey of Seirin High School players as they attempt to become the best Japanese high school team by winning the Interhigh Championship. To reach their goal, they have to cross pathways with several powerful teams and players to be called the champions.

3. Free! (6,303 votes)

Free! is a 2013 based anime television series focused on the life of Haruka Nanase who desires to swim in the water one day. Before graduating from elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka. However, after achieving victory, each of the boys went their separate ways.

Time passed, and in the middle of their uneventful high school lives, Rin appears and challenges Haruka to a match, showing Haruka his overwhelming power. Not wanting it to end like this, Haruka, gathers together Makoto and Nagisa once again and brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club to defeat Rin.

4. Ace of Diamond (6,005 votes)

Ace of Diamond should be a must-watch anime on your list if you’re a sports enthusiast. It is a baseball-themed manga series written and illustrated by Yuji Terajima. This series portrays the life of a Baseball player and his utter determination to accomplish the goal working alongside his fellow teammates.

The story follows the life of Eijun Sawamura, a pitcher who joins an elite school with a brilliant catcher named Kazuya Miyuki. Through hard work and determination, the Seidou baseball team aims to become the best in Japan, facing off against a number of formidable foes that stand in their way.

5. Yuri!!! On Ice (5,511 votes)

Yuri!!! On Ice is an anime television series about figure skating produced by MAPPA with original scripts by Mitsurō Kubo. Surprisingly, the anime had no source material and it was an original story. The show is about a figure skater, Yuri Katsuki who is given a lifetime opportunity to train with his idol, Victor Nikiforov as his coach.

As a professional skater himself, Victor guides Yuri to achieve his dream of winning the Grand Prix series. Clean animation and beautiful art style of Yuri!!! On Ice refreshes the mood of the viewer. The original scriptwriter Mitsurō Kubo has highlighted the yaoi genre and homosexuality in this series as a key point which was later appreciated by the critics

6. Hajime no Ippo (4,526 votes)

Hajime no Ippo is another vintage sports anime series based on boxing and follows the story of a bullied high-school student, Ippo Makunoichi. He gets sick of being oppressed by his classmates daily and, one day he encounters a boxer and this meeting turns his life upside-down.

George Morikawa is the original author of the series and the anime adaptation was handled by Studio Madhouse. Various spin-offs and sequels are also in circulation related to this franchise and you should check them out as well to get the full taste of the series in a better way.

7. The Prince of Tennis (4,306 votes)

The series is primarily set in Tokyo and centers around Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy who attends Seishun Academy, a school that is known for its strong tennis club and talented players. Shortly after the entrance, Ryoma quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen, securing himself a spot as one of the team’s regulars.

In pursuit of their ultimate goal of winning the National Middle School Tennis Championship, members of the team make new friends while learning and mastering increasingly complex techniques. Ryoma also begins to develop his own style of tennis and eventually realizes what the sport really means to him.

8. Yowamushi Pedal (3,953 votes)

Sakamichi Onoda is a cheerful otaku looking to join his new school’s anime club, eager to finally make some friends. Without much luck, Onoda decides to make a round trip to Akihabara on his old, bulky city bicycle, a weekly 90-kilometer ride he has been completing since fourth grade.

This is when he meets fellow first-year student, Shunsuke Imaizumi, a determined cyclist. Surprised by Onoda’s ability to climb the hill with his specific type of bicycle, Imaizumi challenges him to a race, and thus begins the young boy’s first foray into the world of high school bicycle racing!

9. Slam Dunk (3,676 votes)

Slam Dunk is one of the best sports manga written & illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. It showcases the life of a delinquent Hanamichi Sakuragi who is very unpopular among the girls. After being rejected 50 times, he becomes desperate for a girl and as a consequence lashes out at his favorite sport, Basketball.

But, Sakuragi’s life takes a turn when he meets his dream girl, Haruko Akagi who encourages him to play Basketball again. To impress Haruko, Sakuragi joins his high-school basketball team where he encounters some exceptionally talented players. Now, to prove himself in front of Haruko and gain the trust of his teammates, Sakuragi begins his journey to become the top basketball player.

10. Prince of Stride: Alternative (2,974 votes)

Prince of Stride is a Japanese multimedia series by ASCII Media Works. The project was unveiled in April 2012 and spawned into a light novel, game & anime adaptation. The anime television series aired in 2016 produced by Studio Madhouse.

“Stride,” is an extreme sport that involves six people on one team who run relay races through towns. Hōnan Academy and other schools compete to win eastern Japan’s top Stride competition, “End of Summer.” However, Hōnan’s team has shut down.

In order to revive the stride club, first-year high school students Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai start recruiting new members and the first one they meet is Riku Yagami. With this new team, the club now aims high at a new goal: to win the prestigious End of Summer competition and bring the Honan stride team back to their prime.

The list is compiled using votes from the popular anime website Rankers. More than 125,000 votes have been cast for Rankers’ editorial department’s article titled “Best Sports Anime.” However, in addition to this top ten, there are many other excellent shows that need to be recognized.

Aside from this list, if you want to see something else connected to this genre, check out Inazuma Eleven, Ping Pong The Animation, and Eyeshield 21. Still, it’s a shame that the anime business lacks some high-quality stuff in this area.

There are many fantastic shōnen, seinen, and rom-com anime, but there aren’t many that are entirely about sports. People are generally unaware of other shows except Haiky!!, Slam Dunk, and Kuroko’s Basketball. However, it is hoped that upcoming next-gen sports programmed such as Blue Lock and Aoashi would improve the sports anime genre.

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