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Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime !! 2021

(Last Updated On: May 6, 2021)

Two things that bring people together more than anything are Sports and Anime. People from different parts of the world bond on the fact that they like the same anime or their favorite sportsperson.

The drama, the intensity and the entertainment is just amplified manifolds by anime, and who doesn’t love that extra dram and those intense moments with adorable characters. We have a list of top 10 anime based on sports which you definitely need to add to your watchlist.

10. Hanebado

Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime

Have you ever felt so frustrated, so devastated by losing a game that you love, and start projecting your anguish, your lost self-esteem on others, so much so that they are on the verge of emotional stress? This is what our protagonist, Nagisa Aragaki, felt when she lost her National Junior Badminton tournament. It is her story. It is a story of Nagisa who has to face her fears and help other people around her, as well as heal her rival’s troubled heart and win the nationals.

This anime is no doubt overly dramatic, but if you are into that, then there will be no problem. What impresses the viewer most is the conflicts that the character faces, especially the main character. The anime has a slow pace and will take some time to get used to it. Though the anime is overdramatic the actual play of the sport is quite realistic, if you want to really know about badminton, then it is quite an apt watch.

9. Yuri!!! On Ice

Ever thought ice skating can be interesting to just watch? Yuri!!! On Ice will definitely make it interesting, if it wasn’t already. Yuri!!! On Ice perfectly depicts the anxiety, self-doubt, and struggles an athlete has to go through on a regular basis. Yuri!!! On Ice is a story of a young man Yuri, whose idol is ‘Victor Nikiforov’, a world champion and now a coach. Yuri’s initial struggle is about impressing his idol Victor so that he can get trained by him and skate on the same ice as Victor.

This anime is not just about the athletic part but also shows how every human has some or the other inferiority complex and always doubts one’s capabilities. Yuri is a young man, he has problems with his body image, his self-worth and doubts his own capabilities. He is not a prodigy so he has to work hard to be the best. This anime also has some undertones of BL, though not very much on the face. It is a very beautiful journey for a young man to find his self-worth and carve his own niche in the sport.

8. Yowamushi Pedal

Being an Otaku is certainly not easy, and if someone deals with it is definitely our main character of Yowamushi Pedal, Onoda Sakamichi. Onoda is not a regular main character of an anime, he is weak-willed, doesn’t have many friends, is not very good looking and is the biggest otaku there is. But what makes this very unlikely person to be the main character of this anime? One thing he doesn’t realize, that by commuting with his bicycle to Akihabara regularly, he has actually mastered it, now all he needs is just some little push.

Cycling is the only thing other than anime and manga which our boy Onoda loves, he loves when his muscles ache because of cycling and when the wind pushes him while riding on his bicycle. This anime has some hilarious character traits for different characters, even if you are unaware of cycling as a sport basic terminology is conveyed. Except for Onoda, everyone has some athletic form but Onoda is the very unlikely prodigy. It is a very beautiful journey of an underdog and his rise, his rivalries, character’s creativity, it is more than a cycling-based sports anime.

7. Ace of Diamonds

Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime

Ace of Diamonds follows the story of Eijun Sawamura, who is so frustrated and devastated by his defeat that he vows to play nationals once in high school. This anime is based on baseball and very nicely it takes us on a journey of perseverance and hard work. Eijun who thought of himself to be quite a good baseball player is now surrounded by elite baseball players in the new high school. It’s now his journey to find his niche among many other elite players and fulfill his dream. This anime perfectly shows the psychology of the players and the in-game tension.

And that is not all to it, it is hilarious at times and funny moments don’t ruin the flow of the show rather it just intensifies it. There are more than 20 characters in the show and most of them have their own characteristics, arc and get their moment of shining, we are not just focusing on the main character. It is not a complex story and does baseball well, so if you are looking for something enjoyable and easy to watch then this is the anime for you in this genre.

6. Welcome to the Ballroom

Sometimes we find the most likely people in the most unlikely situations. Same happens with Tatara Fujita who happens to find Kaname Sengoku, when he was being bullied. Kaname makes an aimless, usually lost in his own kid find his passion and be the best ballroom dancer there is. This is by far the most beautiful anime in this list, every frame is a work of art. This anime has 2 simultaneous arcs of two very different characters. Tatara is a pushover and is insecure, on the other hand we have Chinatsu Hiyama who is very much ambitious.

The anime does a very good job at developing two so different characters who complement each other so well, and it doesn’t happen suddenly, they work to make it happen. The anime has everything you need sad, realistic in its own right, good character arcs, and artistic. The only downside, so to say is sometimes the ‘dancing’ part of the anime becomes the undertone, it is overpowered by the characters or the drama. But if you want something enjoyable, pleasing to the eyes then this is the anime for you.

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5. Kuroko’s Basketball

Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime

This is one of the most magical animes and will take you into its own world of basketball. As the name suggests this anime is based on basketball. Among many aspects, one aspect that will definitely impress anyone is the background music and theme song of the anime, it has old-school hip-hop vibes and a retro theme to it. This anime is the story of Kuroko, 6th member of the “Generation of Miracles”- a team of Teikou Middle school who rose to distinction and demolished every other team, and now went to different high schools. It might sometimes feel unrealistic, but most animes are, this is the part of its charm.

The “Generation of Miracles”, justifies the name given to them, even if you are not into basketball, by the end of this anime you will be, it will mesmerize you. And how this anime is different from other sports anime? It is different because the rivals of the main character are actually his friends, so the dynamics between the characters are something to admire. It certainly overhypes the characters and some parts are unrealistic, but if you want that adrenaline rush, then definitely add this to your watchlist.

4. Run with the Wind

Best Sports Anime

Run with the wind is a beautiful anime that makes you stop and think about your dreams, hopes, what you can achieve and live life to the fullest. This anime follows the story of not one, not two but 10 odd students, and how they all overcome their personal odds to achieve a goal that one of them so dearly believed in. It is a beautiful story of friendship, of having faith in each other, supporting each other and helping friends to achieve their dreams. Haiji and Kakeru are the main characters and it is Kakeru’s dream to participate in Hakone Ekiden- one of the most prominent relay races in japan.

A lot of thought has been put into the character design, their arcs, there is a reason why a character wears the clothes they wear, why they act a certain way, the characters are very well placed and designed. This anime subtly conveys that we must not stress out too much on little stuff, let our spirits free and do what makes us happy, move forward, and run with the wind.

3. Chihayafuru

One thing that animes do the best is to present the internal conflicts of a character and how they overcome them. Chihayafuru is one such anime, it is a story about Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed girl, who grows under the shadows of her elder sister and doesn’t have any dreams of her own, but it all changes when she meets Arata, an exchange student. Arata introduces Ayase to the world of Karuta, a card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of 100 poets. It is not just a mind game but it is physically demanding as well. What this anime does the best is character development and their arcs.

You will relate to at least one character on a different level, you will be able to understand the struggles they are going through and what they want to achieve. This anime perfectly depicts that despite being passionate about something you will lose to more talented people, until and unless you have determination. The story is pretty much straight forward and the anime is character-driven for most parts.

2. Haikyuu

Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime

Haikyuu needs no introduction, it’s one of the most popular sports anime, there is. If someone wants to explore sports anime genre, then I would say Haikyuu is the best gateway anime for that genre. It is quite a long anime, not as long as ‘Naruto’ or ‘One Piece’ but still 85 episodes do count as long. Haikyuu is based on volleyball, and if you’re wondering how volleyball can be interesting than you need to watch this. Even if you are not that much into sports then also this anime will provide the viewer a wholesome experience.

It is a well-rounded anime, it’s an anime that makes you feel good and root for not just the main characters but also the side characters. The character arc of characters is also something done very well. The story is not something out of the world and it follows the typical tropes of anime, especially explaining each and every shot a character is going to take, the anime explains it all as the thought of the character, that gets quite redundant but if this doesn’t bother you, then you are in for a treat.

1. Hajime no Ippo

Top 10 Must Watch Sports Anime

Boxing is already a very interesting sport and now when an anime is based on boxing, who would like to miss it? The intensity, the drama of a boxing match is just perfectly enhanced in this anime. This anime will make you care, root, laugh with your characters, you will end up loving the characters. Even the opponents of our main character, Ippo, are given such beautiful and wonderful backstories, which many sports anime don’t show. It will make you shout, hold your breath and keep you on the edge of your seat all the time. The training montages show you the struggle our main character faces and how much he wants to succeed.

No character or story plot is wasted, everything that is on the screen has significance, which is why it becomes so much more interesting and intriguing. It shows that being an athlete is not just a hunky-dory journey, you have to follow a routine, have discipline, train even after you have lost breath. The makers of this anime know how to keep the viewers hooked on, you won’t even realize when the show ended. The only little flaw it has, is the music is not extremely good, otherwise, this anime is a must-watch in this genre.

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Let us know your thoughts in the comment section. Have you seen any of them? Which one of these is your favorite. Also Check Out

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Shantanu Gautam
I like to explore, learn as much as I can and have fun. The latest member of the Anime India Team.
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