10. Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk follows Hanamichi Sakuragi as he unwillingly joins his high school basketball team whilst trying to impress a girl. The show runs for 101 episodes and currently has a formidable 8.54 rating on MyAnimelist
9. Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (Run with the Wind)
Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru is the story of Kakeru and his group of friends as they enter the Hakone Ekiden Marathon. This anime is very focused on character growth and every episode feels like it served a very specific purpose. The successful first series released in October 2018 and ran till March 2019.
8. Initial D
Takumi Fujiwara doesn’t know anything about cars, he has little interest in them all together but what he does have is bags of natural talent for driving. Essentially Initial D boils down to Takumi gaining a reputation for his street racing abilities and facing challengers of increasing strength to see who is the king of the mountain roads. The original Initial D series was released in 1998 and its graphics reflect that, however if you prefer a more upto date version of this classic there is a movie series version which ran from 2014 to 2016, I prefer the movie version if im honest, it feels better structured and the graphics are able to do the series justice compared to the 1998 version.
7. Yowamushi Pedal
Sakamichi Onada is an all out Otaku, when he joins his new school he is excited to join its anime club however he soon discovers that the club has disbanded, he tries in vain to get the club up and running again. Sakamichi eventually finds himself in the schools cycling club thanks to him unknowingly training himself via his weekly 90 kilometre ride on an old bulky city bike. Yowamushi first aired for a 38 episode stint between 2013 and 2014 and has since returned for an additional 3 series and a movie.
Hanebado! Follows a girls high school badminton club, the series begins by showing you Nagisa Aragaki’s humiliating 21-0 defeat at the National Junior Badminton tournament, this defeat has a serious mental impact on her and her actions following the defeat which affect and define her high school club. New Head coach Kentarou Tachibana sets about trying to repair the fractured club, with him comes Ayano Hanesaki, the girl who handed Nagisa the crushing defeat 6 months earlier. Hanebado! Has a 7.11 rating on Myanimelist, which is a respectable score but pales in comparison to some of the other anime listed in the top 10, however Hanebado’s power lies in its focus on the darker mental side of competitive sports and this really helps you to become invested in the characters. Hanebado has one series so far which ran from July 2018 until October 2018.
5. Kuroko No Basket
Kuroko Tetsuya is the least known and least talented member of the fabled Generation of Miracles, a legendary middle school basketball team. Kuroko and his new team mates at Seirin High must overcome the teams of the other 5 members of the Generation of Miracles as they traverse the highly competitive landscape of high school basketball. Kuroko quickly builds a bond with Kagami Taiga and the two boys become a formidable partnership on the court. Kuroko No Basket is ranked as Myanimelists 89th most popular anime of all time and ran for 3 seasons plus a movie between 2012 and 2017.
4. Yuri!!! On Ice
Yuuri was once Japan’s most promising figure skater, however after suffering a crushing defeat at his biggest tournament to date he returns home to fight the demons that have arisen from the aforementioned defeat. Yuuri’s answers seem to appear in the form of Victor Nikiforov, five-time world champion, who after seeing Yuuri performing his own routine on a viral video shows up at Yuuri’s house to offer him his tutelage. Yuuri’s journey to redemption begins. Yuri on Ice is far from your typical sports anime and that I feel is where its strengths lie, there are several refreshing elements to be enjoyed, if you are feeling burnt out on the typical high school sports anime then I highly suggest you give Yuri a shot, but be prepared to be hit right in the feels!
3. Days (TV)
Tsukushi doesn’t have many friends, and he spends a lot of his time looking after his disabled mother. When Jin invites Tsukushi to a game of five a side football because his team are short an unlikely friendship begins. Tsukushi has zero talent but his determination to not let down his new friend shines through and begins Tsukushi’s love affair with the game of football. I think this may be where my list differs the most from other peoples, I love this anime, I love Tsukushi’s passion and determination to improve both as a footballer but most of all I love the effect that having a group of friends all of sudden has on him. If you want a feel good anime that also inspires then look no further.
2. Hajime No Ippo
Ippo Makunouchi is singled out daily by a group of bullies until one day whilst being beaten up the group a passing Takamura Mamoru single handedly fends of the group of bullies with ease. When Ippo regains consciousness it is at the local boxing gym where Takamura trains. Takamura urges Ippo to begin standing up for himself and gives him an impromptu boxing lesson. Inspired Ippo begs Takamura to train him, Takamura tells Ippo that he must prove himself because he doesn’t believe Ippo has what it takes. Ippo works hard at the tasks he is set and earns his place as a trainee boxer. From here on we are taken on an epic journey as Ippo Makunouchi makes his way through the rough world of professional boxing. A deserved recipient of the impressive rank of 29th high rated anime of all time Ippo manages to pull in audiences outside of the anime community regularly.
Haikyuu is a story of redemption, growth and aspirations, Shouyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama come from very different volleyball backgrounds, Hinata comes from a bottom ranked unknown volleyball team and Kageyama is a top ranked player from a very prestigious school. Kageyama has a skill thats unmatched at middle school level but with it an attitude that makes him very unlikeable, Hinata is a very likeable with lots of drive but his skill is unrefined. On their own they are a recipe for disaster but together they can become what Karasuno High School has desperately needed for many years. Almost every anime on this list has some form of redemption story but none of them do it quite as well as Haikyuu, It seems like every character and indeed even the school itself has the need and potential to heal and improve, some are more subtle than others but each of these elements highlight and contribute to the other. Initially I didn’t watch the show just because I had zero interest in watching an anime about volleyball but after watching this show I have found myself watching volleyball on youtube more than once!
So thats my list of top 10 sports animes, I hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more lists and reviews.