Let’s start by saying that this list of the 25 best sports anime of all time is not only for the die-hard sports fans out there. Sports anime are adored by many anime fans around the world who never watched a single sports game in their lives!
Anime fans tend to prefer genres like action and romance over the so-called dry sports genre. But, sports anime is way more exciting than other genres as they engage the viewers right from the first episode to the last one. So today, I present you with a list of the best sports anime series that will make you a huge fan of this genre. So, let’s get right into it.
1. Keijo!!!!!!!! (Hip Whip Girl: Keijo!!!!!!)
This is one of the best ecchi harem that focuses on Keijo, a rather odd type of sport in which females use their unconventional body parts to fight the other player. Nozomi Kaminashi decides to pursue Keijo as a career. She performed well in her trial tournament by using her knowledge of gymnastics. However, the real competitions of Keijo are very tough because a lot of talented players take part in it to claim the prize pool. Does Nozomi have the guts to become a Keijo Champion? This anime can sound quite hilarious and it is in some instances but that’s the beauty of it.
2. Bamboo Blade
Toraji Ishida AKA Kojirou is a teacher and kendo club instructor at Muroe High School. He was a Kendo prodigy during his student years. However, after becoming a teacher, he struggles to manage his finances.
His senpai promises him free meals if his kendo team defeats their opponent. He started auditioning talented kendo students for his team. Toraji’s search led him to Tamaki Kawazoe, a cute girl renowned as a kendo prodigy.
Toraji requested her to join the team, but Tamaki doesn’t have a slight interest in it. Toraji must convince her to settle his lifelong problem of finance.
This sports anime has a very unique art style and a lot of humor baked into its premise. It will keep you entertained.
Chihaya Ayase is a young girl with no dreams. She was living a boring life until she discovered the world of Kurata, a type of game in which participants use certain types of cards to play a match; only the person with the best strategy wins the match.
She meets Araya Wataya a fellow student who introduces her to the world of Kurata. Now, Chihaya becomes obsessed with the sport and she decides to establish a Kurata club with talented players and ultimately compete in the national tournament. However, winning in a national tournament might not be as easy as Chihaya and her friends imagined.
Chihayafuru has a unique art style and a beautiful and inspirational storyline, it was adapted into a live Japanese rom-com drama. It is so high up the list because of how well it has treated its subject.
See relevant: Top 25 Best Josei Anime Of All Time! Ranked
Kensei Maeshima is a hot-blooded individual studying at Inodai High School. He has loved ice skating since childhood and has become an expert in it. However, his rival (Reo Shinozaki) doesn’t acknowledge Kensei’s skills, and he ends up leaving ice skating. Things change when his classmate Kensei joins the school’s Skate-Leading team.
4. Inazuma Eleven
Japan’s best junior high school soccer team is full of talented soccer players from all over Japan. Mamoru Endou is a cheerful boy who inherited his passion for soccer from his late father, who was a renowned goalkeeper.
Mamoru ends up on the soccer team, but unfortunately, the team was in miserable condition with very few players who can play. Mamoru tries to convince a rising soccer talent by the name of Shuuya Gouenji, to join the team.
Hikari Kohinata studies at Yumegaoka High School as a first-year student. She was a member of the school’s diving club. Because of her prior experience in diving, Hikari was considered a club ace.
She meets Futaba Ooki, a young shy girl who transferred to Hikari’s school. Through a series of events, they became good friends. Futaba also joins the diving club to explore the wonders of the sea alongside her friends.
Amanchu is quite a calming Iyashikei sports anime, sprinkled with many feel-good moments.
6. Cross Game
Kou Kitamura is a young boy with a passion for baseball since childhood. Kou’s family background is also connected to baseball as his dad runs a sports shop. Kou has polished his batting skills by practicing regularly at a baseball training center.
Aoba Tsukishima is a short-tempered girl skilled in pitching. Although both of them love baseball, their opposite attitudes and composure always caused a quarrel between them. Their encounter as baseball players might change their whole course of life.
In addition to being a good sports anime, Cross Game is also a very good romantic tale. The anime balances the two genres perfectly.
7. Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun (Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun)
Aoyama-Kun is an aloof teenager studying at Fujimi High School. He is known as the ace of the soccer team. Aoyama suffers from a phobia that compels him to clean every dirty thing, he can’t stand a single dirty spot.
Kaoru Zaizen is a young man with a sturdy body playing on the soccer team as a striker. Can Ayoma bring victory to his team without getting dirty?
The overall concept is quite unique, especially considering how much soccer-based anime there are (even in this list).
8. Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuuri Katsuki is a young man struggling with his future career choices. He was Japan’s most famous ice skater, but his tragic defeat in a national competition caused him to lose his passion for ice skating.
Victor Nikiforov is a charismatic man renowned as the Olympic champion of ice skating. Victor gets inspired by the performance of Yuuri and decides to train him into a famous skilled ice skater again.
Now, Yuuri must prepare himself for the challenging competitions that can restore his lost passion and pride.
Yuri On Ice is not only a good sports anime but it is also a heartwarming LGBT story in general.
9. Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls
Konomi Kasahara recently joined Hanamiya High School. She is an expert in games involving puzzles. However, Konomi decides to leave video games to do something better with her life.
She ends up joining the Sport Climbing Club of her school. She gave it a try, and surprisingly Konomi did very well in her first climbing trial because of her tactical knowledge. Now she is aiming to win a real competition.
Capeta Taira is an ordinary boy studying at an average elementary school. He works part-time to support the expenses of his house. His father worked as a laborer in a small company and made a go-kart from scrapes as a present for Capeta. He enjoyed his first experience in a go-kart and decided to pursue it as a career.
Now, he must dedicate everything to his newborn passion. A career in go-kart racing might be more competitive and demanding than Capeta ever imagined.
Tsukushi Tsukamoto is a clumsy young individual studying at Seiseki High School. He lost his father at a young age and was constantly being bullied.
Jin Kazama, a member of the school’s prestigious soccer club invites Jin to join the soccer club and change his life. What change will soccer bring to Tsukushi’s miserable life?
Days is a sports anime that breaks some usual stereotypes established by the usual anime soccer trope.
12. Captain Tsubasa
Since childhood, Tsubasa Oozora loved playing soccer and eventually became very good at it. Tsubasa is on a mission to make new friends and form a team of talented soccer players to achieve his dream of becoming a world-famous soccer player. However, competition in national matches may be tougher than Tsubasa and his friends ever imagined.
13. Oba Doraivu (OverDrive)
Mikoto Shinozaki lives a miserable life being bullied all the time. Through a series of events, he ends up joining his school’s cycling club. Yousuke Fukazawa, the cycling club’s couch inspires Mikoto to join the club. Although Mikoto doesn’t have any prior experience and skill in cycling, his passion and hard work may lead him down the path of becoming Japan’s top racer.
14. Slam Dunk
Hanamichi Sakuragi is a young guy who failed to get himself a girlfriend, despite proposing a date to all the sexy hottest girls in his school. He is gifted with height and insane strength that enabled him to ace basketball in his past. He joins Shohoku High School hoping to get a girlfriend this time.
Haruko Akagi, a cute and beautiful girl asks him to do a slam dunk. Although Hanamichi fails, she was impressed with his insane strength on the court. Hanamichi’s dead passion for basketball might be revived through his encounter with Akagi.
15. Ping Pong The Animation
Makoto Tsukimoto is a guy with a dull look on his face. He is a member of the Katase High Table Tennis club. Makoto was nicknamed smile by his friends because of his serious expressions all the time.
Makoto is Yutaka Hoshino’s teammate, a cheerful guy with a passion for ping pong. Yutaka was nicknamed Peco by his friends because of his charismatic personality. The opposite duo is renowned as the famous undefeatable team in table tennis. However, they might experience tough competition in the inter-high ping pong tournament.
Gorou Honda is a young passionate guy obsessed with baseball. He inherited his passion from his father, Shigeharu Honda, who is a renowned baseball player. Gorou follows his dad’s footsteps and trains hard to play professional ball.
This sports anime handles the subject of basketball even better than some of the famous movies based on this game. It is truly remarkable!
Nagisa Aragaki is a former captain of the badminton club. She suffered a tragic defeat in the national competition despite playing to her fullest. During the club’s depressing times, Kentarou Tachibana, a renowned Olympic winner, joins the club as a new captain along with Ayano Hanesaki, a young girl known as the prodigy of Badminton.
With this new light of hope, the badminton club might have a chance of redemption. If you’ve seen Haikyuu then this is basically a female version of it. It is quite good but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
18 Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (Run with the Wind)
Kakeru Kurahara is a taleneted speedster. This hidden skill of Kakeru was noticed by Haiji Kiyose, a compassionate student in his final years. Haiji offers Kakeru a place to stay, in exchange Kakeru has to join the track and ultimately participate in a great marathon competition called Hakone Ekiden.
However, Haiji still needs more members to join the competition. With the help from Kakeru, Haiji might be able to pull this off just before the deadline.
19. Cheer Boys
Haruki Bandou was a young man who joined Meishin University after leaving Judo because of a severe injury. Things became much worse when Haruki’s best friend Kazuma Hashimoto also left the Judo club without any reason.
Upon Haruki’s continuous protest, Kazuma tells him his plan of making a male Cheerleading team. Together they made the first-ever male Cheerleading team. However, the real struggle starts now as they have to promote this sport. The anime is quite comedic and entertaining.
20. Giant Killing
Takeshi Tatsumi is a middle-aged man working as a coach for England’s famous football team. He was a member of the East Tokyo United (ETU) team in his high school days. Takeshi was known as the ace of ETU because of his brilliant performance in matches.
Now, ETU is suffering from a downfall as most of the players and best coaches got fired because of budget issues. The manager makes a last-ditch effort and hires Takeshi as ETU’s coach. The fate of ETU and Japan’s reputation now rests in the hands of Takeshi.
Shouyou Hinata has a passion for volleyball. He joins his middle school volleyball club and leads them to the country’s tournaments, but they lose miserably at the hands of a volleyball prodigy.
Now, Hinata decides to polish his skills, even more, to defeat his rival in a match. Coincidentally his rival Tobio Kageyama also happened to be a student in his new high school. Now, they must work together to take their volleyball club to newer heights.
3/25. Purinsu Obu Sutoraido Orutanatibu (Prince of Stride: Alternative)
Nana Sakurai is a teenage girl who transferred to Honan Academy to join their famous stride team. However, the stride club was on the verge of closing due to a lack of members. She meets Takeru Fujiwara, a young man aspiring to become a stride champion. They end up recruiting Riku Yagami, a cheerful teenager interested in all sports. The fate of the stride club now rests in the hands of these youngsters.
2/25. Kuroko No Basket (Kuroko’s Basketball)
Taiga Kagami is a young man who transferred from America to Seirin High School in Japan to become a top-level basketball player. His ultimate goal is to defeat the Generation of Miracles, a group of basketball prodigies. He meets Tetsuya Kuroko, a quiet guy with a very low presence. Tetsuya was once a member of Generation of Miracles, but he joined the Seiren High School basketball team as a player. Do Taiga and Tetsuya have what it takes to surpass the legendary prodigies of basketball?
1/25. Hajime No Ippo (Fighting Spirit)
Ippo Makunouchi was a man without any passion or dreams. He was living a miserable life as most students bullied him. Mamoru Takamura is a legendary boxer, he saved Ippo from a bunch of bullies.
Mamoru inspired Ippo and gave him the ignite he needed to start a life full of dedication and passion. Ippo decided to pursue the career of a boxer but becoming a professional boxer might not be as easy as he ever imagined.
Hajime No Ippo is a pioneer of sorts in terms of sports anime. This is a series that you should definitely check out. It will not leave you disappointed.