Why I Like Sports Anime?

kuroko no basuke

As I found myself following quite a number of sports anime this season, I can’t help but to take a step back and wonder why I like sports and competitive game anime. Over the seven years of me watching anime, I’ve watched many sports anime such as Bamboo Blade, Slam Dunk, Chihayafuru, Kuroko no Basuke, Free! etc.

So why do I like sports anime that much? Here’s why.

Fighting Spirit

It’s motivating for me personally to see the characters getting in what I call the “match-mode”. Once they’re in the game, their focus and determination to win is something quite fun to watch.

A recent prime example is Maruo Eiichirou from Baby Steps. He pushes himself further each time he needs to get pass a hurdle. In his first tennis tournament match, Maruo, or better known as Ei-chan, refused to give up. He kept on pushing forward, and although he didn’t win the game in the end, he kept on working hard on his art of tennis. All this just so he could win someday.

This kind of deep focus and determination is something I find really admiring, even if it’s only from an anime.

Team Spirit


So far, of all the sports anime I watched, Haikyuu!! has the best team spirit. From the very beginning of his high school volleyball career, the lead character Hinata Shōyō was pampered with care from his seniors. Sure, he has his squabbles with his peers, but generally, the mindset of the team is all about being a team. It doesn’t rely on just one ace. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an ace just like any other team sports. However, they know the importance of sharing the burden equally of a match with everyone else within the team.

In other words, team spirit in sports remind you that you’re not alone. You’re not in this on your own. Or better yet, as Liverpool’s anthem says it: You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Adrenaline Rush

A simple card game (not exactly sports) in Chihayafuru offered me plenty of adrenaline rush, what more to say more complicated games like basketball in Kuroko no Basuke. The accelerated heartbeat and suspense in the air: sometimes, it’s a little too much to bear as I marathon-ed the episodes. It’s exhilarating.

The constant questions of “Who will win?” or “What’s going to happen?” often fill my head whenever I watch competitive sports anime. I can always feel my heartbeat pounding. I remember thinking as I watch Bamboo Blade: will Tama-chan lose?. She was competing against one of her strongest opponent yet, and I really hoped that she would win. The funny thing is I can’t remember if she won but I remember my exact feeling when watching the match.

I surprised myself sometimes with my own discipline of not jumping to the later episodes to see how would a match unfold. I avoided news at all cost too. All this for the sake to preserving the rush I crave so much.

Crash Course

Baby Steps

In one of the recent Baby Steps episode, one of the side characters offered some sort of a crash course on tennis. It works something like this: some characters explaining a game while a match is playing.

This allows audience to have a basic understanding of the sports they’re watching. I’ve learned new things about new sports all the time such as tennis with Baby Steps, kendo with Bamboo Blade, basketball with Slam Dunk, etc.

The only one game I would never understand is mahjong. Maybe cuz Saki never bothered to explain properly? All I ever remember from the first season of Saki is Koromo’s signature move “Hai-Di-Lao-Yue“, and I still don’t get how it works.

Talent Isn’t Everything

Who doesn’t love to cheer for the underdog? Sometimes, we love nothing more to be told that as long as we work hard, we will succeed one day. It’s important that we have the mindset of never give up, work hard and good things will eventually come. Sports anime is one of the media content that chants this mantra. In order to win, it boils down to focus and determination.

Basically, that sums up why I like sports anime. Do you watch sports anime? Why do you like watching them?


17 thoughts on “Why I Like Sports Anime?

  1. I like watching sports anime, too. I like following their development as they train more, learn from their mistakes, and become the best that they can be in the sports they play. Great post!

    • Yes, watching them grow from the first episode is something really exciting, especially if the improvement is very obvious. Well, it’s great that most of the main characters have good sportsmanship to begin with and are willing to train hard.


        • What’s your first favourite genre?

          So far, the only sports anime I ever re-watch is Bamboo Blade. I’m sure I’ll re-watch a few somewhere in the future such as Chihayafuru and Kuroko no Basuke. These two titles are packed with intensity!!

          • Shounen fantasy like One piece. I love the action. As for sports anime, there are lots of good ones. One of my favourite ones is Hajime no ippo. It’s about boxing. The anime is good but I like the manga better. Another is initial d, it’s street racing. The art sucks at first, but it gradually becomes better in the later seasons.

  2. Mahjong is just too complex to explain on the go. It’s not a physical sport, and even among other brain sports it stands out as one where the basic rules are quite extensive.

    You Chinese, by the way? Koromo’s move is spelled Haitei raoyue in Japanese, but your spelling works for the Chinese equivalent.

    • My friend tried explaining to me the basics before but I still couldn’t catch it. >.<

      Yes, I am. Ahh..yes, yes. That's the words Koromo used: "Haitei Raoyue". Thanks! I love it when she does that move though. Very dramatic.

  3. At the moment I’m also watching many sport animes for my standards, I rather watch fantasy animes in general but I learned that sport animes can be fun as well. Bamboo Blade, Diamond no Ace, Chihayafuru… I learned to like the genre as I watched Ookiku Furikabutte the best baseball anime ever. I loved the growing teamspirit and the way they portrayed the gameplay of baseball. Yeah I think it’s nice to see when hard work is rewarded, sometimes it also happens that the main character or team fails to achieve the big goal in the end, but that can also be a rewarding experience for the person and even the viewer. It’s cool when these shows start with newbies at the certain sports, I really enjoy the development then.

    Sometimes I happen not to understand the rules it’s always nice to get a lesson about the sport, Diamond no Ace for example explains nearly nothing aside from showing “the”pitcher stance.
    Therefore I can’t always tell why the runners suddenly start before the pitch. I guess reading the rules helps, but somehow I’m too lazy.

    When watching sport anime I rather see a mixed team and a part of private life mixed into all the sport, Bamboo Blade is a good example. On a sidenote, I guess that’s normal for someone who likes anime girls quite a bit, but I feel awkward when the team only consists of boys and they have much bromance or more. These shows often have female side characters but that doesn’t help me. Haha you know the male characters in Yowamushi Pedal are really charismatic and kind boys, I like 4 of the bicycle racing club members a lot, the little fangirl in me is elated ♡^▽^♡

    • I agree, sports anime with development is the best way to watch the series. Otherwise, it’ll be boring cuz the characters will probably just stuck there at one level. It’s either growth in terms of skills like Kuroko no Basuke or growth in terms of character like Bamboo Blade.

      I won’t read the rules either!! That’s not right! I watch anime for enjoyment not torture >.<. That said, it's best if the anime takes a tiny bit time to explain about a game. Just so newbies can understand the whole play somewhat. Like in Saki, which is the mahjong I know nothing about, I'm only watching for the thrills and the crazy elaborated skills. I have no idea what's going on most of the time…

      LOL!! You made me laugh hard on this one. Yes, infusing elements other than just daily training and matches will make the series more interesting. But even without, it isn't boring either if the anime is done right. I'm enjoying Haikyuu!! a ton right now and I barely see the guys doing anything else other than being in the court playing volleyball. It's still enjoyable. =)

  4. Pingback: Why I Like Sports Anime? | World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko | AnimeFan.org

  5. “Or better yet, as Liverpool’s anthem says it: You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
    Interesting, and I’m kinda reminded of Batista’s contradictory theme song “I Walk Alone”, but then again, I’m treading on sports entertainment territory here, so I’ll stop.. xD Speaking of wrestling, did you watch SekaTsuyo? xD

    And indeed, one thing I like best about sport is the delivery of thrill and excitement, and is also one deciding factor for me if whether or not a sports anime is good or not. I don’t watch much sports anime still, however.

    What wiselhead pointed was interesting, because indeed, most of the case with these sports anime, the cast will most usually (but not always) be males. And it can get awkward looking at ikemen jumping around with balls in their hands and shiny sweats flying around (no sexual innuendo intended xD)

    And indeed, when I watched Saki, I don’t really get anything either. When people say “you can watch this even if you don’t know mahjong!”, it is a flat-out lie >_>

    • Lol, no I never watch SekaTsuyo. Did you? >.<

      I don't think anyone will want to watch a sports anime without the excitement right? Especially the intensity of a competition. That sort of defeat the purpose of being a sports anime. But of course there are different levels of excitement and what's acceptable varies from one person to another.

      Well…I'm fine with all male characters or all female characters or mixed. It doesn't really matter to me as long as the show is interesting and fun to watch.

      Haha, I have no idea what's going in Saki and I think the same goes to many other people who doesn't play mahjong. I'll admit this: I'm watching Saki for their super dramatic killer moves.

  6. Sports Anime is really awesome. It’s due to the unpredictable and intense of sport. Hard to predict what they had in mind thus makes you look forward for more intense action.

    My personal favourite is Slam Dunk and I could say that Kuroko no Basuke is as close as it gets to a new Slam Dunk. I also liked Eyeshield 21 for American football. As far soccer it would be the classic Captain Tsubasa ,and a new Captain Tsubasa would be Inazuma Eleven, which isn’t really half bad. There is also One Outs for baseball which is just great, and also Diamond no Ace. Hajime Ippo for Boxing and Princess Tennis for Tennis. This are a few of my favourites.

    • I don’t know about unpredictability because there’s a certain level of predictability in games. It’s like we more or less will know who wins at the end.

      But intensity, yes. It’s the intensity of the game that kills. I mean, even though we might predict who’s the eventual winner, how the game plays out is extremely nerve-wracking sometimes. And that’s always a good thing! And it’s one of the reasons why I love sports anime this much. Oh, the thrills.

  7. Pingback: Why I Like Kuroko no Basuke? | World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko

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