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.
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.
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.
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.
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?