What is with passionate high school boys and their sports of choice that sweeping fragile fangirls like me off our feet? How can they make this after school activity so intense? Is it the camaraderie? Friendly (or hostile perhaps, right, Sakuragi?) rivalry? The boys?! Or all of it?!
Some years ago when Mitchii was this teeny teenager, she swooned over Ryota Miyagi and Mitsui (OK, Rukawa, too) from Slam Dunk! And now with series like Kuroko no Basket and Haikyuu (yes, Haikyuu!!) I think that teenager in me emerged once again rooting for these boys to achieve their dreams! There’s something about sports anime/manga that promotes positivity! It is such a wonderful sight to see them work so hard to achieve their goals (and be with them along the way! Witnessing their tremendous character development). While there’s repetitive pattern in them, the real theme of perseverance is there—and that’s why I stick around. And so today I’ll share some of my favorite sports anime/manga so far:
This one is a classic! I knew the series by heart. Watched/read the series more than I can count. This is one of the sports anime/manga that if you’re venturing into it as a first timer or just a big fan of the genre then you must not miss this one out! The overall atmosphere is just entertaining as it is deep. It’s hilarious, it can be crazy, but the basketball is real. It has heart! I remember Inoue Takehiko’s words in the epilogue that when he was about to start the manga, basketball as a theme was risky. It wasn’t popular then. But lo and behold what Inoue-sensei’s achievement: he made the sports popular. But the story, it just amazing that even though it has been years (13 years ago I think?) since I first laid my eyes on it. It still evokes the same emotions. Slam Dunk is the epitome of sports manga to me. PERIOD!
I’m crazy over Haikyuu!! You don’t know how much this anime/manga makes me happy. The team is just astounding but more than that it is also so well-balanced that I never found a dull moment (especially when Hinata is on the spotlight). I also like if the sport is portrayed as realistically as possible and that gives Haikyuu an edge to other some sports manga/anime I followed. But seriously, the antics of the group, the character development that has happened to each one of them makes me feel so proud. If this is how a parent feels like when they see their kids excel then that is what I’m feeling every time (and even on the smallest details take note) it happens! Go Karasuno! Fly once again! *daps eyes with handkerchief*
Prince of Tennis
I was crushing on Ryoma big time before. I love the first season (or the first 26 eps) when they actually were playing tennis. Now…well, you could say I’m a little turn off of what tennis has become here. It’s like Inazuma Eleven (but crazier). But if we’re talking about the beginning of the series then I’m happy to tell you how entertaining POT was. It was kinda refreshing to see that the MC or the entire team as one of the strongest teams/players around. Maybe that was the reason why it became odder as the series progress, LOL. Nevertheless , Seigaku is a team to remember and they make tennis so hot (I wanted tennis as my compulsory PE subject but I ended up with Basketball—which was not shoddy outcome because it’s the only sports I’m quite good at. I got an awesome grade btw!).
It’s either Kuroko no Basket or Slam Dunk, only a handful of people I know had heard of Dear Boys. This, like the two I mentioned is also about basketball. I admit I didn’t get to finish it but I remember how I was so into that I became an admin for a community for this series (ah, I’m hinting you my age again). It’s not as, bubbly? (not the right term but kinda like it) as KnB or SD; it’s more dramatic , or quite tone down since the team has some sort of stuff (read: drama) right at the beginning. And unlike the other protags who are either novice or just on the developing phase, the MC was incredible player already but he went to unknown school who only had 4 members (Yeah, Seirin you were pretty lucky, still). There’s also romance here, subtle but established…or I think it was. I’m mentioning because I had memorable history with it.
I can never be prouder of Sena Kobayakawa: from a pashiri (ぱしり) or lackey to a complete athlete. He was bullied and was always defended by his older girl friend (as in just a friend, like an oneechan) but when their demon (literally) of a captain saw his big potential as a running back for his then two-man American Football team; his life changed after. I can clearly remember that moment when he finally took off his helmet—that was a goose bumps inducing scene. And through it he met many friends. And those friends were amazing people. Can you believe that the people who bullied him before became his teammates? Solid and reliable ones at that! I loved how it showed the changes in everyone: be it on their craft or them as a person.
Hajime no Ippo
Boxing is a big thing in our country (hello! Manny Pacquiao!) but even if that’s the case I wasn’t into it. But Hajime no Ippo changed my mind. Like Sena (of Eyeshield 21) he was bullied but later got interested with boxing. It so nice to see him from this complete beginner to a champion. His journey was the one that got me so interested (apart from the humor—oh my gosh, this series is totally for boys! Like bathroom/d*ck jokes around). But when it is serious, it is serious! The fights were intense (hats off to Madhouse for the anime). It’s quite long (with currently 1000+ chapters already?) so I don’t rec it that much but Ippo’s athletic career is one the most fascinating I’d seen!
I’m aware that I didn’t mention Kuroko no Basket (I have big responsibility to showcase this right so maybe next time), Hungry Heart, YowaPeda & Rikidou
(are Capeta & Grander Musashi considered as sports animanga?). I didn’t forget, that was intentional. But titles above are the ones that I really, really liked/loved/memorable. Let’s see if I can do a part two then, LOL.
How about you, are you also
passionate fan of sports anime/manga? Which ones are your favorite? Rec it to me!