10 Best Sports Anime That Don’t Deserve The Hate

Sports anime is an extremely popular and beloved genre. The gripping, thrilling, and dramatic tales of young athletes and their journeys to stardom have captivated anime fans for decades. The genre continues to produce some of the medium’s most universally acclaimed series. However, as with any other popular anime genre, not everyone likes sports titles, and the most popular examples in this category face endless criticism. Sports anime are outdated for their repetitive story beats, cliched character development, and predictable, book-like narratives.



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Some of the most hated anime series fall into the sports category, which has made the reputation of the genre quite substandard. However, most sports series targeted by endless criticism and complaints don’t deserve the hate. In fact, they tell incredible and exciting stories, and when given the chance, they can win over even the most skeptical viewer.

ten Free rejection! How a fanservice series without depth is unfair to the show’s nuanced narrative

Even among diehard sports anime fans, Free! – Iwatobi Swimming Club gets a bad reputation. Most fans dismiss this Kyoto animation classic as unoriginal and uninspired fanservice bait, believing that the series’ only hook is the cast full of attractive male characters.

However, like most shows created by the legendary studio, Free! is an exceptional masterpiece of fluid and breathtaking animation, accompanying an emotional narrative. Each of the members of the Iwatobi High School Swim Club becomes much more than a feast for the superficial eyes, and any sports fan would be thrilled to experience this evolution firsthand.

9 Yuri!!! On ICE is the best queer representation fans have gotten out of the sports anime so far

After its premiere in 2016, the ice skating series Yuri!!! On the ice quickly developed a loyal and devoted fanbase, contrasting with an almost equally large number of haters. While the show was far from perfect, with undeniable queer elements and animation inconsistencies, it was still a breath of fresh air for fans yearning for authentic LGBTQ+ representation in sports anime.

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Yuri!!! On the ice could have been simpler describing the relationship between Yuuri and Victor. Yet he managed to weave true heartfelt romance into a gripping underdog story of self-improvement and self-development.

8 Chihayafuru showdowns are anything but boring

Most sports series focus on exciting and intense sports disciplines, such as basketball or tennis, which guarantee exciting matches and dynamic clashes in almost every episode. So a show like Chihayafuruwhich chooses an unfamiliar card game, karuta, as the subject of the narrative, doesn’t sound too engrossing to most seasoned sports fans.

Despite the unusual subject matter, the show manages to make competitive karuta incredibly immersive, rivaling some of the most violent and important physical sports in intensity. Chihayafuru proves there’s a place for non-mainstream games in the testosterone-fueled scene of sports anime.

seven Haikyu!! Create a perfect Sports Shonen using blueprints from all previous series

Hatred is a non-negotiable price that every massively popular medium must pay for its success. As the most popular shonen sports series of the past two decades, Haikyu!! has its fair share of critics.

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The underdog story of the Shouyou Hinata and Karasuno High volleyball team’s rise to national championships didn’t invent any of the tropes it follows. However, the simplicity of from Haikyu!! history does not compromise its achievements. The series never sought to revolutionize the genre of sports anime. Instead, he honed every previously established trope for maximum emotional gain.

6 Kijo!!!!!!!! Is refreshing and shameless about his fan service

Love it or hate it, fanservice has become an integral part of the anime industry. While most series attempt to justify its use with superficial reasoning, Kijo!!!!!!!! refuses to be ashamed of being provocative, reveling in all its suggestive splendour.

Essentially, Kijo!!!!!!!! is a satirical take on the shonen sports genre that deliberately invents the lewdest sport possible, the goal of which is to have female participants knock themselves off a floating platform into a swimming pool using only their breasts and buttocks. Instead of trying to cover up or clumsily justify over-the-top fanservice, the series makes it one of its most distinctive features.

5 Girls Und Panzer is a perfect sports series for Moe fans

Pretty girls doing cute things attract abysmal hatred from parts of the anime community, and sports series are no exception to this cruel and unwarranted bias. So the idea of ​​pretty girls driving chariots in the heart of Girls and Panzer made myriads of fans reject the show instantly.

Over the years of franchise operation, Girls and Panzer has proven its appeal far beyond the typical moe audience. This refreshing take on the classic slice of life trope combines the cute feel of classic moe shows with the excitement of some of the most heart-pounding sports series.

4 Kuroko’s Basketball is an unrealistic yet endlessly fun and thrilling spectacle full of memorable moments

Thinking about which series best encapsulates all the bizarre and unrealistic tropes associated with sports shonen, Kuroko’s Basketball is the first show that comes to mind. The series features exaggerated attacking names, high school kids with physiques that could rival the best players in the World League, and supernatural powers that break the laws of physics on the pitch.

Everything on Kuroko’s Basketball the representation of sport is very detached from reality. However, the series does a great job of entertaining those willing to suspend their disbelief throughout its thrilling and heartbreaking story.

3 Tomorrow’s Joe is the series that started the anime sports craze

Older anime often fail to meet the demands of modern audiences, falling into obscurity while being overshadowed by their contemporary competitors. However, despite the lack of polished animation and a slower, more progressive pace, the classics don’t deserve the hate and can surprise even sophisticated new fans.

1970s Tomorrow Joe was one of the first sports anime to air and, quite possibly, the most influential series in the newly established genre. Modern boxing anime fans, such as Megalobox Where Hajime No Ippomust go back in time and appreciate the work that launched all the trends now considered redundant.

2 Sk8 The Infinity’s Unrealistic Action Has Put Countless Fans Off

After a long lull in the original sports titles scene, 2021 has given fans a storm in the form of sk8 infinity, a mad dash of a series that has wrapped up all the excitement of genre classics in a renewed package of jaw-dropping animation from studio Bones. However, the success of the series did not save it from hateful comments, mostly centered on its lack of realism.

While salsa dancing during an insanely fast run isn’t something even sports pros could pull off in a showdown, sk8 infinity with humourplays into unrealistic shonen tropes. Similarly, the lack of realism is easily forgivable for a series with such impressive writing and character development.

1 Ping Pong the Animation’s experimental style was hit or miss

Anime is a medium with endless creative possibilities, and some series take this artistic liberation to heart, focusing on breaking the boundaries of convention and creating something truly unique. Masaaki Yuasa’s entire library of works is devoted to these experimental and unorthodox works of art, and Ping Pong Animation is no exception.

Often dismissed for its unusual visual style, this coming-of-age story disguised as a sports series never made it into the mainstream, remaining a hidden gem. PPTA might antagonize fans of conventional sports titles, yet its expressive and moving story doesn’t seek to please everyone.

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