Anime has a myriad of sub categories ranging from your more traditional genres like romance, all the way to less popular topics such as tournament. However, there is an even more discrete category you probably have not heard of (unless you are an anime addict): sports anime. Sports anime is the perfect combination of anime and sports representing a show category that has the fun of a cartoon, yet the action of a sports game, and the competitive rivalry of battling foes. Although there are probably countless sports anime out there, I have narrowed the list down a little to what I consider to be the top three. I recommend, if you are looking to explore the genre, to check these out and after watching, you can decide which show really deserves the gold.
- Haikyu!! (Bronze)
Haikyu!! follows the coming of age story of a high school student, Shoyo Hinata who enters high school with one goal in mind: to surpass his junior high nemesis, Tobio Kageyama, at volleyball. Short, and possessing skills he gained by sheer motivation and practicing every day by himself, Shoyo faces many challenges, the biggest amongst them having to play together with his enemy Tobio. But as the series builds, the competition between the two keeps the audience interested. Eventually, Tobio and Shoyo, forced together, become a force to be reckoned with, illustrating one of the great lessons that team sports can teach: cooperation.
- Free! (Silver)
Free! Makes a splash reuniting three high school boys, Nagisa, Haruka, and Makoto, who together recreate a powerful swim team of their former elementary school days. They are however challenged by an old-time friend, Rin, who wants them to beat him in a race. From that point on, the series follows the boys training to become the best. What makes the show captivating is the hard work and dedication the boys havejust like true Olympic swimmers. The show gives insight to early morning laps, as well as team and individual pressures of the athletes. At the same time, there are light-hearted moments, and good laughs, especially when watching the boys try to juggle the realities of high school at the same time of their swimming careers.
- The Prince of Tennis (Gold)
High intensity, high action, The Prince of Tennis by far deserves the top spot in this race. Ryoma Echizen is a tennis prodigy with one goal: to become the National Middle School Tennis Champion. Finding his way on to the school team after easily defeating many upperclassmen, the series follows Ryoma as he grows as a person and a player. Each new match is like watching an epic and intense showdown. Additionally, with each game Ryoma intrigues the audience as such a young boy who shows that there is always much more to learn. Just like Ryoma, this show really serves up and ace.