Stories, even if they’re fictitious, have the ability to inspire, motivate, and rejuvenate our spirits. That is a prominent reason why manga, a staple form of Japanese storytelling, resonates with so many worldwide. While the fight sequences and exorbitant dialogues function as more like bells and whistles, the story drives the whole narrative forward. Manga is often adapted into anima, the Japanese form of animated storytelling on screen. One area where anime has seen a tremendous surge in popularity in sports. If you’re someone that’s just getting into watching anime and wants to watch the best sports anime, here’s a list of the best ones you should start with.
Moreover, since most of these anime series are available in various channels and libraries across the world, you’ll also be able to learn how and where you can watch your favourite anime online:
1. Best Sports Anime – Haikyuu
Haikyuu is undoubtedly the number 1 sports anime that you should be watching. Shoyo Hinata is a regular high school student living a mundane life like a high schooler. However, one day he catches a volleyball game which is also coincidentally the game where one of the best players of the sport, “The Little Giant”, is playing. In complete awe, Hinata decides that this is what he wants to do with his life.
Hence, in his final year of high school, he decides to devote as much time to get better in the sport. In his quest to be the best volleyball player, he sparks a feud with Kageyama. However, they soon reconcile their differences and begin helping each other out to ensure their high school team wins the National Championship.
If you want to watch Haikyuu, you can do so by going over to Hulu and Netflix US. Moreover, you can unblock the US Netflix and Hulu by connecting to a US server via PureVPN. Additionally, the show is also available to view for free on both VRV and Crunchyroll.
2. Best Sports Anime – Ahiru no Sora
With an emotional backstory like any other, Ahiru no Sora is the second-best anime you should watch. Sora is a freshman in high school with a promise to keep. He had vowed to his mother that he would do everything in his power to ensure that he becomes the best basketball player in his high school.
However, once he goes to his high school, he discovers that his high school’s basketball training ground has become a hotbed for delinquents and drug addicts. Unwilling to break the promise he made to his mother, he vows to do everything he can to get things in his basketball team back on track and ensure that their team is fit enough to participate in the city championships.
If you’re interested in watching Ahiru no Sora, you can do so via Peacock, VRV, and Crunchyroll. Since Peacock is only available in the US, you can access it via connecting to a US server offered by PureVPN and watch the entire season.
3. Best Sports Anime – Kuroko No Basket
Kuroko’s struggles and the soul of Kuroko No Basket, helping it finish the podium as the third-best sports anime to watch. Kuroko’s story manages to stand out from all the other stories in this list simply because he was already an excellent player when it came to playing basketball. In the list of best sports anime, Kuroko No Basket would undoubtedly rank high since it’s a story of redemption and learning from one’s failures.
Kuroko, along with his team, realizes that all their earlier successes were because of their teamwork and ability to sacrifice for one another. They regroup years later, hoping to right earlier wrongs and win the Winter Cup that they missed out on decades earlier.
Kuroko No Basket is available to watch on US Netflix as well as via Crunchyroll. The first season is available to stream on VRV for free. If you want to access it via US Netflix, you can do this by connecting to a US server with PureVPN.
4. Best Sports Anime – Hajime No Ippo
The rags to riches storyline, makes Hajime No Ippo the fourth best sports anime to watch. Ippo is a rather shy and uninteresting high school student who doesn’t seem concerned with socializing with his other class fellows. This is because of his financial situation at home. He helps his mother through a local fishing charter business.
A group of school bullies constantly harass him. One day, their bullying goes too far, and they start beating him up until a boxer rescues him. Impressed by the way the boxer was able to take on all of the bullies. He urges him to take him on as his student, but the quest to gain admission and get the boxer to agree to train him is more complicated than Ippo may have initially realized.
Hajime No Ippo is only available to watch on either Crunchyroll or VRV. If you want to watch it on VRV, you can do so for free by connecting to a US server via PureVPN and enjoy streaming.
5. Best Sports Anime – Slam Dunk
Unlike other sports anime, Slam Dunk helps us see the antagonist in new list, making it the fifth best sports anime to watch. Unlike some of the other anime on this list, Slam Dunk focuses more on the story’s villain and how there’s a redeeming quality in almost anyone. Hanamichi is a bully who takes a perverse sense of pleasure in humiliating others.
However, all that changes once he falls in love with Haruko. Haruko is fond of sports, and in order to win her heart, Hanamichi himself takes up several sports. He faces difficulty at first, but that journey towards becoming apt at those sports is what makes this one of the best anime you can watch. By the end, he finds himself unwilling to go back to his bullying ways and decides to help his school’s team win the national championship and win Haruko’s heart while at it.
You can watch Slam Dunk on Crunchyroll. However, if you find that Slam Dunk isn’t available on your library in Crunchyroll, you can connect to a US server with PureVPN and watch it for absolutely free.
6. Best Sports Anime – Baki
With the weight of the world his shoulders, Baki’s story will resonate with anyone who’s felt the similar pressure of expectations, making it the sixth best sports anime to watch. Imagine being told since childhood that you’re supposed to grown-up and becomes the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. Baki grows up with others around him, constantly reminding him of his destiny.
However, when the time comes, he falls short of the challenge. This prompts his father to banish him from the city, ordering him into exile and not to return until his skills are worthy of being earth’s mightiest warrior. Baki begrudgingly obliges and travels across the world, learning all sorts of fighting techniques to mould himself into what he’s expected to be. Years pass by before he can return and find his homeland in mortal danger, immediately putting the skills he’s learned to the test.
Baki is only available to stream on Netflix. However, there are only a few libraries it’s available in. If you can’t find it on your country’s library, you can easily connect to a US server with PureVPN and start watching it.
7. Best Sports Anime – Captain Tsubasa
While not anyone can be a great Tsubasa is an 11-year-old boy who falls in love with football after watching the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Her other thinks of it as a passing fad, but she soon realizes the seriousness of her son’s love for the sport when she watches him play on the field and best kids far older than himself.
From there on, Tsubasa trains with some of the best football players in Japan to captain Japan and win the 1990 FIFA World Cup. But as he begins travelling, he realizes that it’ll take more than just football skills to be a player in the Japanese team.
Captain Tsubasa is available on Netflix, albeit only on the Argentine, Colombian, and Mexican libraries. Just connect to any of these countries via PureVPN, and you can start watching this anime from your existing Netflix account.
8. Best Sports Anime – Yuri on Ice
Yuri on Ice is one of the few LGBTQ stories that have left a cultural impact in the years since it began airing, making it the eighth best sports anime to watch. There are multiple reasons why Yuri on Ice is one of the best sports anime ever to have graced our screens. There are so many perfectly depicted themes, making it an anime that almost anyone can get fully immersed in. It follows the story of two Yuri’s, who both want to win the Grand Prix World Figure Skating Final and want Victor, the world’s greatest figure skating player, to coach them.
While the battle to win Victor’s coaching sets off their rivalry, it’s a long road ahead towards the Grand Prix Final with both Yuri’s working day and night to horn their skills and make themselves the best candidate to lift the championship in 5 years.
Yuri on Ice is available to stream only via Japanese Netflix. If you’re not in Japan, simply connect to a Japanese server via PureVPN, and you can start watching Yuri on Ice whenever you want.
9. Best Sports Anime – Prince of Tennis
Prince of Tennis is the perfect story of how hardwork will always trump talent, making it the ninth best sports anime for you to watch. Prince of Tennis centers around the story of Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy. Barely 15 years old, he enters the elite Seishun Tennis Academy and manages to beat some of the best players in the school.
This not only makes him a popular figure but also someone whom senior players come to for advice. Over time, Ryoma becomes more and more arrogant as there’s no one to challenge. However, his arrogance soon begins to affect his performance. This forces him to reevaluate what the sport means to him and what he is willing to sacrifice to have a successful career.
Prince of Tennis is available to stream only via Japanese Netflix. If you’re not in Japan, simply connect to a Japanese server via PureVPN, and you can start watching Prince of Tennis whenever you want.
10. Best Sports Anime – Run With the Wind
Run With the Wind highlights just how a mere moment of luck is enough to change one’s life entirely, making it the tenth best sports anime to watch. Kakeru is a destitute boy living in a squalor. One day, unable to bear his hunger, he steals food from a local high school. However, some students from the school chase after him. He is able to outrun them fairly easily, but they soon catch him again. He is saved by another student, Haiji, who notices his exceptional running abilities.
Haiji then gets Kakeru enrolled at the university, where his running abilities impresses all his teachers. There, he soon begins running for the University in several state competitions. However, the more he races, the more he realizes how uneven the competition is, with himself and Haiji being a cut above almost everyone else.
Run With the Wind is available on both Crunchyroll and Japanese Netflix. If you want to access it via Japanese Netflix, you can connect to a Japanese server via PureVPN.
11. Best Sports Anime – All Out!!
All Out!! is the perfect story of someone “faking it till they make it” making it the eleventh best sports anime on this list. Gion Kenji is insecure about his height and physique. However, he decides to confront his demons one day by entering the school rugby team. Expectedly, he is badly mocked all around the school. In practice, he is equally harassed, leading him to be even more demoralized.
However, he strikes an unlikely friendship with the school’s best rugby player, Iwashimizu, who has decided not to join this year’s rugby team because of a personal tragedy. Their friendship helps them both throughout the year as they both learn to confront their fears and demons.
All Out!! It is available to watch on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and VRV. If you can’t access any of these services, you can connect to a US server via PureVPN.
12. Best Sports Anime – Ace of Diamond
Different, doesn’t always have to be strange. Ace of Diamond depicts how being different can often be a blessing in disguise, making it the 12th best sports anime you can watch. Eijun is a baseball pitcher who has earned fame across his city because of a rather peculiar changeup action. However, the same changeup action allows him to pitch a lot faster than anyone else. He is noticed by a scout from Seidou University who promises him he can play the Nationals if his team signs him up.
Determined to be selected, Eijun devotes himself to consistently improving himself and being the best player in the inter-school competition to cement his chances of getting the opportunity to play in the Nationals.
Ace of Diamond is available on VRV in addition to the South Korean library of Netflix. If you’re not in any of these countries, you can do this by connecting to either the US or South Korean server via PureVPN.
13. Best Sports Anime – Big Windup
Have you ever felt imposter syndrome? It can leave a crippling affect on your mind, with only a few able to overcome it. The Big Windup is a story of such individual, making it the thirteenth best sports anime you can watch. Ren Mihashi is proud to have gotten selected for his high school’s baseball team. However, his happiness is short-lived as he soon discovers that he only got the part because his grandfather is the school’s owner.
His belief is further exacerbated when he finds out all his teammates hate him and that he’s actually a pretty lousy pitcher. However, he’s unwilling to let his teammates down so easily as he begins training as hard as he can to develop his skills. It doesn’t deliver the kind of results he hoped for as the team continues to lose. However, when Ren transfers to another school, his skills finally begin to shine through, and he can win several games almost single-handedly.
Big Windup is available to watch via Hulu, Funimation, Crunchyroll, and VRV. However, since all of these services are only available in the US, you can access them by connecting to a US server via PureVPN.
14. Best Sports Anime – Ashita No Joe
A clear purpose in life can often change us as a person, which is the central idea behind Ashita No Joe. It is also why it is the 14th best sports anime you can watch on this list. Joe is a drifter with no purpose in life. One day, by sheer chance, he comes across Danpei, a former boxing champion. He teaches him a few moves. One day, Joe gets arrested and ends up in prison. Realizing that a fight or die culture exists in prison, he puts on a fight whenever he can.
Thanks to his earlier training with Danpei, he is able to hold off most of the fighters quite easily. He is recruited to participate in an underground championship of sorts where he has to fight Rikishi. The two face off against one another multiple times without a clear winner. Their rivalry soon turns into friendship as they develop a sort of respect for one another.
Ashita No Joe is available to stream via Japanese Netflix. You can access Japanese Netflix by connecting to a Japanese server via PureVPN.
15. Best Sports Anime – Levius
Leviu’s story resonates with anyone who’s ever wanted to rise above their surroundings and make something more of their lives, making his story the 15th and final best sports anime to watch on this list. Amid the 19th century, the Imperial City is badly damaged. In the years that follow, a new sport by the name of Metal boxing emerges. This new sport combines elements from boxing into robots.
Levius is a young boy who dreams of becoming a Grade I boxer, making him part of an elite group of the best boxers in the country. However, the day he’s meant to fight the decisive battle, the reigning champion is defeated by a mysterious fighter who promises to brutalize all his next opponents. Visibly shaken, Levius is unsure at first but then decides to fight him anyway after realizing the fight represents a battle between man and machine at large.
Levius is available to watch on almost all major Netflix libraries. However, if it isn’t available in your country’s library, you can easily access it by connecting to a US server with PureVPN.