Excellent Sports Anime for Fans of America’s Top Three Sports

The anime industry has certainly grown in the past decade. While the industry has been huge in Japan since its inception, it only recently became a worldwide phenomenon. In large part, it is thanks to shows like Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Bleach, Naruto, On Piece, and Dragon Ball Z that anime is as big as it is.

However, all those shows have something in common. They are all action/adventure anime, which may not appeal to a certain demographic. Some might view these shows and think that is all there is to anime. But these people could not be more wrong. Anime has a wide range of genres and styles, from Slice of Life to Mecha to Sports. And in this article, we will explore some excellent sports anime that deal with America’s top three favorite sports. 

Daiya No Esu/Ace of Diamond – Baseba

Baseball is huge in Japan. Introduced in the country by the United States in the 1800s, the sport quickly spread throughout the nation. Today, it has become Japan’s favorite team sport. Something the Asian country shares with the United States.

In the USA, baseball is often referred to as “America’s favorite pastime.” And for good reason. The MLB is a multi-billion-dollar organization, generating hundreds of millions, if not over a billion annually. Not to mention, Americans love placing bets on baseball. 

Whether credit card, e-wallet, or bitcoin bets placed is irrelevant. The fact is simple. Americans love baseball. And fans of the sport would really love the Ace of Diamond anime which premiered in 2013. The show follows Sawamura Eijun, a pitcher who style forces the ball to move unpredictably at the plate.

Sawamura’s life turns upside down when a scout from a prestigious high school offers him a baseball scholarship. His high school life completely changes him, as both a person and a sportsman. He sees a whole new side of baseball, and attempts to belong to the best of his abilities. 

A sequel series, Ace of Diamond II came out in 2019, continuing the story of the original. Both are excellent pieces of storytelling, definitely worth checking out by anyone, but especially fans of baseball.

Slam Dunk – Basketball

Takehiko Inoue is perhaps best known for his incredible, samurai masterpiece, Vagabond. However, before he gained prominence in the history/samurai genre, he was already well-known as the master of sports manga. And in large part, this is thanks to his seminal 90s basketball series, Slam Dunk.

The manga follows Hanamichi Sakuragi, a high-school delinquent, who is famous around town for being rejected by 50 girls. Once Hanamichi meets a popular, cute girl called Haruko, he decides that this time, he will not be rejected. Upon introducing himself, however, the boy instantly faces a problem, as Haruko believes he is a basketball player, due to his height and athleticism.

In an attempt to avoid getting rejected, Hanamichi lies about his membership in the basketball club. He then quickly joins, but having never played the game before, must hone his skills from the ground up. Slam Dunk was adapted into an anime three years after the manga’s release, and the series went on for 101 episodes. It is beloved among fans of anime, sports, and basketball, and is definitely worth checking. 

Eyeshield 21 – American Football

By far America’s favorite sport is football. The National football league is the biggest sports organization in the country, with the Super Bowl serving as the pinnacle of American sports. For a long time, football was exclusively an American thing, even bearing the moniker “American football” outside the USA. 

However, recently the sport has been growing in popularity. In Japan, for example, American football is a pretty popular sport, and has been for the past two-or-so decades. Unsurprisingly, many manga creators have been inspired by the sport, and so in 2002 we got Eyeshield 21.

Sena Kobayakawa is not an impressive boy. He is small, frail, and often bullied. However, in order to better run away from his bullies, Sena has developed incredible speed and agility. One day, the American football team captain, Yoichi Hiruma, spots Sena running away from bullies, and is impressed.  

From then on, he relentlessly pursues Sena, attempting to get him to compete as running back for the team. Sadly, Sena is anxious in front of a crowd. So, Hiruma, the captain, gives him a helmet with an eyeshield. And thus, the mysterious Eyeshield 21 is born. The manga has received several anime adaptations. One in the form of a 145-episode television series, and one in the form of an OVA. You can catch the series on Crunchyroll, or you can even watch it for free using apps like GoGoanime. It is an excellent anime, dealing with teams of anxiety, stage fright, and overcoming your fears.