Enjoying Sports With Sports Anime

I am not an active person. I used to detest PE classes, because I perform below-average in most sports (except badminton, which I did enjoy enough to not suck at). I wanted to play with my more athletic classmates, but as jock mentality goes, they do not want wimps fumbling the ball around in a loose game of basketball.

But that doesn’t mean I hate sports. If anything, I got a kick out of Slam Dunk’s >9000 runs, because it was quality entertainment. It managed to make basketball look twice enjoyable, and the protagonists gave everything they got for the game. The scene where Akagi refuses to stay on the bench with a bad ankle injury because this might be the last game he would ever play is forever etched into my memory. Srsbzns, guys.

After that memorable experience with Slam Dunk, I did not hunt down sports anime on my own. Maybe it’s because I thought that all sports shows had the same slow pacing as Slam Dunk. It makes for good weekly watching, but when I’m catching up on, say, Major, it would be a long long road ahead. I might try Major in the future, but I’ll have to level up on lighter baseball shows.

These are some sports anime that I really enjoyed.

Bamboo Blade

Bamboo Blade was the first real sports anime I tried out after all those years. And i was surprised–Bamboo Blade was a light, comedic affair (there weren’t overlong tournament arcs), and I stayed for the girls beyond the initial kendo hook. The kendo club was having fun, not just with kendo, but with themselves.

Braver GUNUNU

My favorite character was Tamaki. Being someone who grew up to a sentai show, Tamaki did not just love Blade Braver–she breathed it with her very heart and soul. Despite her initial aloof nature, she opened up to the team and became a true friend. Rin is also one great rival and deserves her own post.

Saki

I do not know a thing about mahjong, but imagine how amazed I was when I checked out Saki. No mahjong experience required, and it was more about the girls and their relationships with each other. I am rather miffed that meganekko Mako is the weakest girl player in her team with the most useless ability in the show. You may have watched a lot of games, but they won’t do if they aren’t professional play!

Insert G Gundam joke here

Overall, Hisa’s “bad wait” playstyle/philosophy took me in, along with her relish for playing. And the tails.

I actually picked up mahjong thanks to this show, but good god I am worse than Kyoutarou.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume

Then there was Taishou Yakyuu Musume. I held out on checking this show, since I’m not that interested in baseball (I used to play RBI Baseball for the NES though). However, the blogosphere had much good things to say about it, and due to me having some free time I managed to check it out. Now, it’s amazing how a ragtag group of girls were driven so hard to improve in baseball, without straying into shounen “this game is all that matters to me” territory. It’s also got the Taishou aesthetic, which is a fascinating era that I wouldn’t mind returning to.

Running Girl Kochou~

The girls are all pleasing to look at and mesh with each other very well. And despite this being a baseball show, the Koume-stars-in-a-movie one is a much welcome diversion. Sweet romance is sweet!

Conclusion

I guess that sports shows featuring girls perform better with me, as they are more relaxed in their playing. However, I’m eyeing Cross Game and Oofuri next, so let’s see how this turns out.

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15 Responses to Enjoying Sports With Sports Anime

  1. glothelegend says:

    One time I got kicked out of gym for arguing about being thrown out of a game. She [teacher] said I was being to aggressive, and I felt differently, and actually yelled at her, which I immediately realized was a stupid thing to do. The vice principal shared this thought, and made me write an apology letter, which I did begrudgingly. I was a heardcore gymer. I mean, it’s ten times better than sitting at a desk. I HATE desks.

    As far as sports anime, Touch is the best sports anime I have ever seen (although, technically, it’s a slice of life), although the sports aspects are just awesome. basically, a good anime all around.

  2. LOL @ ^9000 SLAM DUNK runs, and Animax is still showing it right now!

    For me, it was The Prince of Tennis. The show got me into tennis which made me hate the show. I really really loved The Prince of Tennis, and I still listen to the soundtrack, but as for the show and the manga, I just think it sucks balls.

  3. ToastCrust says:

    Definitely check out Cross Game

  4. Kuma says:

    Check out Oofuri. It’s incredibly good.

  5. Gorilla says:

    You should try Hikaru no Go. My first sports anime which made me fall in love with the gender. Strangely I have not seen any of the shows you mentioned but Taishu Yakuu no Musume seems something I would enjoy, since I am a sucker for baseball in anime, despite not having watched or played baseball in real life.

  6. Snark says:

    To be honest though, those are more like slice of life shows with sports in it rather then actual sport shows.

    Saki is the closest to being actually about its game, but let’s be honest; mahjongs not a spot -_-

  7. Yi says:

    Mahjong counts as a sport? Well, I suppose if chess counts as a sport, so should mahjong.
    Anyway, Slamdunk is awesome, as is Saki.

  8. schneider says:

    @ glo

    Touch is pretty long, so that’ll be in the far future.

    @ ghostlightning

    I know of a friend who slaved through the whole of PoT without liking it. It must have a love-hate thing going for it.

    @ ToastCrust

    I plan to do just that.

    @ Kuma

    Sure!

    @ Gorilla

    I’ve seen a bit of Hikaru no Go here, so I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

    @ Snark

    Well, the girls of each show here are pretty driven compared to, say, the K-On girls. You’d be surprised!

    @ Yi

    That and they treat it as one in Saki’s world.

  9. 2DT says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with Cross Game, but what I saw of it was remarkably charming. I think it’s because, insofar as shows like these are about sports at all, they aren’t really about the mechanics of playing and winning. If that were the case, we might as well be watching an American sports movie, complete with a musical montage of the winning streak followed by a final facedown with the Team of Evil (Who Are Probably Also Foreigners).

  10. usagijen says:

    Can’t believe I forgot to comment on this orz Then again all I really want to say is, you owe it to yourself to watch Cross Game. Oofuri is also <3, and (take this as you may) it’s something that people can enjoy for both the right and wrong reasons, lol.

  11. bianki says:

    I actually have a hard time watching sports anime. Mostly because a single game can last episodes and my attention span cannot cope with it. I guess if I marathoned it, it would be OK. Do watch Cross Game.

    P.S. Not counting Bamboo Blade. Bamboo Blade is awesome!

  12. hazy says:

    Bamboo Blade was very enjoyable. (Go Blade Braver, go! xD)

    I liked Shion no Ou. It’s about shougi with a murder mystery on the side so it’s a bit serious, but had it’s cute and funny moments too. It’s 22 episodes and I thought it had a pretty satisfactory ending.

    I agree, do check out Ookiku Furikabutte and Cross Game when you can. Both baseball/slice of life, both awesome. ^^

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