Sports anime uses character development to make the series more about who you’re watching than what you’re watching.
I will be the first to tell you that sports related anime isn’t on my ‘anime to watch’ lists – usually. That is not to say I don’t appreciate them. Much like music and movies there is a genre of anime for everyone. Personally, I prefer horror and psychological anime but we’re not here to talk about that today!
Despite not watching much anime revolving around sports I can attest to this – some of them have incredible character development. I would imagine that is essential but you know some anime have missed the mark in that department. There are two anime series I would like to mention: Slam Dunk and Fighting Spirit ( Hajime no Ippo).
I’m not sure how many people have heard of Slam Dunk let alone have watched it. The anime first aired in 1993 with 101 episodes along with 4 films. The story revolves around Hanamichi Sakuragi, an arrogant and extremely self-centered delinquent discovers through basketball his true calling. It may not have the best animation (I mean it was the 90’s) but the unforgettable characters along with an amazing story makes you overlook that. That is the beauty of anime like this. If you have a solid story and characters that are relatable or can ‘hold their own’, for some people that’s more than enough to continue to watch an anime.
Fighting Spirit (Hajime no Ippo) came out a little later (2000) and revolves around boxing. Our protagonist, Ippo Makunouchi, doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem. He is treated like crap and bullied all the time. One day while he’s enduring his usual bullying, Takamura Mamoru, a boxer, comes to his rescue. He invites Ippo to come to a boxing gym. From there Ippo’s life changes forever. If you need inspiration for overcoming fights and tough journeys then give this anime a shot.
Sports anime isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, the amount of effort put into the characters as well as the story cannot be ignored. Check out the anime mentioned above or look into some sports anime you think you may like!