Football, as one of the world’s most popular sports, has naturally found its way into the realm of anime. These anime productions often place a unique focus on the sport, its players, and their diverse challenges. Regardless of how it is portrayed, football remains a fast-paced and beloved sport that has inspired numerous anime series over the years. Among these, “Captain Tsubasa” stands out as a notable example, a Japanese manga created by Yoichi Takahashi. The series revolves around Tsubasa Oozora, an 11-year-old protagonist whose introduction to football quickly blossoms into an enduring passion.
In pursuit of his dreams, Tsubasa and his mother relocate to Nankatsu City, renowned for its high-caliber school football teams. While Tsubasa was a standout player in his former town, he now faces a higher level of competition and the need to further develop his skills in order to stand out.
For those who have already enjoyed “Captain Tsubasa,” this list explores 14 anime series that share similarities with the show, catering to your sports anime preferences. The following list is presented in no particular order, offering a diverse selection of anime to satisfy your enthusiasm for the beautiful game:
1.Hajime no Ippo
“Hajime no Ippo,” also known as “Fighting Spirit,” spans 75 episodes and features Makunouchi Ippo as the central character. Ippo, a long-time victim of bullying, finds a new purpose in life when he encounters the world of boxing. The anime captures his journey from a timid young man to a determined boxer, delivering inspiring themes and relatable character development.
2.Inazuma Eleven Go
“Inazuma Eleven Go,” consisting of 47 episodes, follows Tenma Matsukaze as a newcomer to Raimon Junior High School’s soccer team. The series revolves around the team’s efforts to restore their once-glorious reputation in a world controlled by the dark entity known as the Fifth Sector. Expect fast-paced action and camaraderie in this soccer-centric anime.
3.Ace of Diamond
With a total of 75 episodes, “Ace of Diamond” tells the story of Eijun Sawamura’s journey from losing a crucial baseball game to joining the prestigious Seidou High School. The series highlights the challenges he faces in a highly competitive environment as he strives to become the ace pitcher of the team.
Spanning 101 episodes, “Slam Dunk” revolves around Hanamichi Sakuragi, a hot-tempered high school student who discovers his passion for basketball through an unexpected encounter. Witness Hanamichi’s transformation from a disinterested beginner to a devoted basketball player, with a supporting cast that enhances the viewing experience.
5.Akakichi no Eleven
Comprising 52 episodes, “Akakichi no Eleven” is set in Shinsei High School, where soccer is a fiercely competitive sport. The story follows Shingo Tamai and his friend Ohira as they create their own soccer team to challenge the dominant forces. This anime is known for its dramatic elements and the journey of the underdog.
In a world where Japanese schools compete to be the best in soccer, “Inazuma Eleven” features Mamoru Endou, the grandson of the first goalkeeper and captain of the Inazuma Eleven team. Mamoru’s determination to resurrect the struggling team and enlist new players results in an emotionally charged and action-packed narrative.
7. Kuroko’s Basketball
Following their victory over Yousen High, the Seirin basketball team has secured a place in the semi-finals of the Winter Cup, joining the ranks of esteemed teams such as Shuutoku, Kaijou, and Rakuzan.
In the culmination of the series, Seirin faces formidable opponents, each boasting extraordinary skills within their respective teams. With unwavering determination, Seirin resolves to surmount every challenge encountered on their journey to clinching victory in the prestigious Winter Cup.
In the grand finale, the central protagonist, Kuroko, engages in a riveting confrontation with his former comrades, once again pitting their abilities against each other. It is important to emphasize that the Winter Cup is a team-based competition, highlighting the significance of collective effort over individual prowess.
Kuroko holds a steadfast belief in the efficacy of his basketball methodologies, yet his convictions stand in contrast to the overarching objective of his peers at Seirin High. The singular aim of the Seirin High basketball team is to secure victory in the Winter Cup, an endeavor that hinges on their ability to vanquish formidable adversaries, notably the indomitable Generation of Miracles, who have long reigned supreme within the realm of basketball.
The central question remains: will Seirin High finally seize control of their destiny and emerge victorious this time around? “Kuroko no Basket” presents an enthralling spectacle, characterized by its meticulous attention to the intricacies of basketball and the profound depth of its portrayal of skill. The series embarks on a captivating journey, immersing its audience in a frenetic whirlwind of fast-paced sequences and exhilarating basketball action.
In essence, it stands as a compulsory viewing experience for ardent basketball enthusiasts. However, even for those who do not typically harbor an affection for the sport, “Kuroko no Basket” guarantees an enjoyable and engaging viewing experience.
8. Dear Boys
A Professional Overview of “Dear Boys” (Hoop Days)
“Dear Boys,” also known as “Hoop Days,” is a 26-episode anime series that has successfully concluded its broadcasting. This series primarily focuses on the journey of Aikawa Kazuhiko, who serves as the captain of the esteemed basketball team at Tendoji High School.
The storyline unfolds as Aikawa Kazuhiko relocates to a new town, enrolling at Mizuho High School, where he becomes a part of their basketball team. It is here that the central plot of the series takes shape. Mizuho High’s basketball team, in contrast to the excellence of Tendoji’s squad, presents a strikingly different scenario. The team at Mizuho High is far from optimal, teetering on the brink of inefficiency, and it operates on the most basic level of functionality.
The series delves into the challenges and developments that arise as Aikawa Kazuhiko navigates this new environment, seeking to elevate the capabilities and performance of the Mizuho High basketball team. His journey encapsulates the pursuit of excellence and the transformation of a lackluster basketball team into a formidable force, painting a vivid narrative of determination, teamwork, and personal growth.
Mizuho’s profound influence within the team is undeniably positive. His unwavering passion and exceptional skills serve as a powerful source of inspiration for his fellow team members, motivating them to commit themselves to relentless practice and continuous improvement in their respective roles within the game.
The overarching objective of this team is to represent themselves in esteemed national tournaments, wherein they will encounter formidable opponents, comprised of other highly skilled teams. The narrative unfolds around five central figures within the team: Ishii Tsutomu, Miura Ranmaru, Fujiwara Takumi Aikawa Kazuhiko, and Dobashi Kwnji, with the story’s focus intimately bound to their collective journey and the challenges they encounter along the way.
9. Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
Hungry Heart” is a captivating soccer sports anime centered around the life of Kyosuke Kano, a character characterized by his impulsive and rebellious nature. His elder brother, Seisuke Kano, is a renowned figure in the world of football, having played for AC Milan. Throughout the series, Kyosuke Kano’s unwavering determination and enthusiasm are directed towards his one true passion, which is none other than the beautiful game of football.
The show chronicles his journey and the profound influence of his elder brother in nurturing his love for the sport.
As the narrative unfolds, our protagonist unearths a poignant revelation concerning Kasuga’s familial background. It comes to light that Kasuga was adopted at a tender age of one due to the tragic loss of his biological parents in a car accident.
Keisuke Narumi, who is revealed as his biological father, held the notable position of a forward. This revelation paints a poignant backdrop for Kasuga’s life, as he navigates the challenging terrain of living under the long-reaching shadow of his brother and enduring the incessant comparisons that inevitably arise.
Kyosuke made the decisive choice to discontinue his involvement in the game and embarked on a transformative journey. He underwent a distinctive transformation by dyeing his hair a vibrant shade of orange and embracing a nomadic lifestyle. Subsequently, he transitioned into the role of a coach for the women’s football team at Joyo Awanegaoka. His dedication to the sport was unwavering, and he later transitioned to take on a significant role within the men’s team at the same esteemed institution.
His fellow teammates, Rodrigo, a skilled Brazilian midfielder, and Koji Jefferson Sakai, a talented English goalkeeper, shared in his commitment and enthusiasm. Together, they set forth with a solemn pledge to overcome formidable challenges, foremost among them being their aspiration to defeat the formidable Kokuryo, widely acknowledged as the strongest team in the arena. This journey marked the beginning of a remarkable chapter in their collective pursuit of excellence in the world of football.
10. Ganbare, Kickers!
Ganbare, Kickers” is a compelling narrative centered around a youth football team comprised of students from Kitahara Elementary School. This group faces a formidable challenge in the form of a notable deficiency in the striker position, with no standout player to assume the role.
The storyline takes an exciting turn with the arrival of Kakeru Daichi, who relocates to the city and promptly joins the school’s football team as a striker. Kakeru’s proficiency in this role becomes immediately apparent, validating his suitability for the position.
Kakeru’s addition to the team culminates in a transformative moment, where the once incomplete squad is now poised to confront the formidable Red Devils, a renowned and powerful football team. In their intense match against the Red Devils, they suffered a significant defeat with a final score of 10-1. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Kakeru managed to make a lasting impact by scoring a goal against the seemingly invincible goalkeeper, Uesugi, an achievement that showcased his exceptional skills.
In sum, “Ganbare, Kickers” is a story of determination, growth, and the pursuit of excellence in the world of youth football, with Kakeru Daichi’s arrival and performance significantly shaping the team’s journey.
Subsequently, the team advanced to the national championship stage. Hongo, their dedicated goalkeeper, found himself smitten with Ayumi Daichi, the sister of his teammate, Kakeru. In a concerted effort to secure the necessary expertise for the championship games, the team made a strategic decision to enlist the services of a seasoned professional coach who played an instrumental role in guiding them to the semi-finals. In an uncanny twist of fate, their path once again converged with the formidable Red Devils in a crucial game.
As one might anticipate, their football match unfolded as an epic saga, spanning over the course of two full episodes. Uesugi’s team emerged victorious yet again over Kakeru’s team. The aftermath of this defeat left all the players in a state of profound despair.