Sunday, June 17, 2018

List: Sports anime starring adults

My dad and I were chatting about anime, and I mentioned that I'm currently watching the second season of Haikyuu!!. We got to talking about sports anime, and how rare it is for them (the ones available in English, at any rate) to star adults. So I decided to try coming up with a list.

It wasn't easy. And I cheated a bit. But here you go, I managed to come up with four titles. (And feel free to mention others in the comments section!)

Giant Killing - I originally watched this on Crunchyroll. It's no longer available there, but it might be available on Hulu (I don't have a subscription and can't tell). It doesn't look like it's available on DVD or Blu-ray in the US.

Giant Killing features a professional soccer team that's been doing badly for a number of years. In an effort to try to turn things around, the team's management hires Takeshi Tatsumi, a former player on the team who created some bad blood when he left to go to England, to coach them.

I reviewed this way back in 2012 and honestly don't remember that much about it. I do remember that I managed to fly through it pretty quickly when Crunchyroll announced that they were removing it from their catalog, so apparently the pacing was decent enough.

Yuri on Ice!!! - This is available both streamed (Crunchyroll and Funimation, I think) and on DVD and Blu-ray in the US.

Here we have a series about professional figure skaters. Yuri is a Japanese figure skater who hasn't been doing well lately. He lacks confidence and has major anxiety. A viral video of him copying Victor Nikiforov's latest skating routine results in Victor himself visiting Yuri and declaring that he'll be Yuri's coach.

This is a fun one, but I'll just warn you right now that it very heavily teases viewers with a budding romantic relationship between Victor and Yuri and never completely follows through. (I suppose it depends on your definition of "follow through." I wanted actual words, explicit verbal recognition of a romantic relationship. Lots of other fans seemed to be perfectly happy with symbolic indications of a relationship, as well as the supposed "kiss.")

I was surprised by how much I loved the skating. Who would have thought that seeing the same routines over and over again could actually be thrilling and fun?

I reviewed this in 2016. At some point, I need to write an updated review about the DVD/Blu-ray release. The English dub is actually pretty good, although I still prefer the original Japanese.

Hikaru no Go - At one point VIZ released this on DVD in the US, and I'm still kicking myself for not scraping together the money somehow and buying it. It appears to have gone out of print, and now your only option is streaming. It looks like you can buy it on Amazon Prime or stream it for free on VIZ. Hey VIZ, I want to give you my money for DVD copies! Can you make that possible again, pretty please?

Hikaru no Go is a series focusing on the board game Go. I'm cheating by including it because 1) it's not technically a sport series and 2) its main characters are kids. However, its competition aspects are very similar to sports series, and a large number of the series' prominent players are adults. There are a few times when the adult players face off against each other.

Hikaru is a 12-year-old boy who comes across an old Go board while going through his grandfather's stuff for things to sell. The board happens to be haunted by Sai, a Go prodigy from the Heian period who committed suicide after being accused of cheating. All he wants is to play the perfect Go game, called the "Hand of God," and he hopes Hikaru can help him do that. Hikaru knows nothing about Go, but surely that doesn't matter as long as Sai is there to tell him what to do.

I've only reviewed volume 12 of the manga on my blog, but I believe I've read the entire series. I've actually watched all the anime, but I think that was before my blogging days. I remember that I loved it and that the ending wrecked me.

Gurazeni: Money Pitch - This is the only series on this list that I have zero experience with. It's currently streaming on Crunchyroll. The main character is 26 years old and is a left-handed relief pitcher for a professional baseball team.


  1. The Viz DVDs of Hikaru no Go stop at episode 45, so the only way to see the complete series is online. Other than Viz, the series can be viewed on Hulu. There's also a 77 minute OVA, The Road to the Hokuto Cup.

  2. They never released the full series on DVD? That's a shame. And ooh, I don't think I've ever seen the OVA.