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    Comment part I—-

    And so you picked sports eventually ;).
    It's a well written article and it rises good points but understandably focused on North America, hence when you speak about 'the West' and the lack of influence on female fans in the aforementioned part of the world in pre-PoT era I could not avoid noticing how different and by necessity partial of a picture it offers compared to, say, the rest of the Western world.
    With the possible exception of Touch what I both experienced and witnessed influence and popularity-wise was rather different on the other side if the pond… In my country and a few other non-English speaking ones (Italy, France, Spain-> South America, a few Near-Middle East countries) we have gotten a ton sports series being licensed and broadcast since the 70s (I think of Ashita Tenki Ni Nare as the odd one of the bunch license-wise as golf was and is still a very niche sport where I live… and the first and only exposure to the sport most kids ever got). Their appeal at least here in continental Europe seemed to be rather unisex regarding of their original source target… the times at large were not ripe for otaku and doujinshi back then but they still sprung merch, magazines and in case of sports series they were responsible for either reviving or rising interest in their specific field. And in case of shonen series some characters had female groupies… who are still rather fond of their childhood anime crushes decades later (it's a pity in these recent years of old properties reboots/revival few series from that era have been forgotten or not considered for merch/gadgets at least btw. That's some untapped nostalgia&groupie market here man. The things some poeple would do for some good modern state of the art figurines and gadgets of those oldies if there were any… :p)
    A basic short list of the sport titles that colonized our imagination across two generation (if not three) = most if not everyone watched it from the top of my head and in vaguely chronogical order by sport kind:
    – Ashita No Joe (no need to say more) + Gambare Genki
    -Tiger Mask (wrestling)
    – Ace wo Nerae (tennis)
    – Attack No.1 + Ashita E Attack + Attacker You (volleyball)
    – Captain Tsubasa (soccer)
    – Hikari No Densetsu (gymnastic)
    – Dash Kappei + Slam Dunk (basketball)
    – Kyojin no Hoshi + Touch (baseball)


  2. Well you know, we has a ton more licensed and translated into English too. But how many really made an impact, with the small anime fan community, never mind the general public? I think that's the more pertinent question.

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    Re: Likewise. And in terms of impact and general appeal on my side of the world I listed those titles for a reason ;). See also the rest of my comment below, it should be clearer. Sorry for posting part II so late but I have had connection issues. EDIT: I still have connection issues… this is my 6th attempt.

    Comment part II—

    Ironically enough if anything anime license&mass popularity-wise here have started to steadily decline roughly around the time NA anime market started to really grow… mid-Nineties?
    With the possible happy exception of France a good chunk of the hardcore mana and anime fans of today keeping our market afloat on this side of the Atlantic arguably still consists of those old(ish) fans who first cut their teeth on the first and/or second anime onslaught… including publishers' key staff members.
    Regarding some of those old sport series even the casual fans of yesterday often grew into the sports fan if not athletes of today in my country… Soccer for instance has a solid tradition in Italy and would still had drawn youths without Captain Tsubasa and its (at least) 3 groupie-fuel male characters – a) the 'good bad boy' main antagonist/rival, b) the talented supporting best friend and teammate or b1) the sensitive number 10 rival with a Damocles' heart condition c) the confident goalkeeper – . On the other hand Im not too sure rythmic gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, basketball would not have become so popular (or survived) here without the series I listed in my previous comment above.
    In comparison to those titles Touch probably helped baseball rising in popularity here as well, but its influence both on RL sport interest and the anime itself wasn't nearly as much – on balance the Italian Adachians hardcore fans are a hardcore niche of purchasers but more interested to his manga sources and to the 'Adachi-ness' rather than (fictional or otherwise) sports fans -.
    Hopping forward in time to contemporary sport titles in local forums and fanfiction/female fandom appeal terms among atm Free! (and Haikyuu!!!) have been well received based on what I've seen/red. But in Italy at least anime at large stopped being aired on main TV channels – and even competing with national news prime time – some years ago and this has overall much lowered its impact compared to what used to be until 15 years ago… and the status difference in case of sport anime is even starker now. For their relative success there haven't been a single sport title in recent years that managed to reach mass appeal across the fandom – never mind general audiences that train is long gone I'm afraid – and be a potential anime/manga gateway at large here :,).
    Back yo your article… I think a couple of candidate series in part 2 are going to be Giant Killing and Cross Game (maybe with the caveat that Adachi's works are dramas that happen to have strong focus on sports ) but in any case I'm looking forward to the suggestion list.
    Good work and good luck, fight the good fight :D!

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    There's a typo there btw,
    ctrl +f Haiykuu

    Anyway, I'm as always ignorant of older sports anime, so I'm looking forwards to the next part

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