15 comments

  1. E

    It’s here! the sports anime blogpost!! First off great work Enzo.

    Second off shame on you on not mentioning shion no ou. I mean a sports anime discussion without shion no ou is blasphemy.

    Btw Enzo, for the longest time I’ve thought that Cross game wasnt as good as touch, rough or H2. but i recently reread the manga and the anime and only then did I realise how complex the characters were. It’s unreal that i missed this whole dark undertone to all of Kou and Aoba’s actions throughout the series that was pent up until it all came gushing forward. One thing I noticed is that adachi’s characters is that they’re all emotionally self aware, they’re not emotionally stunted teenagers except in cross game where the characters were purposefully dense due to past trauma. It’s amazing how he used being dense as such a strong character development point.

    The other thing about cross game is that the side characters are so well developed, I mean Azuma best bro in anime history or what! Does anyone remember what he was like when he was doing the batting practice against Aoba at the start and where he ended up at the end of the anime. If that isnt a character arc i don’t now what is, it’s probably the first time I’ve actually believed the whole enemy become ally thing in anime.

    Enzo what did you think of H2 i dont think you’ve mentioned. Also any bets on who dies in Mix? or do you think its gonna be one of his few baseball mangas without death of a main cast.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I’m not a believer that H2 is in the very top tier of Adachi’s work, but it’s certainly classic Adachi. Sadly, we went over an hour as is – if we mentioned every series that deserved mentioning we’d still be recording now…

  3. e

    Now this was one balanced tango. Well done ye boys ^^. Good choice of titles too.
    I haven’t watched Bamboo Blade and Eyeshield and I am not too fond of Shizuka ( I’ve read the manga. Sure the female protagonist wasn’t super likable but in my case at least the ‘divisive’ issues were with a few writing choices along the way. Good ending though ) but the rest you picked does cover a range of styles and tastes for any potential watcher. Given the little sports anime boom – or rather Renaissance from where I stand – we are experiencing I wonder if you would be ready for a round II some day and if some of the current and upcoming sport anime would make the cut in terms of recs.
    @ Enzo: thank you for naming Capeta first in the last segment. I had bet a pizza on it >D. Itadakimasu! @Setsuken: you held your ground and are a pleasure to listen to.

    Talking of gateway sport animanga recs I’m an old dinosaur who cut her teeth on oldies once upon a time during Italy’s licensing golden age… I think we ended up getting almost anything sport and mecha Japan has churned out fom the Sixties up to the mid-Nineties :,D… among all of these the one that has dated gracefully all things considered – and is available in English – is first and foremost Ashita No Joe (in movie compilations form) and as it’s still widely referenced or at least nodded at in cotemporary anime it will give a certain extra flavour or hindsight layer once you recognized the little hommages popping up in may many later series – just try not to cry a river by the end. Regardess of genres and demographic lot of works from that decade were big on tragedy -. Hence that would me my one suggestion from the Old Oldies catalogue.
    Other behemoths like Captain Tsubasa, Attack number 1 and Attacker You were hugely influential on both watchers and sport creators of following animega series (not necessary soccer and volleyball related either. While Haikyuu!!’s Hinata Shoyo is Attacker You’s female MC’s lost twin in both looks talents and attitude – arguably Kageyama is frenemy setter Nami’s countepart – , tone-wise those three older series feel closer to POT-Kurobas-Dragon Ball’s Kamehameha territory ) but either haven’t aged well or aren’t easily available in English. Ditto on Ace Wo Nerae (she who brought tennis to the fore)… relatively realistic sport segments here but a highly dramatic delivery and presentation. On the plus side AWN’s chara is a thing of shoujo vintage beauty at least :p.
    Now there was this series about a plucky ‘uncute’ working class boy who casually finds out he has a talent for golf (& a very cute supportive classmate *wink wink*) that is still pretty watchable, grounded, delivered the sport trivia, and it’s wholly available on the Tube…but to my knowledge Italian dub only. First episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4ybpiW4okc 33+ through 47 (final) episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyJkZt-U3rw
    TL;DR : Ashita No Joe is worth it for the quality and seminal influence, the others better seen through either nostalgia goggles or true vintage cheese curiosity like nuclear power ball strikes or shooting fires/thunderbolts of rivalry from the eyes through the net (one wonders how it never burnt to ashes XD), and bleeding from chained wrists to strengthen your receive… or disturbingly recurrent manipulative coaches with anger issues… or lots of screaming and scheming… if you understand Italian you might try the golf series linked above for grounded sport bits, likable unusual MC and just a tiny bit of implied romance.

  4. g

    There was the Tiger’s Mask too, about wrestling, if we talk about oldies, right? Did they broadcast it too in Italy? I’ve heard there’s going to be remake/ reboot this year’s autumn.
    β€”
    Enzo, I’ve thought you would be talking about Slam Dunk little more, with how influential the manga was, and frankly still is: with sales, popularity and popularization of the basketball itself (Takehiko Inoue even received some rewards for that).

    But I can recommend his other manga, if you haven’t red it yet. I think REAL is his the best manga, even better than Vagabong. It’s about wheelchair basketball or rather, broader, about disability in different forms. Like all characters’ driven sports manga/ anime, it uses a sport as a canvas. It has three protagonists and every one of them brings something different to the table but each one of them has a different unlikeable side. It’s great with the representation and somehow fearless in portraying disabled people. There’s neither false pity here nor cookie-cutter personalities only. Because most of the cast is disabled, he could diversify their personalities and motives. The only minus, albeit small, is limited and not so interesting female characters – comparing to the male characters, still it’s better than in many other manga/ anime. I doubt it’ll be ever adapted as the anime but it would be great drama serial or a movie with real actors.

  5. Vagabond is and always will be my favorite Inoue manga, I think, as good as Real is. I would love to see somebody try and tackle it as an anime – I think it may be in the running for best-selling manga never to receive any kind of an adaptation. But like Otoyomegatari, there may be a concern that the art is so detailed and singular that no anime could do it justice.

  6. e

    @gilraen_tinuviel: yup. And it’s still pretty popular among the 25+ crowd here XD. Also the Italian OP song dated as it sounds is quite the earworm ( cheesy melody but groovy bass line 8D and then you get dat ‘TIGER MAAAANNNN!!!’ and the pseudo-roar XD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl11uTvXw8 ).
    The remake’s character design preview honestly looked awful to me. I much prefer the roughness of the original – the recentish anime closest to the old Tiger Mask style was Yuuasa’s Kemonozume – ^^ (plus as a mostly traditional artist I love the grit of those hand drawn animation lines. The 70s anime is my favourite decade in that regard. You can feel the grain and strokes of pencil and ink. Going digital allowed for some amazing effects and gave a much needed help to animators to cut some of the (over)work but it can also give off a plastic /artificial / unnaturaly clean vibe so to speak. And in spite of tech improvement & skills refinement we can still observe the growing pains side of CG more often than not ).
    Content-wise honestly I don’t know how the original TM would fly with modern audiences as a sports anime. I would also hesitate to rec it even to die-hard wrestling fans either for pacing, visuals and drama… and the remake on those fronts could be anything.

  7. Y

    In my case, anime sparked my appreciation towards sports that I originally had no interest in. I used to only watch sports anime only if they are centered on sports I like, namely basketball, tennis, and soccer. It wasn’t until I watched an episode of Major one afternoon out of boredom (which led to a marathon of the first season) that I began watching baseball anime and opened up towards other types of sports.

    *warning: minor rant ahead*
    Ookiku Furikabutte was my second baseball anime, and although I can see why it’s often linked to its fujoshi fanbase, it irks me that due to it’s popularity with that demographic, many people have subsequently written it off without ever giving it a try. This show was the show that really introduced me to the depth and complexities of baseball as a sport along with the passion and fervor surrounding Japanese highschool baseball. It is a multidimensional show, showcasing the moms, pitch selection, and some tidbits on psychology as well. I really think it’s a pity that people will miss out on this gem due to their preconceived notions of it. *minor rant end*

    This was a really informative and interesting video, and thanks to it I now have more sports titles to choose from! Probably going to give Ping-Pong the Animation or Basquash a shot after Days finishes its run (I’m following more than ten anime this season already, which is a first for me).

  8. I certainly agree that there’s much more to Oofuri than the shipper stuff, just as there is with Haikyuu. That said, its existence was still a big part of the current explosion of sports series aimed at the demographic.

  9. The sports anime that I first got into was Ashita no Joe, the first movie, and that was back in the early 80s. Which led to the Ashita no Joe 2 TV series in the 80s. I managed to see bits here and there of the 1st TV series until the R2J DVD Boxsets came out of which I have the complete set – first TV series, first movie, 2nd TV series, and 2nd movie. I would generally seek out sports anime and have watched most since then. I even have R2J DVD boxsets or individual DVDs where there are no boxsets of some of the major sports anime from the 80s and 90s, e.g. Touch, Slam Dunk, Aoki Densetsu Shoot, Hajime no Ippo. Also official DVDs of those from 00s as well, like Ookiku Furikabutte R2J DVD boxsets (both series). That gives you an idea of how much I am into sports anime then and continue to watch sports anime to-date.

    There are quite a number of older sports anime that you should get a hold of to watch that was not mentioned. For example:
    – If you like Ginga e Kickoff, you should seek out out Whistle
    – If you like Area no Kishi, you should watch Aoki Densetsu Shoot and try Hungry Heart: Wild Striker too.
    – If you like Hajime no Ippo, the obvious granddaddy of sports anime, Ashita no Joe – the full enchilada.
    – If you like Yowamushi Pedal, you should seek out the short movie on realistic cycling racing, Nasu: Andalusia no Natsu.
    The suggestions of older anime above are available officially and if not, then available fansubbed in English.

  10. Need to add that if you enjoy sports anime, Fall 2016 is a veritable bonanza of sports anime (and exclamation marks! XD).

    Continuation:
    > Haikyuu!! Karasuno Koukou vs Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou (i.e. Season 3) (this was epic in the manga and now they have 1 cour to translate the epicness to anime. The adaptation has been stellar so far with great production values. Expecting Production I.G. to pull out all the stops)

    New:
    > Yuri!! on Ice (anime original, the teaser for this raised expectations through the roof, plus it was directed by Sayo Yamamoto, the one who directed the “Endless Night” short for Animator Expo)
    > All Out!!
    > Long Riders!
    > Tiger Mask W (Refreshed granddaddy sports anime on wrestling)
    > Keijo!!!!!!!! (pseudo sport but gratuitously uses exclamation marks like they are going out of fashion)

  11. P

    I’ve always like sports anime to an extent, but to be honest ever since I started following you when you wrote a small piece about Hikaru no Go (I found that post and liked your blog) I started checking out even more sports anime as you were blogging them. Found some series I wouldn’t have checked out at all (Ginga e Kickoff for example). Glad Hikaru no Go got a mention πŸ˜€

  12. HnG was definitely a revelation for me, in many ways.

  13. A

    Hey Enzo, what’s happened to Notaku? Are you guys still doing it? Loved this podcast btw, touch is my favourite sports anime and was good to see it get some love

  14. Hey, Abs. Thanks for asking – yes we are! Setsuken has been hugely busy so we have a bit of a backlog, but you’ll be seeing some posts very soon.

  15. A

    Any word on new uploads?

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