top of page
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

7 Anime Shows Featuring Underrated Sports

Written by: Nicole Castro

Published on: January 4, 2022 at 16:30 PHT (GMT+8)

The power of sports anime (and friendship) is undeniable, with big hit titles like Haikyu!!, Kuroko's Basketball, Slam Dunk, and Prince of Tennis (just to name a few).

But let's step back for a second and set aside the popular sports like basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Maybe it's time to find a new sport that sets our hearts on fire?

1. Kabaddi: Burning Kabaddi

Season: Spring 2021

The Sport: Kabaddi is a contact team sport that was introduced about 4000 years ago in Tamil Nadu, India. It is played between two teams of seven players and the objective is for a single player on offence, referred to as a "raider," to run into the opposing team's half of a court, touch out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath.

Points are scored for each player tagged by the raider, while the opposing team earns a point for stopping the raider. Players are taken out of the game if they are touched or tackled, but are brought back in for each point scored by their team from a tags or tackle.

The Plot: Tatsuya Yoigoshi is a first-year student at Noukin High School who has abandoned his love for sports after constantly being put on a pedestal as a national-level soccer player. One day, Souma Azemichi, a first-year on the kabaddi team, seeks to recruit Yoigoshi. After much coercion from Azemichi and the other kabaddi members, Yoigoshi agrees to join the team and revives his love for sport.

2. Parkour and relay racing: Prince of Stride: Alternative

Season: Winter 2016

The Sports:

Parkour is a training discipline where practitioners (called traceurs) move from one place to another in a complex environment, without assisting equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. With roots in military obstacle course training and martial arts, parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, and quadrupedal movement—whatever is suitable for the situation.

A relay race is a racing competition where members of a team take turns completing parts of a racecourse or performing a certain action. It is a track-and-field sport consisting of a set number of stages (legs), usually four, each leg run by a different member of a team.

The Plot: "Stride" is a [fictional] extreme sport that combines parkour, free running, relay, and sprinting and is what made first year high school student Nana Sakurai enroll in Honan Academy, as she was captivated by the school's stride team. However, she finds out that the school's stride club is no longer active due to a lack of members and is now operating under the shogi club.

In order to revive the stride club, Nana and Takeru Fujiwara recruit first year Riku Yagami, a fast runner who is interested in almost every sport. With this new team, their goal is to bring the Honan stride team back to their prime and win the prestigious End of Summer competition.

3. Water polo: RE-MAIN

Season: Summer 2021

The Sport: Water polo is a competitive team sport played in water between two teams of seven players each. The game consists of four quarters in which the two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team's goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the match. Each team is made up of six field players and one goalkeeper. Excluding the goalkeeper, players participate in both offensive and defensive roles.

The Plot: When Minato Kiyomizu wakes up in a hospital, he learns that he has been in a coma for 203 days due to a car accident. As a result, he has lost all memories of his middle school days when he was known as the strongest water polo player. His current self is nowhere near his previous self's level of athletic skill, but even with his new life at Yamanami High School he finds himself relearning water polo with a new set of team members.

4. Cycling: Yowamushi Pedal

Seasons: Season 1 (Fall 2013), Season 2 (Fall 2014), Season 3 (Winter 2017), Season 4 (Winter 2018), Season 5 (Fall 2022)

The Sport: Cycling as a sport is engaging in competitive physical activity using bicycles. There are several categories of bicycle racing including road bicycle racing, cyclo-cross, mountain bike racing, track cycling, BMX, and cycle speedway.

Road racing is the most popular professional form of bicycle racing, and the two most common competition formats are mass start events (where riders start simultaneously and race to a set finish point) and time trials (where individual riders or teams race a course alone against the clock). Stage races or "tours" take multiple days, and consist of several mass-start or time-trial stages ridden consecutively.

The Plot: Sakamichi Onoda is a cheerful otaku looking to join his new school's anime club. However, he finds the club has disbanded and takes it upon himself to recruit new members by making a round trip to Akihabara on his old bicycle. This is when he meets fellow first year student, Shunsuke Imaizumi, a determined cyclist who is using the school's steep incline for practice. Surprised by Onoda's ability to climb the hill with his specific type of bicycle, Imaizumi challenges him to a race, with the proposition of joining the anime club should Onoda win.

News Flash! Season 5 of Yowamushi Pedal airs in October 2022.

5. Dancesport/Competitive ballroom dancing: Welcome to the Ballroom

Season: Summer 2017