Five of the Best Basketball Anime

Basketball Anime You Have to See

Figure 1 Basketball is just one genre of anime and manga

There is a surprising amount of anime and manga available that uses sport as its main plot driver. Japan does not have the strongest relationship with basketball but it is a sport that is growing in popularity – and that can be seen in the anime and manga featuring hoops.

As with other genres of anime and manga, there is a lot centered on high school teams. College basketball and the NBA are not covered quite as much. Here are five basketball anime that we think you should check out.

Slam Dunk

We had to start with the anime that started the basketball craze in Japan. This romantic drama is based on Takehiko Inoue’s popular manga series from the 1990s and follows the exploits of Hanamachi, a tough guy that joins the school basketball team to impress a girl.

If you like anything to do with the 1990s, then Slam Dunk is for you. Made at the time, it uses a lot of the music from that decade and pays homage to the big players and sneakers from that time. A light-hearted plot is very enjoyable and the whole series is a perfect snapshot of the era.

Kuroko’s Basketball

This is a more modern basketball anime that is very popular and won even more fans when it was featured on Netflix. It follows the story of Kuroko, a talented young basketball player who played on one of the best teams while in junior high. But now he has moved up to high school and must face some of his former teammates.

Basketball is the main focus here, as the games are lovingly – and fairly realistically – portrayed. Each game is as exciting as the last as the viewer follows the main character on a quest to reclaim his place as a hoops star. Kuroko’s Basketball is not complex in any way and is a very enjoyable watch.

Dear Boys (Hoops Days)

If you like a little more story and drama in your basketball anime then you may want to check out Dear Boys (also known as Hoop Days). It is the story of Kazahiko, a talented basketball player who surprisingly transfers to a high school that doesn’t even have a team.

Kazahiko starts a new team at his new school with the help of the coach of the girl’s team and the story becomes one of the underdogs triumphing against all the odds. There is just one series, even though the manga that it was based on stretched to an incredible 78 volumes.

Figure 2 Basketball anime tends to concentrate on high school characters

Buzzer Beater

This is another Takahiko Inoue manga-inspired anime. But any similarities with Slam Dunk end there (apart from the basketball element, of course). This anime is set in the future where bigger, stronger aliens have arrived on Earth and have become basketball champions.

We follow the exploits of a bunch of humans who do battle against the aliens on a variety of intergalactic courts. The basketball action is surprisingly good, with exciting games between humans and aliens. There must have been something in the air when the original manga was released, as Space Jam also hit cinemas worldwide at the same time.

Ahiru no Sora

Our last must-see basketball anime is a relatively recent addition to the genre. Ahiru no Sora follows the familiar underdog trope but is different from some of the other titles we have profiled here. Sora is the hero who loves the game but is much smaller than most of his opponents.

In order to succeed, Sora recruits a team of local delinquents and forms a team to take on the competition. The action and the drama are on point and this should appeal to anyone interested in the game – especially if you are on the short side too!

About Author