Top 10 worst things about sports anime

While there are some successful sports anime series, there are definitely some drawbacks within the genre. There has been no sports anime that has gained popularity like many anime in the action/adventure, fantasy, or isekai genres. This can be attributed to many different factors.

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It’s hard to create a unique story through sports, but some things have become so common that they become repetitive and annoying. So the possibilities for character development and stories are closed due to the structure of the show. Until some of these things are fixed or expanded, there won’t be much progression in the genre.

10 There are always main characters who have a special ability

Kuroko's Ignite Pass Kai

This seems to be the most used trope in all sports anime. An undersized athlete starts high school and is looked down upon until he shows whatever ability he has that sets him apart from his classmates.

While this is not a bad concept, it is overused. The only positive thing about this trope is that normally that character’s ability is the only thing he can do better than most people. This means that the audience can see them develop as players throughout the show while using their specialty to help them do so.

9 Time doesn’t pass normally

Whether it’s mid-game conversations, mid-air explanations, or running some distance, the clock seems to stop during certain parts of the game, especially in the important moments. for example in Haikyuu!!, Kageyama climbs up a spike and is interrupted by Shoya Hinata. Kageyama has time to land, realize who Hinata is, and react before the ball finally lands on his head.

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It’s hard to believe that people have entire conversations in 24 seconds or have time to explain a major on-air move to the opposing team. Sure, some of the audience might need the explanation, but it’s still highly unrealistic.

8 Predictability Hurts Tension in Games

Sakuragi catches the rebound in Slam Dunk

Frequently, the protagonist’s team does not lose in tournaments, and these tournaments usually make up the majority of the anime’s plot. This removes all the excitement, tension and suspense as the viewer gets to guess who will win.

Whether it’s the big leagues or small games, the protagonists rarely lose games. If they lose a tournament game, it is usually in a double elimination format or point system. There should be less predictability in sports anime to make games more exciting, no one wants to know which team is going to win before the game starts.

7 There isn’t much character development outside of sports

all rugby anime

Understandably, most sports anime revolve exclusively around sports. If team players are seen off the court, field, or outside the arena, they are often still in the presence of their teammates. If not, they are more likely to sleep in class, practice alone, or travel.

Because of this, character development outside of the sports world is non-existent. This limits the types of lessons characters can learn. While the characters may know sportsmanship and commitment, they may struggle with relationships and school. These characters typically don’t have friends outside of their club, which isn’t always beneficial to the overall story.

6 Some things are just unrealistic in realistic sports anime

Murisakibara looms over Seirin

It’s fine for a character to have an ability that makes them stand out from the rest of the competition, but there should be some limits when it comes to these abilities. Abilities that make a character superhuman (compared to the other characters) in an otherwise ordinary show need to be toned down.

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There are too many cases where characters have a fully mastered and almost unstoppable skill or ability. It almost looks like his character was taken from an action or superhero anime and transferred into a sports anime.

5 Repeated formatting throughout the genre gets old

Iwatobi swim team celebrates for free

The repeated format of the main character entering high school, proving himself to his new team and peers, and entering a tournament is used too often. There should be more sports anime showing the professional leagues instead of the high school level of the sport.

Doing this would open up so many more stories and relationship opportunities. There are not many chances of relationship with press, fans and personal administrators in high school. However, the struggle of a player trying to turn pro would be more interesting.

4 Sometimes the entertainment aspect of the sport itself is not present

Seidou vs. Akikawa

Maybe it’s lazy animation or just poor behind-the-scenes decisions, but sometimes the fun of watching the sport disappears entirely. For example, a character can make a layup and the scene cuts to the ball that just went into the basket. A smooth shot would be much better. Even focusing on player interactions instead of gameplay can get tedious and distract from the actual gameplay.

3 Coaches and managers generally do not contribute much to the team

Coach Takeda giving advice to Hinata and Kageyama to Haikyu

The protagonist’s team usually has a manager or coach who contributes a lot and is critical to the team’s success. However, when it comes to other equipment, this is not the case at all.

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When the protagonist faces a strong antagonist, it seems that the antagonist is the one in control of the team’s training. They can even tell the coach when to substitute people or what plays to use. This can happen sometimes at the professional level, but would rarely happen at the high school level.

two Relationships between characters outside of sports are non-existent

yuri on ice

As a result of sports anime focusing so much on sports, there aren’t many scenes that follow the daily lives of the protagonists. This makes relationships with classmates, authority figures, parents, siblings, and love interests almost non-existent.

This point of view shows an unrealistic lifestyle of a high school athlete. Not all athletes only socialize with their teammates, they may be members of a school club, have friends from other classes, or even have friends they grew up with and attended the same school. If sports anime were to explore this aspect of the characters’ lives, more characters could be present in the story and more drama could be added to the show.

1 All antagonists think they’re unstoppable

Akashi using the eye of the emperor in Last Game

An antagonist, especially one with superhuman abilities, always thinks they are unbeatable. They believe that they can compete alone and win without their teammates. They also tend to take over a game while their team is struggling.

Every once in a while, it would be nice to see a humble antagonist who trusts their team to get the job done and share opportunities with them properly. Unfortunately, that is not how it turns out. The ego of the antagonists takes over the entire game and usually ends with the team going down, a predictable way to beat the antagonists.

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