Soccer/football is the most popular sport on the planet and likewise, football anime and manga have a distinct place in the community. There is just something about the whole idea of the game that draws people in.
Over the past few years, a number of football-oriented anime and manga have appeared, each envisioned in different ways by a number of authors. Each one is unique in its perpective of the game. One of the most popular football anime of recent times would be Blue Lock. The anime uses real-life football players to show and explain the game.
Captain Tsubasa, Ao Ashi, Giant Killing, and four other football anime and manga to tune into during the FIFA World Cup 2022
1) Captain Tsubasa
Arguably one of the most famous football anime and manga, Captain Tsubasa is one to watch. Written and illustrated by Yoichi Takahashi, the series follows the story of a young boy named Tsubasa. He dreams of one day winning the FIFA World Cup with Japan.
From a young age, Tsubasa wowed everyone with his speed, stamina, dribbling skills, and shotpower. Soon, he gained a mentor named Roberto Hongo, and thus began his journey. The manga has been in circulation since 1981 and has sold over 80 million copies.
2) Inazuma Eleven
Written by Katsuhito Akiyama, another popular football anime that has a manga and video game adaptation is Inazuma Eleven. The series focuses on the adventures of Raimon Middle School's soccer club. With the club upset, Mamoru Endou must take control and change their fortunes.
As the story progresses, he realizes he needs help fixing the club and brings in companions to help him do so.
3) Sayonara Football
Not a football anime but a film and originally a manga series, Sayonara Football is all thanks to Noashi Arakawa. Receiving quite a high anime ranking, the series follows girls' soccer and highlights the problems that women face in sports.
Nothing short of a masterpiece, it centers around Nozomi Onda, who loves soccer. But she is faced with issues like physically superior opponents in official matches. Nozomi grows more confident with the story and decides to keep striving for her goals.
4) Ao Ashi
Ao Ashi is a football anime adapted from a manga series written by Yugo Kobayashi. The anime aired in April 2022, and garnered a substantial fan following. The story follows Ashito Aoi, a star player of his junior high team. Unfortunately, an outburst led to him being kicked off the team.
Following his removal, the team falls apart, and he starts to question himself. Fortune smiles upon him when a coach recognizes his potential and invites him to Tokyo to hone his skills.
5) Giant Killing
Giant Killing is Masaya Tsunamoto's manga, adapted into a football anime later. It is based on a Japanese soccer club called East Tokyo United. Struggling badly with football and barely avoiding relegation, they opt to bring in a new coach as a last resort.
The new coach, Tatsumi Takeshi, must deal with getting the club on the right track and standing up to clubs with bigger budgets. Past events from Takeshi's life made him someone who was not liked by fans.
6) Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
Hungry Heart: Wild Striker is a well-known football anime series based on the manga series by Yoichi Takahashi. Beginning in September 2002, the series ended a year later with a total of 52 episodes.
Kano Kyosuke, a high school student who transferred to Jyoyo Orange High School, takes center stage in this story. Kyosuke's older brother, Seisuke, is a prominent footballer for A.C. Milan. Seisuke was instrumental in teaching his younger brother everything about the game.
However, being compared to his brother led to him losing interest in football. After meeting Tsujiwaki Miki at his new school, Kyosuke's love for the game is reinvigorated, and things begin to change.
7) Farewell, My Dear Cramer
Beginning serialization in the Monthly Shonen Magazine in 2016, Farewell, My Dear Cramer serves as the sequel to Sayonara Football. The manga later received an anime adaptation in 2021.
The sequel tells the story of Sumire Suo and Midori Soshizaki, who joined Warabi Seinan High School. The two took it upon themselves to improve the school team's performance in competitions. With ex-Nadeshiko Japan player Naoko Nomi as their new coach, they take their stand against nationally-ranked school soccer teams.