Haikyuu!! is one of the best sports anime ever created. The characters are complex in subtle ways, the animation is considerably fluid, and the subject matter is easily digestible. Viewers don't have to know anything about volleyball to appreciate the series.
The best sports animes know how to connect to different audiences, mainly through really good choreography and a colorful array of characters. The most successful examples follow a similar formula to Haikyuu!!.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views. The anime are listed in no particular order.
Run with the Wind, Kuroko's Basketball and 6 other sports anime that Haikyuu!! fans may appreciate
1) Ping Pong the Animation
In Ping Pong the Animation, a bunch of childhood friends join a tennis club, but they must face each other eventually.
Admittedly, the art style might not be for everybody. Nonetheless, there is not a single wasted motion in this series. Every single frame transitions smoothly, even when the action is starting to pick up. Fluid animation is a basic necessity for any sports anime.
This series is also a mature take on the coming-of-age story, which makes it darker than Haikyuu!!. Regardless, fans should definitely take a risk and give this anime a chance. There are some very familiar tropes that fans can appreciate, such as analytical breakdowns and intense gameplay moments.
Tsurune deals with subject matter that resonates with its younger audiences. A high schooler tries to overcome self-doubt, so he distracts himself with his favorite pastimes. In this case, he tests out his archery skills and joins a team.
The main character must also compete in high-profile tournaments and learn to cope with pressure, not unlike Shoyo Hinata in Haikyuu!!. There are several lessons that can be learned just by watching this anime.
Archery is a very underrated sport in the real world. Most viewers would associate it with elves in a fantasy land. In this anime, archery is made relatable through a modern setting. Viewers may find a new appreciation for this sport.
3) Run with the Wind
Run with the Wind deals with track and field activities, which are among the most common sports in high school. Some viewers will likely have experience with it. Regardless, it's still relatable to a wider audience, even if they despise running.
The anime revolves around a ragtag team of misfits. The vast majority of these players have never competed in a relay marathon. Nonetheless, they must grow together with their experiences.
Haikyuu!! fans will definitely identify with this underdog team. It's always easy to root for the darkhorse candidates.
The series also invokes comedy and mischief to lighten up the mood. It's very easy viewing for people who just want to relax and not have to worry about anything.
4) Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
Fan service is readily apparent in this swimming anime. However, there is a lot more content when scratching below the surface.
Like Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama from Haikyuu!!, the main characters in Free! have to renovate their entire sports team. By doing so, they develop good relationships with their new friends. In many ways, it's like a slice-of-life anime.
Free! uses a crisp and clear art style that makes everything stand out, especially the water. It's the perfect anime to watch during the hot summer. The nice contrast of colors really makes it stand out, even when compared to Haikyuu!!.
5) Ace of Diamond
Baseball has always been a popular sport in Japan and the United States. Ace of Diamond is produced by Madhouse, yet another powerful giant in the animation industry. Viewers will certainly enjoy the flashy colors.
Ace of Diamond focuses on a main character with a very special ability, like Shoyo Hinata in Haikyuu!!. Both of them stand out in their respective sports and came from a high school with a very poor reputation.
This is a very underrated anime, sort of like a sparkling gem in a patch of dirt. Ace of Diamond shouldn't be given a quick pass so easily.
6) Yuri on Ice
Yuri on Ice is produced by MAPPA, so viewers can expect the highest quality animation. This series focuses on ice skaters dealing with career anxieties. It even features choreography done by real-life professionals.
There is a large female demographic for this series, given the strong focus on bishounen male characters. This series also provides a rather healthy depiction of LGBTQ characters, which many fans will appreciate.
7) Kuroko's Basketball
Very few sports anime have the competitive nature of Haikyuu!!. Kuroko's Basketball captures the essence of Haikyuu!! with intense movement and high-stakes matches. When the game gets going, it really gets going.
This anime focuses on a high school basketball team, whose main goal is to participate in a national tournament. This is a recurring theme in sports anime, but there is no reason to fix what isn't broken. Competition is part of human nature, especially in a high school setting.
Unlike the Slam Dunk series, Kuroko's Basketball leans towards entertainment. Some of the characters can even use special moves, sort of like a shonen. There is an inherent silliness to it, but that's what makes it appealing to anime fans. The flashiness will definitely capture the attention of Haikyuu!! fans.
8) Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk may be yet another basketball anime, but it absolutely deserves a spot on this list. The series has left behind a huge legacy for sports anime, which also includes Haikyuu!!. It's on the older side, but the anime is worth a watch just for its historical importance.
To put its popularity into perspective, its manga sales were the seventh-highest in history. With over 170 million copies sold, Slam Dunk is placed above Bleach, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Attack on Titan. Keep in mind that these stories went on for far longer.
Slam Dunk is known for its strong visual flow and competitive high school spirit, similar to Haikyuu!!. Even the main characters aren't sudden experts in their respective sports. Hanamichi Sakuragi, like Shoyo Hinata, trains very hard to achieve his goals.
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