Anime Vice News

One Fan’s Opinion: Why Don’t Americans Like Sports Anime?

I don’t get it, sport’s anime should be loved by all.

Face it, sports anime in the west, especially in America just doesn’t sell. South and Central America enjoys some sports anime, like Captain Tsubasa, mainly because it aired on televisions sets during the eighties, teaching kids to enjoy sports in an animated form. But America wasn’t so lucky, keeping fans in the dark about the genre until much later in their lives. This can’t be it though, there has to be something more.
 


Now I’m about to make a broad assumption here, but I think it rings true in this situation. Most anime fans do not like sports. They do not watch professional sports on television, or play in organized sports with friends and family. This is perhaps the reasoning behind why most anime fans do not like sports anime; but I believe it is just the tip of the iceberg.

I believe it is hard for Americans to associate sports with fiction, since the vast majority of sports data an average person encounters throughout the day is based on real life events, it is somewhat difficult to take a fictional story serious. Even live-action fictional sports shows in America are few and far between; the only chance most Americans get to experience this genre is in movie theaters. In other countries, like Japan, and most of South America, this isn’t a problem because people grew up experiencing fictional sports stories on a weekly and daily basis.

I personally am not a fan of any real life sport, and I certainly do not participate in them, yet I love sports anime. In some cases, the sport is not even important, similar to ninja’s in Naruto, or pirates in One Piece. If you removed ninja’s from Naruto and put something else in its place would it be the same story? Most likely. I feel sports anime are the same way, especially for the ones that are over-the-top and unrealistic, like Eyeshield 21 and Prince of Tennis. For beginners, I recommend starting with one of those series if you are interested.

What I’m trying to preach here is to give sports anime a chance, and don’t throw away just because you either hate sports, or have a bad history with sports because the football team covered you in honey and threw handfuls of army ants at you. (It didn’t happen to me, I swear!) Give sports a chance!
Dream moderator on May 27, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.
And as another recommendation, also try out Cross Game. The series balances together focus on the developments of the Seishu baseball team as they try to make it to the national high school championships at Koshien with believable focus on the training and preparations made by the teams, as well as the subtle coming-of-age developments of major characters Koh and Aoba as the two come to grips with the loss of someone they deeply cared for long ago.
Boddingtonon May 27, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.
Man, this is an issue that's always bugged me. Not only because most sports anime are generally entertaining and contain positive messages, but also because if ever there was a way to bridge the gap between the geek and jock social circles this would be the way.
Karasuon May 27, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.
I think the answer is that in the US, sports are for jocks and cartoons are for geeks and never the twain shall meet.
If I see a sport in the show's description, my brain immediately shuts down. I've watched several dorama loosely about things I don't care about, like tennis or stewardesses, but I'd have a lot of trouble starting an anime series about a sport.
Lemegeton300on May 27, 2010 at 12:25 p.m.
sports fiction has been pretty common over in the UK and Ireland for as long as i can remember. most of them were based around football/soccer. i love and play sports and i watch anime. i am probably the exception. i am sure most of my teammates have no clue about anime
Naruto79on May 27, 2010 at 12:48 p.m.
Sports fiction that emphasizes the action has not been popular in the US on a regular basis. While I did enjoy animes such as The Prince of Tennis, it is not gonna cross over. Especially when it comes to sports such as basketball, football and to a lesser extent baseball.
N15PCAon May 27, 2010 at 1:59 p.m.

I Iove sports and sports anime.  I think their even a smaller niche within sports anime is girl sports anime.  I have all the DVD's to princess nine.  I also really like watching Taishō Baseball Girls as well. 
 
I watch some of Eyeshield 21, but I couldn't anymore.  I know it's from Japan, but they keep getting things wrong.  I don't how a high school football legaue would go in Japan and all, but if you lose one regluar season game dosen't mean that you can play play the rest of your games.  That only happens in the playoffs.  It's just like the first Temco bowl game from the NES. 
 
Big windup was ok show.  I might give that one another chance.
Alexison May 27, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.
Along with mecha, sports is my favorite genre. I've watched most there is to see. And I am major fan of Major (what a great pun that makes). In my country we don't have baseball, I didn't know anything about the sport and still all I know is from anime, but I still enjoyed it immensely. I love the positivism in the genre as whole. There are rarely "bad guys". It's all about overcoming adversaries and becoming a better sportsman and person and it really appeals to me. There are some awesome series like Initial D (apart from the trade mark bad CGI that makes a kitten die each time it shows on screen), Major, Cross Game (though the last one is by far more a slice of life than sports). There are the entertaining yet otherwise mediocre anime like The Prince of Tenis, Hikaru no Go, Yakitate Japan and there are those that are a bit more strange like Saki (yay! for shoujo-ai)and Shion no Ou (some murder mystery thrown in).
 
Yeah, I basically watch pretty much anything (or at least try and check if it would fit my tastes) sports. I even took a chance with Inazuma Eleven and its target audience is probably kids form 5 to 10 at most.
 
Damn, I strongly recomend the genre to anyone who feels like relaxing with something that takes little to no thought.
agila61on May 27, 2010 at 6:26 p.m.
Giant Killing has a promising start. Those who watch it by mysterious means will know better where it is going with that start, since it started legit streaming in the US at CR in week 8, with week 1 and 8 up last week, released to ad-stream this Sunday, and episodes 2-7 supposed to go up over the next two or three weeks as they get them subtitled.
 
Gaseroon May 27, 2010 at 7:18 p.m.
I think it may be because it is not as fun to get loud and drunk while watching sports anime than it is to watch an actual sports match with buddies. I have always theorized that if it wasn't a pastime to get drink/tailgate during a sports game then the popularity would greatly falter
Ryokanon May 27, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.

Ddin't know about this issue between sport and geeks in america. 
 
Here in Europa, it's more a matter of which sport is popular : Captain Tsubasa's success has been skyrocketting in his own time, but that was mainly because Soccer is the most popular sport here. 
 
In comparison, Eyeshield 21 has only been brought here two or three years ago, and had a limited success.
Charagonon May 28, 2010 at 7:40 a.m.
Here's the thing. I'm not particularly interested in sports, but if I was there are a whole score of ways for me to watch them. I don't need anime for that.
 
 
And on the idea that the story of these shows can be pretty much identical whether it's about ninja or tennis players, if given the choice between the two I'm going to pick ninjas every time.
agila61on May 28, 2010 at 10:17 a.m.
@Charagon said:
" And on the idea that the story of these shows can be pretty much identical whether it's about ninja or tennis players, if given the choice between the two I'm going to pick ninjas every time. "
OK, First soccer players on a club battling relegation, then ninjas, then tennis players. And you can add as many as you want, tennis players are likely to be near the end of the list. 
Gozertcon May 28, 2010 at 10:02 p.m.

There are many great sports Manga out there and Anime as well.  I have to recommend EVERYTHING by Adachi Mitsuru.  Most of his stories are connected to sports, yet don't have to revolve around sports.  From Boxing to Baseball (mostly baseball) he tells wonderful sports stories that aren't always sports heavy.  Eyeshield 21 is fun, but as a football fan/player I've always been a bit annoyed by some of the total fake plays and activities.  There's a limit to my "suspension of belief" after all.  Though I do love FUNRABA! (I think that's how it's spelled. :) )  
 
By and large I think that's my biggest problem with sports anime.  The Sports.  While I'm not an avid sports watcher (except US Football.  I have to be specific thanks to all our international friends. ;) ) I do understand the rules to pretty much every major sport out there.  Which means when you gloss over the rules or do something completely wrong as shown in the real game you break that "disbelief" line for me.  It's a fine line to be sure, but it's there.   
 
OH!  Check out SLAM DUNK! It's a fun one as well, that makes fun of the main character not knowing/following the rules. :)  
AgentJon May 29, 2010 at 1:59 a.m.
IMO the art in most of them is just unattractive. Eyeshield fixed that and i love the manga series. Prince of Tennis was that series for lots of people. In other words it just has to be pretty. 
BrandonElliotton May 30, 2010 at 3:09 p.m.
I don't tend to watch sports anime because they are so predictable normally. And there for boring.
Catolfon June 2, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.
I liked Prince of Tennis
 
I normally don't like sports but sports anime is fun and I do genuinely like a few. But i see the reason for it not selling well over hear, we'd rather ecchi/ moe or a lot of hack and slashy action.. sad but true.
ZombiePieon Dec. 14, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.
They are all written like the Bad News Bears a lot of the time is the problem.

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