CalAggie (Level 15)

looking forward to the World Cup starting next month
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The discussion topic of the past week has been the sales of Big Windup being not satisfactory enough for Funimation to pursue bringing over the second season, which debuts in Japan this spring. I wonder if this would be as widely reported if it hadn't come from a news website's podcast and even written up as a story on that same website. Perhaps it still would because the show seemed to well-received by online critics.
What initially irked me as a genuine lover of real sport is the extrapolation that sports anime in general isn't popular in America. That may be partly because of the stereotypical anime fan or geek being disinterested in sports (because it's "boring", they had bad experiences with high school social circles or whatever) but I know a few bloggers who watch soccer & American football so it's not an absolute. Still feels like a minority of the overall fandom, though. I suppose I can be fine with that - it allows me to act like I'm rebelling against the old view of geeks/nerds - but I wish it weren't so. 
I personally have only watched the first few episodes of Windup so I don't have a good opinion about it - I thought it was okay so far. (The chatter has caused me to put the series at the top of my rental queue - if I like it afterward, then I'll buy it.) I've mostly given up on significant blind purchases of anime because I view it as more of a collector thing... and because I didn't have an actual paying job until last month. Manga is thankfully different because I can give a series a chance with its first volume for $8-13 and continue with whatever clicks with me.
(Right Stuf is currently having a Funimation sale until the 18th so if *you* want to buy Big Windup and show some support for it, each $59.98 box set would be discounted 40% to $36.)
Back to sports anime in America: on a previous ANNCast, once-Geneon employee Chad Kime said Hajime no Ippo (a.k.a. Fighting Spirit) bombed. They took the risk because "the core anime market was really impacted". Chad came to the conclusion that "anime fans are too passive to get into sports shows". Justin & Zac chimed in that sports ficition in general doesn't too well in the US and that's fairly true - there aren't very many sports movies not entrenched in an inspirational story arc. (Reminder to self: why have you started Friday Night Lights yet?)
My base of experience in sports anime & manga is limited - 2 episodes of Big Windup, 8 episodes into Cross Game, three into One Outs (haven't gone back), slowly acquiring Princess Nine on DVD, Naked Wolves (sumo), and a few episodes of Prince of Tennis. (Note how many of these are baseball-centric...) I want to start reading sports manga such as Crimson Hero (volleyball), Diamond Girl (baseball) when it comes out from CMX in April, Whistle! (soccer), and Eyeshield 21 (football) - although I'll probably watch Eyeshield on CR first. I guess Slam Dunk (basketball) is on CR as well.
Finally, I've seen a few comments on various stories asking if Bamboo Blade counted as sports anime. I would lean toward "yes" because it involves physical activity and competition but it also has a lot of character-focused comedy and doesn't have the same feel as a team-focused series. Yawara is more definitely a "yes" since judo is an Olympic category and though Kaleido Star has gymnastic displays, it's more about creating a circus spectacle so I'm guessing "no". 
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