Manga is a multi-genre media source, recognized for Shounen, Shoujo, Seinen, and many different sorts. A few of the most famous manga lies in the sub-genre, one of the most celebrated of the sports manga. Although there aren’t really too many high stakes, at least in terms of the superpowers or vampires, the real obstacles the characters have to endure, and the exciting presentation of the sports really pushes the stories upwards in everyone’s minds.
This has resulted in several mangas getting a diversity of awards. And as such many have their own particular preferences about what viewers should read. So, here is our list of the best sports manga based on scores according to MyAnimeList.
Best Sports Manga: Top 10
10. Cross Game
Plot: Kou Kitamura is a 5th grader whose family manages a sporting goods store. One of the usual customers of his family’s store is the Tsukishima Batting Center. So, he gets to know the 4 daughters of the Tsukishima family (Ichiyo, Wakaba, Aoba, and Momiji) pretty well. Since Kou has spent so much time training in their batting cages, he has become a power hitter. But has no understanding of any other aspect of baseball. This contradicts Aoba, who, despite being a year younger, is a proficient pitcher and hitter. Wakaba is a classmate of Kou’s, and she seems hell-bent on marrying him when she grows up. All appear unspoiled in their world until misfortune strikes.
The story then jumps ahead to four years later; Kou has maintained the training he began four years ago but has not engaged in a baseball game since. As he eventually starts playing again, it remains to be viewed whether or not he will continue to live up to the expectations of those who identify the true skill he has been hiding all this time.
Reason to Watch: Created by Mitsuru Adachi, this sports manga is his masterpiece manga. After numerous years of creating baseball manga, it all climaxes into this. And this is truly magnificent and may have even outdone his previous great work, “Touch.”
The story shows the sport’s best phases while linking that with an excellent but also sad slice of life. Also, this details the expectations of Kou Kitamura and the essence of what Baseball is all about. If fans are yearning for a good manga about this sport, look no more. So this sits comfortably at the 10th spot of our best sports manga list.
09. Eyeshield 21
Plot: Shy, small, and often the bullies’ target, Sena Kobayakawa has just joined Deimon Private High School. When he offends a group of delinquents by denying to serve as their errand boy, he executes an astonishingly fast getaway; an ability he has acquired through years of escaping from his torturers.
Youichi Hiruma—the diabolical captain of the Deimon Devil Bats football team—happens to be close. And he recognizes Sena’s “golden legs” at work, and he compulsorily enlists him as a running back despite Sena’s passion for being the team manager. Made to wear the number 21 jersey and a unique helmet to hide his identity as a player, Sena becomes “Eyeshield 21,”; the team’s closely safeguarded secret weapon. Soon he recognizes his love for the sport. And strives to serve the Devil Bats to reach the Christmas Bowl, the high school football championship.
Reason to Watch: Having some of the most beautiful and striking art cultures of Yusuke Murata, the man accountable for making the art for the “One Punch Man” manga, “Eyeshield 21′ is a narrative about football.
Written by the very person that is currently doing Dr. Stone, readers can anticipate a sports manga around that quality. Some even consider this to be better than that. So for the reasons mentioned above, it takes the 9th spot on our best sports manga list.
08. Diamond No Ace Act II
Plot: The story observes Eijun Sawamura, a pitcher who enters an elite school with an excellent catcher named Kazuya Miyuki. Collectively with the rest of the team, they aim for Japan’s famed Koushien championships through hard work and perseverance.
Picking up the following year after completing the fall tournament, the Seidou High School baseball team fights it out with fresh and old faces as they start their tournament run at Koshien.
Reason to Watch: Yet another baseball manga, Diamond No Ace Act II, is the continuation of the first Diamond No Ace. To many fans, this is a worthy successor to the original. And it can also be debated to have become even better. Once again, this is an amazing manga to read for those that relish the sport of baseball.
Plot: Always considered lower to her elder sister, the strong-willed yet casual Chihaya Ayase has no goal of her own. An exception to her, Taichi Mashima, the son of a surgeon, is gifted yet hesitant as his stringent mother’s huge expectations crush him. She wants him to be excellent at everything. However, the stories of Chihaya and Taichi soon take a turn as they meet Arata Wataya. Arata is the new transfer student in their class.
Inspired by Arata’s desire to become the greatest at competitive karuta—a card game based on the classic collection of one hundred Japanese poets—Chihaya immediately falls in love with the game. Refusing to lose to the skilled Arata, the prideful Taichi clips along and engages himself in the game. He does this, intending to one day outdo his fated opponent. The three buddies spend their childhood training karuta every day until some circumstances force them to part with each other.
A few years later, now in high school, the trinity finds themselves rejoined through the world of competitive karuta. Alongside their newfound companions and opponents, they start on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and romance.
Reason to Watch: It’s a theatrical tale about three individuals trying to find themselves. Also, it explores various themes of life and gives an interesting flavor to them, unlike any other manga. It is considered a classic by many of its fans. And due to this nature of it, the manga grabs the 7th spot in our best sports manga list.
06. One Outs
Plot: Toua Tokuchi is a master of gambling and mind games. And he carries the extraordinary record of 499 wins and zero losses in “One Out.” It is a reduced form of baseball that consists of only a batter and a pitcher. Visiting Okinawa, Tokuchi’s hometown, is Hiromichi Kojima, the Saikyou Saitama Lycaons. It is the most vulnerable team in the Japanese baseball league. Believing of leading the Lycaons to win the championship and desperately need a replacement for their wounded pitcher during a training camp, Kojima commits himself in a game of One Out, only to fail to a normal fastball from the obviously invulnerable Tokuchi.
Stupefied by his prowess, Kojima selects Tokuchi to the team after almost avoiding defeat in a rematch. Kojima believes that he might be their solution to victory. However, the selfish owner of the Lycaons denies to give him a decent salary. And this leads to Tokuchi suggesting an unusual contract: every out he pitches will earn him five million yen, but every run he yields up will lose him fifty million yen. With his future now tied to that of the team, Tokuchi’s battle to bring the Lycaons to victory becomes yet another gamble—the very thing that he does best.
Reason to Watch: It is easy for people to dismiss this saying, “Oh, it’s another baseball manga.” But it truly isn’t just that. Unlike many other “baseball manga” we discussed before, the stakes are incredibly high here. The adrenaline rush is maximized to the fullest in this manga. If you love to be at the edge of your seat, check this out. It shouldn’t be surprising that this manga takes the 6th spot on our best sports manga list.
05. Hajime No Ippo
Plot: Makunouchi Ippo is a 16-year-old high school student who supports his mother manage the family business. His heavy workload hinders his social life, making him an obvious target for bullies. One day, while being knocked up by a gang of high school students, Ippo is rescued by Mamoru Takamura’s boxer. Then he is brought to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym.
This afterschool bullying incident turns his life upside down for the better as Ippo finds his latent talent for boxing. He also decides to exercise the sport professionally. However, Mamoru suspects Ippo’s determination and designates him a task considered impossible to complete. But the firm Ippo trains tirelessly to fulfill its mission. Along the way, he finds out what it means to achieve true strength while gaining new friends and fighting challenging foes.
Reason to Watch: Hajime No Ippo is one of the most celebrated boxing mangas ever created and continues to this day. This is definitely an amazing boxing manga that everyone should surely read. Because of its legendary status and not losing steam even after so many years, it earns a spot in our best sports manga list.
Plot: Tomomi Nomiya, once captain of his high school’s basketball team turned petty criminal, decides to leave school. After the guilt breaks him of destroying a young girl’s life in a traffic accident, he takes this decision. As he devotes his free time to help her, he stumbles upon Kiyoharu Togawa. Kiyoharu is a retired sprinter who has lost the use of his right leg. Now plays wheelchair basketball as a substitute outlet.
After challenging Kiyoharu to a one-on-one game, Tomomi is destroyed. Motivated by this confrontation, he understands that he can’t let his love for basketball perish so easily. And he decides that he will give what he can to support others while aiming to become a professional player. Meanwhile, Hisanobu Takahashi, Tomomi’s replacement as the high school’s team captain, gets into an accident. And he finds himself forever paralyzed under the waist. Real narrates these three young men’s moving tale as they fight to overcome their limitations and inner struggles to reach their goals. They do so while lighting a passion that will bring them together.
Reason to Watch: Another gem conceived by Takehiko Inoue, the man accountable for Vagabond and Slam Dunk. Real is a different direction for what is otherwise common territory for the Mangaka. Real is a moving narrative about the sport of basketball and healing. The amazing story and engaging character make this a must-read for fans of this genre. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it grabs the sweet 4th spot in our best sports manga list.
03. Ashita No Joe
Plot: Joe Yabuki is a disturbed young man who runs away from an orphanage. Roaming through the Tokyo slums, he sees the once boxing trainer Danpei. Joe is next arrested and goes to a brief jail where he fights Nishi, his eventual best friend, and head of a hooligans group. He and Nishi then go to juvenile prison lightyears away from Tokyo. There Joe meets Rikiishi, once a boxing prodigy, and a dispute develops between them. They challenge each other in a match in which Rikiishi beats Joe until Joe beats him with a cross-counter. And this results in both being knocked out. This encourages the other jail inmates to take up boxing—Joe and Rikiishi pledge to fight once again.
Reason to Watch: Ashita No Joe is not only of the best sports manga out there. But it is also regarded as one of the most celebrated boxing manga ever made. This manga is fantastic because it concentrates on boxing as a sport and from a psychological standpoint. It is an absolute triumph of manga storytelling and deserves the 3rd spot in our list.
Plot: The whistle blows. The ball is up. A dig. A set. A spike.
Volleyball. A sport where two teams face each other, divided by an intimidating, wall-like net.
The “Little Giant,” reaching only 170 cm, fights over the towering net and the defense of blockers. The mindblown Shouyou Hinata stares on at the ace’s crow-like form. Determined to achieve glorious heights like the Little Giant, small-statured Hinata ultimately manages to build a team in his final year of junior high school. And he enters his first volleyball tournament. However, his team is completely crushed in their first game against the powerhouse school Kitagawa Daiichi. The brilliant but tyrannical setter leads it dubbed the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama.
Hinata enrolls into Karasuno High School, trying to take vengeance against Kageyama in an official high school match. And he also aspires to follow in the Little Giant’s footsteps. But his plans are destroyed when he opens the gym door to see Kageyama as one of his teammates.
Now, Hinata must prove himself on the team and play with the problematical Kageyama to overcome his weaknesses. And he must fulfill his goal of making it to the top of the high school volleyball world.
Reason to Watch: Haikyuu is one of the most famous manga that is currently fully out. It does a pretty great job of raising our spirits. Also, you root for all the characters because they are gems. Taking a top spot in a list filled with greatness is not an easy job. It is a crowning achievement and deserves the 2nd spot in our best sports manga list.
01. Slam Dunk
Plot: Hanamichi Sakuragi, a towering, rowdy teenager with fiery-red hair and physical power beyond his years, is keen to put an end to his dismissal streak of 50 and ultimately get a girlfriend as he starts his first year of Shohoku High. However, his notoriety for misconduct and destructiveness precedes him. And most of his fellow students consequently avoid him like an epidemic. As his first day of school comes to an end, he is left with two powerful views: “I loathe basketball” and “I want a girlfriend.”
Haruko Akagi, unaware of Hanamichi’s misbehavior history, sees his enormous height and ignorantly approaches him. He asks him whether or not he likes basketball. Overwhelmed by the fact that a girl is talking to him, the red-haired behemoth blurts out a yes despite his true emotions. At the gym, Haruko questions if he can do a slam dunk. Though a total amateur, Hanamachi palms the ball and leaps. But he overdoes it, crashing his head into the backboard. Astonished by his near-inhuman physical abilities, Haruko immediately informs the school’s basketball captain of his act. With this, Hanamichi is startlingly pushed into a world of sport for a girl he hardly knows. But he soon realizes that there is maybe more to basketball than he previously believed.
Reason to Watch: The first-ever masterpiece created by Takehiko Inoue tops our best sports manga list. Before his work on Vagabond, Slam Dunk was what he was most known for. He truly establishes why he is a master at crafting a brilliant world with complex characters. This manga paved the way for other manga on this list, and it is an understatement. We love this from the bottom of our hearts and hope that you will too.