With sports anime as popular as ever, you may be on the lookout for anime about specific sports that you’re interested in or that you yourself are a player of. Today I’m gonna show you some of the best basketball anime out there.
Some of these basketball anime are one the most known sports anime out there and one of them could have even caused the spark the launched sports anime into the fame it’s in today. But with such big roles to fill, there are lots of basketball anime that have fallen to the wayside, not garnering as much popularity as their big brothers.
Most of the people reading this could probably only name 2-3 basketball anime off the top of their heads. And those are the ones that have made it big. So I’d love to show off some lesser-known ones.
So, here are 10 of these shows (both big and small) that are worth giving a watch if you’re a fan of basketball.
I’ll / Crazy Kouzu Basketball Club or I’ll/CKBC (I can’t figure out what the title means either), is an anime that circles around the Naruto/Sasuke dynamic. Two friends and teammates working together at the start but get separated and have to fight each other.
Akane Tachibana and Hitonari Hiiragi are those two characters. They used to play on the same basketball team in Kouzu High School until Hiiragi gets scouted by a school with a more competitive team and transfers.
Soon, however, their paths will cross once more in the court where their resolves for their decisions get tested.
I’ll/CKBC is a short anime with only 2 episodes. It has its flaws but I could see that some effort was put into the show and it’s not that long so you might as well give it a try if you’ve got an hour of free time.
9. Dash! Kappei
We’ll move on to something lighter. Kappei Sakamoto is a 16-year-old boy that’s really short for his age (less than a meter tall). No need to feel sorry for him though as this kid has incredible athletic talent that allows him to excel in any sport, he takes part in.
This time it’s basketball, but it’s probably not for the reasons you may be thinking. His main motivation is that he loves white panties and finds out that the team’s coach wears them.
Here’s a show that’s very unlike anything else on this list or just anything in sports anime in general. A lot of the time, it doesn’t take itself seriously, Kappei even grows taller when he gets “serious”. There’s also a talking dog that explains the rules of whatever new sport Kappei is playing. Because anime.
Also, not every episode is even about basketball as Kappei actually tries out for a bunch of sports and just shines in every single one of them. But if you want a different take on basketball and sports anime in general (and want to get a good laugh while you’re at it), Dash! Kappei’s wacky style might just be the show for you.
8. Barangay 143
Bren Park is a South Korean basketball player who is in search of his biological father in the Philippines.
Roberto “Bobby” Sebastian Sr. is a basketball coach who is still grieving the murder of his son two years ago.
Little do these two know, they’re fated to meet and revive each other’s long-lost passion for the sport of basketball.
Though technically not an anime as the show is made in the Philippines, Barangay 143 is obviously anime-inspired with its art, animation, and storytelling. Aside from there not being a Japanese version (it’s only subbed from Filipino to English), it’s honestly fairly similar to a lot of anime I’ve seen.
A lot of the basketball anime you’ll see are just people playing the sport, but this one is… more than meets the eye.
Japan does love to throw in some incredibly unforeseen twists in the stuff it makes. In this case, the twist is that basketball is played by mechs. No, you are not having a fever dream (the show’s creators on the other hand…).
The anime follows Dan JD and his story about getting caught in one of Earthdash’s newest and craziest past times: Bigfoot Basketball (BFB) where robots called Bigfoots play a sport that closely resembles basketball.
As wacky as the premise might sound, Basquash! Is actually surprisingly well made. And a fresh new way of watching basketball in anime.
6. Buzzer Beater
While we’re on a roll of wild and crazy takes on basketball, here’s one that’s about humans playing b-ball with literal aliens from outer space. I mean hey, Inazuma 11 showed us football with aliens and Yu-Gi-Oh! has shown us card games vs aliens so why not?
Aliens with their superior physiques have dominated the sport of basketball and have driven professional human players to near extinction. Hideyoshi however, gets drafted into the first professional human basketball team to ever make it into the Space-League. Can they take back the sport for the sake of humanity?
Buzzer Beater is a great basketball anime if you can get over its wacky concept (or maybe that’s a plus for you too, I love the concept).
5. Dear Boys
Now let’s get back down to Earth, Dear Boys has a more grounded theme to it that you’ll find easier to get into. Aikawa Kazuhiko, the former captain of Tendoji high’s basketball team leaves town and transfers schools.
To everyone’s surprise, he picks Mizuho high school. A school that doesn’t really care much for the sport. So much so that its basketball team is now all but abandoned. Aikawa, with his strong love for basketball, will have to get the school’s team back up on its feet and in a competitive state if he wants to keep playing himself.
The plot to this kind of reminds me of the 3rd season of Major (a baseball anime) where Honda moves to a new school that doesn’t even have a functioning baseball club and has to build it up from scratch. So maybe I’m biased but I really like it.
4. Ahiru No Sora
Sora Kurumatani enters Kuzuryuu with high spirits and expectations, wanting to prove everyone wrong that even though he was short, he had what it takes to competitively play basketball.
His hopes are dashed, however, when he finds out that Kuzuryuu’s basketball club turned out to be nothing more than a place where delinquents hung out. Not willing to give up, however, he is determined to do whatever it takes to make the team good enough to compete in tournaments.
The newest addition to the block, Ahiru No Sora is an anime that aired from late 2019 to 2020 and has the most to prove out of all the anime on this list. Thankfully, the show didn’t let fans down.
A fascinating anime, Breakers actually features other para-athletic sports (like goalball and paralympic swimming) aside from just wheelchair basketball. They show all the ways the para-athletes play them as well as the struggles they each go through.
The concept in and of itself is already incredibly interesting and touching, I’m so glad that the presentation turned out great too.
Some people have complained about the show’s CGI though, so if that bothers you, it is what it is. But I didn’t find it that bad at all, and the regular 2D animation, art, characters, and plot are just too good to pass up for something like that. For me at least.
2. Slam Dunk
The show centers around the fierce redhead Hanamichi Sakuragi who has a strong desire for women and a strong hatred for basketball.
He soon finds out that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, as he gets approached by a girl, but the only reason she approaches him is because she thinks he knows how to play basketball. Though initially hating it, the sport soon grows on Sakuragi as he gets more and more skilled at it and as he learns to work with his teammates.
Slam Dunk is one of the all-time classics of sports anime and is a show that’s getting some traction even to this day.
Here’s an more in-depth review of Slam Dunk for those of you lovers of the classics.
1. Kuroko’s Basketball
With Japan’s high school basketball at its all-time high, all eyes are on the greatest players. All five of them are from Teikou Junior High and are dubbed the Generation of Miracles. This all changed though when all five of them decided to split up and go to different schools, now considering each other as rivals.
And unknown to most, the Generation of Miracles actually has a sixth “phantom” member. Someone who can move across the court unnoticed and pass the ball perfectly to whichever teammate will benefit from it the most. And his name is JOHN CENA Tetsuya Kuroko.
Of course, you knew this was coming, it was always going to be either Kuroko or Slam Dunk that was gonna take the top spot. I honestly believe it all comes down to preference with these two, some people prefer Slam Dunk’s more realistic take on the sport while others prefer the more colorful and almost super power-y world of basketball the Kuroko’s has.
Whichever your preference, Kuroko definitely sits at the top of popularity when it comes to basketball anime today. And that’s with both western and eastern audiences.
Speaking of super powers, ever wondered what the life of My Hero Academia’s greatest hero is like? Well, here’s all you need to know about Toshinori Yagi AKA All Might!