Haikyū!! is a manga written and drawn by Haruichi Furudate. It was published from February 2012 to July 2020 and was compiled into a total of forty-five volumes. An anime television series adaptation produced by Production I.G studio aired between April and September 2014, followed by a second season between October 2015 and March 2016, and a third season between October and December 2016. A fourth season aired between January 2020 and December 2020. As far as sports anime go, Haikyū!! is undoubtedly one of the biggest titles you’ll find and that is why we have decided to dedicate this article to the show.
To honor the epicness and legacy of Haikyū!! for the sports anime genre, we have decided to compose a list of the best anime series like Haikyū!! that every fan needs to see. The list is going to include a total of 15 different titles which resemble the Haikyū!! anime in one way or the other.
1. Kuroko’s Basketball
Original Run: April 7, 2012 – June 30, 2015
Number of Episodes: 75 (+3 OVA)
The story takes place in contemporary Japan. The Teikō Junior High basketball team rose to distinction by demolishing basketball teams within Japan, winning the junior high Nationals for three consecutive years. Teikō’s last basketball team, in particular, was made up of extraordinary players who towered above all others in such a way that they have been called the Generation of Miracles. They are Ryōta Kise (who can copy every move directly), Shintarō Midorima (a 3-point expert whose range is the entire field of play), Daiki Aomine (a gifted technician with great athleticism), Atsushi Murasakibara (a huge center and defensive expert with very quick reflexes) and the team captain Seijūrō Akashi (who can foresee almost every move and throw the opponent off the shelf with his game). All five now play at different high schools.
However, there was also a sixth player, who was respected by the Generation of Miracles and who was used repeatedly in games. It’s Tetsuya Kuroko, who couldn’t keep up with the other five players athletically and technically, but turned out to be a brilliant passer, which was his specialty. Due to his inconspicuous presence (not only) on the field and very fast, short passing games, he was able to act almost like a phantom and thus enabled unusual moves; he also specialized in steals. The disadvantage of his technique, however, was that this effect wore off over the course of the game and the opponents were finally able to get used to it.
In contrast to the other five players of the Generation of Miracles, Kuroko made a conscious decision not to go to high school with a significant basketball team. He also had a strong animosity towards Midorima. Last year, however, Kuroko had to experience the team breaking up bit by bit at Teikō Junior High, as the talents of the other five blossomed more and more. In the end they had no more equal opponents, so that the mutual competition became the only motivation for the players, who also changed more and more in character and at the same time lost their love for the game.
Original Release: October 4, 2011 – March 24, 2020
Number of Episodes: 74 + OVA
When Chihaya Ayase was in the sixth grade of elementary school, she dreamed of seeing her sister become a recognized model. Her world is transformed from her when she meets Arata Wataya, a transfer classmate from Fukui, who, along with teaching her the true meaning of what was a dream, reveals to her the magic of the traditional Japanese card game: Karuta.
Arata also shares her ultimate wish: to become the best karuta player. Chihaya will quickly catch on to her passion for this game and she will decide to direct her new dream towards the horizon of becoming the best karuta player in Japan.
3. Yuri!!! on ICE
Original Release: October 6, 2016 – December 21, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12 + OVA
After coming in last place during his first participation in the Grand Prix, the young Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki continues to lose and begins to doubt his career. Months later, Yuri returns to his hometown of Hasetsu in Kyūshū, which he had left five years earlier, and there perfectly reproduces a choreography by the famous Russian skater Victor Nikiforov.
When a video of his performance filmed without his knowledge goes viral and catches Victor’s attention, the latter decides to become Yuri’s coach and train him with one of his prodigy students, Yuri Plisetsky.
4. Ace of Diamond
Original Run: October 3, 2013 – March 31, 2020
Number of Episodes: 178 + 5 OVA
The Akagi Middle School baseball team ends its season without a single win. His pitcher, Eijun Sawamura, is eager to get revenge with his teammates once in high school. But he receives a visit from a representative of the famous Seido high school who wants to recruit him. Reluctant to leave his friends, he goes to visit the Seido facilities anyway, where he meets a genius catcher, Kazuya Miyuki.
This meeting will change his destiny and, after having received encouragement from his family and friends, he decides to join this team. In an elite team bringing together high school students from all over the country, Eijun will have to find a place for himself and aim for the national tournament with his new teammates.
5. Ahiru no Sora
Original Run: October 2, 2019 – September 30, 2020
Number of Episodes: 50
Sora Kurumatani, who lacks basketball’s most important asset, has struggled with his small stature since he began to love the game. Despite the lack of this beneficial aspect, Sora’s unwavering will never allowed his small stature to dictate his ability to play, to firmly believe in doing his best, and to persistently train to prove his abilities. Hoping to grant his mother’s wishes, Sora enters Kuzuryuu High School to become a member of the basketball club and participate in tournaments wholeheartedly.
However, Sora is disappointed to learn that the boy’s basketball team is nothing more than a retreat for punks who are not interested in the sport. Sora also learns that the brothers Chiaki and Momoharu Hanazono whom he meets have also lost their once fiery motivation to play. Determined to revive the basketball team, Sora challenges the boys to a game against him in which his quick feet and swift movements overwhelm the group. Gradually affected by Sora’s formidable skills, exertion, and relentless devotion to basketball, the boys unexpectedly regain their exhausted passion for the game.
6. SLAM DUNK
Original Run: October 16, 1993 – March 23, 1996
Number of Episodes: 101
Slam Dunk tells the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi, whose evolution as a basketball player and as a person is the central theme of the anime. Sakuragi is a troubled 15-year-old and gang member with an impressive record of love rejections behind him. At the beginning of the series, Hanamichi does not know anything about sports or more than anything about basketball.
7. Big Windup!
Original Run: April 12, 2007 – June 24, 2010
Number of Episodes: 38 + 2 OVA
The series takes place in Saitama, and tells the story of Ren Mihashi. Mihashi was the previous No. 1 pitcher on his college baseball team, but it seems he only owed the job because his grandfather owns the school. His teammates (especially the receiver) hated him, and they lost all their games. Mihashi is convinced that he is a bad baseball player and therefore has very low self-esteem.
He then joins Nishiura High School and plans to quit baseball, believing he is not good enough to make it. However, he gets drafted into Nishiura’s baseball team by their coach. Helped by his new teammates (and especially the receiver, Takaya Abe), he gains in confidence and skills, helping his team to surpass themselves.
8. Welcome to the Ballroom
Original Run: July 8, 2017 – December 17, 2017
Number of Episodes: 24
Tatara Fujita is a teenager who does not know what to do with his future, although his father and his class teacher try to push him to make up his mind, without success. The young man tries all the same to find something that he could pursue all his life, but without real motivation. One day, after a conversation with his class teacher, Tatara is intrigued by a poster on a lamppost looking for employees to work part-time.
At the same time, former classmates appear and extort money from him while mocking him. Before things get out of hand, a man on a motorbike appears and intervenes to get them to leave Tatara alone: it’s Kaname Sengoku, a professional and very popular dancer.
Once the stalkers left, the biker grabbed the youth and took him to the Ogasawara dance studio, believing that the latter was too shy to enter, when in reality the job poster was right next to him. that of the dance studio. From this moment, Tatara discovers a new world, that of competitive dance. He who has always been undecided quickly becomes passionate about this sport.
9. Baby Steps
Original Run: April 6, 2014 – September 20, 2015
Number of Episodes: 50
Baby Steps is a shōnen manga written and drawn by Hikaru Katsuki. It was published between October 2007 and November 2017 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine, then compiled in 47 volumes by Kōdansha. An adaptation of an animated television series produced by the Pierrot studio is broadcast between April and September 2014. A second season is broadcast between April and September 2015.
While a young student putting his studies first, Eiichirô Maruo one day decides to go watch the students of the tennis club. Quickly, Eiichirô was captivated by this sport, in particular thanks to Takuma Egawa and Natsu Takasaki, two members of the club, and decided to invest in it completely. Despite his poor physical condition, he uses his intelligence and analytical skills to progress quickly and beat his opponents to become a professional player.
Unlike a number of other sports manga and anime (like Prince of Tennis), the work does not involve any fancy and physically impossible techniques. She has a fairly realistic approach to this sport, both technically and physically, and mentally.
Original Release: July 2, 2016 – December 18, 2016
Number of Episodes: 24 + 5 OVA
Tsukushi Tsukamoto is a shy and awkward boy who has recently attended Seiseki High School. While visiting Sayuri Tachibana, his childhood friend, and his senpai at work, Tsukushi is targeted by a group of bullies: to save him is Jin Kazama, an eccentric and extroverted school friend who invites him to play a game of soccer while not knowing it.
For Tsukushi, the match proves his incapacity, but Jin’s great talent fascinates him enough to convince him to join the school football club. Unfortunately, the Seiseki team is very famous and requested by young people from all over the country: Tsukushi will therefore have to give his best with effort and perseverance to be accepted.
Original Run: July 2, 2018 – October 1, 2018
Number of Episodes: 13
In the sports world of badminton, Uchika Hanesaki was a reigning champion. Her daughter Ayano followed her mother and trained with her for many years. One day in middle school, Ayano caught a cold before an important badminton game and then lost, causing Uchika to leave, leaving her daughter with her grandparents.
The departure of his mother led him into a depression and chose to quit badminton. While Ayano is in her first year of high school, she is recruited by former player Kentarō Tachibana to join the badminton club. While there, she learns to overcome her fears by playing badminton again.
12. Run with the Wind
Original Run: October 2, 2018 – March 26, 2019
Number of Episodes: 23
Kakeru, is a former elite runner from his high school. Being broke, Kakeru stole a sandwich from a convenience store and was chased by the manager. He is caught up by a bicycle student from Kansei University, Haiji, who is also a runner, and asks him if he likes to race. Haiji convinces Kakeru to stop and Haiji pays the convenience store manager for the stolen food and brings Kakeru to the “Blue Bamboos” residence.
Haiji plans to team up with the dorm residents to participate in the famous Hakone Ekiden relay marathon, one of the most important university races in Japan, but all the dorm members find themselves amazed because Haiji never talked about the fact that residents must participate in the Hakone Ekiden to be able to stay at the Bambous Bleus and that they are at the same time part of the athletics club of Kansei University.
Kakeru quickly discovers that all the residents except Haiji and himself are complete novices in racing and that for him it is completely impossible to participate in Hakone Ekiden with novice people. This is why Haiji will use a ploy to convince all the residents of the Bambous Bleus to train to be able to participate in the Hakone Ekiden.
Original Release: October 7, 2013 – June 25, 2018
Number of Episodes: 112
Sakamichi Onoda is an otaku who is entering the first year of high school. He intends to join the anime club and make friends but, due to lack of members, said club was shut down. He needs to find enough members to reopen it. Not discouraged, he decides to find companions to reopen the club and realize his dream: to spend time strolling with friends in the Akihabara district in Tokyo.
Noticed almost by chance by Shunsuke Imaizumi then by Shōkichi Naruko, he was invited to join the cycling club. Curious about the sensations that led him during his experience with these two young riders, he decided to give the club a chance.
14. Cheer Boys!!
Original Run: July 5, 2016 – September 27, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12 + 2 OVA
Best friends since childhood, Haruki Bandō and Kazuma Hashimoto leave the judo club at university to try something unconventional and innovative: starting a men’s cheerleading team. Initially unsure of what to do, their determination will grow and overcome embarrassment after five other guys join them, thanks to which they will form a complete team. What follows will therefore be their daily activities as they train from now on, well intent on making their passion more than just a whim and reaching a professional level.
Original Release: July 4, 2013 – September 26, 2018
Number of Episodes: 37 + OVA
Haruka Nanase is a young boy keen on swimming. Along with his elementary school classmates, Nagisa Hazuki, Makoto Tachibana, and Rin Matsuoka, they participate in a swimming tournament, which they win. But at the end of the school year, the four friends take different paths and separate.
A few years later, Haruka, Nagisa, and Makoto reunite at Iwatobi High School. But Rin, who had gone to live and study in Australia, reappears and challenges Haruka to a swim race. His two friends propose to Haruka, along with a new recruit, Rei Ryugazaki, to found the Iwatobi swimming club to see Rin again, who joined the Samezuka swimming school for him.