And although sports aren’t really the first thing you’d associate with the world of anime, there is a lot of different sports anime series, some of which are enormously popular. Different sports appear in anime adaptations, most notably football and basketball, but tennis is among the sports that appear in anime adaptations and that is going to be the focus of this article.
This article is going to feature the best tennis anime series available. They are going to be ranked based on their quality, with the article providing you with the necessary production and plot-related information on each of the shows. We have tried to include anime from different periods of history, which means that the list is going to include some old and some new titles.
Best Tennis Anime
The list is going to contain a total of 10 titles. They are going to be ranked from 10th to 1st place, and you’re going to get some basic information on each of them.
Original Run: 1993 – 1999
Number of Volumes: 23
Since the death of her parents, Miyuki Umino has been raising her siblings on her own. One fine day, she receives a visit from two yakusas who ask her to repay a debt of 250 million yen contracted by her older brother, of whom she has no news.
To escape prostitution, she leaves high school and decides to start a career as a professional tennis player. Gifted in this discipline, she has already won many awards, but now she must excel and win the biggest championships in order to quickly repay her creditor who would prefer to see her on the sidewalk.
Happy! has not been adapted into an anime series (although there are live-action adaptations), but it is so important historically that we had to list it here.
9. Animation x Paralympic
Original Run: November 10, 2017 – present
Number of Episodes: 12 (episode 3 focuses on wheelchair tennis)
Animation × Paralympic: Who Is Your Hero? is a series of animated short films produced by NHK television to promote the Tokyo Summer Paralympic Games. Each episode focuses on a Paralympic sport and is realized in collaboration with major players in the manga and anime industry. On February 28, 2020, the Japanese animation studio Kyōto Animation announced that it was canceling its episode for the series.
Originally the episode was supposed to be broadcast in August of the previous year, but an arson attack was carried out on the studio, so that the timely completion of the episode for the Paralympic Summer Games was no longer guaranteed.
Original Run: April 11, 2016 – June 27, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12
The girls of Usakame High’s tennis club, Tanaka Kinako, Suzuki Ayako, Sato Kurumi, and Nishiarai-Taishi Nishi, pursue their various dreams… This high school comedy starts now. Usakame, the official competitor to the high-voltage comedy Teekyuu, depicts the mostly ordinary but somewhat strange daily lives of four girls dedicated to training.
All members of Earth Star Dream, an idol unit of Earth Star Entertainment with nationally known voice actors, appear in the series! Sit back, relax and enjoy Teekyuu’s rival, Usakame.
7. Ultra Maniac
Original Run: May 20, 2003 – November 11, 2003
Number of Episodes: 26
Ayu Tateishi, a college student, helps a classmate, Nina Sakura, to find a lost and very important object for her. In exchange, she explains to him that she is a witch who, having failed exams, came to Earth to improve herself. She offers to use her magic to solve some of her problems. Unfortunately, Nina is rather clumsy, and her magic often leads to disasters or misunderstandings. Ayu is in love with Tetsushi Kaji who is in the same class. He is a member of the baseball club.
Always relaxed, he plays comedy to please Ayu whom he secretly loves. His best friend is called Hiroki Tsujiai, they are still together. He is president of the tennis club. He is a fan of the same manga as Nina. Nina’s childhood best friend, Yuta Kirishima, is also a wizard. He is much more talented than she is, and does not hesitate to use magic at the risk of being noticed by ordinary human beings. Although he seems attracted to Ayu, he is secretly in love with Nina but will later date Sayaka.
Nina has a cat, Rio, he can turn into a little boy when Nina gives him a magic candy. Sayaka Nakamura is a very beautiful girl, popular at school. She is known as an “ice doll”, because she rejects all the boys who try to approach her. She would like to date Yuta (and she will).
6. Stars Align
Original Run: October 10, 2019 – December 26, 2019
Number of Episodes: 12
With his mother’s move, Maki Katsuragi is entering a new high school. There he meets Tōma Shinjō, a friend from elementary school, who immediately tries to persuade him to join the boys’ soft tennis club. Because this is threatened with closure by the student council because, unlike the soft tennis girls, it has been unsuccessful for many years.
With the very sporty Maki, Tōma hopes to finally win a tournament. Maki finally agrees when the desperate Tōma even offers him payment for his time at the club. Maki doesn’t really have time because he helps his single mother a lot with the house. But he also wants to be able to contribute money to the household. On the same evening, Maki’s father, from whom the mother had separated, surprisingly gains access to the apartment, beats Maki and steals the money he has saved.
The other members of the club are cautious about the new member, in whom their club boss Tōma has high hopes. So far, you haven’t taken sport seriously. Maki, on the other hand, wants to achieve the set goals – this is the only way to get his payment. The first thing he does is bring a manager to the club to organize the training: Yuta Asuka, who is secretly in love with Tōma.
But the family difficulties keep the students from training again and again. Not only does Maki’s father want to extort money from him again until he finally tells Tōma about it, who interferes and wants to protect Maki, the mother of Nao Tsukinose also interferes. From her point of view, the club keeps her son, whom she patronizes in all respects, only from studying, which is why she has an interruption of training.
The team, which has grown into friends, wants to use the time to get to know their next opponent. Her manager Yuta suggests that he and Maki secretly scout her out as girls. While preparing for the ultimately successful undertaking, Yuta reveals to Maki that she is unsure of her own gender and that she repeatedly wears girls’ clothes. Since Yū, as Yuta prefers to be called, doesn’t feel really feminine either, Maki reassures him that it’s okay not to have to fit into drawers.
But Yū’s mother desperately insists on having a boy as a child when she learns of the disguise. Tsubasa Soga has problems with his father because of the sport, who does not recognize soft tennis and instead insists on football until he hits his son in an argument, he falls down a flight of stairs and injures his hand.
Original Run: April 8, 2011 – June 24, 2011
Number of Episodes: 12
Softenni is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ryo Azuchi. Started in Comic Garden’s Mag Blade in 2008. The manga itself consists of five volumes and has been published until 2011. The Xebec anime premiered on April 7, 2011 at Tokyo MX.
The main character – Asuna Harukaze – after entering Shiratama High School decided to join the women’s soft tennis club. However, as it turned out, desire alone is not enough. Despite her speed, she is unable to concentrate on the field. Impulsive player Kotone is undoubtedly athletic, but cannot even remember the elementary rules, and the captain of the Chitose club has absolutely no idea about the sport.
Two newcomers do not improve their situation. Nevertheless, the girls do not give up and each is already following the path originally planned for her.
Original Run: October 7, 2012 – June 27, 2016
Number of Episodes: 132 + 7 OVA
Teekyū is a sports comedy manga, published on Comic Earth Star, owned by Earth Star Entertainment, since March 2012. Its name is a pun on the Japanese word for tennis, teikyū. An anime adaptation by MAPPA began airing on Tokyo MX and Crunchyroll between October and December 2012. According to Earth Star Entertainment, this is the fastest anime manga adaptation ever made. A
The series follows the crazy stories (with a great narrative speed of no more than 2 minutes) of four girls from the Kameido Institute tennis club. However, the story rarely has to do with Tennis and often only focuses on the antics of its protagonists, which frequently break any logic, often with random and meaningless situations appearing out of nowhere.
A peculiarity of the anime series is that several of the episodes have movie names with the addition “and the Senpai”, which often have to do with the plot or an event within the episode (As in an episode called ” The Hangover with Senpai “, in which a complete parody of the aforementioned film is made).
3. Aim for the Ace!
Original Run: October 5, 1973 – March 31, 1979
Number of Episodes: 51
The story is about a girl struggling to become a good tennis player: the sporting adventures and thwarted love of Hiromi (Jenny in Italian), a shy tennis enthusiast student, are told. She starts playing as soon as she enters high school; upon arrival at the prestigious club, however, she immediately falls into awe in front of Reika.
She tries to imitate her and take an example from her, fascinated as she is by this girl older than her, who is also the best player on the school team, also known as “Madame Butterfly” for the grace of her game. She practices tennis courses with perseverance and great willpower, a sport that she adores, in order to be able to participate in the most prestigious tournaments, and thus fulfill her dream of emulating Reika, whom she esteems and admires so much.
Her undoubted and very personal talent was soon recognized. When the team comes to have a new coach, he will immediately notice the potential inherent in her and then begins to train her intensely to make her a great champion; but soon the girl falls in love with her: pushed by Jin (Jeremy in Italian) to sacrifice her private life in exchange for her success in the sports field, Jenny neglects her love for Teddy, the best player in the men’s club. But she suffers intensely from this.
2. 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.
1. The Prince of Tennis
Original Run: October 10, 2001 – March 30, 2005
Number of Episodes: 178
Prince of Tennis is a manga created by Takeshi Konomi. It was published in the Weekly Shōnen Jump between July 1999 and March 2008, and was edited in a total of 42 volumes in Japan. The manga was adapted into an animated series of 178 episodes aired between October 2001 and March 2005, as well as several OAVs, a film, a live film and sixteen musicals.
The hero of the story is called Ryōma Echizen, a Japanese man who lived for many years in the United States. His father, Nanjirō Echizen, known as the Samurai, became an internationally recognized great tennis champion. The story begins as Ryoma arrives in Japan and decides to enroll in Seishun Gakuen College, also known as Seigaku, which has a very competent tennis team.
The first chapter of the story therefore begins with his arrival in Tokyo, in search of a competition in which he is registered. He meets Sakuno Ryūzaki but ends up missing the competition. However, he plays against Sasabe, a great pretentious who ultimately can only concede him a 6-0 in the anime and 6-2 in the manga, while Ryoma played with his right hand (although he is left-handed).