In 2016, Yuri on Ice was a smash hit. As it penetrated mainstream culture, audiences became obsessed with it. The series tells the story of Yuuri Katsuki, a promising figure skater in his youth.
He returns to his hometown Kyushu after losing the Grand Prix finale. The question of whether Yuri’s performance crumbled under the weight of Japan’s expectations is open to debate. Regardless of the circumstances, Yuri climbs into a hole at his family’s home and begins to eat pork cutlets.
A five-time world champion decides to mentor Yuri for the figure skating Grand Prix: Victor Nikiforov. Thus begins Yuri’s grind for the title. But things aren’t easy this time as Yuri Plisetsky; a young Russian skater, is hell-bent on winning the title and Victor’s tutelage.
Not every anime released is based on science fiction, fantasy, or giant robots. Some do extremely well in dealing with everyday topics. This is especially true for anime that deals with sports themes. It’s in these series where character development really shines and offers situations that are relatable for many people.
In addition to a love of water, Haruka Nanase is passionate about swimming. He participated in a relay race with his three friends Rin Matsuoka, Nagisa Hazuki, and Makoto Tachibana during elementary school and won. They all went their separate ways after claiming victory at the tournament.
They reunite as high school students years later, but Rin could care less about returning to the old ways. In addition to going to a different school, he also wants to prove that he is a better swimmer than Haruka.
When Haruka, Nagisa, and Makoto come together after a bitter reunion, they decide to form the Iwatobi High School Swim Club. However, they will need a fourth member to compete. Then Nagisa recruits Rei Ryuugazaki, a former member of the track team. As the competition approaches, the four develop a close bond while training intensely to win and put an end to Haruka and Rin’s dispute.
2. Ballroom e Youkoso
Tatara Fujita is a shy middle schooler without a clear future plan. By blending in with the crowd, he has been able to get through life without confrontation. However, blending in doesn’t help him avoid trouble since some bullies harass him for money. Fortunately, he is saved by Kaname Sengoku.
Tatara is invited to Kaname’s dance studio by Kaname. Tatara is captivated by Sengoku’s commanding presence even though he would never set foot in such a place. Having had the chance to dance with classmate Shizuku Hanaoka, who regularly practices at the studio, Tatara realizes there’s something about the idea of being in the spotlight and dancing where people can see him that keeps him coming back.
Tatara begins his competitive dance journey with an earnest, passionate desire to improve.
3. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Prodigious pianist Kousei Arima, the human metronome, walks accompanied by music. Kousei, however, becomes unresponsive to his own piano sound after the death of his mother, Saki Arima.
Kousei continues to avoid the piano two years later, leaving behind his admirers and rivals, and he lives a colorless existence along with his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari. But, his world changes when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a beautiful violinist who sets him on a journey to overcome his fears of music.
The story of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso follows Kousei as he discovers that music is more than a perfectly played note, and a single melody can bring in the fresh air of spring.
In high school, Reki Kyan has one passion: skateboarding. During the night, he heads to “S,” an illegal underground race inside a mine where skaters compete in dangerous circumstances. Due to a loss that resulted in his skateboard being destroyed and his arm being broken, Reki is now unable to practice.
During work, he meets Langa Hasegawa, a half-Japanese, half-Canadian boy with no skateboarding experience. It is urgently necessary for Langa to get money. As a result of a task from Reki’s boss, they both visit “S” and end up in trouble and forced into a bet requiring Langa to race.
However, Reki is unaware of the mysterious transfer student’s trump card, one which might help him win the race unexpectedly.
With his Gibson guitar tightly clutched, Mafuyu Satou emerges from his dark apartment for another day at school. He is taking a nap on the gymnasium staircase when he meets fellow student Ritsuka Uenoyama, who reprimands him for letting his guitar strings rust and break.
After noticing Uenoyama’s knowledge of the instrument, Satou begs him to fix it and teach him how to play it. He eventually agrees and invites him to join a jam session with both Haruki Nakayama and Akihiko Kaji from his band.
When Uenoyama heard Satou’s voice, he was determined to make him the band’s lead singer. An emotional meeting with an old friend convinces Satou to accept the offer despite his reticence at first. Besides learning how to play the guitar with the help of his new friends, he also has to accept the mysterious circumstances that led him to own it.
After seeing the volleyball ace nicknamed “Little Giant” in action, it inspires Shouyou Hinata, a small-statured middle schooler, to revive the volleyball club at his school. They make it to a tournament despite being a new team but are mercilessly destroyed by the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama.
After graduating from middle school, Hinata joins the Karasuno High School volleyball team, only to discover that Kageyama is now a teammate.
Because of his short stature, Hinata struggles to find his place on the team despite his outstanding jumping ability. As it turns out, Kageyama has his own challenges that only Hinata can help overcome, and the team’s success depends on the two learning how to work together. This is a thrilling and emotional sports comedy that follows two motivated athletes as they try to mend a heated rivalry in order to make their high school volleyball team the best in Japan.
A carefree boy, Hikaru Kusakabe is part of a rock band and is always focused on the present. A chorus festival is being held during the summer, and he has to participate with the rest of his class.
It is by chance that he discovers his honor student classmate Rihito Sajou alone practicing his singing. As Sajou struggles to master their class’ song, Kusakabe, delighted to see a side of him he had never seen before, offers his assistance.
Even though their lives and personalities are completely different, they begin to grow closer over time. What will happen to their growing relationship with the pressure of an unknown future?
8. Banana Fish
Ash Lynx, or Aslan Jade Callenreese, was picked up from the streets and raised by Dino Golzine, the infamous mafia godfather. Having become a gang leader at the age of 17, Ash begins investigating the mysterious “Banana Fish” – the same two words his older brother Griffin has muttered since returning from the Iraq War. The inquiries of Ash are hampered when Dino sends his men to an underground bar that he uses as a hiding place.
Ash’s friend Skip introduces him to Shunichi Ibe and his assistant, Eiji Okumura, who are Japanese photographers who are covering American street gangs.
They are interrupted, however, by a call from Shorter Wong, one of Ash’s allies, warning him about Dino. The ensuing chaos results in Dino’s men storming the bar and kidnapping Skip and Eiji. To continue his investigation into Banana Fish, Ash must rescue them, but will his history with the mafia hinder him?
9. Sakamichi no Apollon
Kaoru Nishimi, an introverted classical pianist and top student, has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Moving from place to place since childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing for another year of loneliness and meaninglessness. At least until he meets notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi.
Sentarou’s insatiable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, which gradually leads to him making his first friend. In Ritsuko Mukae’s family record shop’s basement, Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions.
His summer might just blossom into one he will never forget as he discovers how to use his musical talents to bring joy to himself and others.
Three unique individuals are brought together by a mutual appreciation for jazz in Sakamichi no Apollon, a touching story of friendship, music, and love.
10. Ookiku Furikabutte
Despite being the ace of his middle school’s baseball team, Ren Mihashi never led them to victory because of his poor pitching. As a result of constant losses, Mihashi’s teammates bullied him and stopped trying to win, causing him to graduate with low self-esteem.
Due to this, Mihashi decides to attend a high school in a different prefecture where he will not play baseball. Unfortunately, he is dragged into joining the new Nishiura High team as the starting pitcher upon arrival.
Initially unwilling, Mihashi soon realizes that here is a place that accepts him as he is, and with the help of Takaya Abe, the catcher, he begins to believe in himself. Abe, seeing the potential in Mihashi, makes it a goal to help him become a pitcher worthy of being called an ace.