Football is one of the top-viewing sports in the world, and due to its popularity, it has oozed down to many anime shows. These anime mostly put a lens on the sport and players and put them on many different tests. Irrespective of what it is being called, it is a fast and loving sport that has inspired many shows over the years.
One such anime is Captain Tsubasa, a Japanese manga illustrated and penned by Yoichi Takahashi. Tsubasa Oozora, our 11-year-old protagonist, got into the game at a young age. For his friends, football was just like another sport, but for him, it quickly became an obsession.
To pursue his obsession and dreams, he moved to Nankatsu City with his mother, a city that is famous for quality school football teams. In his old town, he was the best player, but here he has to see a lot more top-of-the-line players and competition and to stand out, he will need all of his skills and hard work.
If you have already seen Captain Tsubasa, then in this list, we will take a look at 14 Anime Like Captain Tsubasa, which will satisfy your sports anime needs. The list is in no particular order. Find your anime and get ready for some goals, injuries, and a lot of fun.
1. Hajime no Ippo
Hajime no Ippo, a.k.a. fighting spirit, has 75 episodes. Makunouchi Ippo is the main lead, and he has been bullied his entire life. He was constantly on the errands and getting thrashed up by his classmates.
He always dreamt of changing the situation for good but never had the passion to work towards that change. One day, while getting bullied, Takamura Mamoru saves him, and he is a boxer.
Ippo loses consciousness, and Mamoru takes him to a boxing gym for recovery. As he recovers and gets back consciousness, he sees the boxing gym around him and is in complete awe but has no confidence to do anything.
Takamura sticks a photo of his bullying classmate on a punching bag and forces Ippo to punch it hard. At that moment, Ippo feels something boiling inside him, and he asks Takamura to give him boxing training.
Believing that Ippo doesn’t have what it takes to become a boxer, he gives him an impossible task with a week’s limit. But Ippo now has a sudden desire to get better and stronger for his mother and himself.
Ippo works nonstop to complete the task within seven days, and this is how his journey in the boxing world begins. The anime has all the elements that will boost your morale. It will give you inspiration to do whatever you want to. Overall, it is a good anime with a relatable main character.
2. Inazuma Eleven Go
Inazuma Eleven Go has 47 episodes and has completed all the episodes. Tenma Matsukaze is a newcomer at Raimon Junior High School.
He loves soccer, so he decides to join the soccer team of the school. The soccer team gained its popularity after performing in the Football Frontier International ten years before the current events.
Football Frontier International is a tournament that hosts the best youth teams from the world. But unfortunately for the school, the zest that existed once is now lost.
Japan is now under the control of Fifth Sector, which is a dark entity. They decide the outcome of each match by ordering the team to either lose or win. The deliberate actions of the Fifth Sector have taken down other teams, and they have no love for the core game.
Tenma and the team players want to bring this change by taking the fight to the Fifth Sector. But it won’t be a one-sided battle. We will also see ‘Resistance,’ a group that will also help them in their cause to save the sport.
It is a great show for anyone who loves the sport. Fast-paced scenes and pumping actions will surely keep you entertained. It’s a must-go for anyone who wants to see soccer in action.
3. Ace of Diamond
Ace of Diamond has 75 episodes in total and has finished airing. With an unknown pitch that is set to miss the batter’s instincts, Eijun Sawamura loses the final school basketball game.
Outraged by this, Eijun Sawamura and his teammates promised themselves and each other that they’d be there at the national tournament once they went to high school.
Everything changes for him when he gets an unexpected invitation to Seidou High School in Tokyo, which is a prestigious school. He got invited because one scout noticed his unique pitching style.
He gets a positive reception and encouragement from his teammates and joins the school in order to improve and finesse his skills before entering the competitive basketball space. But now the challenge is tough for Eijun as he is surrounded by a large pool of skilled players and struggles to find his place in the team.
Still, in confidence, he declares that he will become an ace in the team. But it can happen only if a first-year student, Satoru Furaya, doesn’t take the title before him as he is a highly fast pitcher, and with this breakneck pitching, he has gotten a starting position in the starting team.
With the addition of these new players with an already strong lineup, the Seidou baseball team’s ambition is to become the best of the best in Japan by defeating other powerful teams that are in their way.
It is a top-of-the-line sports anime that shows the struggles of the players and how real the competitive space actually is. If you’re someone who likes baseball, then this anime should be on your watch list.
4. Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk has 101 episodes and has completed the airing of the episodes. The lead of the anime is Hanamichi Sakuragi, an infamous personality because of his temper, big height, and red hair.
He gets admitted to Shohoku High to get a girlfriend and break his record of 50 rejections back when he was in middle school. He is known for being blunt, and because of this, he gets ignored by most of the students.
Soon after certain incidents, his final two thoughts are:- he hates football, and he desperately needs a girlfriend. One fine day, Haruko Akagi, without any indication or knowledge, approaches him and asks him about basketball and his liking for the sport.
Hanamichi, being him, immediately falls for her, forgetting about anything else. Haruko takes her to a basketball gym and asks him if he can slam dunk with a basketball.
To impress her, he jumps for a slam dunk with a basketball in his hand but slams his head straight into the board. Haruko tells about his insane physical skills to the captain of the basketball team, and from there, Hanamichi also gets pulled toward the game he hated once.
It is a beautiful anime that shows the journey of the main character, from hating the game to loving the game, learning skills, and getting better with every game. The supporting characters also did a good job of boosting the scenes and making for a good watching experience.
5. Akakichi no Eleven
Akakichi no Eleven is based on a manga by Kosei Sonoda and Ikki Kajiwara. It has a total of 52 episodes and has finished airing all the episodes.
The premise of the show is based in Shinsei High School, where soccer is a combat competitive sport. A new coach in the school, Teppei Matsuki, a core sadist, is fully paid up and is willing to push his team to any lengths to ensure the winning.
Shingo Tamai, headstrong school bad boy, and Ohira, his friend, are determined not to get forced into the school’s team. They want to make a team of their own.
Initially, they play just for fun, but slowly, they start to struggle against Matsuki’s team. As their skills increase and they learn the game they play against other teams, they get craftier and stronger with each game.
They face the Asakase High School crack team and their core player, Misugi Yan, in the final match. In the plot, we see a mixed-race player who’s an old rival, making it difficult for the players.
With the help of Matsuki, he recovers and takes his team to recovery. The show is heavy on drama and feels like a sports show and one of the few shows from Japan that managed to overshadow Captain Tsubasa.
6. Inazuma Eleven
All the Japanese schools are competing to be the best soccer-playing spot in the country. But Raimon Middle School’s Inazuma Eleven, the soccer team, is struggling hard to exist.
The grandson of the first goalkeeper and the captain of the Inazuma Eleven, Mamoru Endou, takes it upon himself to walk the walk and bring the team back in shape. To bring this change, he will need a lot of help and a little luck.
Mamoru Endou is very impressed with Shuuya. You enjoy and see hope for the team when he looks at him, but Shuuya has given up on soccer. Still, Mamoru is determined to get Shuuya and other new players to join his team at any cost.
What happens next is one hell of a journey. Inazuma Eleven is one of the finest shows mentioned in this list. The emotions, adrenaline, and the plot, all of these elements make it a show worthy of your time.
7. Kuroko’s Basketball
After the win against Yousen High, the Seirin’s basketball team is now in the semi-finals of the Winter Cup, along with Shuutoku, Kaijou, and Rakuzan.
Each of the teams has a member who has miraculous skills, and Seirin makes up his mind by taking down each obstacle on his path and winning the Winter Cup.
In the finale of the show, Kuroku goes toe to toe with his old mates once more to show them who is better, and it is a team game, not an individual game.
Kuroko is adamant that his basketball methods are right, but others in Seirin High only have one goal: to win the Winter Cup by defeating their opponents and overcoming the Generation of Miracles, who have been constantly dominating the basketball space.
Will they manage to take control this time? Koruko no Basket is on a hell of a show, with its detailed emphasis on basketball and skills.
It takes the audience on a wild ride, and with its fast scenes and basketball action, it becomes a must-watch for core basketball fans. Even if you’re not a basketball fan, this show will give you a guaranteed good time.
8. Dear Boys
Dear Boys, a.k.a. Hoop Days, has 26 episodes and has finished airing them all. Hoop Days revolves around the captain of Tendoji High School’s top-notch basketball team, Aikawa Kazuhiko.
He transfers to a new town and gets into Mizuho High School and on their basketball team. But the Mizuho High basketball team is nowhere near close to perfect. It’s barely manageable and is just functioning.
But Mizuho’s presence has a positive impact on everyone. His passion and skills inspire the team players to practice again and get better in the game.
The aim is to represent the team in national tournaments where all other skilled teams enter and compete against each other. The story of five players, Ishii Tsutomu, Miura Ranmaru, Fujiwara Takumi Aikawa Kazuhiko, and Dobashi Kwnji, are the leads, and the story revolves around them.
9. Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
Hungry Heart is a soccer sports anime based on Kyosuke Kano. He is an impulsive and rebellious being, and Seisuke Kano, the famous Milan football is his brother. He constantly pushes him towards his passion, which is football.
As the plot moves forward, he discovers that Kasuga was adopted because his parents died in a car accident when he was one year old. Keisuke Narumi, his biological father, was a forward. He has to live under his brother’s shadow and is constantly compared.
Kyosuke decides to completely stop the game. He colors his hair orange and becomes a vagabond. Later, he coached the women’s football team of Joyo Awanegaoka and later joined the men’s team of the same institute.
His teammates Rodrigo, a Brazilian midfielder, and Koji Jefferson Sakai, a goalkeeper from England. They begin with a promise that they’ll beat the strongest team, Kokuryo.
10. Ganbare, Kickers!
Ganbare, Kickers is about a football team which has children in it. They go to Kitahara Elementary School, and they have no good player at the striker position.
Kakeru Daichi moves to the city and joins the school’s team as a striker, proving that he has plenty of skills to play as the striker.
With the addition of Kakeru, the team gets completed, and this leads them to challenge the Red Devils, which is a very strong football team. In the game with the Red Devils, they lost big, 10:1, but still, Kakeru managed to strike a goal against Uesugi, who is said to be an invincible goalkeeper.
Later, the team gets into the national championship space. Hongo, who is their goalkeeper, falls in love with Kakeru’s sister, Ayumi Daichi. To get proper guidance for championship games, the team hired a professional coach who led the team to the semi-finals, and again, they met the Red Devils in the game.
As you can guess, their football game is epic. It continued for two full episodes, and Uesugi’s team again defeated Kakeru’s team. After this defeat, all the players were completely devastated.
The anime Days focuses on Tsukushi Tsukamoto, a shy and awkward d boy who is attending Seiseki High School. When he was visiting Sayuri Tachibana, Tsukushi, his friend and work friend, was targeted by some bullies.
To save him, Jin Kazama, a school friend who is extroverted in nature, asks him to play a game with him. Tsukushi shows his low game, but Jin’s skills and games convince him to join the school football team.
But the Seiseki team is famous, and all the young people from everywhere want to play in that team. Therefore, Tsukushi will have to outdo himself to get into the team. Days is a beautiful portrayal of football as a sport.
Everything is apt in the show, from the details to the characters, and everything about the supporting characters was on point—one of the best shows that captures the essence with this level of vibrancy.
12. Blue Lock
After realizing that the Japanese National Team needed a complete turnover from top to bottom, the Football Association decided to take hard steps, and in order to begin the process, they hired Coach Jenpachi Ego.
As per Jenpachi, the team desperately needs a striker who can play clutch games and get a lot of goals. For this, he creates a facility where 300 budding strikers will fight each other to get that striker spot in the team.
Youchi Isagi is one of the other three hundred competitors who join in hopes of overcoming his past failures. The show follows his adventures and doings as he shapes his fate to become the best striker in the world.
For many, Blue Lock is one of the best, if not the best, sports anime and is a must-watch for the fans and lovers of the sport.
Whistle is a manga series that has been highly rated and authored by Daisuke Higuchi. The plot of the show revolves around Kazamatauri Shou, who wants to become a professional footballer.
He is a good player, but the biggest obstacle is his level of game and his inability to perform in high games.
Later, he joined Sakura Jousui High and worked hard on his skills. The surroundings and his teammates support him and are helping him to get closer to his ambition.
14. Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
Aoki Densetsu Shoot is somewhat similar to Blue Lock. The plot of the show is based on Cindy, Kenji, Jim, and Toshi, who have friends from an early age.
When they were in school, the three guys played on the school’s soccer team, and Cindy cheered and encouraged them. The strength of this gang and their skills have taken the team very close to their victory in the national championship.
Unfortunately, Kenji somehow gets entangled with thugs and gangs, and as per the rules of honor and loyalty, the whole soccer team is disqualified from playing any further. Because of the situation, Kenji retired from the game, and his dream to win the championship was broken.
Years passed, and the bond between the four friends is now done. And each of them has taken different paths in their lives and moved on. Toshi chooses to be admitted into Kakegawa High School, and Kubo, his idol, plays on the same team, but he is unaware that Kenji, Jim, and Cindy are also in that school.