While there are some successful sports anime series, there are definitely some drawbacks within the genre. There hasn’t been any sports anime that has gained popularity like the many anime in the action/adventure, fantasy, or isekai genres. This can be attributed to many different factors.
It is hard to create a unique story through sports, but some things have just become so commonplace that it’s repetitive and annoying. So man chances for character development and storylines get shut down because of the structure of the show. Until some of these things are fixed or expanded upon, there will not be much progression in the genre.
10 There Are Always Main Characters Who Have A Special Ability
This seems to be the most commonly used trope throughout all sports anime. An undersized athlete begins high school and they are looked down upon until they showcase whatever ability they have that sets them apart from their classmates.
While this isn’t a bad concept, it is used too much. The only positive of this trope is normally that character’s ability is the only thing they can do better than most people. This means the audience can watch them develop as a player throughout the show while they utilize their specialty to help them do so.
9 Time Does Not Pass Normally
Whether it be conversations midgame, explanations midair, or running a certain distance, the clock seems to stop during certain parts of a game, especially in important moments. For example, in Haikyuu!!, Kageyama goes up for a spike and is interrupted by Shoya Hinata. Kageyama has the time to land, realize who Hinata is, and react before the ball finally lands on his head.
It’s hard to believe that people have whole conversations in 24 seconds or have time to explain an important move midair to the opposing team. Sure, some of the audience might need the explanation, but it still is very unrealistic.
8 Predictability Hurts The Tension In Games
Frequently, the protagonist’s team doesn’t lose in tournaments, and these tournaments usually make up most of the anime’s plot. This removes all excitement, tension, and suspense as the viewer can guess who will win.
Whether big leagues or unimportant matches, protagonists rarely lose games. If they do lose a tournament game, it’s normally in a double elimination or a point system format. There should be less predictability in sports anime to make games more exciting, nobody wants to know which team is going to win before the game even starts.
7 There Is Not Much Character Development Outside Of The Sport
Understandably, most sports anime revolve exclusively around sports. If the team’s players are seen off of the court, field, or outside of the arena, they are often still in the presence of their fellow teammates. If they aren’t, they are more likely sleeping in class, practicing alone, or traveling.
Because of this, character development outside of the sporting world is nonexistent. This limits the types of lessons that the characters can learn. While the characters may know sportsmanship and commitment, they may struggle in relationships and school. These characters don’t normally have friends outside of their club, which isn’t always beneficial to the overarching story.
6 Some Things Are Just Unrealistic In Otherwise Realistic Sports Anime
It’s fine for a character to have an ability that makes them stand out from the rest of the competition, but there need to be some limits when it comes to these abilities. Abilities that make a character superhuman (compared to the other characters) in an otherwise ordinary show should be toned down.
There are too many instances where characters have a completely overpowered and almost unstoppable ability or skill. It almost seems like their character was plucked from an action or superhero anime and transferred to an anime about sports.
5 Repeated Formatting Throughout The Genre Gets Old
The repeated format of the main character entering high school, proving themselves to their new team and peers, and going into a tournament is used way too often. There should be more sports anime that showcase the pro leagues rather than the high school level of the sport.
Doing this would open up many more storylines and relationship opportunities. There aren’t many possibilities of relationships with the press, fans, and personal managers in high school. However, the struggle of a player trying to make it as a professional would be more interesting.
4 Sometimes The Entertainment Aspect Of The Sport Itself Is Not Present
Maybe it’s lazy animation or just poor decisions behind-the-scenes, but sometimes the fun of watching the sport is completely removed. For example, a character might go in for a layup and the scene cuts to the ball just going into the basket. One fluent shot would be so much better. Even focusing on the player interactions rather than the game can become tiresome and distract from the actual game.
3 Coaches And Managers Usually Don’t Contribute Much To The Team
The protagonist’s team usually has a manager or coach who contributes a lot and is integral to the team’s success. However, when it comes to other teams, this is not the case at all.
When the protagonist is going up against a strong antagonist, it seems like the antagonist is the one in control of the team’s coaching. They may even tell the coach when to substitute people in or what plays to use. This may happen at the professional level sometimes, but would rarely happen at a high school level.
2 Relationships Between Characters Outside Of Sports Are Nonexistent
As a result of sports anime focusing so much on sports, there are not many scenes following the protagonists’ day-to-day lives. This makes relationships with classmates, authority figures, parents, siblings, and love interests almost nonexistent.
This viewpoint shows an unrealistic lifestyle of a high school athlete. Not all athletes only socialize with their teammates, they might be members of a school club, have friends from other classes, or even have friends they grew up with attending the same school. If sports anime explored this aspect of the characters’ lives, more characters could be present in the story and extra drama could be added to the show.
1 Every Antagonist Thinks They Are Unstoppable
An antagonist, especially one with superhuman skills, always thinks that they are unbeatable. They believe they can compete on their own and win without their teammates. They also tend to take over a game while their team is struggling.
Once in a while, it would be nice to see a humble antagonist who relies on their team to do the job and shares opportunities with them as they should. Unfortunately, this is not how it turns out. The ego of antagonists takes over the whole game and usually ends in the team’s downfall, a predictable way for the antagonists to be beaten.
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