6 Anime Like Re-Main [Recommendations]

Re-Main is a sports anime set in a school with a drama element that sets it apart from your usual high school shounen setting. The main character is not your typical high school sports prodigy like in most shounen sports anime. Instead, Minato Kiyomizu begins the story having only woken up from a coma after a car accident forgetting his middle school journey. The drama from adding an amnesia aspect to the story sets this series apart from other sports anime, bringing forward some excellent character drama that is not found in most sports anime.

Seeing a character moving to regain their former prowess in a sport is a great underdog story for anime, and seeing a lesser-known sport like water polo get some love is what makes this anime a hit. Now that Summer is over, and sports anime are few and far between, let’s have a look at six anime like Re-Main to stave off those wintery blues.


Similar Anime to Re-Main

1. Free! (Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2013 - September 2013

Hot anime boys, summertime, and water sports? You would be mistaken for thinking this is all that Free! has to offer, and it is certainly an appealing aspect as the setting brought to life another obscure sport, but the show shines through with its inter-character plot lines and drama. Haruka Nanase loves the water, has a passion for swimming, and has a history of performing in the sport as he won a relay tournament with his three friends in elementary school. The story picks up with Haruka and his two friends Makoto and Nagisa, getting involved with their high school swim club alongside newcomer Rei as they plan to go against their old elementary school friend.

Free!’s plot devices are nothing new for sports anime but what sets this show apart and makes it similar to Re-Main are the interpersonal drama and slice of life aspects—keeping the high energy sports scenes to a minimum opting for intimate character moments to push the plot along, going into the motivations of the main characters, especially the antagonist of the story, Rin, as he competes against his former teammates. Like Re-Main, Free! has a lot of fanservice, and Kyoto Animation went full force with the sculpted torsos and water beads rolling over muscles. The romantic subtext and tension between characters are set up deliberately to give the fans what they want, which adds a dimension to the character interactions making this a stand-out show on this list.

Free! PV


2. Bakuten!! (Backflip!!)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 2021 - June 2021

Like most sports anime, Bakuten!! starts with protagonist Shotaro Futaba being in a club he feels he shouldn’t be in, being just a benchwarmer for his baseball team. After witnessing a group of high school gymnasts perform, Shotaro decides to watch a performance at a tournament, after which, he chooses that as the high school he wants to join and get involved in the sport without any prior experience. Joining the club alongside Shotaro is Ryouta Misato, a prodigy who won second place in a junior tournament.

This concept is not new to sports anime, a beginner being captivated by a less popular sport and deciding to participate. What sets Bakuten!! apart from other sports anime and makes it similar to Re-Main is the character development. The club members attempt to overcome different hurdles, such as the Ao High’s ace, Misato. Misato acts cold and distant towards his club mates, shoulders things alone to not burden others. Shotaro advises Misato to act cute with his senpais, allowing a bit of vulnerability and reminding him that his teammates are always there for him.

The character development gives Bakuten!! a stand out aspect, making the show not only about their performances within the sport of gymnastics but the depth of their character development.

Bakuten!! PV


3. Skate-Leading Stars

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021 - March 2021

Skate-Leading Stars has an interesting concept, using a sport like singles figure skating and developing a team sport specifically for the anime. This is a difficult concept to bring to life, creating a tricky balancing act with over-explanation leaving too many small details out, and if not enough context is given, the viewers can be left confused. The anime does its best to balance this with its engaging characters and the dynamics between them. Like Re-Main, less focus is on the sport itself, instead giving the lead to the characters and their interactions moving the story forward.

Skate-Leading Stars’ central dynamic is between protagonist Kensei Maeshima and his rival Reo Shinozaki, who competed against each other in singles figure skating, but Maeshima quits the sport after failing to be recognised by his rival. The inter-character dynamics come from Maeshima joining the sport of Skate-Leading and struggling to adapt to working with others. The rivalry dynamic and a solo player that struggles with team bonding in a sport is not new. However, where Skate-Leading Stars stands out is the character of Hayato Sasugai, Shinozaki’s half-brother that teams up with his rival as he aims to help beat his half-brother as a coach in the Skate-Leading sport.

Skate-Leading Stars PV



Any Anime Like Re-Main ?

4. 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu (2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021 - March 2021

A sports anime list without any mention of Haikyuu!? Yes, but there is a volleyball anime on this list, and it’s probably one you haven’t watched yet. Instead of a high-paced, action-packed look into how the sport is played, 2.43 focuses on the slower aspect of a team sport, looking into the motivations and development of the characters. Feeling more like a drama, this show suits this list over the fast-paced and exciting Haikyuu!.

The show still has the exciting aspect of a sports anime with hype scenes of the team playing, with one of the first scenes being a match viewed through a character’s eyes as he sits on the bench. Kimichika Haijima (Chika) is a volleyball prodigy with enthusiasm for the sport, but as he returns to the area he grew up in and joins his best friend from childhood in high school, he notices the club is almost non-existent. With Chika’s return, Yuni Kuroba begins to regain his passion for the sport. We follow his character development as the relationship between him and Chika has changed over the years. The interpersonal dynamics and colder, more mature setting sets 2.43 apart from other sports anime that take on a shounen atmosphere.

2.43: Seiin KoukouDanshi Volley-bu PV


5. Days (TV) (Days)

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: July 2016 - December 2016

Days does not do much to stray away from the sports anime formula, with a protagonist who lacks natural soccer skills and his new best friend who has prodigy-like skills for the sport. A trope that’s been done before and no doubt will be done again. What sets this show apart from most sports anime and makes it similar to Re-Main are the main characters, Tsukushi Tsukamoto and his new best friend Jin Kazama, and their interactions with their other soccer teammates and rival clubs.

Unlike most sports anime, Days does not focus on the main character’s skills, or in this case, lack thereof. Instead, the focus is on how other clubs react to his abilities and his relationship with the incredibly talented Jin. Days is not the most visually stunning anime, but it brings soccer to life in a more natural sense than other sports anime. Unfortunately, Days does not live up to its full potential. Still, the charm it brings, especially within the first half of the anime, more than makes up for the lack of story progression as we get to see a sports anime that plays into the drama of high school life through the eyes of a character that has little natural talent.

Days (TV) PV


6. Ahiru no Sora

  • Episodes: 50
  • Aired: October 2019 - September 2020

As far as sports anime go, Ahiru no Sora does not add much on top of the underdog formula, and the delinquents turned sports enthusiasts trope of Slam Dunk. However, it does combine inspiration from the two most famous basketball anime with an interesting character dynamic that sees delinquents, a dedicated but extremely short main character, and a look into the girls’ basketball team through their interactions with the delinquents on the boys’ team. The balance between screen time spent on the sport and on the story’s characters sets this show apart, giving the slice of life aspect of a high school sports story without taking away from the basketball.

The other key aspect is the length of the games, with none of the matches feeling particularly drawn out or longer than they need to be. This makes the show feel fresh in the timing department compared to shows like Kuroko no Basket. This has another key upside, the animation quality is lacking in Ahiru no Sora, so the fact that it spends less time on the basketball matches is no downside at all. The story grips you in with the promise between the main character, an enthusiastic underdog, and his mother, a former professional, but the interactions between Sora Kurumatani and the other basketball club members make this show shine through.

Ahiru no Sora PV


Final Thoughts

Re-Main has been a hit with the same crowd that rode the hype when Kyoto Animation first released Free! in 2013, starting a wave for sports anime that focuses on interpersonal drama as opposed to the action from shounen sports anime. Looking beyond the sport in a sports anime might seem counterintuitive but the setting leads to some of the best character dynamics within the medium, bringing us to the titles on this list. Re-Main brings out the best in its characters without taking away too much from water polo and this list has included anime that focus on similar dynamics. What anime like Re-Main do you recommend? Let us know in the comments with your thoughts on the topic!

by Lewis Williamson



RE-MAIN-dvd-300x435 6 Anime Like Re-Main [Recommendations]

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