6 Anime Like Shakunetsu Kabaddi (Burning Kabaddi) [Recommendations]

Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. A steady cant and sweat-inducing tension. Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. A quick swipe and an ankle grab. Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. A crash and then STRUGGLE!

High speed, high impact--ergo, high action-packed animation! A rag-tag team of (barely) capable youths vie to compete in a sport where tag meets wrestling. Shakunetsu Kabaddi brings the niche South Asian sport of Kabaddi to life through a colourful cast of characters and nail-biting games.

Throughout its short run, Burning Kabaddi emphasises the importance of enjoying the game rather than playing for the win, finding joy in being part of a team and constantly working to better one’s self to work towards a shared goal with people you connect with (quite literally through human chains). We at Honey’s Anime love a fun story packed with them feels, so here are six more anime for you to check out if you feel the same!


Similar Anime to Shakunetsu Kabaddi / Similar Anime Burning Kabaddi

1. Prince of Stride: Alternative

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2016 – March 2016

Riku is an athletic, earnest and goofy high schooler who is willing to try out for any high school sports club except for Stride. A free-running sport that combines parkour, running and gymnastics across complicated city terrain, it’s the only sport Riku is adamant about steering clear of. Unfortunately for him, fellow freshmen Takeru and Nana refuse to take no for an answer once they see how fast he can run; and much like Yoigoshi, Riku finds himself involved with a club he wants no part of.

Riku and Takeru both echo Yoigoshi-like qualities. Takeru’s competitive past and training is just like Yoigoshi’s approach to sports. While Takeru persevered, Riku took a different play out of Yoigishi’s book and found himself isolated and jaded from Stride, a sport he once loved. Much like Yoigoshi’s impossibly high standards for both himself and his peers, Riku and Takeru also chase their image of perfection. Riku, trying to catch up to a figure he considers just beyond his reach and Takeru demanding a certain level of perfection from his teammates to match his own talent. While Takeru seems to embody the serious, ambition-driven mindset of a Sports Anime protagonist, surprisingly, Riku’s nature makes him a dead ringer for another Burning Kabaddi character. His positivity and earnest nature coupled with his natural speed are, at first, reminiscent of Azemichi’s innate athletic talent. Thus, we see a similar dynamic play out, seriousness juxtaposed with optimism, laser-like focus against a fun-loving attitude and cold calculation against emotion-driven impulsivity.

If Azemichi and Yoigoshi’s contradictory dynamic made you crack up, if you enjoy the vibrant art style and fast paced action, then Prince of Stride is definitely worth your time!

Prince of Stride: Alternative PV


2. SK∞ (Sk8 the Infinity)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021– April 2021

Hasegawa Langa was a talented snowboarder. He left behind his promising career on the slopes when he moved to balmy Okinawa for a fresh start. Things take an interesting turn when he meets Kyan Reki, a passionate, young skateboarder who wants to compete at the S; an illegal race riddled with dangerous conditions inside a mine, with the best of the underground skateboarding scene. Much like Yoigoshi, Langa is a prodigy who abruptly gave up a promising future in his field, only to find that those hard-earned skills gave him a game-changing edge in a completely different sport.

Similar parallels can be found in other characters like Reki and Misumi as well. They both, comparatively, are veterans in skateboarding and kabaddi, but after meeting talented rookies Langa and Yoigoshi, they similarly question their own abilities and sense of belonging before forcing themselves to up the ‘’anti’’ (see what we did there?) and grow into competitive players on the track/mat.

So if you like your contact sports paired with intense moments of vulnerability, impossible kabaddi takedowns and skateboarding tricks, and a bopping soundtrack, check out Sk8 the Infinity!

Sk8 the Infinity Trailer


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

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

Nanase Haruka and Tachibana Makoto find themselves roped into founding the Iwatobi high school swim club by their former teammate Hazuki Nagisa. No one else seems particularly interested in joining the newly formed club (remind you of another overlooked club ? ) so this rag-tag group of four recruit a new member, Ryuugazaki Rei. The members of the club range from prodigy freestyle swimmer Haru, to experienced Makoto and Nagisa, to complete newbie Rei who doesn’t know how to swim. Much like the Noukin high school kabaddi team, the Iwatobi Swim Club has to slowly work from training new members to refining the skills of veterans. Progress is slow but satisfying as these highly motivated teens work towards their goal of entering the prefectural tournament.

When Haru, Makoto and Nagisa’s past teammate Rin returned to Japan, he found that his initially one-sided rival Haru just kept swimming. Fuelled by his pride, competitive nature and teenage angst, Rin finds himself thrust back into swimming, much like the Unstoppable Yoigoshi does after being slammed into the ground by Azemichi.

Rin started as a competitive, prickly, ambitious, overachieving rage ball (seriously, remind you of anyone?) who found himself disenchanted with swimming while training abroad. Without being able to make it to number one, he quit competitive swimming altogether (like someone else we know). Over the course of the show, we see Rin grow as he slowly learns to rely on his fellow teammates and rediscovers his love for competitive sport by overcoming his angst and indulging in the fun of competing with teammates rather than focusing on the win (it’s just creepy at this point).

If Yoigoshi’s character arc, personal growth through overcoming himself, and the slowly developing bonds between teammates tugged on your heart strings, then get ready to really dig into the feels while you laugh and cry with the ups and downs of the Iwatobi Swim Club.

Free! PV



Any Anime Like Burning Kabaddi / Any Anime Like Shakunetsu Kabaddi ?

4. Kuroko no Basket (Kuroko’s Basketball)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: April 2012 – September 2012

When the prodigious middle school basketball players, the Generation of Miracles go their five separate ways for high school, their Phantom sixth man, who no one seems to remember, decides to take them on at the inter-high level after enrolling at a no name school. Kuroko Tetsuya is unremarkable on his own; however, when paired with the right teammates, he’s a force to be reckoned with, hell-bent on reminding his former friends that basketball is about fun and winning isn’t everything. Enter Kagami Taiga, a prodigy in his own right, whose competitive nature has him and Kuroko leading the newly-minted Seirin High School basketball team on its epic giant-slaying journey in basketball.

Arrogance as a result of prodigious talent, back-breaking effort to achieve results and being unable to stand losing, the best athletes often share similar traits; case in point, Kagami and Yoigoshi. Both of these sore losers have zero desire to rely on those they consider weaker, such as Kuroko and Azemichi, respectively. When forced to acknowledge such talented individuals, these two learn the value of camaraderie in sports, to rely on others and become team players.

Much like Noukin, Seirin is an underdog team intent on proving their ability. They take on the legendary Generation of Miracles, just as Noukin seems to be approaching high schools with National-level veterans and World team players. Like Noukin, Seirin is intent on slaying giants of the sport and becoming the best in Japan. To that end, Kagami, Kuroko and the Generation of Miracles’ signature plays are reminiscent of Oujou, Sakura, Takaya and Yoigoshi’s special techniques honed through blood, sweat and more sweat.

If you like innovative gameplay, underdogs defying expectations and strong MCs, Kuroko’s Basketball is right up your alley!

Kuroko no Basket PV


5. Yowamushi Pedal

  • Episodes: 38
  • Aired: October 2013 – July 2014

Onoda Sakamichi is an otaku desperate to revive the anime club at his new high school. He finds sports too violent and wants absolutely nothing to do with them. Yet, he catches the eye of prodigy bicyclist Imaizumi Shunsuke, accidentally ends up racing him and finds himself roped into joining the Sohoku High Bicycle Club. How so? To feed his fanboy habits, Onoda rides his heavy city bike 45km away to Akihabara and back (90KM, HOLY MOLY!!) Every. Single. Day.

While Yoigoshi and Onoda both hate sports, they are very different in nature. While most sports MCs tend to be ambitious, competitive and prideful, Onoda’s timid nature is a breath of fresh air. Much like Azemichi from Burning Kabaddi, Onoda is a happy-go-lucky athletic newbie, who finds himself in what begins as a one-sided rivalry with a prodigious athlete who sees his talent for what it is and is hell-bent on surpassing it. While bicycle races and kabaddi don’t seem to have much in common, the brutal, muscle-screaming, sweat-inducing portrayal of each race creates a similar intensity and echoes the same nail-biting tension of the kabaddi matches. Furthermore, both the Noukin kabaddi team and Sohoku High Bicycle Club share similar dynamics: just as Yoigoshi and Azemichi are trained by Oujou and Iura, the new recruits of the bicycle club are paired with veteran members to hone skills for specific racing styles to strengthen the team as a whole.

If watching Oujou’s determination to make it back from raids at all costs thrilled you, if watching Iura mentor the newbies of the Kabaddi Club warmed your heart, if Azemichi and Misumi’s sheer grit spoke to you, if Yoigoshi’s inner monologue made you laugh, then you best give Yowamushi Pedal a try! Onoda’s desperate peddling and the rest of the bicycle club’s dynamic are sure to ignite the same burning feels.

Yowamushi Pedal PV


6. Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (Run with the Wind)

  • Episodes: 23
  • Aired: October 2018 – March 2019

Unlike the other shows previously listed, Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru is set in college rather than high school. Kakeru is a competitive runner who gave up on running after a massive fallout with his team and coach. His aggressive, result-oriented Spartan attitude alienated him from his team much like Yoigoshi with his soccer team. However, after being convinced (read: coerced) to join the Kansei University Track Club along with the rest of the residents of the Chikusei-sou dorm by a well-intentioned yet ulterior-motivated Haiji (Iura 2.0 anyone? ), Kakeru finds himself training to compete for the Hakone Ekiden.

After spending time with former track star Haij and the rest of the running newbies of the dorm, Kakeru’s prickly attitude melts, much like Yoigoshi’s with the Noukin kabaddi team, as he learns the value of sharing a dream with his teammates; and when said teammates see the talent and ability of their veteran runners, they work towards developing their own abilities as well.

While a tad more serious, Run with the Wind also focuses on a singular goal rather than the high stakes consecutive tournaments approach of other Sports Anime. Both shows are more about learning the sport, practicing and enjoying the fruit of dedicated labour as the team works toward a singular goal which in its own way also raises the stakes of the competition.

If you like even-paced, gradual meaningful development and maybe want something a little more serious, then give Run with the Wind a try! We guarantee it’ll be worth your time.

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru PV


Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap on our list! If you relish watching bonds among teammates develop and personal struggles be overcome through some truly endearing characters, give any of the anime on our list a try. Rollercoaster through the burning emotions, silly laughs, intense competition and really wholesome character growth. Have you checked out any of our recommendations? If so, do let us know which of these shows caught your interest in the comments below!

by G