SK8 is the first skateboarding anime of its kind and so, if you were in the market for another skateboard-toting replica, unfortunately, you’re fresh out of luck. However, while SK8 is a skateboarding anime at heart; the races, characters, and underlying themes are found in a great number of other anime. Let’s take a look at 6 anime to check out while practicing your ollie and waiting for the next episode of SK8 to release!
Similar Anime to SK∞ / Similar Anime to SK8 the Infinity
1. Air Gear
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Air Gear focuses on specialized rollerblades as opposed to skateboards but the execution is incredibly similar to SK8. After a futuristic set of inline skates - known as AT - take the nation by storm, a group of daredevils known as the storm riders tamper with the speed limiter in order to engage in underground battles. Already, we see a great connection to SK8 as both anime focus on a societal underbelly, wherein athletes compete against each other. In Air Gear, teams wager valuable AT parts or emblems (their symbol of pride). Similar to SK8's 'Beefs', skaters often wager either money or more symbolic prizes such as an apology from the loser. Not only this but both the feel and the music of SK8 are very similar to the aesthetic of air gear.
Our protagonist in Air Gear is Itsuki Minami, a student known for getting in street fights but always wanting to reach new heights yet untouched. Both Reki and Langa from SK8 give off similar vibes to Itsuki. Reki, is the hot-headed passionate skater, while Langa always tries to push the boundaries of what a skateboarder can accomplish. Air Gear is probably the closest anime you will find to SK8 in terms of content and overall premise.
Air Gear Trailer
2. Initial D
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1998 - December 1998
If Air Gear and initial D had a four-wheeled abomination of a love child, surely it would be SK8. Initial D also focuses on street races in a similar vein to SK8. Even the meeting spot for battles (the top of a mountain), is shared by both anime. Sports anime often struggle to emulate their real-world counterparts. Sometimes, however, you don’t want to watch a dramatic recreation of a sport, you want to see how that sport can be taken to its absolute limits in the world of anime. Neither SK8 nor Initial D shy away from some incredibly over-the-top action sequences that even Tony Hawk would be hard-pressed to pull off.
One of the most striking things about SK8 is its killer soundtrack. The opening theme perfectly sets the light-hearted and jovial tone that comes with a free-flowing sport such as skating. The battle songs and booming and perfectly amplify the tension on screen. Then, the ending theme is calm and serene, as if you were surfing on holiday at the beach. Needless to say, Initial D has become infamous for its soundtrack over the years. You are a filthy liar if you say juxtaposing Langa’s race against Shadow, Miya, or Adam with Initial D’s Deja Vu would not fit perfectly.
Initial D Trailer
3. Kuroko no Basket (Kuroko's Basketball)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2012 – September 2012
One of the things that makes watching SK8 so enjoyable, is the perfectly executed dynamic between Langa and Reki. Reki is fiery Ying to Langa’s chilled Yang and it’s hilarious to watch these two bounce off of each other. While they each have their own unique personalities, they are not opposed to leaning into the other’s sphere of influence on occasion as well. It is not too uncommon to see Langa bust out a cheeky one-liner in order to jokingly mock his friends. Likewise, although rare, Reki sometimes shows his more serious side (when discussing Langa’s family situation or persuading him not to face Adam for example).
This bromance is also found in Kuroko no Basket, as two guys (Kuroko and Taiga) both different in their own ways, make a pact to grow stronger together. What follows is a series of challenges and teaching, as they set forth to one day become the best. The underlying theme here is, regardless of your hobbies or interests, sharing what is special to you with a friend can make the experience that much more enjoyable. Both SK8 and Kuroko no Basket slam dunk the competition in that regard.
Kuroko’s Basketball OP 1
Any Anime Like SK8 the Infinity / Any Anime Like SK∞?
4. Future GPX Cyber Formula
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: March 1991 - December 1991
Cyber Formula is another racing anime focusing on the 14-year-old Kazami Hayato on his road to becoming a world-renowned driver. The idea of a youth gaining wisdom from his friends and veterans alike in order to assist in his own conquest of the sport is a theme present in both Cyber Formula and SK8.
One idea present in Cyber Formula is coming to terms with the fact that perhaps the most suped-up and decked-out ride isn’t always best suited for the person driving it. Similar to Langa the veteran snowboarder, he cannot move more than a few inches on a traditional skateboard without falling off, no matter how expensive or well-designed said board may be. It is not until Reki’s creating of a custom skateboard-snowboard hybrid that ‘only [Langa] can ride’, that we see Langa’s true potential burst to the surface.
5. Yuri!!! on Ice
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2016 – December 2016
We could have just as easily placed Free!, the popular swimming anime, into this spot as well, but Yuri on Ice ekes it out for having a more compelling narrative (relying less so on topless shots of six-packs). As of yet, SK8 has yet to introduce a mainstay female cast member. The only women with any vocal lines at this point are the girlfriend of a customer of Reki’s, Shadow’s coworker at the flower shop, and a gaggle of screaming fans whenever Joe or Cherry make their debut. Needless to say, with a seeming lack of women or interest in involving them in the show - conclusions will be drawn!
Yuri on Ice is rather overt with its BL subplot, not shying away from openly weaving it into the narrative. SK8, however, is not a romance anime (yet), and so all opinions on potential ships are pure speculation. Yet, the chemistry between the main pairing, a teacher-student relationship turned something more; all the building blocks that Yuri on Ice set up are in place for one heartfelt confession to send BL shippers tumbling down.
Yuri!!! on Ice PV
6. Two Car (TWOCAR)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
Two Car (sometimes referred to as Two Car: Racing Sidecar) is another racing anime with similar ideas to SK8 as Yuri Miyata and Megumi Meguro compete against six other rival racers in the sport of sidecar racing. SK8 is a great buddy adventure anime and Two Car scratches the same itch only this time with two female leads. As mentioned previously, one of SK8’s biggest points of appeal is the relationship of Reki and Langa, a dynamic duo working together against an onslaught of strong opponents. Not only this but the jovial and playful themes of SK8, are also found here, where they are not in more serious sports anime.
Another selling point for SK8 is the glorious animation. The fluidity of some of the skateboarding races is breathtaking to watch. Two Car also delivers great racing segments in abundance. Finally, a point seldom discussed, is the humor of SK8. While it is not inherently a comedy anime, the jokes and quick with from some of the characters had us laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Two Car also does not skimp on the comedy aspect of its show, as each character is given the chance to shine by not only showcasing their racing prowess but their unique personalities as well.
TWOCAR Official Trailer
SK8 is an anime nobody expected to be so well received. When you hear, “skateboarding anime”, surely you think of a generic storyline with smatterings of poorly animated tricks to fill a twelve-episode block. Little did we know that not only would we be blessed with a well-executed and beautifully animated anime, but that such a story would have an incredibly gripping narrative behind it as well. SK8 is a great anime and one that we highly recommend picking up if you were still on the fence. Then, once you find yourself killing time between weekly episode releases, come back to our list and take a look at some of our recommendations.
Are you watching SK8? Have you watched any of our recommendations? Do you know of any other anime similar to SK8 that we might have forgotten? Let us know in the comments below! Also, feel free to let us know which advanced skateboarding trick you can perform for online bragging rights!