The Best Sports Anime of 2021

2021 was a rough year for the entire world. Like the year prior, anime helped us tough it out. Our social interactions have been limited by repeated lockdowns and various crowd control policies, which also forced a change in our routines. Don’t get us wrong. Such measures are necessary, but they just … suck. Fortunately, there were some great sports anime released last year. Even though we can’t frequently go out to get our blood pumping with our friends, watching sports anime provides an alternative way to get that adrenaline rush. Here are the best ones from last year.

5. 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu (2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team)

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

After a certain incident in the Tokyo Junior High School volleyball club, Kimichika Hajima is forced to return to his hometown. That’s where he meets his exceptionally talented childhood friend, Yuni Kuroba. Despite Kuroba’s tendency to break under pressure, Hajima’s influence and passion allow them to form a dynamic duo. The two enroll at Seiin High School and join its volleyball club. Together with their new teammates, they aim to win the prefectural tournament.

Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team isn’t your typical blood-pumping anime. While it does have impressive matches, the true highlight of the story is the character development. The anime gives a ton of focus to how the characters view volleyball, as well as how volleyball affects the characters. Fukuho’s Mimura, for example, has a deep reason as to why he’s so bent up with winning. As to what that is, you will have to watch the anime to know.


  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: April 2021 - June 2021

MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD is the second season of MEGALOBOX, which first aired in 2018. After winning and becoming the Megalonia tournament champion without using any gears, Joe has become a legend and has inspired many. However, one can only stay in the limelight for so long. Joe has fallen from grace and soon returns to the world of underground fighting. This time, he is no longer the inspiration many look up to.

MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD may have taken a jarring turn from the first season, but it does so with magnificent execution. The story veers off the action-packed scenes and focuses on character development and soul searching. Even so, the anime still offers amazing fights, but every fight now carries thicker emotions. The anime naturally hits differently, but it’s a good kind of different.

3. Bakuten!! (BACKFLIP!!)

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

Shotaro Futaba instantly realizes that men’s rhythmic gymnastics is for him when he first saw it during his last summer of junior high. When he entered Shoshukan High School, he immediately joins the gymnastics team. Unbeknownst to him, he’s up to a rather interesting journey alongside his equally interesting teammates, including the much-talented Ryoya Misato. Shoshukan High’s rhythmic gymnastics, now with a full roster of six, set their sights on the Inter-High tournament.

Just like the featured sport, BACKFLIP!! aims to impress with its vibrant design. From the hair color to the outfit, everything is shining, shimmering, splendid. That, of course, isn’t the only thing that makes BACKFLIP!! great. It features a varied set of characters, each having a unique and lovable personality. Just like any good sports anime, it also makes sure to show hard work and perseverance, especially when it comes to mastering the sport.

2. Re-Main

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2021 - October 2021

A car accident puts Minato Shimizu in a coma. The moment he wakes up, he learns that he’s been out for 203 days and realizes that he has lost his memories from middle school. Discovering his former glory as a water polo player inspires him to continue his legacy only to be slapped by the harsh reality. He becomes aware of his limitations and starts rehabilitation towards a life without water polo, but his decisions take another turn due to a certain promise. Now, he starts his journey once more at square one.

While recovering from a long coma isn’t a usual sight in the sports scene, undergoing rehabilitation after an awful injury is. That’s what sets apart Re-Main from other sports anime. The roller coaster of emotions he experiences gives Shimizu a lot of room for growth, while also giving the viewers a peek at how miserable a single injury can be. It is also not every day that sports like water polo gets a chance for the anime limelight.

1. SK∞ (SK8 the Infinity)

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

Reki is a passionate skateboarder who can’t get his head off S, a secret and perilous skating race. That, however, isn’t the highlight of the race. Both skaters and observers are especially hyped when a "beef", or battle, arises during a race. When Reki ends up with a broken arm and skateboard after a loss, he brings a transferred student named Langa into the mine where the races are held, roping the mysterious transfer student in the world of illegal skateboarding.

SK8 the Infinity may initially come off as a run off the mill anime about skateboarding, but it immediately disproves that. The dynamics—borderline BL—between Reki and Langa keep the anime from going stale. While the two are the highlight of the show, the other characters are just as interesting as them. But what’s a sports anime if not for the sports, right? SK8 the Infinity has that covered, too. Its fluid animation does wonders showing the tricks, cheats, and other stuff the characters are hiding up their sleeves.

Final Thoughts

Sports anime, like the other genres, has evolved through the years. Now, it’s no longer just about the adrenaline rush—though that is still an important component. The anime in this list represent that. From the typical underdog eating their betted rivals to finding the light after spiraling into the darkness, 2021 sure has a diverse sports anime to offer. Do you agree with our list? Tell us in the comment section below!

Re-Main-Wallpaper-700x368 The Best Sports Anime of 2021


Author: Christian Markle

I am a copywriter, proofreader, and editor. I love watching anime, reading manga, and writing my own stories. Watch out in the future as you may see one of my works one day. Manga and anime were big parts of my childhood. I grew up watching Yu Yu Hakusho, Slam Dunk, One Piece, and Dragon Ball Z. Those were probably one of the happiest and most carefree days of my life. In fact, most of my values are probably molded by manga. No, that's not an exaggeration.

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Christian Markle