We might not be able to PLAY basketball, but we sure can watch it.
What makes a good basketball anime? Is it the high stakes, or maybe the drama? Competitive sports and good storytelling often go hand in hand. Whether you enjoy basketball as a sport or anime as an artform, basketball anime can fit any preference between the two cultures. Because of how easy it is to store manga and anime on mobile devices or computers, basketball players and basketball enthusiasts can have their games available on and off the court. Many sports enthusiasts don’t know where to start with basketball anime. This list will give you or your friends a great place to start.
Here are the top 11 basketball anime that you must see if you’re a fan of either hobby.
11. Dash! Kappei
Despite being an old ecchi show from the late 80’s, Dash! Kappei is a basketball anime that is both fun and appealing. The story follows a very short yet very skilled main character in this funny and entertaining anime. Using an art style that has aged well, those who enjoy older anime will enjoy this basketball anime. While the motivations of the main character may be slightly questionable, this does place it at the bottom, but inside the list for a reason.
Where can I watch basketball anime?
10. Mistu x Mitsu Drops
This shoujo anime offers a change of pace from the original basketball anime format. While most take on an action centered approach, Mitsu x Mitsu Drops is a shoujo that you wouldn’t expect to center around an American sport. A reason it rates as 10th in this list is because of the clashing of the genres. Although it is well done, the genres still are more or less opposites. Additionally, the subject matter is somewhat odd to say the least.
9. Buzzer Beater
Buzzer Beater comes in at 9th in the list of our top eleven both because of its uniqueness overall. Taking place in the far future, this anime sticks out among the rest of the basketball anime because of its setting and memorable characters. However, it may have been better placed with a different subject focus. The universe is well built, almost too well built. The focus on basketball nearly makes the audience wish to see the rest of the universe they are watching this show in. However, because of the basketball focus, they are left wanting more.
8. Dear Boys
An older but still satisfying anime, Dear Boys is a concise story of a basketball team that is told from start to finish. While it is comparatively shorter to other basketball anime, Dear Boys shines in both its art style and story progression and is adored by many fans as a favorite. It also boasts a retro-aesthetic art style that caused many fans to flock to it. While there are no glaring issues, Dear Boys did not stick out or shine as brightly on the remaining members of this list.
Another futuristic anime Basquash takes the place at number seven. Featuring mechs instead of people playing basketball, this anime thrives on its premise and flashiness. However, the actual intricacies of mech-basketball are left more or less unexplored. While the anime itself is of higher quality, many may not prefer the over-the-top premise and nature of this series.
A short two episode series called I’ll/CKBC is a well talked about anime. The show covers topics such as rivalry and teamwork as two boy rivals are forced to play in the same game together. The animation and basketball scenes are what make this basketball anime shine. It’s a shame this anime was left so short, only living for two episodes.
5. Onagawa Chuu Baske Bu: 5-nin no Natsu
A heart tugging anime titled Onagawa Chuu Baske Bu is the story of five players who are the only regulars after this show’s depiction of the Tohoku earthquake. This show tells a tale of resilience as the team insists to keep on playing what they love despite losing many members. This anime, however short, has been known to inspire despite covering a topic concerning tragedy. However, many fans may not prefer a basketball anime to mix with such dark topics, which is why it is placed lower on this list.
A different sort of basketball anime is Ro-Kyu-Bu. Most commonly known for its cute characters and endearing plot, Ro-Kyu-Bu combines the best of loli anime and basketball anime into a pleasant fusion. Full of humor and entertainment, this anime ranks high on the list for being an all around good show, with good animation and plot to match. Some watchers complain of the anime’s pandering to loli fanservice.
3. Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk is a well-known older anime with beautiful animation, great sceneplay, and well designed characters. Fans adore this anime mostly for the aesthetic of its design. Additionally, the show kickstarted much of Japan’s fascination with basketball and basketball anime. In turn, you could say this anime brought upon the remaining top two in this list. This story of comradery and passion is a quintessential basketball anime that would make this list lost if not placed on it.
To see more of a description of some of the anime I have mentioned such as episode count and run time, see this blogpost article for details.
Does Netflix have Slam Dunk?
Unfortunately, Netflix removed Slam Dunk from its list of available shows. However, it is available on other sites such as Crunchyroll and more. A quick search on the internet should lead you right to this great basketball anime in no time.
2. Ahiru No Sora
Taking number 2 on this list, a basketball anime list would be lost without mentioning Ahiru No Sora. Adored for its animation, character development, action, and underdog focused story with realistic elements, Ahiru No Sora is an anime almost any anime fan could fall in love with.
For more information on this anime in depth, check out ahiru no sora season 2
1. Kuroko No Basket
It’s Kuroko No Basket that takes the top spot as the best basketball anime of all time. Produced with stellar animation and colorful characters, this anime wins on all fronts. Available widely on sites like Crunchyroll, fans can begin to watch this show immediately. With a great story, characters, and plenty of humor and action filled sports scenes, onlookers will quickly become fans in this anime from 2012. With 25 episodes to the series, the story is compact and without filler, making every drawn moment count.
Is Kuroko’s Basketball on Netflix?
Currently the show is available to watch on Netflix. This is another reason why this anime is a good one to start out with, it is available almost anywhere you can watch anime. It has been a popular hit ever since its debut in 2012, and is a shining example of a basketball anime.
Which is better, Ahiru No Sora or Kuroko No Basket?
While all questions such as these are debatable, the answer would be up to the viewer. Ahiru No Sora is an anime still in production, while Kuroko no Basket is long finished. Some people may prefer Slam Dunk due to its art style, or Ro-Kyu-Bu due to its characters. In the end, a Top 11 list is only a means to a suggestion, and you should be the one to determine which anime is a top pick for you.
Which is your favorite? Comment below, and be sure to share the article with your friends to see what they pick!