1. Slam Dunk, 2. Haikyuu!!, 3. Real, 4. Hajime No Ippo, 5. Ace of the Diamond, 6. Kengan Ashura, 7. Yowamushi Pedal, 8. Air Gear, 9. The Summit of the Gods, 10. Eyeshield 21, 11. Kuroko's Basketball, 12. Giant Killing. Do you want some suggestions for sports manga? Here is a list of the best sports manga you must read now!
- Slam Dunk
- Hajime No Ippo
- Ace of the Diamond
- Kengan Ashura
- Yowamushi Pedal
- Air Gear
- The Summit of the Gods
- Eyeshield 21
- Kuroko’s Basketball
- Giant Killing
Slam Dunk is without a doubt one of the best sports manga series of all time. Hanamichi Sakuragi, a delinquent, is the protagonist of the story. He had two thoughts after his first day of high school: “I hate basketball” and “I need a girlfriend.” That all changes when Hanamichi meets Haruko Akagi, a girl who is impressed by his incredible physical attributes. Although he was initially uninterested in the sport, he eventually joined and learned more about its complexities. Basketball soon transforms his life, instilling passion in him like he’s never known it before.
When someone writes about something they are passionate about and conveys that passion through characters who are equally passionate about it, it is difficult not to feel or develop a passion for it within themselves. Slam Dunk and Takehiko Inoue’s ability to connect with you as a reader is truly unique. Some Slam Dunk volumes have been in and out of stock for a while. If you are still looking for any of the volumes, be sure to check out the manga restock list for any estimated restock dates that may be noted!
Author: Takehiko Inoue
Original run: October 1, 1990 – June 17, 1996
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/slam-dunk/s?k=slam+dunk
Image via https://www.amazon.com/
Haikyuu! is one of the most popular manga series out right now, as well as one of the most beloved sports anime series of all time. Haikyuu!! focuses on the sport of volleyball and tells the story of Hinata, who has to work with Tobio Kageyama on a volleyball team during their high school years. The story revolves around Hinata’s journey to make a name for himself in the world of competitive volleyball, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his idol, the Little Giant. Hinata, like his hero, is small, often the shortest of his classmates. But, like the Little Giant before him, he’s determined to make it big as a volleyball star.
The character development in Haikyuu!! is also excellent. Haruichi Furudate gave each character their moment or moments to shine, and as a result, you feel connected to them all. The dynamics between the teams and the players are also fascinating. You have some players who have joined new teams, so what was once their rivals are now their teammates, which adds to the story’s intrigue.
Author: Haruichi Furudate
Original run: February 20, 2012 – July 20, 2020
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/haikyuu-manga/s?k=haikyuu+manga
Youtube Channel: Gear Third Manga Reviews
Real, another masterpiece by Takehiko Inoue, tells the story of Tomomi Nomiya, a former basketball captain who is plagued by guilt after ruining the life of a young girl in a traffic accident. His guilt drives him to delinquency, and he drops out of school as a form of penance. Following this, Tomomi meets Kiyoharu Togawa, a sprinter who lost his right leg, and Hisanobu Takahashi, the new basketball team captain who became paralyzed from the waist down.
After losing a one-on-one match with Togawa, Tomomi is inspired and decides to use his basketball passion to help others. The series is a heartwarming story about basketball and healing that will warm readers’ hearts. You can feel these characters’ struggles and, as a result, connect with them as they strive to become better people and rediscover their life’s purpose through their love of basketball.
Original run: October 28, 1999 – present
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/REAL-Manga/s?k=REAL+Manga
Hajime No Ippo
Hajime no Ippo is a classic boxing manga that is especially worth checking out if you enjoy Shonen manga. Hajime no Ippo has great character development and is always entertaining, but it does have a fairly standard shonen setup at times, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but should be considered if you like darker, more mature series. Hajime no Ippo is the story of Makunouchi Ippo, a boy who is bullied at school. When he meets Takamura Mamoru, a pro boxer who sees potential in him and convinces him to join his gym, his life changes. Throughout the story, you will see Ippo develop as a boxer and as a person.
Overall, the art is good, though it has an older style that may turn off some readers. After all, this manga was first published in 1989, so it will look very different from more recent boxing series such as Rikudou. The fights are exciting and clear and easy to follow, but the main reason this manga shines so brightly is because of Ippo and his character development.
Author: George Morikawa
Original run: October 11, 1989 – present
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Hajime-no-Ippo-Manga/s?k=Hajime+no+Ippo+Manga
Youtube Channel: Arveuss
Ace of the Diamond
Ace of the Diamond is one of the best baseball manga series ever created. Eijun Sawamura, the main character, is the pitcher and team captain of his high school’s baseball team. The plot begins when he fumbles a game-winning pitch and, after being taunted by the opposing team, hilariously defends his team’s honor in a full-fledged brawl. He receives a scholarship to Seidou High School, a prestigious school known for its elite baseball team, in an unexpected turn of events.
As he begins to play there, he is met with fierce competition, not only from rival teams but also from his teammates, who are motivated by their dreams and aspirations to become the team’s “Ace.” What drew you to Ace of the Diamond was its emphasis on teamwork, hard work, and never giving up. Become invested in Sawamura’s journey as he faces various challenges and rejoices with his teammates. Yuji Terajima does an excellent job of developing each character throughout the story, making the entire cast relatable and memorable. If you want to read the series in English, Kodansha has made it available digitally.
Author: Ace of the Diamond
Original run: 17 May 2006 – 14 January 2015
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Ace-of-the-Diamond-44-book-series/dp/B07JK7NC83
Youtube Channel: HobbiesofaMan
The Kengan Association, an underground organization comprised of powerful companies, exists in Kengan Ashura. When they have a disagreement, they pick a fighter and fight it out in an underground ring. Tokita Ohma, the main character, becomes a fighter for the Nogi Group in his quest to become the greatest martial artist. The plot follows him and his manager, Kazuo Yamashita, as they work together to conquer Kengan’s brutal world.
The fights in Kengan Ashura are exaggerated and over-the-top, which makes them thrilling, but they are also believable. While the fighters in Kegan Ashura are grounded in reality, they are larger-than-life characters with incredible abilities. Their strength as fighters is emphasized not only by their appearance and character designs but also by the additional elements surrounding them, such as an animal that represents their fighting style, an aura that surrounds them, and so on. This is something many sports manga lovers always enjoy in manga centered on any sport or fighting because it showcases their abilities in a more abstract and interesting way.
Author: Yabako Sandrovich
Original run: April 18, 2012 – August 9, 2018
Volumes: 27 + 1 extra
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/kengan-ashura-manga/s?k=kengan+ashura+manga
Youtube Channel: Nhattylite Media
Wataru Watanabe’s Yowamushi Pedal follows the unassuming main character and major otaku Sakamichi Onoda, who has been biking back and forth to Akihabara on a “mommy bike” since he was in fourth grade. Shunsuke Imaizumi, the school’s cycling prodigy, notices Sakamichi climbing the school’s difficult back slope one day. Following that, Shunsuke challenges Sakamichi to a race to test his cycling abilities. Sakamichi gradually develops an interest in competitive cycling and eventually joins the school’s cycling club.
Yowamushi Pedal is unlike any other sports manga for several reasons. Sakamichi, the main character, is not a fan of school sports and has reservations about jocks and what it means to be a member of an athletic club from the start. Sakamichi also has an incredible natural talent for cycling that no one can see except him. The story is set up in a way that reminds you of Initial D, where the MC learns a sport through their daily lives and isn’t interested in competing competitively, at least at first. You never know who will win a race, which is unusual for a sports manga, particularly a Shonen sports manga.
Wataru Watanabe, the creator of Yowamushi Pedal, is a cycling enthusiast, and his enthusiasm shines through in his writing. That being said, whether you like cycling or not, Yowamushi Pedal will captivate you, give you a new perspective on cycling, and take you on an exciting ride!
Author: Wataru Watanabe
Original run: February 21, 2008 – present
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/yowamushi-pedal/s?k=yowamushi+pedal&page=2
In the world of sports manga, Air Gear is an outlier. While not grounded in reality, Air Gear highlights rollerblading in an over-the-top, absurd, best-way-possible kind of way, so while it’s not necessarily an accurate representation of the sport, it’s an exciting read that takes rollerblading to a whole new level with the introduction of futuristic motorized rollerblades called Air Treks.
This, of course, raises the question of whether Air Gear is, in fact, a sports manga, There are many series that exaggerate a sport or the players’ abilities to play that sport in order to make it feel larger-than-life, and I believe Air Gear is just a more advanced version of this.
The competitions in this series are thrilling, as you watch the characters perform daring stunts and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. Because of the aggressive nature of the competitions, this one feels a lot like a battle shonen at times. It’s also an ecchi manga, making it one of the best action ecchi manga you can read, so it has something for everyone!
Author: Oh! great
Original run: November 6, 2002 – May 23, 2012
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/air-gear-manga/s?k=air+gear+manga
Youtube Channel: jditty150
The Summit of the Gods
The Summit of the Gods is based on Baku Yumemakura’s novel of the same name and focuses on alpinism, or mountain climbing. You can really see how passionate these people are, even more so than most, because they are willing to put their lives on the line to do what they love. The Summit of the Gods depicts all of this extremely well.
While the series is about alpinism, it’s really about the climbers’ passion for the sport, the allure of the mountains, and being one with nature. George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were the first to attempt to climb Mount Everest, but they vanished, leaving no one to know whether or not they reached the summit. The story of The Summit of the Gods begins in 1993, with a photographer named Makoto Fukamichi believing he has discovered Mallory’s camera in an antique store. The camera is taken from him by a man who may be Jouji Habu, a retired legendary mountaineer.
Curiosity piqued, Fukamichi investigates Habu’s past, which leads him to the world’s highest point—the summit of the gods. The Summit of the Gods is filled with mystery and intrigue, making it a one-of-a-kind standout in the sports genre.
Author: Jiro Taniguchi
Original run: 2000 – 2003
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Summit-Gods-Baku-Yumemakura/dp/8496427870
Eyeshield 21 is a 37-volume series with the perfect balance of action and comedy, making it as inspiring as it is humorous. On top of that, it’s an underdog story, which always wins you over, but none has won you over quite like Eyeshield 21 and its MC, Sena Kobayakawa.
Sena Kobayakawa, a bullied student at Deimon Private High School, is the protagonist of the story. He annoys them one day, but thanks to his quickness, he manages to escape. Youichi Hiruma, the quarterback of the Deimon Devil Bats football team and one of the story’s main characters, witnesses all of this. He hires Sena to be the team’s running back, but he soon becomes much more—their secret weapon.
Riichiro Inagaki’s masterful storytelling is brought to life even more in the panels by Yusuke Murata’s art. He is a master of perspective, which is evident in Eyeshield 21. But it’s the characters, with their distinct and colorful personalities, and the team dynamics that really make this story shine. It’s one of the best sports mangas ever released, and it’s well worth reading whether you like American football or not!
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Original run: July 23, 2002 – June 15, 2009
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/eyeshield-21-manga/s?k=eyeshield+21+manga
Youtube Channel: King’s Comics
Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s Kuroko’s Basketball is sometimes criticized for being unrealistic. You will enjoy Kuroko’s Basketball much more if you go in knowing that it has a tendency to be flashy and exaggerate things. It only adds to the series’ charm because these seemingly out-of-this-world plays, dunks, and abilities make Kuroko’s Basketball an interesting read.
In this story, there is a group of basketball prodigies known as the “Generation of Miracles” who have almost superhuman abilities. They aren’t inhuman, but watching them play gives the impression that they are. Later on, you learn that the team had a phantom sixth man, who happened to be the main character Kuroko. He decides to leave the team and join another in order to demonstrate his ability to stand on his own. Kuroko’s Basketball, on the other hand, is a sports manga with an overpowered main character.
You’re constantly kept on the edge of your seat while reading this manga because you never know what incredible feat someone will perform next. Kuroko’s Basketball, like many sports manga, has a great sense of humor, but it also has a lot of action-packed scenes. It’s a really well-rounded series with an unusual premise and characters, making it one of the most entertaining sports manga releases to date.
Author: Tadatoshi Fujimaki
Original run: December 8, 2008 – September 1, 2014
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/kuroko-no-basket-manga/s?k=kuroko+no+basket+manga
Youtube Channel: Ry Ry Animation
Giant Killing by Masaya Tsunamoto and Tsujitomo is a soccer manga with a unique perspective. Takeshi Tatsumi, the team’s coach, is the main character in this story, not one of the players. He’s a 35-year-old ex-football player who moved to England to coach before returning to Japan to coach the team he used to play for. Tatsumi’s favorite pastime is giant killing, in which he coaches an underdog amateur team to victory over premier teams. If you enjoy underdog stories, you will enjoy Giant Killing.
Tatsumi is an unconventional thinker who keeps things interesting. As someone who grew up playing soccer, it’s also refreshing to see a coach like Tatsumi work with his players to hone and sharpen their individual talents. When you first meet the ETU players, they are disorganized, disoriented, and defeated. But everything changes when Tatsumi arrives, and you can really see them all come into their own. Many shows focus on the battles that teams must overcome, but Giant Killing delves into the individual struggles that each player must overcome as well.
What makes this story interesting is that it follows the underdog team. Nothing beats an upset in sports, and watching this team slay giants who are said to be more talented than them is rewarding, to say the least.
Author: Masaya Tsunamoto
Original run: January 11, 2007 – present
Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JN4SB1B?searchxofy=true