Wow, it certainly has been a while since we’ve had a “Top Ten” countdown. Since it is almost Summer and it is a time for fun, hard work, and of course, Sports. My Top Ten this week will be all about Sports Manga. Let’s get down to it Den Lurkers!
10.) Slam Dunk
Number Ten in our Sports Manga Countdown is Takehiko Inoue’s, Slam Dunk. Debuting in October 1990 in Weekly Shōnen Jump, this tells the tale of a Delinquent named Hanamichi Sakuragi, he was unpopular with the girls but was a leader of a gang. One day, his world changes when he heads into his first year in High School, he meets the girl of his dreams named Haruko Akagi. Hanamichi was on top of the world, finally, a girl who didn’t find him disgusting or creepy, Haruko immediately noticed his athleticism and introduces him to the Shohoku basketball team.
He would eventually join the team, he wasn’t too crazy about the sport but as he played, Hanamichi would learn the intricacies of the sport. The series would run from 1990 to 1996, selling millions of copies, pick up an Anime Adaption and have four films by Toei Animation, and have several video games on several different systems over the years. Inoue would write an Epilogue called “10 Days After” taking place after the Main Story had ended. Recently in January, Inoue would confirm that there was a new Slam Dunk Movie coming soon, more details on that are over on Anime News Network.
9.) EyeShield 21
Number Nine is Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata’s EyeShield 21. EyeShield 21 is about a boy named Sena Kobayakawa who was introverted and joins an American Football Club as their secretary, but after being coerced by the team’s quarterback Yoichi Hiruma, he becomes the team’s running back whilst wearing an eyeshield and the number 21, under the pseudonym of “Eyeshield 21”. Another that was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan, ran from July 2002 to June 2009, this series spanned 37 Volumes and went on selling more than 20 million copies in Japan, even having individual tankōbon volumes appear on the top ten manga best-selling lists, however, it was a different story for the U.S. as Eyeshield 21 would also appear on Diamond Comic Distributors 300 best-selling graphic novels list several times.
A fun fact about the artist for Eyeshield 21, Yusuke Murata is also known for another big hit, One-Punch Man. And Writer Riichiro Inagaki is currently writing the newest hit manga, Dr. Stone. Eyeshield 21 would receive an Anime Adaption, Video Game, and Audio Series.
Coming in fast at No. Eight is Takuya Mitsuda’s Major. Debuting in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday, Major tells a story about a boy named Gōro Honda, son of Baseball Pitcher Shigeharu Honda, he wants to follow in his Father’s footsteps and become a professional baseball player. It follows the young boy as he overcomes the tremendous challenges in his life.
This series ran from August 1994 to July 2010, collected in 78 Tankōbon Volumes, it would also receive the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1996 in the Shōnen Category, later over the years it would become the best selling manga series of all time with 54 Million Copies in Circulation. This would also be adapted into an Anime Series that would run for six seasons, it would also be followed by a sequel series called Major 2nd, and Also would be serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday.
7.) Captain Tsubasa
Moving onto the Seventh Spot on the Top Ten list is Yōichi Takahashi’s, Captain Tsubasa. Considered to be one of the most best-selling manga titles to date, tells the story of an 11-year-old Elementary Student named Tsubasa Oozora who has a love for football and a dream of winning the FIFA World Cup for Japan. Captain Tsubasa made its debut and serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in April 1981 and had a successful run for seven years, ending in 1988.
Captain Tsubasa is one of the most memorable Manga titles, it has inspired many players to play the sport and make it into a career, while the story is collected in thirty-seven tankōbon volumes it has fourteen spin-off titles, a trilogy of light novels, numerous television and anime films, and several video games that include the recent title Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions.
6.) Hajime no Ippo
In the Blue Corner, this series was created by George Morikawa and is Number 6 in our Top Ten, the Boxing Manga. Hajime no Ippo! Debuting in October 1989 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Hajime no Ippo tells the Tale of Makunouchi Ippo, a young high school student who was described as a gentle soul and lacked confidence which made him an easy target for bullies, Rescued from a beating by Takamura, a professional boxer, Ippo aspires to learn the art of boxing, and attempts to join the Kamogawa Boxing Club. But, to find his fighter’s spirit, Ippo must first spar with Miyata, an extraordinarily talented and skilled boxer.
To this day, Hajime no Ippo is still going strong. It has been in the Weekly Shōnen Magazine for thirty years and reached its 1000th chapter in December 2012. Currently, it is the eighth longest-running manga ever produced with 1300 chapters released in Japan in 2021, its 130th volume was released on March 17th, 2021. It has picked up several anime adaptions (via Discotek Media) and video game adaptions over the years.