Red’s Top Ten: Sports Manga

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Ace of the Diamond Volume One Cover

5.) Ace of the Diamond

Next up on the mound is No. 5 in the countdown is Yuji Terajima’s Ace of the Diamond. This baseball series also made its debut in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine in May 2006 and ran until January 2015. This tells the story of a high school pitcher named Eijun Sawamura, he was planning to play baseball with his friends at their local high school until a scout from a prestigious high school in Sediou offers him a scholarship and a chance at Nationals his world changes immediately. He wants to become the Ace of their team, a new chapter in the Baseball Club is about to begin!

This series has won several awards, including the Shogakukan Manga Award for Shonen Manga in 2008, it has one Sequel and a Comedic Spin-Off. Ace of the Diamond picked up an Anime Adaption in 2013 and ran for 55 episodes, also including its Sequel series in 2018.

5.) Chihayafuru

Nearing the halfway point in the Top Ten countdown, No. 5 is Yuki Suetsugu’s Chihayafuru. It begins with a young girl named Chihaya Ayase who spent most of her life supporting her sister in her modeling career. Then one day, she meets a boy named Arata Wataya who is a talented karuta player; then one day, they became friends and he believes that Chihaya has the potential to become a great player. As Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends. Now in high school, Chihaya still plays karuta in the hope that she will one day meet her friends again.

This manga was first serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love Magazine in 2007, it is currently still running to this day. Unlike the others in the countdown so far, Chihayafuru is a Japanese Josei Manga, it caters to women’s interests, and is marketed towards older teenage girls and adult women demographics who can read kanji without the aid of furigana. Chihayafuru picked up an anime adaption that had three seasons and also three live-action films. This series also boosted the popularity of competitive karuta in Japan. If you would like to check out the sport for yourself, click here.

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Haikyu!! Volume One Cover

4.) Haikyu!!

Number Four in our countdown is the Volleyball Manga Haiku!! Written and Illustrated by Haruchi Furudate, this series made its debut in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in February 2012 and ran until July 2020. The series follows Shoyo Hinata’s love of volleyball. Inspired by a small-statured pro volleyball player, Hinata creates a volleyball team in his last year of middle school. Unfortunately, the team is matched up against the “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama’s team in their first tournament and inevitably loses. After the crushing defeat, Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama After entering high school, Hinata joins the volleyball team only to find that Tobio has also joined too.

Haikyu!! has received a lot of positive responses in regards to both the Manga and its anime adaption, this series would also receive a Spin-off Manga title, a radio drama a series of stage plays, and OVAs (Original Video Animation) but one of the most impressive things about this series was in May 2020, it was the second best selling manga that ranked below another fan-favorite Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.

The Prince of Tennis Volume One Cover

3.) The Prince of Tennis

Number three is Takeshi Konomi’s The Prince of Tennis. Debuting in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in July of 1999, it is about a boy named Ryoma Echizen, who is a Tennis Prodigy that is attending Seishun Academy which is known for its Strong Tennis Club and its talented players. When he secures a spot on the team they focus on winning the National Middle School Tennis Championship but along the way Ryoma also begins to develop his style of tennis, make new friends, and eventually realizes what the sport means to him.

The series ran for 9 years, during its time it has gotten numerous adaptions (including Anime), fifteen stage musicals, a live-action film adaption, two anime films with a new one that will be 3DCG Film. The Franchise will be turning Twenty as it will be getting an event in October.

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Kuroko's Basketball Volume 24 Cover

3.) Kuroko’s Basketball

Nearing the end of our countdown is Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s Kuroko’s Basketball at No.3. Debuting in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump in December 2008 tells the tale of a high school student named Taiga Kagami who was talented at Basketball and comes to join Seirin High, he meets another student who seemed to be plain, mysterious boy named Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn’t good at basketball, in fact, he’s bad! And he’s so plain that he’s impossible to see. But Kuroko’s plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he’s none other than the sixth member of the Miracle Generation.

At times it was compared to Takehiko Inoue’s, Slam Dunk but this was more focused on entertainment than realism. The series ran until September 2014 and picked up an Anime Adaption, light novel adaption, and a film.

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