Top 10 Best Soccer Anime Shows of All Time

We discuss top 10 best soccer anime shows of all time. Keep this list handy if you want anime and soccer together.

Sport is a huge subgenre in the anime world, and within that subcategory, soccer is one of the more prominent narrative options. After all, it is one of the most popular sports in Japan along with basketball, baseball, sumo wrestling and martial arts. Japan has its own football association and professional football leagues, with the J.League being one of the most successful leagues in all of Asia. This love of the game and passion for the sport has also translated into Japan’s anime shows, with many good soccer anime series to enjoy. Here is a list of the top ten soccer anime shows of all time, using statistics from IMDb to finalize the results.

Top 10 Best Soccer Anime Shows of All Time

10. Ganbare! Kikkazu (1986 – 1988)

Ganbar! kikkazu (aka Ganbare, Kickers!) was an animated comedy series that aired on Studio Pierrot in the late 1980s. The series ran for 26 episodes and told the story of Kakeru Daichi, a young forward who helps a struggling soccer team at the local elementary school after his family moves to the area. It’s a true underdog story with touches of comedy and romance thrown into the mix. The whole series can be found on YouTube.

IMDB Score: 7.4/10

9. Giant Murder (2010)

Based on the Japanese manga series of the same name kill giants The focus is on the professional soccer team East Tokyo United, which is struggling in Japan’s top soccer league. They hire an eccentric manager in hopes of restoring the club to its former glory. It’s another underdog story, decked out with a catchy theme tune and glowing examples of excellent animation. The series was produced by Studio Deen but only lasted one season.

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

8th Whistle!: Dream Team (2002 – 2003)

Whistle!: Dream Team focuses on Shou Kazamatsuri, an amateur football player who dreams of being one of the best in football, unfortunately he’s not very good at this sport and he’s also worried about his size. Seems to be another underdog story to add to the list. I see a trend emerging. This action-packed anime series is based on the manga series by Daisuke Higuchi. A motivational show that ran for 39 episodes and received widespread praise at the time of its release.

IMDB Score: 7.7/10

7. Moero! Top Striker (1992 – 1993)

Moro! top striker was an animated series that aired on TV Tokyo in the early 1990s. The show told the story of Hikaru Kikkawa, a thirteen-year-old Japanese soccer prodigy who plays soccer as an international student in Genoa, Italy. The student endured a rather tragic upbringing, losing both of his parents in a plane crash, but he finds love and success in Italy. The series is currently available on YouTube with English subtitles.

IMDB Score: 7.8/10

6. Inazuma Eleven (2008 – 2011)

Most football stories focus on the forward, the one who scores all the goals and takes all the glory, but another important player on the team is the goalkeeper. Inazuma Eleven differs from the others by looking at the one who stops the goals and not just the one who scores all the goals. Mamoru Endou is the talented goalkeeper in this series who must improve on his team’s lackluster performances and lead them to new heights. The series ran for three seasons with over a hundred episodes under its belt.

IMDB Score: 8/10

5. Ginga and Kickoff (2012-2013)

Ginga and Kickoff (aka Victory Kickoff!!) was an anime series produced by TYO Animations that consisted of 39 episodes in the early 2010s. The series tells the story of sixth grader Shou Oota (shooter?) as he tries to put his old soccer team back together and lead them to victory with the help of a professional soccer player. This show has been called the hidden gem of the genre as only a handful of people voted this series in the top ten.

IMDB Score: 8/10

4. Aoashi (2022 – present)

One of the newer shows on the list, aoashi was released on NHK Educational TV in 2022. The first season debuted with 24 installments. The series follows the protagonist Ashito Aoi, a talented soccer player who makes a big mistake during an important game that could potentially ruin his entire career. He’s a promising player but his personality sometimes gets in his way and gets him into trouble. This has been heralded as one of the best current sports shows out there.

IMDB Score: 8.1/10

3. Hungry Heart: Wild Striker (2002 – 2003)

Aired on Animax from September 2002 to September 2003 in 52 episodes, Hungry Heart: Wild Striker tells the story of Kano Kyosuke. This high school student lives in the shadow of his older brother (Kano Seisuke), who is a professional soccer player and has signed for AC Milan. Constantly being compared to his brother, Kyosuke quickly loses interest in the sport, but one woman can change all that and reignite his passion for soccer. It’s an uplifting story produced by Nippon Animation.

IMDB Score: 8.1/10

2. Captain Tsubasa (1983 – 2018)

In the mid-1980s, both anime and soccer hit the mainstream in Japan, which explains the meteoric success of Captain Tsubasa. The series, which originally aired on TV Tokyo in the 1980s, ran for countless seasons with multiple spin-offs and spawned many film and video game ties as well. The show followed Tsubasa Oozora, an 11-year-old football fanatic who dreams of one day winning the World Cup with Japan. The original run is considered a classic of the genre, while the latest adaptation has received the best IMDB score to date. If you liked the original or the latest version, you can also check out: Captain Tsubasa J, Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002, and New Captain Tsubasa.

IMDB Score: 8.2/10

1. Blue Castle (2022 – present)

This anime adaptation feels like no other, bringing a twisted and dystopian tone to the sports genre. Blue Castle centers around a controversial training camp where 300 teenagers are held in a prison-like facility and put through their paces to become the best forwards in the world. Players are trained to become selfish and egotistical, forgetting any notion of sportsmanship or team camaraderie. It’s a refreshing and totally unique show in a crowded genre.

IMDB Score: 8.4/10

What do you think of the top 10 best soccer anime shows of all time? Let us know in the comments below.

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