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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anime Analysis: Sports Genre Anime

It's been a while since I've done an "anime analysis" post. Anime is not my main focus for my bog but I do love anime and manga, and I do enjoy talking about them so occasionally you'll see an anime related blog post. I didn't really give this "anime analysis" much thought until recently thanks to a few friends of mine from both sides of the spectrum.

I'm going to be casually discussing the workings of the sports genre in anime, and why you should not let one anime ruin your image of all the others (I'll be talking from personal experiences).
So there has apparently been two sides of the sports genre: the serious, realistic side and the fan-service side. (For those of you new to anime, fan-service is sometimes in anime to arouse viewers to feel a certain way about characters. That's the best, non gross way, I can explain it. It's pretty much smutty). I'm not a big fan of anime series that rely on fan-service to attract viewers because that makes me think they have no confidence in the story they wrote. Back in the 90's and early 2000's, sports anime didn't rely on fan-service so much as it does now. You had series like Hajime no Ippo, Slam Dunk and Captain Tsubasa that had a great story to tell. Sports anime remind me of those success stories you hear about, how this person worked really hard and went through so much and finally was able to accomplish their dreams/goals. Who doesn't like a good success story? This type of anime should make you feel this way, but some sadly don't.

In about the past four years I've been seeing a lot more sports anime coming out than the usual amount. I thought I'd give one of them a go and see what all the hype was about. I started watching Free! and was pleased with the story but put off by the unnecessary fan-service. It was like the anime was telling me, "Hey, they're swimmers. Did you know they were swimmers? Look at how hot they are while swimming. They are swimmers." That's great and all but how about how hard they worked on getting a team together and how they have to work together and some team members had to learn new swimming techniques in order to compete. What was worse than the anime were the fans (no offense to fans of this anime and others like it). When I would talk about Free! with other fans that watched it they would only talk about how hot the guys were, nothing about the story. I don't see how they thought some of the guys were hot because a few looked out of place with their head not matching the body. That's a bit alarming to me (someone who wants to write fiction in the future). Free! is not the only anime that falls under this category, there's also anime such as Yuri on Ice and Keijo!!!! And I understand why the fans focus on the sexual parts of these anime, because it's literally thrown in your face! It is physically present in the anime so of course that's all anyone is going to talk about. 

After these series, I gave up on sports anime thinking they were all alike these days. I figured hype meant that it was no good just because of other anime of the same genre were only good due to fan-service. My friends insisted I watch Haikyuu!! as the anime was more story based and had no trace of fan-service. I didn't believe them at first since I knew of the hype it had with the female fans, so I would push the anime down on my to-watch list. Finally, curiosity got the best of me when my friends kept on mentioning how good it was. I ended up watching all three seasons in a week (please let there be a season 4). My friends were not kidding when they said this was a good anime. There was no inkling of fan-service anywhere, the story was well fleshed out and the characters were likable. I really got invested with Haikyuu!! (man, these sports anime sure like to use exclamation points) and really felt a connection with the characters. It even made me want to play volleyball again. After realizing not all sports anime these days were focusing on fan-service I was able to discover more great anime like Yowamushi Pedal and Prince of Stride: Alternative.

The reason why sports anime is so refreshing to watch out of all the other anime is because it makes you cheer for that person/team to rise to the top. These anime end up giving you inspiration to go out and do your best in what is it you want to accomplish. All fan-service is doing is taking away from that inspiration that these sports anime should have. I hope there continues to be a steady stream of sports anime coming out that rely on story more than fan-service. Why ruin a genre of anime that can do so much good for people who may need that uplifting spirit that comes from those characters?

I hope I didn't offend anyone, this is just my way of thinking and my way of saying that's it's safe to watch sports anime because not all of them are focused on fan-service. That's the message I wanted to get out there since I fell victim of this way of thinking.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed some part of it at least, if not all. For more Japan related content or just to come chart with me and other Japan fans, follow me on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

More anime related blog posts:
My Favorite Anime

Top 5 Anime for Beginners

Female Anime Characters as my Role Models

Top 5 Horror Anime

Anime Analysis: Death Parade

Until next time! じゃあーね!