Browse through any of my manga recommendations, you’ll notice quite a few sports manga among them.
Yes, it’s true that I love reading mystery, thriller, and suspense manga, and light novels.
But I enjoy reading sports manga just as much as reading manga and light novels in the mystery, thriller, and suspense genres.
Okay, just to be clear that I’m not going to write any sports novel going forward. I had way too much fun writing a thriller novel.
Even though I have no plan to write another sports light novel, I still enjoy reading sports manga even to this day.
But I’m not even a sports fan
Okay, I get that you don’t like sports at all. So, why should you give sports manga a try when you don’t even like sports, to begin with?
Well, I also had that same feeling as you back then. I always thought that sports manga was for people who do sports.
Or at the very least, for people who enjoy watching sports of all kinds. I’m certainly not one of them.
But after getting my first dip into reading Slam Dunk manga and countless of them ever since then, I realize that sports manga is fun to read.
In fact, some of them aren’t that much different from reading battle shounen manga. The only difference is it’s a sport-theme story.
The fascinating things about sports manga
Not all stories are created equal, even for sports manga. But somehow, I do notice the similarities in many of the manga that I read.
It’s because of these reasons that make them a fascinating read despite the manga revolves around a different sport.
The manga isn’t for those who are already familiar with the sports
Believe it or not, the target audience for this type of manga isn’t the people who are already familiar with the sport itself.
Rather, it tends to gear for people who don’t know anything about the sport at all.
It’s with this audience in mind that many sports manga tends to include a thorough basic explanation about the sport in between the story.
Of course, not all manga will include a basic explanation about the sport since the mangaka already assume that most people are already familiar with the rules.
Ace of the Diamond comes to mind when it comes to the manga that doesn’t have a thorough basic explanation about the rules.
I’m not sure why the manga doesn’t have a basic explanation of the game rules. But I’m guessing that most people are already familiar with the rules even for someone who watches the baseball games once in a while.
The good news is the manga is easy to follow even for someone like me who isn’t familiar with baseball.
You can also say the same thing for other sports manga where the rule is simple enough to understand by just looking at the characters’ actions.
It can feel like experiencing the real game
Imagine yourself flipping through the page, physical or digital, seeing the actions unfold right in front of you.
And before you know it, the chapter ends with a cliffhanger.
If you think that cliffhanger only exists in the battle shounen manga, you’ll be surprised to find out that cliffhanger also exists in this type of manga too.
Just imagine yourself seeing the characters going against one another with only a few seconds left before the game ends.
And bam! The chapter ends with the character making a final move in the last few seconds.
Now you have no idea if the character’s action is successful or not since you can only know about it in the next chapter.
Or it can be in the next volume.
Okay, you can say that you don’t see this kind of stuff in the real game.
But when you see the same scene from the characters’ perspective, it sure does feel like you’re in the game yourself experiencing the same thing as these characters.
Yes, this type of manga can draw you in even if the scene revolves around the gameplay. An intense one, so to speak.
It sure does feel like you’re experiencing the real game yourself.
And it sure does feel real when the fatigue starts to kick in at the worst moment. And the feeling of anger and frustration when the characters fail to get what they want despite putting in so much effort.
These are the emotions that those characters feel at that given moment. But we also feel the same way as them since we were there experiencing the same feeling from the beginning.
There are always funny moments in the story
Sports manga isn’t just about the serious gameplay. You’re bound to see funny moments in the story even during the serious gameplay scenes.
You can’t help but crack when you see any of the characters making such a huge blunder during the game.
You can see this a lot in manga like Haikyuu!!, Slam Dunk and Eyeshield 21.
Sure, you can argue that the comedy in this type of manga is more like a slapstick comedy rather than a pun.
But for me, I prefer this type of comedy a lot more since it’s straightforward. There’s no explanation needed why it’s funny.
Remember that the joke may make sense in Japanese. But it may not make much sense at all when it’s translated into English.
There are no evil characters in sports manga
Here’s the thing about the evil characters in this type of manga – they’re only mean and nasty to the other characters during the game.
But outside of the game? They can get along with the main character and his friends just fine.
You’ll see plenty of this in manga like Eyeshield 21, Yowamushi Pedal, Haikyuu!! and Slam Dunk where the characters are having a friendly conversation with the characters on the opposite teams.
Heck, they don’t mind giving advice to these characters in some situations too.
Sure, some characters will always play the evil role for the rest of the story. Midosuji from Yowamushi Pedal comes to mind when it comes to the character that plays the evil role.
But for the most part, the characters who seem like they’re playing an evil role throughout the story aren’t evil by a normal standard.
There are many life lessons that you can relate to
I’m a big believer that you can learn so many things from reading manga and light novels.
And you can say the same thing for sports manga.
Things like never give up regardless of the situation, hard works will pay off, and having a positive mindset will lead to a positive outcome.
Those seem to be the lessons that we all need and will find it helpful in real life.
Sure, you may feel that these things seem cliche and can be somewhat repetitive.
But hey, repetition is how we learn.
That’s the only way for us to remember these lessons for the rest of our life.
Sports manga recommendation
Now that you already know what makes sports manga an interesting read even for non-sports fans, which manga you should give it a try?
Here are some of them that you should have a look at. And yes, you can read them even if you know nothing about the sport.
Ace of the Diamond
While Ace of the Diamond doesn’t seem to include any basic explanation of the rules, I find that the story is easy to follow even for someone like me who doesn’t know much about baseball.
Just to be clear that I’m not a huge fan of baseball. But I find that the characters’ actions make it easier for me to understand all the things that are happening in that scene.
I do plan to give the manga a try since I already watched the anime before. But I’m not sure when I’ll be adding the manga to my reading list, though.
If you’re interested in giving the manga a try, you can buy the digital version of the manga right here:
While I love the fact that the manga gives you a rundown about the basic rules and gameplays, I find that reading Eyeshield 21 can feel like reading a battle shounen manga.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the premise where the main character, Sena Kobayakawa, has a hidden talent that will work amazing in football. And it develops as a result of him being an errand boy for the guys who bully him.
It’s just that the actions are more or less like the one you see in the battle manga, with the characters unleash their special move to beat their opponents.
If you’re more into a real sports action, you may find that the actions in this manga are off-putting.
But if you don’t mind seeing the characters putting God-like actions and you do enjoy the premise of the story, then you may enjoy reading this manga.
It’s too bad that the manga is no longer available for sale. And the manga isn’t available in digital format either.
So, your best bet is to buy a used manga or read scanlation.
Just to let you know that the writer behind Eyeshield 21 is the same writer behind Dr. STONE manga.
Believe it or not, this is the manga that I wish it existed when I was in high school.
Sure, one of the reasons is that my school at least has a female volleyball team. But I’m not going to lie that Haikyuu!! sure does make volleyball a fun game to play.
Unlike the actions in Eyeshield 21, the actions in Haikyuu!! is a lot more realistic, at least to me. And it also has quite a few funny moments even during the serious gameplay.
I already wrote about Haikyuu!! manga on my blog not too long ago. You can read about it right here.
If you’re looking for a manga that gives you a basic explanation of the rules, has an interesting story and tons of moments that will make you laugh, then you’ll enjoy reading Slam Dunk.
As I mentioned before, Slam Dunk was the reason that got me into the sports manga rabbit hole. It’s also the manga that helped me with writing Twisted Destiny.
I don’t think that I would understand the basketball rules and terminology if it’s not because of Slam Dunk.
I already wrote about Slam Dunk on my blog a while back. You can read about this manga right here.
Who would have guessed that cycling can be this interesting?
Sure, you get to see the characters racing through the finish line. But you’ll get to see all sorts of things unfold during the tournament.
For one, how brutal the summer in Japan can be. And most importantly, you can’t win the race on your own.
Sure, only one person from the team needs to reach the finish line to win the race. But it takes the whole team to send this one person to the finish line.
That’s what you’ll see in Yowamushi Pedal.
Of course, you’ll get to see funny moments too which makes the story in Yowamushi Pedal a lot more interesting.
While I find the story seems lackluster after the third-year characters graduated from their respective high school, I do think that everyone should have a look at this manga whether you find that cycling is interesting or not.
If you’d like to have a look at the manga, you can buy the digital version of the manga right here:
Just to let you know that Yowamushi Pedal also has a side story manga where the story is focusing on the third-year characters. You can read about the manga right here.
Will there be more manga added to the list?
Of course, the answer is yes.
I always on the lookout for the new manga to read, including the manga in the sports genre.
So, be sure to come back to this post just to see if I add any new manga to the list.
If you’re looking for a new manga to read, then be sure to have a look at the list right here to find out what other manga and light novels that I already recommended so far on my blog.
Wondering what kind of books that I tend to recommend on my blog? You can read this post to learn more.
Over to you
Is there any other manga that is not on my list and you’d like to add them to the list? Let me know in the comment below.
P.S I did mention my sports light novel, Twisted Destiny, in the post before. If you’re curious about the light novel, you can download the sample chapter right here on my Payhip store:
Interested in buying the book? Don’t forget to use the coupon code SEKINAMAYUBLOG during checkout to receive 25% off on your order.
The book is available for sale on other retailers as well. You can take a look at the list right here: