[UPDATED] Just hear me out Japan

Oh Balls!!!

Those who know me will be aware that I’m a rather big fan of sports in general (Proud Couch Spectator!) and an even bigger fan of the Sports anime genre. And if anyone has been paying to attention to recent sporting events, they will almost certainly be aware that the FIFA Womens World Cup is in progress.

Now as I alluded to in the season preview and certain other places, there is a distinct lack of pure sporting anime out there. In fact I don’t think there has been a proper sporting anime since Giant Killing (which I highly recommend if you havent seen it yet). So why is that?

Now I understand that sports may not have as great a following such as other niche genre’s such as Mecha or BL where fans will watch it just because its mecha/BL. But there have been (VERY) popular sports anime: Hajime no Ippo, Eyeshield 21, Major, Prince of Tennis, etc. However, despite all of the genre’s past successes, it just can’t seem to find any breakout hits anymore. I personally blame the moeblob/loli phenomenon as itseems that every anime needs them these days and sports anime historicaly don’t have such characters in them. Ro-Kyu-Bu hopes to change the tide by adapting to the norm with all its loli’s and stuff but yeah, we’ll see how that goes. Anyway, thats a discussion for another day.

Back to the Womens World Cup, ever since 2002, Japan has taken its football fanatism to new levels and it was mirrored in their national teams performances with both the senior and junior male teams doing really well in international competitions. But unbeknown to most the Japanese womens team were also starting to get their game together and this year they are on the verge of greatness. I’m not in Japan now but I should imagine that the nation must be near fever pitch… why? Well the womans national football team will be playing in the World Cup final, which is least to say, a truly amazing feat.

So here’s my proposal Japan, just hear me out. I propose that you guys make a football sports anime focusing on the soon to be legendary (provided the US in finals) Japanese womens national team. It has the elements for a potentially great story series;

  • they’re the underdogs, not having progressed passed the group stages ever
  • they beat defending champions Germany to progress
  • it’s a female sport, so there is plenty of politics if they choose to go there
  • the team is the perfect mix of veterans & youth
  • they have a lead-by-example type captain – Homare Sawa
  • a male former player turned coach
  • and they have dedicated fans…

All the elements are there, everybody loves an underdog story and even more so they can draw the americans as being the bad guys if they want AND its a female sport so if they really want to, they could throw in some fanservice/ecchi… the brazilians!

And if you’re really looking for ideas, here’s one: take Tatsumi from Giant Killing and make him manager of the team! There you go, football + fan favorite character + possible fanservice = PROFIT!

As far as which studio/director should take on the task, I dunno, you guys can work that out – I’m an idea guy. And yes I know the Tatsumi thing won’t happen, just throwing it out there. [Fingers crossed]


I know we’ve kind of missed the boat a bit as event based sporting anime usually run before the actual event (Whistle, Captain Tsubasa) but I think we have a winner here, so the balls in your court now Japan. And for the rest of you, be sure to watch and cheer on the Nadeshiko as they take on the US in the final on Sunday (16/7) eve at 18:45 GMT. FIGHT OH!

Hopefully by the time you guys read this (it being the weekend and all) all of Japan will be drunk as they’re all off celebrating victory.


Japan: FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 ChampionsChampions!!

My heart nearly stopped twice during the game, I demand my anime!

5 Responses to “[UPDATED] Just hear me out Japan”

  1. 17 July 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t know… Problem with soccer is that Animators actually look at The Weekly Shounen Jump rankings and volume sales as a popularity sample. And god knows how many soccer manga enters and gets hammered out of that magazine because of poor rankings. Soccer Mangaka needs to GTFO of Shounen Jump and go somewhere else where they can have longer serialisation to hype themselves. Do they really need a short 15 chapter of fake fame?

    The only way for a sport anime to be produced is through a sucessful manga selling value. Kuroko no Basket is the only sport manga that survives in Jump but still stays as a bottom-feeder, so no one is risking to animate a not-really-popular manga. If there are sport manga that get decent selling, most of them would be seinen (for a more mature audience) manga. Seinen doesn’t seem to be a targetted demo in anime, even though animators do so much pedo anime… Seinen anime barely get any long runs. One Outs and Giant Killing were pretty much short.

    I would love to see Mixed Martial Arts and Street Fighting manga like Teppuu, All-Rounder Meguru, or Holyland to be animated, but those seinen series are apparently sadly too “violent” to become anime and bring bad influence to kids… BUT improper sexual behaviour is perfectly fine in anime.

    We need a SHOUNEN sport manga! The common factor of really sucessful sport anime is that they come from shounen manga. Slam Dunk, Ippo, Prince of Tennis, Eyeshield, Cross Game are mainly shounen. They do not bring tons of morale issues that a seinen manga would to TV. Parents can’t blame them to be bad influences for the kids, so they can go to long runs in TV. I’m waiting for Naruto to end just so that Kishimoto starts his dream of making a baseball manga which would help the rebuilt of the sport genre. His name would simply sell tons of volumes just because he’s the creator of Naruto. But seriously, I’m not really expecting any great quality content in that…

    Adachi Mitsuru is getting old and I’m not expecting him to bring out another masterpiece anymore after Cross Game.

    While we can blame Marvel and Madhouse for the lack of Ippo anime, we can’t forget that the mangaka is also to blame for frustrating his readers by doing short scene per chapter. I’m sure there are people who are tired of Ippo. Seriously, no one wants to see one chapter dedicated for Ippo ring entrance or a single punch. George Morikawa is getting senile.

    We need a young and intelligent mangaka! Someone who won’t go to Shounen Jump with a soccer manga again! It’s killing the sport in the manga medium. I think if someone brought in a shounen MMA manga, It could work quite well which will lead to an anime.

    • 2 jGLZa
      17 July 2011 at 7:49 pm

      But Shounen-esque anime is dying I think (note; I said anime not manga), the long extended format of the shounen genre is no longer popular/feasible. We very rarely see anime going beyond a season these days which is probably why there are so few sporting anime today. Because as you pointed out most of the successful sporting anime were shounen-types which definately don’t have a place in the industry today, even the new Ippo was only a season.

      What I’m hoping for here is a 2 cour show, in the mold of Giant Killing & One Outs (Seinen) spanning the build up and obviously the tournament itself, there’s plenty of possibly content as I pointed out but it’s important that only pick certain themes on which to focus, DO NOT cram! That way it won’t fall in to a boring routine, which all shounen do ultimately do. I think focused seinen sports anime could be the way forward for the genre.

      If anything, than just a sweet homage to their heroic efforts would be nice.

  2. 17 July 2011 at 2:39 pm

    B-but I want the Americans to win 😀

    Wait, who said Kishimoto wanted to write a baseball manga? That’s actually news to me!

    • 4 Karry
      17 July 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Well, Americans do win most of the time. Brazil and…oh, wait, you were thinking of USia, werent you ?

      Speaking of sports manga, i havent seen or read Major yet, since baseball is one of the most boring games ever created, but Major guy writes a boxing manga now, Buyuden, and its pretty damn…pretty damn bad, actually. Mostly because of very flaky characters. I hope this guy didnt push it to the anime phase because of the monstrous 6-season Major on his resume. I’d much rather see Teppuu animated,

      • 5 jGLZa
        17 July 2011 at 7:55 pm

        Although the ‘mericans usually end up winning, the sport itself is quite competitive. Brazil boast some super talented players (Marta anyone?) and Germany were the defending champions – who Japan beat!

        The final will definately be an uphill task for Japan though as they’ve NEVER beaten the US.

        If we don’t get this though, I’d still like to see Beach Stars (Beach Volleyball) getting animated.

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