I have been seeing more female-led sports anime in the last few seasons and I’m really happy about that. Still, it’s very much a nice genre and when I looked it up it seems rather unpopular. The five most popular lady sports anime on AniList are all Girls und Panzer and that seems like a bit of a stretch already.

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely up to date with female cast sports anime but I have seen quite a few. And I have liked quite a few. In fact, I’m going to tell you about 5 of those right now. I’m sorry if you’re fave isn’t on the list, odds are I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

Oh and these are only shows that fall into my personal twisted definition of sports anime. Except for one – I’ll let you know!

5. Tekyuu!

This is the one. Technically, it is about a tennis club but it’s not really about the tennis. And it doesn’t follow the tropes of the genre. The only reason I even included it on the list is that I really enjoyed it and I liked the fact that it was such an unusual offering with so many seasons!

Tekyuu is in fact a screwball comedy and a short program. I’m not sure how many Sports shorts there are out there… Sports shorts! It’s a fun little show and there are occasional scenes of girls playing tennis. That’s a start, right?

pop quiz guys, which of these bikinis is the conservative one?

4. Harukana Receive

Some of you may be dubious. I admit I was. Harukana seems a lot more concerned about showing off its characters in bikinis than about beach volleyball and that’s not really wrong. There is a definite focus on character design and a heck of a lot of long, gazing shots of the characters’ bodies.

But it’s also an honest to goodness sports anime. With a solid arc, a fairly classical adherence to the tropes and actual regard for the sport it’s featuring. I wouldn’t say it was the best volleyball show I have ever seen but it was better than I expected. If you hate sports anime, stay away from this one. It really has earned its inclusion in the genre. And it looks great!

3. Scorching Ping Pong Girls

I find that the girls are funnier than the boys. A lot of the lady sports animes are also straight-up comedies, unlike the ones we get with male casts. I like comedies so I hope the trend just gets generalized. I wonder why this is though.

Scorching Ping Pong Girls may be a bit of a CGDCT x Sports hybrid and it works pretty well. I think that out of all these titles, it’s the show that had the most recognizable Sports character archetypes, even if they were exaggerated for laughs. It also has a very classic plot, to the point that when I reviewed the show without watching it, I was super close on a lot of points!

2. Bamboo blade

This is the latest series I watched and I loved it. It was great! I mean the production is showing its age a bit but aside from that, I think this is a solid Sports anime. It’s fun, it’s balanced and I had a great time with it.

Best of all though, I learned a heck of a lot about kendo. And I have always wanted to know more about kendo. So that’s a huge win for this anime. Unlike all the other titles on my list, Bamboo Blade does prominently feature a few boys, although the competition team is entirely girls. Fun!

1. Saki

Is mahjong a sport? Of course, it is. Executive decision: if Go can be a sport (it is) and bridge can be an Olympic sport then mahjong can definitely be the sport in a Sports anime!

I really enjoyed Saki. Yes, I learned a lot about mahjong and I still play but beyond that, it had all the thrills of competition play and slowly advancing one game at a time. I got to share in the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.

I find that a lot of lady lead sports anime are fairly short and hardly get into competition much. Which is standard for the first season of sports anime. You gotta built up your team first. But I do like the excitement of a match and mahjong is surprisingly interesting to watch. No, really!

There you go, these are my top 5 Sports Anime with Mostly Female Casts. Yes I know there’s the one about bouncing balls of your behind and the suggestive dumbbell one. I haven’t seen them. Are they good? What are your favourite Sports! anime with a female cast?

The hoodie makes me athlethic….

32 thoughts

  1. Must find Saki. Love Mahjongg. Tenkyuu goes right on the list. Weird how I’ve gone from not really liking shorts to watching probably more shorts than anything and loving them. Where’s Irina’s top five shorts list? Bamboo Blade sounds great, too. I did watch PingPong Girls thinking it would be so dumb and I’d drop it and I ended up loving it! What about the cute camping animes? I know they’re more CGDCT but isn’t camping a sport? Kinda? And I haven’t even watched them yet – so many anime so little time LOL but I want to. Wonder why there are no basketball ones? Just that here in Las Vegas our women’s basketball team is a HUGE thing. Weird thoughts…

      1. Huh. Well, it happens. Mostly I’ve read good about it, and I love to camp, so I have hopes I’ll love it. If not, so many anime, so little time…

        1. I’m not a big camping person and I tend to really like character driven stories. But it’s a really well made show with some nice moments

  2. The only anime I actually watched last season was Iwakeru Sports Climbing Girls and while I expected it to be mainly fan service, they actually do a good job in regards to the climbing! It is still pretty exaggerated (or I’m too old and just can’t compare to how fast they get better), but I quite enjoyed it! You should check it out (and then come bouldering with us once everything opens up again!)

    1. Really? OK, I’ll try it. And we need to do all sorts of stuff once things open up again. It’s been forever. Are you grandfather yet?

      1. Oh god, he’s growing up so fast. I’m gonna blink, there’ll be a montage and I will be a grandfather.

  3. Some time ago I thought I saw an anime with Woman’s Rugby doing the loops that I was interested in looking up. The volley ball anime looks like they might have gotten inspiration from the Dead or Alive games… Dont know If ill be watching that though. Great post as always.

  4. Harukana and Bamboo Blade are great, and I love Saki (of course you already knew that, I’ve talked about it enough). I also have to make room for Girls und Panzer, Aokana, and Angelic Layer, so how I’m supposed to narrow six to five I have no idea. I definitely tend to prefer the shows with esoteric or outright fictional sports over mainstream/traditional sports though.

  5. You’ve got two of my favorites – Harakuna and Ping Pong Girls (both of which I’ve recently re-watched.)

    I’ll agree with Dawn, Aokana is also one you should consider for this list.

      1. The anime is… different from the game. Takes the characters and the scenario and spins them in a different direction. It’s school club/sports anime centered on the girls rather than a quasi romance centered on the male MC.

        So, it’s worth watching on it’s own.

  6. Saki is the one I’m most interested in seeing. Pinkie also recommended that series to me especially since I really like Hikaru no Go. I know those anime use different games and have different tones, but it does look creative.

  7. Hmm, I was going to say Chihayafuru and recommend it to you to watch because it’s my favorite sports series, but it’s almost a 1:1 female to male ratio so it doesn’t count ☹️.

    But I’ve watched a few of these and enjoyed them. I am pretty interested in Saki..

  8. Teekyu is a stealthy sports anime that pretends to be superficially about tennis. The real sport is about what voice actor can get the most words into a second. It’s a short so that the contestants can preserve their vocal chords.

    I really liked Bamboo Blade and Saki.

    I also really liked Keijo (which you put into the header). It takes its ridiculous concept and plays it completely straight. It loses steam a bit near the end, but for the most part it’s great fun. My favourite part is still the pony-tail communication from episode 2.

    And I’ll also recommend the Taisho Baseball Girls, which is a fun show about girls making a baseball club in school while having no-one to play with (there aren’t any other female teams yet, and the boys don’t take them seriously).

    I’ll give an honerable mention to Aokana, too, for inventing a fictional sport (a type of air race with anit-gravity shoes).

    Princess Nine (not to be confused with Cinderella Nine, whose absence from this list is completely unsurprisng) was a pretty good baseball show, too, but it’s held back by a really tedious romance plot.

    1. I own Princess 9 and it is nice but I got a bit tired of it.
      You are so right! Tekyyu is high stakes speed talking!

  9. My Top 5 Female Sports Anime are:
    5. Umamusume Pretty Derby
    4. Iwakeru Sports Climbing Girls
    3. Chidori RSC (Rifle Is Beautiful)
    2. Kandagawa Jet Girls
    1. Softenni

    Need to watch Saki though…

    Great list though!

  10. The ones on Kendo and Mahjong seem genuinely fascinating to learn more about those sports, as I am definitely lacking knowledge on those XD

    Women are great. Sports are great. Therefore: Count me in.

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