With over 4 billion fans worldwide, soccer is the most popular sport. Soccer is the most-watched sport in the world and a beloved pastime in Japan. This love for soccer has translated into some incredible manga and anime series that captures the excitement and drama of the game.
As a passionate fan of anime and soccer, I have always been looking for the perfect blend of these two fantastic worlds. I’m excited to present my list of the best soccer anime series. These shows capture the excitement and intensity of real-life matches and dive deep into compelling character arcs and heartfelt stories.
From underdog teams fighting their way to victory to talented individuals overcoming their struggles, these anime will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. So whether you’re a die-hard sports enthusiast or just someone looking for an engaging story with a dash of adrenaline, get ready to kick off this incredible journey through some of the finest soccer anime ever created.
Japan’s passion for soccer is evident through its Football Association and professional leagues like the J.League. This deep-rooted love for the sport has inspired talented mangaka to create captivating stories centered around soccer. These anime series showcase thrilling matches, intense rivalries, and heartwarming friendships, and all wrapped up in a package of beautiful animation.
Best 12 Soccer Anime Shows Of All Time
Blue Lock is a high-intensity sports manga that revolves around the world of soccer (football). The story follows the protagonist, Yoichi Isagi, a talented young soccer player scouted to join the prestigious Blue Lock program.
The Blue Lock program is a highly secret and experimental training camp designed to create the perfect striker for the Japanese national team. The Japanese football association is desperate to develop a top-tier striker who can lead the national team to victory on the global stage, and they believe that Blue Lock is the key to achieving this goal.
At Blue Lock, 300 of the most talented young forwards in Japan are gathered and subjected to a grueling and competitive training regime. The objective is to determine who will become the “one and only striker” that Japan needs. The competition is fierce, and the players must fight not only against their rivals but also against their weaknesses and insecurities.
Throughout the series, Yoichi Isagi faces numerous challenges on and off the field. He must confront his doubts, push his limits, and find the true essence of being a striker. As he navigates through the cutthroat environment of Blue Lock, he also forms relationships with other participants, some of whom become friends while others become rivals.
The story delves into themes of ambition, teamwork, self-discovery, and the pursuit of greatness. It showcases the intense passion and dedication required to excel in a sport like a football and explores competitive sports’ psychological and emotional aspects.
Giant Killing centers around the East Tokyo United (ETU) football club, a once-successful team that has fallen on hard times. The team is currently languishing in the lower ranks of the professional league, and their fans are disheartened by their lackluster performances.
At this critical juncture, ETU’s management decided to bring back the legendary coach, Takeshi Tatsumi, who had left the team years ago under controversial circumstances. Tatsumi is known for his unorthodox coaching methods and tactical brilliance. His return sparks both excitement and skepticism among the fans and players alike.
Tatsumi is determined to turn the team around and bring back the glory days of East Tokyo United. He adopts a unique and unconventional approach to coaching, focusing on the team’s strengths and devising innovative strategies to overcome their weaknesses. He rebuilds the team’s spirit and confidence through sheer determination and his ability to inspire players.
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The manga explores the challenges and obstacles the ETU team faces as they face stronger and more established opponents in the league. The story delves into the personal struggles and growth of individual players, the dynamics within the team, and the relationships they develop with each other and their coach.
The story begins with a young boy named Shou Oota, who has a deep passion for soccer and dreams of becoming a great player. However, he needs more confidence and feels inferior to his more talented peers. Despite this, he loves the sport and enjoys playing with his friends.
One day, a mysterious transfer student named Asuka Kakeru joins Shou’s school. Asuka is an extraordinarily skilled and charismatic soccer player who quickly becomes the center of attention. His exceptional talent and leadership inspire Shou, who soon becomes friends with Asuka.
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After witnessing Asuka’s incredible skills, Shou becomes even more determined to improve his soccer abilities. With Asuka’s encouragement, Shou starts a soccer club at his school and invites other passionate players to join. Together, they formed the soccer team known as “Shounan Victory.”
The goal of the Shounan Victory team is to participate in the prestigious Football Frontier tournament, a national youth soccer competition. However, they face numerous challenges, including tough opponents, personal struggles, and the need to improve their teamwork.
Throughout the series, the team members grow as individuals and players. They train hard, learn from each other, and overcome their weaknesses to become a formidable team. The series also explores the relationships between the players, their camaraderie, and how they support each other on and off the field.
As the Shounan Victory team progresses in the Football Frontier tournament, they face stronger and more skilled opponents. The matches are intense and full of excitement, with each player giving their all to achieve victory.
The story revolves around the world of soccer (football) and follows the journey of a young and talented soccer player who aspires to become a top-level player and find his style of play.
The protagonist of Fantasista is Teppei Sakamoto, a young boy with an innate passion and talent for soccer. He is a natural dribbler with exceptional ball control, nicknamed Fantasista. Despite his skills, he needs more confidence and struggles to find his unique playing style.
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The manga begins with Teppei in middle school, where he plays for his school’s soccer team. Although he is immensely talented, he often gets overshadowed by his more physically imposing and aggressive teammates. As a result, Teppei starts to feel like he doesn’t belong on the field and contemplates giving up soccer.
However, Teppei’s life turns when he encounters a mysterious and legendary soccer player, Charles, a former Fantasista himself. Charles recognizes Teppei’s potential and decides to take him under his wing. He becomes Teppei’s mentor and helps him to hone his skills and overcome his self-doubt.
With Charles’ guidance, Teppei’s confidence grows, and he develops his playing style. He embraces his role as a Fantasista, a creative and unpredictable player who can change the game’s flow with his dribbling and playmaking abilities.
As the series progresses, Teppei enters high school and joins the soccer team. He faces more formidable opponents and encounters various challenges on and off the field. Through hard work, determination, and the mentorship of Charles, Teppei continues to evolve as a player and earns the respect of his teammates and rivals.
Throughout the story, “Fantasista” explores the themes of self-discovery, perseverance, and the importance of having a role model and mentor to guide one’s growth. It also showcases the excitement and thrill of soccer with intense matches and skillful plays.
As Teppei pursues his dream of becoming a top-level soccer player, he not only aims to be the best on the field but also hopes to leave a lasting impact on the sport with his unique style of play as a Fantasista.
Aoashi follows the story of Ashito Aoi, a talented and dedicated soccer player who aspires to become a professional footballer. He possesses exceptional skills and has the potential to reach the top level in the world of soccer. However, he needs help with a crucial game aspect: scoring goals.
Despite being a brilliant midfielder, Aoi finds it challenging to score goals and lead his team to victory. This becomes a significant obstacle in his pursuit of becoming a successful professional player. Determined to overcome his weakness, Aoi makes a life-changing decision.
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He received an invitation to join the prestigious Tokyo Blue Generation (TBG) soccer program. TBG is a special training camp designed to develop elite players and cultivate their abilities. The ultimate goal of TBG is to produce players who can represent Japan and win the FIFA World Cup.
In this program, Aoi is challenged to become a midfield player and a forward striker who can score goals and change the course of matches. He competes intensely with other talented players, each vying for the coveted striker position.
As Aoi trains rigorously and competes against his rivals, he grows not only as a player but also as a person. He learns valuable lessons about teamwork, self-belief, and the true essence of being a striker. Along the way, he forms bonds with his fellow players, some of whom become friends, and others become formidable opponents.
Aoashi is known for its intense and tactical portrayal of soccer, focusing on the intricate details of player development and team dynamics. It delves into the psychology of athletes, the pressure of competition, and the passion that drives individuals to excel in their chosen sport.
Ginga e Kickoff
The series’s protagonist is Ouzou Furuya, a young boy who loves soccer and dreams of playing in the World Cup. Despite his passion for the sport, Ouzou is not a skilled player and often needs help to keep up with more talented individuals.
One day, while playing soccer alone, Ouzou encounters a boy named Tenma Matsukaze. Tenma is an exceptional soccer player with a deep love for the sport. Seeing Ouzou’s determination, Tenma decides to help him improve his skills and invites him to join his school’s soccer team.
However, Ouzou’s school does not have a soccer club, so Tenma and a few other friends decide to start their own team. They formed a kids’ soccer club called “Momoyama Predators” to participate in the Kids’ Soccer World Cup.
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As the story progresses, the Momoyama Predators face numerous challenges and obstacles on their journey to the World Cup. They must improve their skills, learn to work together as a team and meet more vigorous opponents in various local and regional competitions.
The series not only focuses on soccer matches but also delves into the personal growth and development of the young characters. Each team member has strengths, weaknesses, and a unique personality, which adds depth to the story.
Throughout the series, the Momoyama Predators form strong bonds of friendship and camaraderie. They support and encourage each other, not only on the field but also in their daily lives. The anime emphasizes the importance of teamwork, dedication, and believing in oneself to achieve one’s dreams.
As the Momoyama Predators progress in their soccer journey, they aim to overcome their limitations and become a formidable team capable of competing at the highest level.
It is an uplifting, heartwarming sports anime that appeals to soccer enthusiasts and general audiences. It delivers a positive message about the power of perseverance, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams, making it an enjoyable series for viewers of all ages.
The manga was serialized from 2013 to 2020, and the anime adaptation aired from July to December 2016. The series centers around soccer (football) and follows the journey of a high school boy who discovers his love for the sport and strives to become a skilled player.
The protagonist of Days is Tsukushi Tsukamoto, a first-year high school student lacking remarkable talents or skills. He is short, physically weak, and often overlooked by his peers. Despite this, Tsukamoto has an earnest and enthusiastic personality, always willing to help others.
One day, while walking home from school, Tsukamoto encounters Jin Kazama, a tall and skilled soccer player from the same school. Kazama is impressed by Tsukamoto’s unwavering spirit and determination despite his lack of soccer experience. As a result, Kazama invites Tsukamoto to join the school’s soccer team, the Seiseki High School soccer club.
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Initially, Tsukamoto is hesitant, as he has no prior experience with soccer and doubts his abilities. However, after witnessing Kazama’s incredible talent and the passion of the other club members, Tsukamoto decides to try it.
As Tsukamoto joins the Seiseki soccer club, he faces numerous challenges and struggles to catch up with his more experienced teammates. He must overcome his physical limitations and learn the fundamentals of soccer from scratch.
Throughout the series, Tsukamoto’s passion for the sport and his relentless effort to improve himself gradually earn him the respect and admiration of his teammates. His boundless enthusiasm becomes a source of inspiration for the entire team, motivating them to work harder and strive for greatness.
The Knight In The Area
“The Knight in the Area” (also known as Eria no Kishi) is a sports anime and manga series that was serialized from 2006 to 2017, and the anime adaptation aired from January to September 2012. The series focuses on soccer (football) and revolves around the journey of two brothers who are passionate about the sport.
The story follows Kakeru Aizawa, a talented and dedicated young soccer player passionate about the sport. He comes from a family of soccer enthusiasts, and his older brother, Suguru Aizawa, is a highly skilled soccer player and the captain of the prestigious Enoshima High School soccer team.
Kakeru looks up to his older brother and aspires to become an exceptional player like him. However, Suguru loses his life during a tragic accident while saving Kakeru from an oncoming truck. Devastated by the loss of his brother, Kakeru is overwhelmed with guilt and feels responsible for Suguru’s death.
As a result of the accident, Kakeru develops a psychological condition known as a “soccer coma,” in which he loses all motivation and enthusiasm for the sport he once loved. He abandons soccer and tries to distance himself from anything related to it.
Years later, when Kakeru was in high school, he still struggled to accept his brother’s death and lost his passion for soccer. However, his life turns when Nana Mishima, his classmate and childhood friend, encourages him to rediscover his love for the sport.
Motivated by Nana’s support and inspired by his memories of playing with his brother, Kakeru returns to the soccer field. He joins Enoshima High School’s soccer team, hoping to honor his brother’s legacy and find his path as a player.
As Kakeru embarks on his soccer journey, he faces various challenges, including overcoming his past trauma, developing his skills, and earning the respect of his teammates. Along the way, he forms new friendships, strengthens existing bonds, and strives to become the player he knows he can be.
“Captain Tsubasa” is a popular sports manga and anime series serialized from 1981 to 1988, and several anime adaptations have been produced over the years. The series focuses on soccer (football) and follows the incredible journey of a young prodigy as he pursues his dream of becoming the greatest soccer player in the world.
The story centers around Tsubasa Ozora, a talented and passionate young boy with an innate love for soccer. Tsubasa displays exceptional skills and extraordinary soccer instincts from a very young age. He dreams of one day playing in the World Cup and leading Japan to victory.
Tsubasa moves to Nankatsu with his mother due to his father’s job. He joins the local soccer team and quickly becomes the star player there. His incredible dribbling, shooting, and playmaking abilities make him stand out on the field, earning him the nickname “Soccer Genius.”
As the series progresses, Tsubasa faces various challenges and rivals, both on and off the field. He participates in numerous soccer tournaments and competitions, where he encounters formidable opponents with unique playing styles. His determination and love for the game drive him to improve and develop new techniques continuously.
Tsubasa forms strong bonds with his teammates throughout his soccer journey, who become lifelong friends and supporters. The series also features friends and rivals who play essential roles in Tsubasa’s growth as a player and individual.
One of Tsubasa’s most significant rivals is Kojiro Hyuga, a talented forward with a powerful shot known as the “Tiger Shot.” Tsubasa and Hyuga’s rivalry becomes one of the central themes of the series, and their matches against each other are highly anticipated by fans.
As Tsubasa rises and gains international recognition, he eventually realizes his dream of playing in the World Cup and representing Japan globally. The series portrays Tsubasa’s journey as a football legend, from his humble beginnings in Nankatsu to his rise as one of the greatest soccer players in the world.
The protagonist of Whistle is Shō Kazamatsuri, a middle school student who is deeply passionate about soccer. Despite lacking the natural talent of other players, Shō has an unwavering dedication to the sport & dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.
Shō transfers to Musashi no Mori Junior High School, a strong soccer program for producing talented players. However, when he joins the school’s soccer team, he faces challenges due to his lack of experience and skills compared to his teammates.
Determined to prove himself, Shō works tirelessly to improve his game and catches the attention of Daichi Fuwa, the team’s captain. Impressed by Shō’s tenacity and potential, Daichi takes him under his wing & becomes his mentor and role model.
As Shō continues to train and compete with the team, he faces various rivals and opponents, each with unique playing styles. He encounters talented players serving as friends and rivals on his soccer journey.
The series also delves into Shō’s personal life and relationships, including his interactions with friends, family, and fellow soccer enthusiasts. The bonds he forms off the field significantly motivate him to become a better player.
Clean Freak! Aoyama kun
The series’s protagonist is Aoyama-kun, a star soccer player at Fujimi High School. Despite his incredible talent on the field, Aoyama-kun is known for being an extremely clean freak and germaphobe. He obsessively carries hand sanitizer, avoids physical contact, and goes to great lengths to keep himself and his surroundings spotless.
Aoyama’s unusual behavior often confuses and bewilders his teammates and rivals. He is regarded as somewhat of an enigma, and many people find it challenging to understand him. However, his soccer skills are undeniable, and his talent on the field earns him the respect of his teammates and admiration from other players.
The manga and anime series depict Aoyama’s interactions with his soccer team, which includes various unique and quirky characters. His teammates, including the friendly and energetic Kaoru Zaizen, the calm and collected Jin Tsukamoto, and the cheerful but clumsy Taichi Yoshioka, are all fascinated by Aoyama’s abilities and peculiar habits.
As the story progresses, “Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun” explores Aoyama’s growth as a player and his development as a person. While he initially keeps his distance from his teammates, he gradually learns the value of teamwork and camaraderie on and off the soccer field.
Throughout the series, Aoyama-kun’s clean freak tendencies often lead to comedic situations, creating lighthearted and amusing moments for readers and viewers.
The story centers around Mamoru Endou, a talented and passionate goalkeeper who loves soccer and dreams of becoming the best player in the world. Endou comes from a family of skilled goalkeepers, and he inherits the passion and determination of his grandfather, Daisuke Endou, a legendary goalkeeper.
Endou is determined to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and form his soccer team. He starts assembling a team of skilled and unique players from his school, Raimon Junior High. Despite facing initial challenges in recruiting members, Endou’s unwavering spirit and leadership inspire others to join his team.
The newly-formed Raimon Junior High soccer team faces various rivals and opponents within and in other schools. They participate in local and national soccer competitions, where they encounter powerful and talented teams with unique playing styles and techniques.
As the series progresses, Raimon Junior High is selected to represent Japan in the “Football Frontier” tournament, a prestigious national youth soccer competition. The team’s ultimate goal is to become the best in Japan and compete in the “Football Frontier International” tournament, facing formidable teams worldwide.
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Throughout their journey, the Raimon team encounters various challenges, including fierce matches, personal struggles, and encounters with powerful adversaries. They learn valuable lessons about friendship, teamwork, & believing in themselves.
In addition to the regular soccer matches, “Inazuma Eleven” also introduces special moves called “Hissatsu Techniques,” which are powerful and unique soccer techniques that players can use to turn the tide of a match.
The series also explores the mystery behind the “Aliea Academy,” a mysterious school with extraordinarily talented players who possess powerful and supernatural soccer abilities. Raimon Junior High must face the Aliea Academy and other formidable teams to prove their worth on the soccer field.
Whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or looking for entertainment, a soccer anime will satisfy your craving for excitement and competition. We’ve explored some of the best soccer anime series available throughout this discussion. Each show offers a unique take on the beautiful game, from classics to newer releases. You’ve learned about the thrilling matches, relatable characters, and inspiring storylines that make these shows enjoyable. Soccer anime has proven to be a captivating and inspiring genre that appeals to sports enthusiasts and anime fans alike. Through its engaging storytelling and dynamic characters, it captures the essence of teamwork, determination, and passion on the field.