Football is an inseparable part of some of our lives. Hardcore football fanatics obsessively follow games, teams and star players to seek out thrill and enjoyment. And I’m pretty sure that this has been the life for many of us since we were kids. Growing ups, we may have watched our parents going gaga over this sport, and that incorporated the love for it in us as well. The sheer enjoyment and thrill that can be derived out of a hardcore football match is unparalleled. And if you an anime lover on top of being a football fan, then chances are, you are going to go out of your way to look for anime with soccer as its central theme.
So to help you in your quest I have just the perfect football anime recommendations guide for you! In this listicle, I will be jotting down some of the best anime about soccer that ever was, to help you find your next catch. Some of these anime are well-renowned while some are not-so-popular on the surface yet they have succeeded in grabbing the attention of fans for a long time and continue to do so to date.
Now without further adieu, let’s take a sneak peek at some of the best football anime in the scene!
Top 7 Best Football Anime of All Time
This football anime is based on Level-5’s video game of the same name. The plot centers around Endou Mamoru who is a zesty goalkeeper at Raimon Jr High and is a part of a team consisting of six other players. However, it has been declared that the team is at the risk of disbandment lest they don’t win a match against Teikoku Gakuen, Japan’s best football team. This prompts Mamoru to save the team by gathering four more players and going into war against Teikoku High.
The second season deals with Endou and his team gathering players to win a match against a new set of enemies, the opponent football team, Aliea Gakuen. The third season is all about the announcement of the Football Frontier International and the assemblage of Inazuma Japan coached by Kudou Michiya.
Inazuma Eleven is one of the best soccer anime to ever exist and it has an extremely enthusiastic fan following worldwide. The anime and manga series is just as popular as the video games and have definitely garnered significant attention in the anime and manga circles. You can watch this football anime on Netflix in English subbed and dubbed versions.
One of the classics, Captain Tsubasa is probably the most well-known and popular football anime to ever exist. The plot revolves around Tsubasa Oozora, an 11-year-old elementary school student whose passion lies in football. He dreams of bringing the FIFA World Cup for Japan someday. A soccer prodigy, Tsubasa lives with his mother while his father, a seafaring captain, travels around the globe. Since a very young age, he has displayed exceptional footwork skills, dribbling skills, stamina, and shot power and impressed everyone who watched him play.
After Tsubasa moves to Nankatsu, a fictional town in the Shizuoka Prefecture with his mother, he comes across various other kids his age who play football and are passionate about the sport. He also meets Roberto Hongo, a Brazilian football star who takes the boy under his wings to train him.
Captain Tsubasa is an old-school football anime that is appreciated by fans all across the globe to this date. This realistic football anime talks about the hopes and dreams of a young player who wants to bring home the world cup. A lot of us might resonate with this, as we too have our personal aspirations that we hope to fulfill someday. This anime is available on all major anime streaming sites like Crunchyroll, Funimation, VRV, etc.
This seinen sports anime is based on manga of the same name. The 26-episode series deals with East Tokyo United or ETU, a struggling team in Japan’s top football league. In order to avoid relegation, it has done everything in its power. But misery loves company and slowly the fans have also started abandoning their once favorite football team. As a last hope, ETU has hired a new football coach, Tatsumi Takeshi, who is one of the best footballers in anime. Although he had abandoned the game years before, he proved himself as a great manager of one of England’s lower division amateur teams.
Tatsumi, with his years of experience and sheer skill, is given the task of uplifting ETU from the rabbit hole it has fallen into. However, they are pitted against teams with better players and bigger budgets. Will he be able to successfully bring out the team from the shadows?
Giant Killing is an amazing football anime with equally dynamic characters. I had loved reading the manga so I decided to give the anime a try as well. And my oh my, was I impressed. I would definitely urge all football fans to check out this anime because I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. At the same time, you’ll also fall in love with the characters through their story of becoming some of the strongest footballers in anime.
This football anime narrates the story of a middle-schooler named Sho Kazamatsuri. He moves from Musashinomori School to SakuraJosui Junior High School in hopes of making it to the soccer team, as he was not given a chance to play in his former school’s team as a consequence of being too short.
However, his new teacher, Yuko Katori introduces Sho as a former gem of the Musashinomori team, sending his classmates into an ill-placed frenzy. However, soon enough this fake cover is blown off by one of the players, Tatsuya Mizuno who brings to light the truth of Sho. It turns out that he is indeed a poor player since he never got a chance to play.
As Sho struggles to hone his skills so that he can make it to his new school’s soccer team, we are taken on an inspiring journey of a young boy beating all odds to realize his dreams. Whistle! is one of the best football anime that I’ve ever watched and it definitely needs to make an appearance in my football anime recommendations.
Ginga e Kickoff!
This football anime centers around Sho Ota, a sixth-grader in charge of finding new members for the Momotaro Predators after his team was disbanded initially. Although Sho is not exceptionally talented at the game, he is still extremely passionate about it, which makes him want to do what he does. He also aspires to become a professional football player someday.
Ginga e Kickoff also features a girl character in this soccer anime. Her name is Erika Takatou and she was the former ace of the Namba Dandelions. Other female characters like Reika Saionji and Misaki Shimizu are also players of Momotaro Predators. Usually, not a lot of sports anime feature women in the main cast, however, this anime is definitely an exception when it comes to breaking stereotypes. This also gives this football anime a feminist outlook and makes it worthy of being placed in my recommendations list.
This series is a recap of the Football World Cup. The story is narrated by Brian Thompson, an ex-reporter and also the hero of the series. The series began when the first selection took place in Uruguay in 1930 until 1994 when it was finally held in the United States.
The story brilliantly carries out an almost realistic depiction of Thompson’s life from his youth till adulthood and career as a famous sports journalist. We also get glimpses of brilliant footballers like Franz Beckenbauer, Muller Gard, Eusebio, and the legendary Pele tackling it down on the football field.
Soccer Fever is a realistic football anime that will definitely take the viewers on a trip back in time when football was at its peak and all the legends were fighting it out to bring home the World Cup for their respective countries. This football anime is a must-watch for all the diehard fans out there who have been a fan of the game for a long time.
Moero! Top Striker
Moero! Top Striker is an out-of-the-box football anime that features a Japanese international student as the protagonist who leads a team. The story is divided into three parts – the initial “Columbus”, the middle “Selection of Genoa” and the last “Jupiter Wings”.
The story is set against the backdrop of the Gulf War in 1991. The other historical element mentioned in the story is the “500th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus” in 1992, which pretty much hints to the main character Hikaru Kikkawa belonging to “Columbus” and being based in Genoa.
The plot narrates the story of Hikaru, who is an international student in Italy, making his way to the top in the youth football league of the country. This is one of those rare anime that features a Japanese student being the main focus in the international background, and therefore, deserves a spot in my recommendations list.
Sports anime, especially football anime can be highly thrilling if you are already into the game. My favorite aspect of sports anime is that it brings out the sheer passion and the dedication that the protagonist has towards their subject of love, and they are ready to face even hell if it means fulfilling their dreams and goals (quite literally in this case). This is the sole reason why I’m such a massive fan of sports anime in general, and football anime pretty much satiate my needs for thrill and excitement.
You can check out various football anime on anime streaming sites where you will find them in abundance. Which football anime are you gonna watch next? Let us know in the comments!