September saw the end of the much-awaited anime adaptation of the manga Ao Ashi, and just like everyone’s expectations, season 1 ended with a bang. Production I.G debuted the anime in April, and it completed its first season in September 2022 with 24 episodes. And unlike many other manga adaptations, Ao Ashi stayed true to its source, and it’s safe to say that it delivered.
There was already quite a lot of buzz around the anime because of the manga’s popularity, and as the anime adaptation was released, many new fans flooded in just because of the anime. At this point, it’s obvious that the anime was critically and financially successful.
Ao Ashi tells about Ashito Aoi who was a gifted but hardworking boy. He was the star soccer player at his former school, but he lost his way due to some personal issues. Tatsuya Fukuda, a youth coach, offered him a chance to join his soccer team. Fukuda was aware that Aoi was a difficult player, but he recognized the tremendous potential in him. Fukuda is therefore pleased to welcome Aoi in Tokyo’s unfamiliar surroundings, where he can make his mark on Japanese soccer’s history.
Even though season 1 gave us 24 episodes of pure bliss, if you’re like us, in the end, you’ll be left with a feeling of wanting more. Although a second season isn’t going to be appearing any soon, what you can You should try to find similar animes. Although Ao Ashi is unique in many ways, the truth is that there are many animes that have a similar feel.
So, we’re here with 21 animes with a lot of similarities to Ao Ashi.
Giant Killing, despite the title, is an anime about soccer. Giant Killing is a story about Takeshi Tatsumi (an eccentric coach) who has many similarities to Tatsuya Furuda, the coach in Ao Ashi.
ETU, or East Tokyo United (Soccer Club) was once the Japanese soccer top dog. It is now in the midst of defeat after defeat. Forced to make a desperate decision to turn this situation around, the team’s general manager Kousei Gotou takes a gamble and hires Takeshi Tatsuma as the new coach.
During the glory days of ETU, Tatsuma had been the team’s captain and had spearheaded the team to countless victories. He was forced to transfer to an English amateur team for unknown reasons. ETU fans still feel betrayed, but Tatsuma accepts the role of coach and takes over the leadership of the team.
Blue Lock is an anime inspired by soccer much like Aoashi. But that’s where the similarities end. Although it hasn’t started airing yet, we included it in this list because it is one of the most awaited animes of 2022. Blue Lock is an anime that has a lot more stakes than Aoashi.
In a desperate effort to bring back Japanese soccer, the Japanese Football Association has hired the eccentric and mysterious Jinpachi Ego to be their new coach. Jinpachi creates Project Blue Lock in an effort to find the best soccer player in Japan. At this prison-like facility, hundreds of talented strikers from high schools all over Japan compete against each other to become the new striker of Japan’s national soccer team for the world cup. Losers will never be allowed to try out for the team again.
We follow Yoshi Isagi’s story as a high schooler who feels he has let his soccer team down by not reaching the national level. Isagi sees the Blue Lock as a second chance. He wants to be the best striker of Japan and possibly win the World Cup.
A list of the best sports-based animes wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Captain Tsubasa. Although it’s long past its glory days, anime is still one of the best in the history of the sports anime genre.
Tsubasa Oozora was 11 years old when he started playing soccer. It became an obsession and a lifelong passion. Tsubasa’s mother encouraged him to try it and they moved to Nankatsu City, famous for its high-quality elementary school soccer teams.
Tsubaru found many new friends and foes in his new city. Tsubaru’s ultimate goal is to represent Japan in the FIFA World Cup, but it will take more than talent.
Kazamatsuri Shou is in Whistle, unlike Ashito Aoi, the protagonist in Ao Ashi! It is not a person who has innate talent to play the game. This is the difference that Whistle has! There are many animes like Whistle. It is a show that shows that, even though talent is important, hard work and determination are what will bring you the greatest success.
Kazamatsuri Shout, who struggled to make a mark as a player in Musashi no Mori Junior High’s soccer team, is now a Sakura Jousui Junior High student.
Shou is still able to play the game, even though it’s not as large as his school’s soccer team. Shou is supported by his new teammates and friends, and his determination to achieve his goal.
There wouldn’t be many anime fans who haven’t heard of this gem of a sports anime. Although it isn’t about soccer based on the sport Volleyball, the spirit and determination of the protagonist in Ao Ashi resemble
Haikyuu’s. Haikyuu was also created by the same studio. This means that there are many similarities. Shouyou Hinata is a kid who didn’t have much height, which was a factor that is considered to be a must to become a professional volleyball player. Although he didn’t have height, he was blessed with a fiery determination to conquer his weakness and become the best.
To follow in the footsteps of his idol, Hinata is recruited to the Karasuno High School Volleyball team. He meets new friends and challenges on his journey to become the best.
Ace of Diamond
Although the sport differs, like the main character in Ao Ashi, Eijun Sawamura becomes frustrated because of his team’s loss in his final middle school baseball game. Eijun, like Ao Ashi’s main character, is offered a rare chance to reach the top.
Seeing Eijun’s immense potential and unusual pitching style, he is scouted for Tokyo’s prestigious Seidou High School, known for being the best. Eijun, supported by his teammates joins a new group of friends and rivals to reach new heights.
Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun
This one is a little lighter than others on this list. Aoyama is not a striker like Ashito, but a mid-fielder. No one can do as well as him. He is a reliable, charismatic, cool, and athletic character that everyone loves. However, he had a problem.
Aoyama is an extreme germophobe and a clean freak. He goes to great lengths to keep clean even though he plays a game often called dirty. Aoyama, despite his shortcomings, is still the best player and has the greatest determination to make his team the best in the Nationals.
A few things are common between Ao Ashi’s main characters and Slam Dunk’s. Both characters are hardheaded and easily angered. But unlike Ashito in Ao Ashi, Hanamichi Sakuragi didn’t love his respective sport initially.
Sakuragi, who was famous for being rejected by many girls at middle school, transferred his fame to Shohoku High. He was eventually introduced to basketball by his school after some mishaps. As he joins the school’s basketball team and gains new teammates, he begins to love the game he once hated.
Inazuma Eleven, like Ao Ashi follows the story of high-school soccer.
It has been too long since Raimon Middle School’s soccer club, Inazuma Eleven, Last year, the team was in its glory days and is now on the brink of dissolution. Brimmed with determination, the team’s current captain, Mamoru Endou, takes up the challenge to revitalize the team back to its glory days.
The story is told from the perspective of not one, but two central characters. Tsukushi Tsukamoto & Jin Kazama They are very similar high schoolers. Tsukushi is someone who doesn’t have any exceptional talent for the game, but Jin is practically considered a genius of the game. They are very different worlds, just like their personalities.
After a chance meeting, they are pulled into one world, the soccer world. Their lives are forever changed.
The Knight in the Area
As Ao Ashi, this anime focuses on the development of the main character as a player and a person.
Kakeru Aizawa’s ultimate goal is to become a member of the Japanese national soccer team one day and to lift the world cup for his country. However, his current status is far from the best. So he works harder than anyone to become the best and so that he can stand tall with his childhood friend, who’s also a soccer prodigy and has already become a member of the Japanese women’s national team.
Hajime no Ippo
Although the sports they’re playing differ drastically, Ashito from Ao Ashi has a lot of similarities with the main character of Hajime no Ippo. Both are talented people who were fortunate enough to have the chance to become part of a bigger team, where they can improve their skills with the right guidance.
Ippo Makunouchi was raised in the fishing boat rental family and has strong muscles. After a chance encounter with an up-and-coming boxer Mamoru Takamura, Ippo is rescued from bullies and taken to Takamura’s boxing gym. Takamura and his fellow boxers are stunned to see Ippo’s punching strength. Little did anyone know, that was the beginning of Ippo’s journey to becoming the best in the world.
Wild Striker: Hungry Heart
Another anime that has soccer as its core.
Kyosuke Kano was fed up with living in the shadows of his brother, a professional soccer players, and decided to quit the sport. He felt that he was constantly being compared to his brother. He is reintroduced to the sport when his high school recognizes his talents and invites him to join their team. Kyosuke, accompanied by his new friends is determined to become a professional soccer player and surpass his brother.
This anime is not like Ao Ashi. It’s about swimming. Both animes have the same spirit.
Haruko Nanase loved to swim as much as he loved to breathe. He had been part of a relay team in elementary school. The four high school friends reunite after they split post-victory. But things aren’t the same as it was before. Haruka is determined to win the title of best swimmer, despite being friends.
Kuroko No Basket
This anime has been repeatedly dubbed one of the greatest sports anime ever.
Tetsuyakuroko may appear to be ordinary and lacking presence, but he is actually a very powerful player. He forms rare friendship with Taiga Kagami as he tries to prove his worth to Seirin High School’s basketball team. The duo hopes to win the Interhigh championship with the rest their team.
Although it’s far from the soccer scene, Tsurune is similar to Ao Ashi.
Minato Narumiya loved Kyuudo all his life. It is a modern Japanese martial arts that focuses on archery. An incident forced him to abandon the sport. Like many others, Minato was forced to pick up the bow once again. Minato, supported by his friends and teammates begins to understand why he fell in love with the sport.
This anime, Just Ao Ashi, attempts to portray a story based upon a sport in a realistic way. This time, however, the sport is Tennis.
It is the story of Eiichirou Maruo, a boy who saw Tennis first as a pastime. After making new friends and enjoying the game more, he discovered a love for Tennis. He was one step closer becoming a professional tennis player as he improved his game.
Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru
It is reminiscent of Ao Ashi’s deep character development in Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru.
Kakeru, a former ace runner at Sendai Josei High School was forced to deal with the difficult circumstances. He made new friends who offered him a home and more. He offered him a position at Kansei University Track Club and requested Kakeru’s help participating in Hakone Ekiden—one of Japan’s most prominent university marathon relay races. Kakeru and his new friend take up the challenge, and they try to prepare the club in time for the Hakone Ekiden Marathon.
Ping Pong Animation
Another anime in which the main character has the chance to improve his skills with coaching and help. It also has an original style of animation that sets it apart from other anime.
Although they’re best friends, Makoto “Smile” Tsukimoto and Yutaka “Peco” Hoshino are opposites. They shared a passion and love for pingpong. Peco strives to be the best in the world, but he often misses practice, and Smile can’t help but hold himself back when playing against others. After a shocking failure, they’re in personal conflicts. With the inter-high tournament nearing, they work harder to overcome their hardships and be the best.
The similarities between this anime and Aoashi can be seen in the fact that the main character in each anime was once the top dog in their respective fields, but they found themselves being surrounded by skilled players when they moved to a larger stage.
Junk Dog was once a formidable boxer in underground fighting known as the Megalo Box. He lost a lot of money and decided to return through Megalonia. This tournament determines the best Megalo Boxer. With a new moniker, “Joe,” he began to rise to the top as he defeated opponent after opponent.
SK8 The Infinity
This anime gem is last but not least. Another anime in which the main character is passionate about the sport of skateboarding is SK8 The Infinity. In this case, it’s skateboarding. Reki Kyan is high school student and passionate about skateboarding. His skateboard and arm are broken after a night of skating. He is unable to practice.
Reki was approached by a new classmate who had just moved to his school and asked for money. He introduced him to skateboarding, where he could make money doing dangerous stunts. Reki did not know it, but this was the beginning to a friendship that would win many races.
Also see: 10 Must Watch Anime Similar to Hyouka
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