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Jan 26, 2017
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In the world of temperamental blonde-haired alien races and grotesquely steroid-induced bodybuilders, there exists a crop of animated characters who don't need to push the boundaries of the fantastical genre but still embody a certain air of superiority usually associated with super beings.

Like in real-life competitive fields, sports animes have their own valuable players, excelling in their respective athletic endeavors by exhibiting sheer physical prowess. They don't have to be the main characters to be the best at what they do; sometimes being on the other side allows for lowkey accelerated growth.

We would do anything just to be like these guys:


Basketball

Sendoh Akira (Slam Dunk)

Maki (from Kainan), Rukawa (Shohoku), Akashi (Kuroko's Basketball) may have something to say about this, but the laid-back point forward from Ryonan gets the nod. Aside from being the consummate player (remember Ikegami story about rookie Sendoh's 47-point game?), he has the distinction of sporting a cooler head of hair as compared to the red-haired monkey/protagonist.


Volleyball

Wakatoshi Ushijima (Haikyu!!)

At least in the anime, the captain-ace of Shiratorizawa is considered the biggest obstacle to Karasuno (lead's team), making him their strongest opponent so far—don't mind that his team lost. Aside from being in tiptop shape, the ace of Miyagi Prefecture maximizes his aerial assaults as a natural lefty, resulting in almost unstoppable cross spikes and jump serves.


Baseball

Shigeno Goro (Major)

The pitcher has had more drama than any other sports anime character on this list (he lost both his parents when he was young and suffered career-altering injuries, including one that forced him to retire from pitching), which molded him into the outstanding player he has turned out to be. Despite the emotional and physical baggage, Goro made it to the pros and was able showcase his powerful throw.

American football

Kongo Agon (Eyeshield 21)

He may be the most nefarious of all the characters in the series, but no one can deny his talent that comes once every million years, thanks to his God-Speed Impulse. The strongest player on the strongest high school American football team in Japan, the Shinryuji Naga, Agon is the exact opposite of the mantra, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."


Biking

Shunsuke Imaizumi (Yowamushi Pedal)

Experience and skill-wise, the first-year all-rounder takes this spot over main character and Sohoku Bicycle Club fellow member Sakamichi Onoda. Shunsuke has been a competitive cyclist since middle school, therefore excelling in both sprinting and climbing. 

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Boxing

Takamura Mamoru (Hajime no Ippo)

Truth be told, Ippo's only advantage over Takamura is billing in the series' title. The current unified WBC and WBA Middleweight champion is easily the strongest and most dominant boxer in the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, and evidently, the entirety of the anime. If his unblemished record (24-0-0) and the tale of his devastating bear slayer punch don't impress you enough, we don't know what else will.


Tennis

Fuji Syusuke (The Prince of Tennis)

Another tensai (genius in Japanese), the third year Seishun student prides himself on a clever counterpunching technique. Fuji's feel for the game elevates him into another level, to the point of playing with 'Closed Eye.' Still, it would take a lot for an opposing player to make him bare his true form, something captain Kunimitsu Tezuka and protagonist Ryoma Echizen has managed to awaken.

 

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