The Best Sports Manga of All Time

The Best Sports Manga You Should Read in 2023 Blue Lock
Credit: Eight Bit

The Best Sports Manga You Should Read in 2023 Blue Lock
Credit: Eight Bit

Welcome to the world of sports, where bonds are forged, dreams are pursued, and the spirit of triumph never wavers! We have compiled a list of the best sports manga that should be on your reading list right now.

Head to your favorite reading spot and dive into these enthralling tales that will have you eagerly turning page after page.

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  1. Giant Killing

    Written by Masaya Tsunamoto and illustrated by Tsujitomo, the first manga on our list is Giant Killing.

    East Tokyo United has been performing poorly in Japan’s top football league. In order to improve the performance, the team hired a new coach named Tatsumi Takeshi.

    Tatsumi is a former star player of the team but at some point, he abandoned East Tokyo United.

    The task for Tatsumi is not easy as East Tokyo United would be facing some of the finest teams with better players.

    However, Tatsumi is ready to give his all. The “giant killing” element in the manga is East Tokyo United’s ability to beat more robust teams.

    The Giant Killing manga has realistic characters and showcases intricate soccer strategies.

  2. Yowamushi Pedal

    Yowamushi Pedal is the story of a wimpy high schooler who loves anime and joins the cycling club.

    Sakamichi Onada is an otaku who adores anime and wants to enter the anime club.

    However, after meeting two classmates who are noted cyclists, he joins the cycling club.

    As the story progresses, Sakamichi discovers his hidden talent for cycling.

    This manga is a slice-of-life gem that goes beyond sports and explores themes such as friendship and camaraderie.

    Yowamushi Pedal is written and illustrated by Wataru Watanabe.

  3. Ace of the Diamond

    Ace of the Diamond is written and illustrated by Yuuji Terajima and this riveting sports manga takes readers into the world of high school baseball.

    The story revolves around Eijun Sawamura, a left-hand pitcher who has an unyielding love for the sport.

    Coming from a lesser-known middle school, Eijun’s talent catches the attention of Seidou High School’s baseball team.

    Later, Eijun finds himself in the middle of a highly competitive environment where he must fight to earn his place.

    Ace of the Diamond shines in bringing forth the exhilaration of baseball to life through stunning artwork and thrilling match sequences.

    The award-winning manga’s English version was published by Kodansha Comics USA in 2017.

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  4. Be Blues!

    A young boy name Ryuu Ichijou dreams of representing Japan in soccer. Be Blues! Is the story of Ryuu who is a genius soccer player.

    His dreams appear within his reach but in elementary school, he is hit by a car while saving his friend.

    The accident puts a dent in Ryuu’s aspirations as he must go through tough rehabilitation before even thinking about hitting the ball.

    Be Blues! manga beautifully captures the intensity of soccer matches through realistic artwork.

    Motoyuki Tanaka wrote and illustrated the Be Blues! manga.

  5. Hikaru no Go

    A popular sports manga based on a board game, Hikaru no Go follows the life of Hikaru Shindo, a young middle schooler.

    Hikaru discovers a mysterious Go board in his grandfather’s attic.

    This ordinary encounter sets in motion a journey as Hikaru becomes possessed by the spirit of a Go master named Sai Fujiwara.

    Guided by Sai’s experience and expertise, Hikaru slowly develops a newfound interest in Go.

    As he delves deeper, Hikaru comes across powerful rivals and participates in intense tournaments.

    The manga does a great job of blending supernatural elements with sports. Also, it made the game Go popular amongst a wider audience.

    The Hikaru no Go manga is written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata.

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  6. Kuroko's Basketball

    Created by Tadatoshi Fujimaki, Kuroko’s Basketball is a thrilling sports manga with a unique blend of intense basketball action and intelligent gameplay.

    The story follows a famous basketball team of Teikou Middle School, which was known for its stellar players, dubbed the Generation of Miracles.

    But there was one player who remained in the shadows despite his exemplary skills – Tetsuya Kuroko.

    After graduating, Kuroko joins Seirin High School, where he becomes a part of the school’s basketball team.

    Despite his appearance, Kuroko has got remarkable passing skills and an exceptional ability to make him almost invisible on the court.

    If you are a fan of a good basketball manga, Kuroko’s Basketball is a must-read.

  7. Prince of Tennis

    An absolute classic when it comes to sports manga, Takeshi Konomi’s Prince of Tennis has enthralled readers with its exciting tennis-centric plotline.

    The story of this beloved classic revolves around Ryoma Echizen, a young tennis prodigy who joins the Seishun Academy.

    He is eyeing to claim a regular position on the boy’s team.

    Moreover, Ryoma aims to conquer the tennis world by surpassing other schools and his talented rivals.

    In the manga, each match becomes a showcase of determination to push the boundaries constantly.

    The dramatic manga panels and the gripping storyline of Prince of Tennis are bound to keep you on the edge of your seats.

  8. Ping Pong

    Moving from the world of tennis, let’s check out the intense world of table tennis.

    Taiyo Matsumoto’s Ping Pong follows Tsukimoto Makoto (also known as Smile), a quiet high school student.

    He is friends with Hoshino Yukata (also known as Peco) who is loud and energetic.

    They both excel in table tennis, but Smile’s personality stops him from winning against Peco.

    The table tennis club teacher takes note of Smile’s potential and attempts to make him a bit more tenacious.

    If you are looking for a sports manga that offers a profound exploration of the human spirit, then Ping Pong is just the manga for you.

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  9. Kokou no Hito

    Also known as The Climber, Kokou no Hito is a gripping sports manga that explores the precarious world of mountaineering.

    The manga unravels the psychological and emotional journey of Mori Buntarou, a high school student who is fascinated by the allure of mountains.

    Mori devotes his life to ascending the top peaks and dreams of one day scaling the deadliest peak – Mt. K2.

    The atmospheric artwork will transport you into the lonely world of a mountaineer.

    The art magically captures the beauty and dangers of the mountains.

    Kokou no Hito is about the physical challenges faced by climbers and the enchanting landscapes they witness on their ascents.

  10. Rikudou

    Masanori Morita’s Rikudou is a gritty sports manga that peeks into the dark world of boxing.

    Armed with raw storytelling, intricate characters, and themes like poverty and redemption, Rikudou offers an interesting reading experience.

    Rikudou follows Riku Takamura, a young man who lives in a poverty-stricken neighborhood afflicted by despair and violence.

    Riku wants to escape his sad reality and protect his loved ones. He finds solace and purpose in boxing.

    The manga shows boxing as an unforgiving sport, highlighting the physical and mental toll it takes on its fighters.

    Moreover, what stands out in Rikudou is the dark side of boxing which is mired by corruption, politics, and exploitation.

    Riku’s journey goes way outside the ring where he fights against the forces that threaten to drive him into the ground.

  11. Hajime no Ippo

    Created by George Morikawa, Hajime no Ippo is an iconic sports manga series that has captivated fans with its stunning boxing action.

    Moreover, the story is full of determination and growth. The manga is about the journey of Makunouchi Ippo who helps his mother run their family business.

    Due to his workload, his social life is a mess and he often becomes an easy target for bullies.

    One day, a professional boxer named Mamoru Takamura saves Ippo from a group of bullies.

    Also, during this encounter, Ippo discovers his hidden talent for boxing.

    From physical training to the mental fortitude required for the sport, the manga masterfully depicts the journey of a boxer.

    Throughout the manga series, Ippo faces several opponents each with their own unique boxing styles.

    Hajime no Ippo also explores themes of perseverance and friendship, weaving a timeless story of victory over adversity.

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  12. Chihayafuru

    Yuki Suetsugu’s Chihayafuru is based on a traditional Japanese card game.

    Chihaya Ayase is a bubbly girl who becomes fascinated by the mysterious world of karuta, a card game based on Japanese poetry.

    After learning more about karuta, Chihaya forms a karuta club with her classmates namely, Kanade Oe and Taichi Mashima.

    The manga is authentic in showcasing Japanese culture and tradition.

    The beautiful display of battles of strategy, speed, and memorization that happens on the tatami mats is spectacular.

    The artwork of Chihayafuru captures the elegance of karuta matches, with realistic characters’ movements and expressions.

    With its blend of intense matches, rich character development, and a sprinkle of romance, Chihayafuru has a dedicated group of fans.

    If you like card games, then Chihayafuru is the right sports manga for you.

  13. Ao Ashi

    A third-year middle school student, Aoi Ashito, from Ehime, possesses raw soccer talent.

    However, due to his straightforward personality, he is going through a tough time.

    A chance encounter with Fukuda Tetsuya, team manager of the J1 club Tokyo City Esperion, opens a new door of opportunities for Aoi.

    Fukuda is able to see Aoi’s tremendous potential and calls him for tryouts in Tokyo.

    Ao Ashi is the story of a boy who is set to change the face of soccer in Japan.

    The manga is exceptional in offering an immersive and visually engaging reading experience.

    Yuugo Kobayashi is the creator of Ao Ashi, and the manga is licensed to Shogakukan.

  14. Blue Lock

    Written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yuusuke Nomura, Blue Lock is a unique sports manga.

    It relies heavily on psychological battles because that’s what happens when you put the best strikers from Japan under one roof.

    Moreover, you pit them against each other and the losers are permanently banned from joining the team forever.

    The story revolves around a select group of talented soccer players who are chosen to participate in a one-of-a-kind program.

    Unlike traditional soccer manga, Blue Lock is about the position of the striker and the pressure to score goals.

    The manga also showcases the psychological aspects of soccer and explores the desire for recognition.

    Blue Lock also touches upon the fears of failing in a competitive sport, and the extent the characters are willing to go to become the best striker.

    Blue Lock’s artwork brilliantly captures the fast-paced nature of soccer games.

    This manga is a big page-turner because of the intensity of its storytelling.

  15. Slam Dunk

    One of the finest basketball manga and written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue, Slam Dunk is the story of a punk high schooler discovering his true passion.

    The story of Slam Dunk follows Hanamichi Sakuragi, a delinquent high school student with a knack for inviting trouble.

    However, after a fateful encounter with Haruko Akagi, a girl who adores basketball, his life takes an unexpected turn.

    Haruko is amazed by Hanamichi’s brute force and terrific physical abilities.

    She informs the school’s basketball captain about Hanamichi, and later, he ends up joining the basketball team to impress Haruko.

    Slam Dunk goes far and beyond just great basketball matches but also delves into the growth of the characters.

    Hanamichi’s transformative journey is brought to life beautifully by Inoue. Slam Dunk is an absolute fan favorite and high on our must-read list.

  16. Haikyuu!!

    Taking the top spot is Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyuu!! This manga has a cult-like following due to its characters that have become household names in the anime and manga fandom.

    Haikyuu!! follows the journey of Shoyo Hinata, an energetic young boy who aspires to become a volleyball champion.

    Despite his short height, he possesses excellent jumping ability and an unwavering resolve.

    After watching a legendary player on TV, he joins the volleyball team at Karasuno High School.

    Karasuno is renowned for its decorated volleyball history. At the high school, Hinata meets a talented bunch of players, including Tobio Kageyama, a gifted setter.

    Together, Kageyama and Hinata form a duo as they work toward taking Karasuno back to its glory days.

    Haikyuu!! standouts in showcasing a rich and diverse cast of characters with many getting beautiful arcs.

    Even if you are not in the mood to read sports manga, Haikyuu!! has life stories that will touch your heart and inspire you to do more than you are capable of.

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