Getting Excited for the Olympics with Sports Anime

We’re getting very excited about the upcoming Olympics to be held in Tokyo next year and we want to share some of that excitement with you! We have already looked at some of our culture’s traditional sports that may be featuring in Tokyo, as well as a look at how the film Akira suspected that Japan would host the 2020 Olympics decades ago. In this blog, we’re considering Japanese representations of some popular Olympic sports through the medium of anime.



Ping Pong the Animation has everything one would expect from a sports’ genre anime; it has tension, skill, character, and a lot of voice overs where the characters air their inner thoughts to tell the audience the depth of the challenge they are facing.

More than most sports anime though, Ping Pong the Animation has style. Its art design is something else and the director knows exactly where to apply pressure to fill a scene with emotion.

Ping Pong has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1988 and it’s not unheard of for China to make a clean sweep on all the medals. The only other countries to have won any gold medals outside of China are South Korea with three and Sweden with one. Japan is ranked fifth worldwide in Olympic Table Tennis, currently holding two silver medals and two bronze.

Will this year see a repeat performance from China, or will this be the year where Japan secures their first gold in this sport?


The experts say that we eat with our eyes just as much as our mouths – if this is true, then this might be why anime succeeds in making its food look so appetizing. One of the most famous attempts to encourage viewers to purchase an edible product is from 2012 where bottled water was advertised through anime. The advertisement later got turned into a full show due to its popularity, and it’s just one example of anime’s long-standing love of edible products which you can read more about in our blog, Anime About Food.

The anime that came from this advert is none other than Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. This show is all about boys who love to swim so much that they are aiming for a spot in the Olympics. It’s fairly timid, but it’s also well-paced and exceptionally well-drawn.

Swimming at the 2020 Olympics will take place in Tokyo’s new Olympic Aquatics Centre from the 25th July till August 2nd, with the exception of the 10 km open-water marathons on August 5th for the women and August 6th for male contestants. There is a total of 37 swimming events at this year’s Olympics and we’re looking forward to all of them having finished watching Free!


Yowamushi Pedal is the story of a boy who loves to cycle. The art style is a little confusing sometimes as it draws inspiration from a range of sources, but the show is both heartwarming and inspiring. There’s a lot of sweat and tears in this show and we’re sure these kids work up a fierce appetite during their training!

In the upcoming Olympics, cycling will feature a total of 22 events. An interesting fact about Olympic cycling is that it is one of the few sports that have been present in every Olympics since 1896, alongside fencing, athletics, gymnastics and swimming.


Boxing was nearly left out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but thanks to donations from Russia, boxing tournaments will be taking place from July 25th to August 9th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. With a push for greater gender equality at the Olympics, the men’s weight classes have been reduced from ten to eight, meanwhile, the women’s have increased from three to five.

If you too are a fan of boxing, you might enjoy watching some Hajime no Ippo. A lot of anime enthusiasts regard this as one of the best shows ever created and subsequently, it’s in a lot of people’s top tens’ lists. If you’re a fan of the sports genre but not yet a fan of boxing, this could be the perfect show to get you hyped for the 2020 Olympics.

If you’re working up a sweat by training hard in the North of England, then you should refuel by enjoying a meal at either of our restaurants; Japanese restaurant in Liverpool or Japanese restaurant in Manchester. We’ve shown you a handful of anime from the sports genre, but if you’ve not seen your favourite sport mentioned on this list, then perhaps you would prefer Haikyuu! for some volleyball, or even the Prince of Tennis.