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TOP 32 Best Soccer Anime Of All Time Ranked

Soccer anime have been a popular genre in Japan since the glory days of Captain Tsubasa. In this comprehensive soccer anime ranking, we’ll be highlighting not just the classic offerings, but also the more recent additions to the genre. The unique charm of soccer anime is how it has evolved over time, with newer series becoming more riveting and impactful.

Parallel to Japan’s rising status in global soccer rankings, the quality of soccer anime has also soared. Three key elements stand out in recent iterations. The first is a refined, more intricate storyline often involving protagonists overcoming personal hurdles, such as lack of soccer experience or past rejections from teams. While earlier works were suffused with universal themes of friendship, effort, and victory, contemporary series add engrossing narratives and suspenseful plot twists that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Secondly, advances in animation technology have allowed for more expressive and varied depictions of soccer action. Rather than simply conveying strength or weakness, these animations now capture the unique styles and personalities of players in striking detail – from the swiftness of a cut through the wind to the sheer power of a game-changing shot.

The third element is the sharper focus on psychological aspects. Today’s soccer anime paints a vivid picture of the individual backgrounds and emotions of its characters. The personal perspectives of team members on victories or defeats add another layer of depth and empathy to these series.

For those prioritizing quality animation, the current era could well be the golden age of soccer anime. As you’ll notice from the ranking, the majority of the top-ranked series have been produced since 2020.

Now, let’s dive into our curated list of the best soccer anime.

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1. Aoashi (2022)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Aoashi
HULU

Aoashi takes a realistic look at professional soccer, deviating from the norm by shining a spotlight on the grittier side of the sport. It follows the journey of a young prodigy, showcasing his trials, tribulations, and growth in a believable manner. Unlike its counterparts, Aoashi doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of competitive sports, providing a narrative steeped in maturity.

This series brings a fresh, down-to-earth perspective to the table, setting it apart as a must-watch for viewers in search of authenticity in their soccer-themed anime.

2. Blue Lock (2022)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Blue Lock
Prime Video

Blue Lock boldly sets itself apart from the standard soccer anime by integrating elements of survival and competition into its core narrative. It revolves around a cutthroat tournament designed to nurture the “ultimate striker”, creating a high-stakes environment teeming with intensity and suspense.

Darker and edgier than your average sports anime, Blue Lock goes beyond showcasing the technicalities of soccer. It probes the psychological aspect of competitive sports, offering a riveting watch that effectively distinguishes it from others in the genre.

3. Ginga e Kickoff!! (2012)

Ginga e Kickoff!! combines the joys and challenges of youth soccer with an underdog story that tugs at the heartstrings. The series follows a group of young, passionate players aiming for the top, emphasising personal growth and the importance of teamwork.

Unlike other series that focus solely on triumphs, Ginga e Kickoff!! includes losses and setbacks, making it feel more real and relatable. Its ensemble cast of loveable characters, combined with their shared journey of self-improvement, sets this series apart as a charming and emotionally engaging soccer anime.

4. Inazuma Eleven (2008)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Inazuma Eleven
U-NEXT

Inazuma Eleven makes its mark in the genre by integrating elements of the supernatural with the game of soccer. It presents a unique fusion of fantasy and sports, offering viewers thrilling, action-packed gameplay alongside heartfelt team dynamics.

With an array of colorful characters, each possessing unique abilities that add to the fantastical nature of the games, Inazuma Eleven stands out for its originality. It’s an ideal pick for those looking for more than just a sports anime, offering a blend of action, fantasy, and soccer like no other.

5. Captain Tsubasa (1983)

As one of the most iconic soccer anime, Captain Tsubasa tells the inspiring story of Tsubasa Oozora, charting his journey from soccer-loving kid to professional player. The series focuses on perseverance and camaraderie, themes that continue to resonate with fans across generations.

Unlike newer series, Captain Tsubasa maintains a classic and wholesome approach to the sport, giving it a timeless appeal. It remains a significant influence on the genre, setting the standard for many soccer-themed anime to follow.

6. Giant Killing (2010)

Giant Killing provides a unique angle to soccer, focusing on the strategic and managerial aspects of the game rather than just the players. The series delves deep into the complexities of running a professional team, a perspective rarely explored in other anime.

By giving equal importance to management, tactics, and player dynamics, Giant Killing offers a comprehensive look at the world of professional soccer. Its approach to storytelling sets it apart, making it a highly engaging watch for those interested in the broader aspects of soccer.

7. Days (2016)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Days
HULU

Known for its attention to character development, Days follows the journey of two diametrically different high school boys drawn together by the love of the game. This anime sets itself apart by illustrating how anyone, regardless of natural talent, can find a place in the world of soccer through perseverance.

Viewers are bound to appreciate its grounded approach to sportsmanship, and the unyielding spirit of its unlikely protagonist, Tsukushi Tsukamoto.

8. Inazuma Eleven Go (2011)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Inazuma Eleven Go
d Anime Store

A spin-off of the original Inazuma Eleven, Inazuma Eleven Go infuses the soccer genre with a new layer of excitement through its inventive integration of special powers and tactics. Set a decade after the original, the series brings fresh faces alongside familiar ones, maintaining the appeal of its predecessor while carving its unique identity.

Inazuma Eleven Go strikes a fine balance between soccer action and supernatural flair, making it a riveting extension to an already beloved franchise.

9. Farewell, My Dear Cramer (2021)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Farewell, My Dear Cramer
d Anime Store

Farewell, My Dear Cramer diverges from the often male-dominated narratives in soccer anime, offering a refreshing focus on women’s soccer. The series traces the journey of a group of female high school players, each with their own hopes, dreams, and challenges. The anime’s commitment to showcasing the struggles and triumphs unique to women in the sport sets it apart, giving it an identity distinct within the soccer anime realm.

10. Whistle! (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Whistle
HULU

With an underdog protagonist at its core, Whistle! presents a tale of hard work and resilience in the face of adversity. It explores the world of soccer from the perspective of Sho Kazamatsuri, a player with heart and determination but lacking in physical prowess.

Its distinct approach of prioritizing determination over innate talent distinguishes Whistle! from the pack, striking a chord with viewers who enjoy narratives about the triumph of the human spirit.

11. Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker (2012)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker
Amazon

A unique blend of mystery and sports, Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker brings together the thrilling world of detective Conan and the excitement of soccer.

This fusion of genres stands out in a sea of conventional soccer anime, serving as an appealing entry point for fans of both detective stories and sports. Its ability to cleverly combine elements of mystery, action, and soccer makes it a unique entry in the genre.

12. Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama-kun (2017)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama-kun
d Anime Store

Mixing comedy and sports, Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama-kun takes a light-hearted approach to soccer. It revolves around Aoyama, a soccer genius with an extreme obsession for cleanliness.

The comedic spin on the soccer narrative sets this anime apart, offering an entertaining blend of laughter and sportsmanship that’s refreshing within the genre.

13. Aoki Densetsu Shoot! (1993)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
Amazon

Aoki Densetsu Shoot! manages to strike an emotive chord by intertwining themes of loss, friendship, and soccer. It presents a heartfelt narrative that delves into the emotional side of the sport, rather than merely focusing on the game itself.

This emotional depth and the delicate handling of grief set it apart from other soccer anime, making it a stand-out choice for those seeking a touch of sentimentality in sports anime.

14. Shoot! Goal to the Future (2022)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Shoot! Goal to the Future

“Shoot! Goal to the Future” is a fresh anime adaptation of Tsukasa Oshima’s famous soccer manga, serialized from 1990 to 2003. It tells the tale of Atsushi Kamitani, a former high school captain and renowned player in Italy, whose life intersects with Hideto Tsuji, a student at the now weakened Kakegawa High School.

Uniquely, the anime explores the resurgence of a once glorious but now struggling soccer team. Tsuji, disinterested in soccer, becomes embroiled in a penalty kick showdown due to a misunderstanding. The series offers an unusual perspective on a reluctant hero’s journey, providing a refreshing twist on standard soccer anime narratives.

15. Hungry Heart: Wild Striker (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
U-NEXT

Wild Striker takes viewers on a unique soccer journey through the lens of Kyosuke Kanou, a talented player who initially distances himself from soccer due to living in his brother’s shadow.

It deftly combines sibling rivalry, self-doubt, and a robust love for the sport, setting it apart from many of its contemporaries. Kyosuke’s transformative journey from disillusioned teenager to an inspiring team player is guaranteed to captivate audiences.

16. Extreme Hearts (2022)

Extreme Hearts is a futuristic sports anime set in a world where technology and sports blend seamlessly. The protagonist, a high school girl and aspiring singer-songwriter named Youwa Hayama, is thrust into a new form of competitive sports using ‘Extreme Gear.’

This journey sets Youwa on a path of personal growth and camaraderie. The show stands out for its unique combination of music and technology-infused sports, painting a vivid picture of a possible future.

17. The Knight in the Area (2012)

Best-Soccer-Anime-The Knight in the Area
Amazon

This anime follows Kakeru Aizawa, a talented soccer player living in the shadow of his esteemed brother. The show takes an unexpected turn when tragedy strikes, forcing Kakeru to step out of his brother’s shadow and redefine his relationship with soccer.

The emotionally gripping narrative and its exploration of overcoming personal grief make this anime a distinct addition to the soccer genre.

18. Free Kick Toward Tomorrow (1998)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Free Kick Toward Tomorrow
DMM TV

This anime stands out by featuring a protagonist who, rather than being a player, aspires to become a professional soccer manager. The focus on tactical and strategic aspects of the game, seen through the eyes of protagonist Masaru, provides a refreshing take on the sport.

This focus on the managerial side of soccer sets it apart from most of the player-centric narratives, providing a novel perspective on the game.

19. One Piece: Dream Soccer King! (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-One Piece

While being a short film rather than a series, this One Piece spin-off earns its spot by combining the high-seas adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates with the world of soccer.

The unusual mix of pirate-themed shenanigans and soccer creates a unique, lighthearted, and fun-filled viewing experience. The combination of a globally beloved franchise with a popular sport adds a distinctive flavor to the soccer anime genre.

20.Doraemons: Goal! Goal! Goal!! (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Doraemons

This film brings together the beloved characters from the Doraemon franchise into a soccer-themed adventure. It’s a fun-filled and energetic ride that should appeal to younger audiences and Doraemon fans.

Its distinctiveness stems from the fusion of the time-traveling, gadget-filled world of Doraemon with soccer, providing a distinctive, family-friendly approach to the genre.

21. Ganbare! Kickers (1986)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Ganbare! Kickers

This classic anime revolves around a disheartened soccer team that finds a new lease on life when a skilled player joins them. Known for its enduring themes of friendship and teamwork, this anime resonates with audiences who appreciate heartwarming stories.

The anime’s old-school animation style and its focus on camaraderie set it apart in the realm of soccer anime.

22. Forza! Hidemaru (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Forza! Hidemaru
Amazon

Focusing on Futsal, a variant of soccer played on a smaller field and usually indoors, Forza! Hidemaru offers a refreshing take on the sport. It follows Hidemaru, a ninja boy who takes up Futsal after moving to the city.

The integration of a historical character in a modern sport setting and the focus on Futsal instead of traditional soccer provide unique spins on the genre.

23. Offside (2001)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Offside
d Anime Store

This exciting series, based on a manga of the same name, traces the journey of a group of middle school students striving to excel in soccer. The unique angle here is its realistic portrayal of the players’ struggles, challenges, and their emotional growth along with their athletic development.

Instead of relying on superpowers or exaggerated abilities, Offside captures the essence of soccer through everyday determination and team effort.

24. Moero! Top Striker (1991)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Moero! Top Strike
Amazon

Narrating the tale of Hikaru Kicker, who aspires to become a top soccer player like his father, Moero! Top Striker offers an engaging blend of sports, drama, and familial ties.

What distinguishes this anime is its emphasis on the protagonist’s relentless pursuit of his dream despite multiple setbacks. It presents an inspiring testament to perseverance and the indomitable spirit of an athlete.

25. Futsal Boys!!!!! (2020)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Futsal Boys
SPICE

Futsal Boys!!!!! stands out due to its focus on Futsal, an indoor variant of soccer. This anime also incorporates elements of future prediction and character growth, keeping viewers hooked with its unique storyline.

By incorporating Futsal and supernatural elements, it carves a distinctive niche within the soccer anime genre.

26. Tomorrow’s Heroes (1979)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Tomorrow's Heroes

The Heroes of Tomorrow is a commemorative work for the International Year of the Child, created in conjunction with the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship.

It follows a young man’s journey from a wild upbringing in Hokkaido to becoming a representative player in the championship. Its distinct approach to portraying personal growth through soccer sets it apart from other anime.

27. Kick Off 2002 (2002)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Kick Off 2002

Kick Off 2002 narrates the tale of a junior high student navigating the world of soccer while dealing with typical adolescent issues. This anime’s charm lies in its balanced blend of sport and slice-of-life themes, giving it a unique appeal.

It is distinctive for its relatable portrayal of a young athlete’s life, both on and off the soccer field.

28. Goal FH (1994)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Goal FH

Goal FH is a soccer anime set within the Shimizu S-Pulse’s second team in Japan’s J-League. The series follows the young protagonist, Hikaru Ryumura, as he strives to become a top-class player, with the 1998 World Cup as his ultimate goal.

The show’s unique depiction of the players’ journey through a real-life professional football league adds an extra layer of authenticity.

29. Dragon League (1996)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Dragon League

Dragon League weaves a fascinating tale that merges the worlds of fantasy and sports. The story revolves around a young boy who aspires to join the Dragon League and be the best soccer player. What makes this anime unique is the integration of fantastical elements into the plot, breaking away from the more realistic setting typical to the genre.

The enchanting blend of magical creatures and sportsmanship crafts an adventurous and imaginative soccer anime experience.

30. Red Blooded Eleven (1970)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Red Blooded Eleven

This classic anime takes place in the aftermath of World War II, where 11 young soccer players strive to win in a tournament against American soldiers. Red Blooded Eleven is a historical gem, offering a glance into the socio-cultural background of post-war Japan.

Not only does it showcase the love for soccer, but it also effectively employs the sport as a metaphor for unity and resilience in a war-torn nation. The historical setting and the wartime backdrop differentiate this anime, making it a notable entry in the pantheon of soccer-themed anime.

31. Soccer Fever (1994)

Best-Soccer-Anime-Soccer Fever

Soccer Fever takes viewers on a whirlwind tour through the history of soccer, starting from its origins up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup. With its historical backdrop and unique storytelling format, this anime provides not just entertainment but also a rich educational experience.

The historical insight and the global scope set it apart in the realm of soccer anime.

ishii-chan
ishii-chanhttps://www.anime-japanese.com
Hello there, anime fanatics! Straight from Tokyo, Japan, I'm an avid blogger and anime enthusiast. By day, I work at an entertainment hub, but my real passion lies in the world of anime - I devour over a hundred series annually! Be patient with my English, I'm still learning.
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