Personal Criteria of What’s Considered A “Sports” Series

While adding entries to a side project I started a few years ago (sportsmanga.info), I’ve had to think about which series to add to it and which not to add. That’s because I’ve come across some series classified under the sports genre that I don’t really think belong there. I decided to come up with a guideline I could use when I’m about to add something to the sports manga information site as well as when considering topics for blog posts on here.

My definition of what makes something a “sports” series is one that primarily involves physical and analog effort in competition with others, usually under a set of established rules. That covers traditional sports such as those held at Olympic games as well as activities conducted without balls or pucks, like karuta. It excludes activities that seem to me to be more games than sports – examples include go, shogi, card battles, and mahjong.

Also just because something is a physical activity like martial arts doesn’t mean that I automatically think something with martial arts is a sports series. Kenichi and Sumomomo are a couple series that feature martial artists fighting each other but not in a way that I would consider organized. I think of those as action comedies rather than sports ones.

I don’t intend to belittle the types of series that I don’t classify as sports series since the activities involved can provide excitement and, in most cases, require strategic thinking in order to succeed. Other people have different methods of determining whether something counts as a sport and that’s fine. I just wanted to explain my thought process for the things I’m working on.

Discotek to Release Subtitled “Free!” Season 1 Set in 2015, Bilingual Set Possible Later

Known primarily for older titles, Discotek Media has gotten into releasing more recent series over the past few years including a few sports series announcements in the last couple months – first with announcing in December that they plan to put out subtitled sets of the 1st and 2nd seasons of Yowamushi Pedal and then tonight saying they will produce a subtitled-only set of Free! season 1 in 2015 with a possible dubbed version down the road that may come from another publisher.

FUNimation had previously simulcast the 2nd season of Free!Free! Eternal Summer, and plans to release it on home video with an English dub. The main characters’ English voice actors were announced in November.

The split licensing of this popular swimming franchise is a bit of an unusual case since most times when there’s multiple seasons of a particular series that are localized, they all get released on DVD and/or Blu-Ray by the same publisher. I personally have only seen the first couple episodes of the first season of Free! but I imagine it’s frustrating to fans who want to own both seasons to have different publishers working on them.

Animated Characters Cheering For Real-Life Teams

I watched Super Bowl XLIX yesterday and was glad the game turned out to be more interesting than the ads running during breaks in the action. I did notice during an advertisement for the NFL’s “Together We Make Football” campaign, there were three groups of fictional characters from animated works shown cheering for different football teams: The Lego Movie for the New Orleans Saints, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for the Indianapolis Colts, and Penguins of Madagascar for the San Diego Chargers. That got me thinking about characters who have explicitly stated they’re fans of real-life sports teams in their series.
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