The popularity of high-profile sports anime has grown in recent years and generated more interest in the sports those series portray. In an attempt to get in on this boom, Shufu to Seikatsusha has published two issues of Spo-Ani!, a “sports animation magazine”, so far in the past 6 months. I received my copies of issues one & two today from Amazon Japan and had some time to flip through them.
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.
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. (more…)
I saw a news story yesterday on Comic Natalie about the ninth issue of Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine featuring an interview with former pro tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka conducted by Baby Steps manga author Hikaru Katsuki.
A 50-minute TV special about baseball manga with a focus on Hiroshima Carp pitcher Kenta Maeda (前田 健太) is scheduled to air on NHK BS1 this Friday (Jan. 30th). It will be presented by Alice Hirose (広瀬 アリス) and it’s actually the second program in this series she has hosted. The first aired last year and focused on tennis manga such as Aim for the Ace! and The Prince of Tennis as well ascurrent tennis player Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭) and former player Shuzo Matsuoka (松岡 修造). (more…)