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.

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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“Baby Steps” manga author interviews Shuzo Matsuoka in Weekly Shonen Magazine

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.

Kodansha recently started releasing digital editions of its manga magazines so I figured I would try to get a copy of that particular issue, which I managed to do through the Japanese iBooks store. (It’s also available through Amazon Japan’s Kindle store, ebookjapan and other Japanese e-book sellers – it was just easier for me to obtain through iBooks.)

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2nd NHK “SPORTS x MANGA” special to air January 30th

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 as current tennis player Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭) and former player Shuzo Matsuoka (松岡 修造).
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