Expanding focus from “sports” to “sports and recreation”

a stacking game and playing cards from “Waiting in the Summer”

In one of my first posts on this blog in early 2015, I wrote about what I considered when characterizing a particular anime or manga as a “sports” series. I asserted that a key element was “physical and analog effort in competition with others, usually under a set of established rules” and said that definition included traditional sporting activities — baseball, soccer, and volleyball among others — along with karuta but excluded more game-like activities such as go, shogi, card battles, and mahjong as well as non-competitive examples of martial arts.

A couple people left comments on that post asking why I separated karuta from other card games and saying that sports-focused and games-focused series “tend to share thematic threads and carry the same historical influences”. I had tried to haphazardly craft a guideline to fit the particular athletic disciplines I had already accepted as “sports” and I now regret using that method.

Almost two years later, I am revising that previous “sports” scope into a broader “sports and recreation” one that covers table games including shogi, mahjong, and go; outdoor pursuits including mountain climbing and hiking; competitive hobbies including model kit mecha battles and trading card games; and an assortment of other activities.

I plan to write many “home stretch” posts for fall 2016 anime series that have varied subjects including rugby, exercising, volleyball, shogi, wrestling, and figure skating. Expect to see those over the next few weeks.

New arrivals: SpoAni! issues 1 & 2

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.

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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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