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Old 2016-11-27, 03:29   Link #1
judasmartel
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What sports can fill the niche for women's sports anime?

As the title states, because more often that not, most of the great sports anime nowadays involves men's sports and are derided for being fujobait yaoi goldmines more than for being sports shonen crap.

- Kuroko no Basket = men's basketball
- Haikyuu = men's volleyball
- Yuri on Ice = men's figure skating
- Yowamushi Pedal = men's cycling (is there a women's division in this thing?)
- Baby Steps = a more realistic men's tennis (women's division confirmed?)
- Anything else I may have missed?

So far, only a few titles seem to fit the bill as "women's sports anime".

- Saki = women's Japanese Mahjong / Riichi
- Bakuon = women's motocross (?)
- Keijo = women's sumo / Olympic wrestling
- Ro-Kyu-Bu = grade school girls' basketball

Spoiler for I would like to discuss RKB a bit, so please bear with me.:


Saki and Keijo seem to fit the bill these days, the latter is currently airing and the former is getting a live-action project. While these shows can compete with the current great men's sports anime, the former's sport isn't as athletic as KnB or Haikyuu, while the latter is riddled with fanservice given the nature of its sport.

If more men's sports anime are getting churned out faster than women's sports anime can be churned out, odds are it won't be long before they get stale and would be derided even more as fujobait yaoi goldmines and shonen sports shit. So, if the niche for women's sports is to be filled, I guess it has to be riddled with lots of Moe Moe and Fanservice like Saki and Keijo.

At the moment, I am thinking of the following sports:

- Football / Soccer (dem Zettai Ryouiki and Japan has already won a Women's World Cup)
- Basketball (if only for aged-up versions of RKB as stated in the above spoiler)
- Volleyball (being the #1 women's sports in Japan and all, and it would be nice if Haikyuu features its own women's division or something)
- Athletics (I think Suzuka has it covered, but this is SEO we are talking about, and it's from like 5-10 years ago; but eh, why not?; give Rin and Kanan their own Love Live spinoffs and call it a day)
- E-Sports? (Why not? LoL is apparently a thing in Japan with the release of the Japanese voice pack consisting of the voices of the best in the industry.)
- Maybe anything else, bonus points if it's a sport the Japanese are historically bad or average at.

I would like to know this forum's thoughts about what kind of RL sport will fill the niche for "all-girls sports anime" as opposed to the current trend of "all-boys sports anime".
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Old 2016-11-27, 08:26   Link #2
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Tennis I guess? Though nobody really likes Tennis.
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Old 2016-11-27, 08:46   Link #3
judasmartel
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Tennis I guess? Though nobody really likes Tennis.
The Prince of Tennis really ruined it for the tennis fans with all those reality-breaking moves, although it gave rise to the real life Japanese Prince of Tennis, Kei Nishikori, the only Asian player EVER to get into the ATP Top 10 Rankings.

There was Sofutenni back in the day, but it was pretty much fanservice incarnate with no real serious tennis matches so I dropped it after just 2 episodes.

Baby Steps is at least a step in the right direction, and hopefully it features a women's division, but I think it's going to take a while before tennis anime can be taken seriously again.
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Old 2016-11-29, 03:17   Link #4
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Interesting topic.

For me, I find it unacceptable that the success story of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup has not led to the creation of an anime series that involves girls playing football/soccer from high school all the way towards international tournaments. I'm currently watching how Japan's Little Nadeshiko teams perform on the international stage, and I'm left speechless at the quality of their approach to the game. Something has to come up soon.

I also hope Baby Steps will follow the trail into the junior divisions of the WTA and then into the WTA itself.

Obviously, baseball is in no-go territory. However, I read that softball is becoming increasingly popular in Japan (30,000 people in the Tokyo Dome for a match between Japan and USA). It's up to the IOC to include it in 2020. If you ask me, I would like to see something being done with softball.
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Old 2016-11-29, 04:06   Link #5
judasmartel
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Originally Posted by KiraYamatoFan View Post
Interesting topic.

For me, I find it unacceptable that the success story of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup has not led to the creation of an anime series that involves girls playing football/soccer from high school all the way towards international tournaments. I'm currently watching how Japan's Little Nadeshiko teams perform on the international stage, and I'm left speechless at the quality of their approach to the game. Something has to come up soon.

I also hope Baby Steps will follow the trail into the junior divisions of the WTA and then into the WTA itself.

Obviously, baseball is in no-go territory. However, I read that softball is becoming increasingly popular in Japan (30,000 people in the Tokyo Dome for a match between Japan and USA). It's up to the IOC to include it in 2020. If you ask me, I would like to see something being done with softball.
It probably didn't help that beauty and skill is such a rare combination in women's sports, much more so in Japan, where pretty much 90% of Japanese female athletes look manlier than even their male counterparts. More often that not, it's either you're cute but can't play sports to save your life, or you're very skilled at a particular sport but still look manlier than most guys even if you wear women's formal clothing.

Most of the time, that rare combination of beauty and skill only exists in women's volleyball. I mean, there is a reason why Japanese volleyball players like Saori Kimura has a huge following at least within Japan AFAIK. 185cm, 65kg (6'1", 143 lbs), VERY skilled volleyball player, and yet still an epitome of Japanese beauty.

So you either have a team of super athletes who look too manly or you have a group of school idols who can't play any sport together to save their lives.

Spoiler for FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Final:


Spoiler for Little Nadeshikos in the FIFA U17 WC:


Well, sure, half of each of those 2 teams does look manly depending on our definitions of manly, but if anything, they rather look like your average Japanese woman, so it is still possible to animate them in a way that still allows female footballers to be marketed to otakus. The above mentioned success of the Little Nadeshikos in the FIFA U17 WC is one story that can make for a really good women's youth football anime in the vein of Captain Tsubasa and Inazuma Eleven. Slap in a good amount of eye-candies on the hero team and you're set.

Softball has been done before with Princess Nine, I don't know how well it was received, so if it did well with its target audience, hopefully P9 can help bring out a new trend softball anime that can serve as the forerunner for countering the current "fujo-bait shonen sports anime" trend this year.

But then, balancing between Moe fanservice tropes and sports realism is a very fine line which is all too easy to miss. It's either you have a show about young super athletes who can't be marketed to otakus because they look too manly, or you have a sports show that is basically fanservice incarnate but feels like the creative staff don't know shit about the sport they are featuring.

Maybe Japan can use Anime to promote the Olympics by featuring some kind of a "fanservice mascot" for whatever Olympic sport they choose to promote. If the anime "mascot" character is female, she must embody Japanese Moe and at the same time at least skilled enough to hold her own in her sport. I think the Love Live franchise with its athletic characters can help promote a whole slew of Olympic events to anime fans and encourage otakus to get themselves in shape (lol). One Punch Man was like the first time in a while that does the latter with the infamous Saitama Olympic Level Training Regimen.

Spoiler for Team Japan 2020 - Love Live Edition:
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Old 2016-11-29, 09:20   Link #6
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I have been going through my mind trying to recall other sports related manga or anime featuring female leads. In terms of already existing anime and the sports featured:

Kendo and Judo most immediately come to mind (Bamboo Blade and Yawara) ... I suppose other martial arts based sports could also be looked at and/or have already?

You have included Mahjong (Saki), why not Shoji or Karuta? (Shion no Ou and Chihayafuru).

If I remember correctly Cycling is also being tapped briefly this season (Longriders) and will be for next season as well (Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu).

Baseball has been briefly touched upon (Taisho Baseball Girls), but I would like to second KiraYamatoFan's suggestion of softball as a possible subject!
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Old 2016-11-29, 09:43   Link #7
judasmartel
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Originally Posted by Flower View Post
You have included Mahjong (Saki), why not Shoji or Karuta? (Shion no Ou and Chihayafuru).
No Western Chess, and all three sports events mentioned above are not Olympic sports.
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Old 2016-11-30, 08:33   Link #8
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I've wanted to see a womens' golf anime for some time. Japan has sent some talented and attractive players to the LPGA Tour, most notably Miyazato Ai who was briefly ranked first in world a few years ago. When Miyazato first came to the US in her early twenties, she was always accompanied by a phalanx of Japanese photographers eagerly capturing her every move for the folks back home.

Golf also holds the possibility for some good international rivalries as well. The Koreans have become dominant in the womens' game and recent Chinese stars like Feng Shenshen have attracted new fans to the game there as well. The top-rated player, Lydia Ko, is Korean-born but now a citizen of New Zealand. The second ranked player, Ariya Jutanugarn, hails from Thailand. Japan has a couple of new young talents (on both the womens' and mens' side) of their own.

Of course, there would also be opportunities for yuri-baiting as the players travel together across the globe.

I once looked to see if there were manga about womens' golf. The only one I found was an ecchi item about a girl who agrees to wear a sponsor's revealing outfits on the course. I was hoping for something a little more tasteful.
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Old 2016-11-30, 08:48   Link #9
judasmartel
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I've wanted to see a womens' golf anime for some time. Japan has sent some talented and attractive players to the LPGA Tour, most notably Miyazato Ai who was briefly ranked first in world a few years ago. When Miyazato first came to the US in her early twenties, she was always accompanied by a phalanx of Japanese photographers eagerly capturing her every move for the folks back home.

Golf also holds the possibility for some good international rivalries as well. The Koreans have become dominant in the womens' game and recent Chinese stars like Feng Shenshen have attracted new fans to the game there as well. The top-rated player, Lydia Ko, is Korean-born but now a citizen of New Zealand. The second ranked player, Ariya Jutanugarn, hails from Thailand. Japan has a couple of new young talents (on both the womens' and mens' side) of their own.

Of course, there would also be opportunities for yuri-baiting as the players travel together across the globe.

I once looked to see if there were manga about womens' golf. The only one I found was an ecchi item about a girl who agrees to wear a sponsor's revealing outfits on the course. I was hoping for something a little more tasteful.
Well, if Yuri On Ice managed to pull off international yaoi-baiting, I don't see why any women's sports can't do the same. Nice touch on the East Asian rivalries, too.
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Old 2016-12-02, 13:28   Link #10
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The Prince of Tennis really ruined it for the tennis fans with all those reality-breaking moves, although it gave rise to the real life Japanese Prince of Tennis, Kei Nishikori, the only Asian player EVER to get into the ATP Top 10 Rankings.

There was Sofutenni back in the day, but it was pretty much fanservice incarnate with no real serious tennis matches so I dropped it after just 2 episodes.

Baby Steps is at least a step in the right direction, and hopefully it features a women's division, but I think it's going to take a while before tennis anime can be taken seriously again.
There's also Aim for the Ace. Even though it's really dramatic, sports-wise it's believeable. I've only watched the movie so I don't really know if the sequels follow that trend.
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Old 2016-12-05, 10:05   Link #11
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I'm surprised no one mentioned this season's Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume (Scorching Ping Pong Girls). Kasumi Ishikawa and Ai Fukuhara have been international stars for years (silver in the Women's team event in London 2012, bronze in Rio 2016), since the time they started gaining attention in the junior circuit.
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Old 2016-12-05, 11:03   Link #12
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Japan has a couple of new young talents (on both the womens' and mens' side) of their own.
This past weekend Matsuyama Hideki won an invitational event against a premiere field for his third consecutive victory, and fourth in the past five weeks. More relevant to this discussion is the fact that he had a female caddy for this event, one that usually caddies for another Japanese golfer on tour. They were an amusing couple to watch and conjured up all sorts of possibilities for a story about a female caddy.



The vast majority of male golfers have male caddies so this pairing was already pretty distinctive. Then throw in the notion that this woman, whose name might be Inoue Mai if I understood the announcer's poor Japanese pronunciations correctly, has chosen an unlikely professional career. On the other hand, because she is in the "service" role, their pairing does tend to conform to Japanese notions of male superiority.

I could see a story where the woman wants to be a professional golfer on her own but chooses to caddy for a man while she works on her game. Give the two of them a romantic relationship, and the tensions between her intended career, her current work life, and her feelings could play out in an interesting way.

Oh, by the way, the prize for first place at the Hero was $1 million. Usually caddies get 10% of the prize money, so our lovely young caddy just picked up $100,000. Probably her biggest payday on tour.
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Old 2016-12-05, 11:30   Link #13
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There's also Aim for the Ace. Even though it's really dramatic, sports-wise it's believeable. I've only watched the movie so I don't really know if the sequels follow that trend.
"Ace wo Nerae" is decidedly a very influential Sport Anime that should be mentioned. Gainax's "Top wo Nerae" is basically a Sci-Fi version of it for the first 2 episodes, even the title is a blatant homage.

For what concerns Volleyball, "Attacker You" and "Attack No. 1" used to be very popular.

The problem is that these titles are very old, it seems that the interest for them has dissipated almost completely.

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I would like to know this forum's thoughts about what kind of RL sport will fill the niche for "all-girls sports anime" as opposed to the current trend of "all-boys sports anime"."
Honestly, I think the kind of sport is completely irrelevant. Chihayafuru is pretty popular and well praised, but who the hell cares about Karuta? People appreciate it because it's well written, if you replaced Karuta with anything else nothing would really change.
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Old 2016-12-05, 17:03   Link #14
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There's also Aim for the Ace. Even though it's really dramatic, sports-wise it's believeable. I've only watched the movie so I don't really know if the sequels follow that trend.
I've heard of this, but not had the chance to see out outside some clips of the titles "smash it, ball it!".
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Old 2016-12-05, 21:20   Link #15
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I'm surprised no one mentioned this season's Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume (Scorching Ping Pong Girls). Kasumi Ishikawa and Ai Fukuhara have been international stars for years (silver in the Women's team event in London 2012, bronze in Rio 2016), since the time they started gaining attention in the junior circuit.
I heard it's pretty low on the realistic side, like Saki. If there are more serious matches in this thing like in Baby Steps...

I looked up on Google those two names you mentioned, and boy are they gorgeous. Beauty and skill, indeed. But given that table tennis doesn't require as much athleticism as other sports, you can definitely still have beautiful ping pong players who are also killing it at the world / Olympic level, and much easier than in any other sport.

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Honestly, I think the kind of sport is completely irrelevant. Chihayafuru is pretty popular and well praised, but who the hell cares about Karuta? People appreciate it because it's well written, if you replaced Karuta with anything else nothing would really change.
Except that when Japan (and tbh, everyone else) writes women's sports, they don't take it as seriously as they do when they write men's sports, as evidenced by the more realistic Yuri on Ice (they even got a figure skating expert with them on board), Kuroko no Basket (okay, they kind of exaggerate those NBA moves tho), and Haikyuu (yep, those moves were real, HS boys' volleyball in Japan is very high-level); in contrast to the more fantastic titles like Girls und Panzer (teeange girls doing war games? srsly?), Saki, and Shakunetsu.

Never mind that nowadays Japan does better in the women's division of the world's marquee sports (football, basketball, and volleyball) than in the men's division. Pretty much the only sporting events where the guys do better than the girls IIRC is the stereotypically manly ones like athletics, weightlifting, and Olympic wrestling.

Granted that the competition in men's sports is far more brutal than in women's sports (Asian's women's basketball generally sucks so hard only Japan, China, and South Korea consistently qualify for the world championship; whereas Asian's men basketball is so good Japan is only a mid-tier power there at best, with the powerhouse teams usually consisting of China, Iran, and South Korea), but still. Japan already has like three legit WNBA players, the current one (Ramu Tokashiki) is on the running to be a WNBA All-Star. In the NBA? Zero All-Stars, Yuta Tabuse was a scrub there, but who knows they will get legit starter NBA players in the future with players like Yuki Togashi, Rui Hachimura, and Yuki Watanabe.

Who knows, it's actually men's sports anime that inspired young Japanese girls to take up sports!
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Old 2016-12-06, 16:50   Link #16
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It's interesting that Japanese men seem to do better in gymnastics at the Olympics then the women.
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Old 2016-12-07, 02:07   Link #17
judasmartel
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It's interesting that Japanese men seem to do better in gymnastics at the Olympics then the women.
Gymnastics has generally been regarded as a woman's sport, so of course the competition is stiffer in women's gymnastics, unlike in men's gymnastics where only fewer or so well-known nations compete in, so the competition isn't as stiff.

Just like the basketball situation I have mentioned above, where the competition in the Asian men's game is so intense whereas the Asian women's game generally sucks so bad only 4 nations are actually competitive against each other.
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Old 2016-12-07, 19:54   Link #18
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I know that ice hockey is not something that has not been really covered in Japanese anime/manga, but I just want to remind everyone that the Japanese women's national team made the Olympics for the first time in Sochi.

At the last Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, watch this:



It was like an hexathlon on ice, but it is always nice to see players performing those skills (fastest lap, shooting accuracy, hardest shot, skating agility, passing precision, puck control) well. In every NHL season, I enjoy watching the superskills contest before the All-Star game. In women's ice hockey, the concept of finesse is even more important than it is in the men's game.

Since Japanese women are clearly ahead of the men in ice hockey, I think someone has to try venturing on uncharted waters with help from people who know the game. If Yuri on Ice worked wonders in showing figure skating to fans, I'm sure the same could be said about hockey.

Speaking of female Japanese hockey players, I'm about to go see Aina Takeuchi play with her Calgary Inferno team against my hometown Canadiennes on Saturday. It's the first time the Canadiennes will play a match on the same home ice as their partner club, the 24-time Stanley Cup champions Montreal Canadiens, normally play on.

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Old 2016-12-07, 20:29   Link #19
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-snip-
That hockey uniform though, I am not sure if you can market that to dem otakus, so I can see a men's hockey anime happening more than a women's hockey anime. But who knows? This is Japan we are talking about, I am sure they will find a way.
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Old 2016-12-07, 22:05   Link #20
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That hockey uniform though, I am not sure if you can market that to dem otakus, so I can see a men's hockey anime happening more than a women's hockey anime. But who knows? This is Japan we are talking about, I am sure they will find a way.
If we're talking about eye-candy aesthetics, it still really, REALLY baffles me why hadn't any of the anime producers done a girls' gymnastics series yet? The fanservice lends itself so easily with the sport, and you can easily get character designs that's otaku-friendly by being slender sexy cute (like ponkan8 or BUNBUN for example) to go with it.
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