Many sports anime focus on the teams and friendships built while pursuing the athletic goals of the main character. They often focus on inspiring stories about the underdog rising up and finding redemption in their passion. Even though sports anime typically focus more on friendships, a good deal of anime in this genre also have side romances.
While many of anime’s most beloved couples are from sports anime, there are also many unhealthy relationship dynamics that take place in sports anime. Couples like Itsuki and Kazumi, Aoyama and Goto, and Tanaka and Masaki are examples of some not-so-good couples in sports anime.
10/10 Azemichi & His Girlfriend Are Never Shown Spending Time Together
From the anime Burning Kabaddi, Azemichi is a member of Noukin’s kabaddi team. He lives and works on his family farm which gives him lots of training that increase his strength in kabaddi. He met his girlfriend in the rural town where his family’s farm is.
The kabaddi team was surprised when they heard Azemichi had a girlfriend because the team never saw them together. Since Azemichi’s high school is far away from his hometown, he rarely gets to see his girlfriend. Their relationship would be much better if they actually had interactions on screen.
9/10 Uta’s & Hibiki’s Relationship Seemed More Platonic Than Romantic
The anime Bubble focuses on a parkour team that holds competitions inside the broken-down city of Tokyo. After a supernatural event causes bubbles to invade Tokyo, the city is abandoned by society and the only remaining inhabitants are orphans. Hibiki is one of the people who stay in Tokyo.
While there, he meets the mysterious Uta, and they quickly become close. Their relationship has romantic undertones, but they would be much better staying friends. Neither of them has had much experience socializing with others and their relationship develops too fast for them to properly get to know each other and set boundaries.
8/10 Kiyoko & Tanaka’s Relationship Seemed Very One-sided At First
Haikyu‘s Kiyoko is one of the most well-known strong female characters in anime. Although she’s reserved, she plays a big role as the manager of Karasuno’s volleyball team. The entire team greatly appreciates her and goes out of their way to show that. Tanaka is one of the team members who openly shows how much he cares for Kiyoko.
Tanaka’s romantic feelings for Kiyoko are made obvious throughout the series and are the basis for a lot of humor. However, Kiyoko is rarely seen reciprocating these feelings in a way that’s more than platonic. Considering how one-sided their romance seems to be, the relationship between Kiyoko and Tanaka just doesn’t seem realistic.
7/10 Nishinoya Has Too Different Of A Personality From Kiyoko For Their Relationship To Be Stable
From the anime Haikyu, Nishinoya and Kiyoko are both members of Karasuno’s volleyball team. Kiyoko is the reliable manager, loved and respected by everyone on the team because of her cool demeanor and kind attitude. Nishinoya is the loud and rambunctious libero who encourages his teammates and serves as comic relief.
Nishinoya makes his feelings for Kiyoko obvious, but Kiyoko never reciprocates them. Although they are great friends, Nishinoya’s hyper nature often seems overbearing when compared to Kiyoko’s reserved nature, and vice-versa. Besides their love of volleyball, there is so little common ground between them that they seem like a very incompatible couple.
6/10 Goto’s Shyness Stops Her From Confessing To Aoyama-kun
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is an anime about soccer player Aoyama, who has a strong dedication to cleanliness. He avoids being touched at all costs and frequently cleans any item he interacts with. His classmate, Goto, has feelings for him and helps him clean to get closer to him. However, because of her extremely reserved nature, she struggles to confess to him.
Goto’s inability to communicate her feelings leads to another classmate and member of the soccer team, Umeya, helping Goto ask Aoyama out on a date. In the end, Goto’s shyness and insecurities prevent her from gaining enough confidence to be upfront about her feelings. Her hesitance leads to a lack of communication that greatly complicates her relationship with Aoyama.
5/10 Hikari Relies Too Much On Futuba For Their Relationship To Be Healthy
Hikari and Futuba, from Amanchu! are two high schoolers who join their school’s diving team. Hikari is a natural athlete who finds running easy. Futuba doesn’t have as much natural athleticism as Hikari, so it takes her more effort. As a result of her athletic inexperience, Futuba often has to rely on Hikari for help.
Futuba’s dependence on Hikari prevents them from having equal involvement in their relationship. Instead, Futuba’s constant reliance on Hikari unfairly places a burden on Hikari. Futuba and Hikari have a skewed relationship dynamic that could lead to more toxicity between them.
4/10 Tanaka & Masaki Have A Great Friendship But Their Relationship Is One-Sided
WAVE-Let’s Go Surfing
The anime WAVE-Let’s go Surfing focuses on Masaki and his friends as they learn to surf professionally. Despite his lack of experience, Masaki quickly became a great surfer with the support of the more experienced surfer Tanaka. They’ve been close since childhood and Tanaka often goes out of his way to be there for Masaki.
After meeting a fellow surfer named Sho, Masaki becomes closer to Sho than Tanaka. Even though Tanaka is a great friend to Masaki, Masaki sees Tanaka as nothing more than a friend. Tanaka’s relationship with Masaki is another example of a one-sided romance in sports anime.
3/10 Yukihiko Often Looks Down Upon Haiji’s Love Of Running
Run With The Wind
Run With The Wind‘s plot focuses on a team of college students sharing an apartment. They decide to become a running team and work to participate in a famous marathon. Haiji is the leader of their running team and encourages everyone to work their hardest to prepare for the marathon.
Yukihiko didn’t want to join the running team and often belittles the team’s importance despite how much it means to Haiji. They are simply not on the same page, and they struggle to understand each other’s hobbies. Since Yukihiko often rejects the running team, his relationship with Haiji suffers.
2/10 Itsuki Is Overly Pushy Is His Short Relationship With Kazumi
Itsuki and Kazumi are from the racing anime Initial D Fourth Stage. In Episode 14, Itsuki goes on a date with Kazumi, and afterward, they go for a drive together. Throughout the time they spent together, Itsuki was awkward and overcompensated for that by being over-confident. During their drive together, Itsuki tried to impress Kazumi by speeding up on a twisty road.
Itsuki almost lost control of the car and had to constantly swerve to avoid crashing. After the drive, Itsuki asked pushy and uncomfortable questions about Kazumi’s last relationship. Itsuki struggled to keep up a healthy conversation with Kazumi, and instead, he made many uncomfortable comments. In the end, Kazumi got back with her ex and left Itsuki in tears.
1/10 Tadashi’s Relationship With Ainosuke Seems Very Toxic
Sk8 The Infinity
From the anime Sk8 The Infinity, Tadashi and Ainosuke’s relationship is blatantly and obviously toxic. Since Tadashi works as Ainosuke’s secretary, their relationship already has an unhealthy dynamic where Tadashi is forced to complete whatever task Ainosuke asks him to.
Their relationship has little to no boundaries, and because of this, Ainosuke looks down upon Tadashi and treats him very badly. From childhood, Tadashi worked as Ainosuke’s servant. Even though they were friends as kids, by adulthood, Ainosuke lorded over Tadashi like a tyrant. The power dynamic in their relationship is so skewed and unbalanced that it puts Tadashi’s safety in danger.
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