You know, for someone whose home country’s national sport is Hockey, I’ve never had much interest in the sport. And then I found hockey anime and manga and realized that it was never about the sport. Like, think of Haikyuu! and how obsessive the fans are towards it, yet many of them have no inherent interest in the actual sport it centers around aka Volleyball. It’s just a combination of great characters and competition that gives sports anime the unique edge it’s known for.
And like, maybe you weren’t looking for the best Hockey anime and manga out there, but wanted a new sports anime to sink your teeth into, right? Well, if there is one thing I’ve learned about anime and manga in general, it’s that there is a flavor out there for everyone. And even if it wasn’t the exact thing you were looking for, you’d still end up enjoying it for the core of its story. That’s what happened when I stumbled upon Sk8 The Infinity, despite having no interest in skateboarding beforehand.
And I think that’s the beauty of sports anime, really all competition based anime. I mean, we technically grew up on them, right? Beyblade could definitely be classified as a sports anime, because it centered around tournaments and teams. Same thing for something like Yu-Gi-Oh (Okay, maybe I’m stretching that one). But sports anime like Kuroko No Basuke have famously been a beautiful mesh of both sport and the stories of its characters. So obviously, some of the best hockey anime and manga would be no different.
And really, there are actually some really interesting manga and anime out there for even the toughest of hockey players and the most casual newbies with no idea of how the sport works. Maybe it’s a niche, but delivering on those niches is the name of our game here at Animevania. So today, let’s count down some of the best hockey anime and manga, in another segment of Get Ranked! Let’s dive right into it.
Hyoukyuuhime: Tokiwagi Kantoku No Kajou Na Aijou
Honestly, this one isn’t my favorite, which is why it’s deadlast on this list. Like, don’t get me wrong because I love a good Yandere. But something about Hyoukyuuhime: Tokiwagi Kantoku No Kajou Na Aijou ends up coming across as more desperate than crazy fun.
Hyoukyuuhime: Tokiwagi Kantoku No Kajou Na Aijou stars a creep named Tokiwagi Taimatsu, who loves to stalk athletic girls because he feels the need to support their passions? Which, I guess that’s better than being a full-on perv? So, when Soubi Kureha, who just happens to be the captain of the Ice-Hockey team at an All-Girls institute, catches his eye? Well, he’s determined to support her dream of becoming the best in the world. And so, he convinces the rest of the team to let him supervise the team so together, they can rise to the top.
Do I kind of adore the dynamic between a teacher and their pupil being at odds with each other? Yes. So, it’s no wonder Go Ahead hits all the right notes for those looking for a stubborn protagonist and their hardass mentor.
Go Ahead follows the story of Izaki Yuuki, a talented young man who really wants to pursue Hockey as a full time career, but lives in a place which makes his dream impossible to achieve. Of course, that leads to a lot of frustration, seeing how passionate he is about the sport. Enter Aiba Gouhei, a teacher at his high school who is suspiciously knowledgeable about hockey, but refuses to admit it and help Izaki? Obviously, Izaki is having none of it, and pesters his sensei to become his trainer.
My Heavenly Hockey Club
What’s better than a simple sports anime about some girl joining the local hockey club at her school? Well, all of that, combined with lots of Shojou tropes and some Reverse Harem to really seal the deal.
My Heavenly Hockey Club revolves around Hana Suzuki, you average high school student who loves nothing more than eating and sleeping. But due to a series of events, she finds herself as part of a hockey club! But something does end up dragging her out of bed for practice, and that is the promise of being surrounded by many, many cute boys. Sometimes, cliches work and My Heavenly Hockey Club is everything teenaged me would’ve adored reading back then. And even adult me is a little tickled pink about giving this one a try!
PuraOre! Pride Of Orange
Okay so, technically PuraOre! Pride Of Orange is about Ice-Hockey, and not Hockey-Hockey, but you get the point. And, listen, I’m not a hardcore enough fan of either sport to differentiate between the nuances here. So, if it’s good enough for Canada, it’s good enough for me!
PuraOre! Pride Of Orange is an anime set in Nikko City, where an Ice Hockey team turns their eyes to the local high-school to scout out talent. From here on out, the lives of these new aspiring athletes will never be the same, as they find themselves thrust into pursuing the world of Girl’s Ice-Hockey. And boy, is it all so exciting. And with a mix of sports, idol culture and just a little bit of yuri thrown in for good measure, PuraOre! Pride Of Orange Is a wholesome and happy watch for most beginners.
Go!! Southern Ice Club
Go!! Southern Ice Hockey Club involves some of my favorite things. It’s a manga from the 90s, so the art style is very nostalgic. It’s got that summer of late 80s vibe that is classic, and the slice of life aspect just gives it that lazy air that you can’t help but get invested in.
And the premise works. I mean, you’re telling me some kid from Canada comes back to his homeland with a love for Ice Hockey and wants to pursue it, despite being kicked out? Especially when his new home happens to be in Southern Japan, which isn’t a place known for its low temperatures? Well, Getto Rando will make it happen, even on the sunny beaches of Kyushu. Even if he has to pursue his passion out on a roller rink, Getto will do what it takes. This manga begs to be read with the perfect Citypop playlist playing in the background.
Hey, sometimes you don’t need a long-winded story to invest all your time in. Maybe you’re new to the hockey scene and wanted something strong to read, but don’t want multiple chapters to go through. If so, this one-shot might be the one for you.
Hot is weird, don’t get me wrong. The story involves curses and the supernatural, in a sports manga setting. But that’s also what sells it. Amano Akira belongs to a family that believes in a generational curse, where they all meet their end to ice related deaths. They manage a shrine, give alms, and everything to stave off the curse. But the only true way is to make their body resistant to the ice, which is why Amano is training to be a star Ice Hockey player. The motivation here is literally life or death, which adds an interesting dynamic you don’t expect in a Hockey manga.
Shout Out Loud
Okay, we all know that sports manga and anime tend to veer into homoeroticism, but they also happen to have a lot of nuance for what they are. It’s not all just fanservice and cute gay romances. Sometimes, the story is much more complex, like Shout Out Loud.
Shout Out Loud is a Yaoi hockey manga that centers around a tiny family. Shino Hisae is a voice actor that works mostly for BL (Boys Love) dramas, leading to tension between him and his co-workers. So, when his teenage son, Nakaya Hisae, starts showing that he’s into Hockey for more than the sport, specifically for a player named Fuse Akihi? Well, it leads to a lot of questions about sexuality, self discovery and more between the father and the son. Surprisingly heartfelt, this one uses the backdrop of Hockey to explain that it’s never too late to discover your true self.
Choukyori Renai No Kodoku
Look, my day job is being a dentist, so this specific Hockey man involving a cute yaoi pairing between a dentist and a hockey player feels like it was made for me. And it is just so darn cute. Dare I say, even tooth-rotting cute?
Okay so, obviously there is a lot more to Choukyori Renai No Kodoku than that. This is an adorable manga about two boyfriends, Shawn and Arthur. Shawn is a charismatic and popular celebrity Hockey player, whilst Arthur is the quiet dentist he fell in love with. Due to the differences in their fields, the two go through periods of long distance that make Arthur doubt their relationship. But Shawn is constantly there to reaffirm his love for Arthur, showing how well athletes can balance love and career. It’s an adorable read!
Again, when sports manga end up being more than just about the competition of said sport, is when the genre truly peaks. And Supinamarada! takes that seriously, with a story that details how diving into your passion can save you from the grief you are drowning in.
Rou and Haruna Shirokawa are twin siblings that have just gone through a tragedy, losing their mum in a car accident. All this right before Rou, who is a figure skater, had his first stint in the Olympic Games. Grief stricken, the siblings end up moving to Hokkaido, their home prefecture. But it is here that Rou gets roped into joining the local ice-hockey team, and finds himself reinventing what the ice meant for him. With allies helping him on his journey of self discovery, Rou is on a new path.
Am I putting a Shounen style sports manga on top? Well, considering Blue Lock was all the rage last year and impacted football lovers so much, I think 88 holds some real potential to do the same for hockey manga.
Our protagonist is Hikari, a high school student who wants to enter his Hockey team into the Inter-High tournaments taking place, but they need a five member team to do so. And just when it all seemed hopeless, a mysterious new student agrees to aid them. And with his scythe-like weapon, he is certainly intimidating. But is there more to this student that unsettles his teammates? Well, only time will tell.
And that’s a wrap! Let us know if there are any other sports manga or anime out there that center around hockey and deserve a mention. Who knows, maybe it’s a gem waiting to be discovered. Until next time!