Sports Anime and Real Life: Tournament Arcs vs League tables

anime-soccer-anime-football-22073998-1024-768Let’s talk about football tournaments: there’s not very many of them which are popular.  Theirs obviously the world cup, champion’s league, FA cup and EFL cup (I only looked up for UK – where I live) but not many others. Even saying these, the world cup and champions league both have league tables at the start to decide who gets to carry on to the tournament. Overall it’s pretty safe to say that theirs more popular leagues in football than tournaments in football.

As football is a business it makes sense for there to be leagues instead of tournaments. A team just can’t make money if they get knocked out at the start of each tournament, that’s why leagues exist. Leagues allow teams to play consistently every week and therefore earn money every week, it’s great for earning money but that’s it. In the premier league each week 10 games are played for a time period of 38 weeks and it’s all a melancholic waste of time. Losing means nothing. You don’t lose anything, you don’t gain anything. There are almost no consequences for losing; nothing bad happens to the team, they just don’t gain any points.  Each team plays 38 games! It does not matter at all whether they lose one, they’ll just win a different one later.

The maximum amount of points a team can get in a football season is 114. The winners of this league (Leicester) got 81 points that means that you could lose 10 games, draw 1 and still win. Leicester City, the best team in the league (on paper) were able to win when they only won 60% of their games, to me they don’t sound that good anymore. And now let’s look at the winners of every tournament; they won 100% of their games! Its way better, theirs actually consequences to losing.

A team in a league will spend a whole season trying to get out of the regulation zone before being demoted; this is boring. For a bad team, the finale happens when there are 10 games left and it’s mathematically impossible for them to avoid demotion. For a good team, the finale happens when there are 5 games left and it’s mathematically impossible for anyone to overtake them. These all lead to a boring anti-climax.

I don’t feel that leagues are interesting in sport, they quickly get repetitive and they move way too slowly. Tournaments however are more interesting as their tense. You’re team has one chance and one chance only to beat a team, otherwise they will lose forever, by the end of it the winner will have won everything. If you want to see my other opinions on football watch this Mitchell and Webb sketch: . It’s by two of my favourite comedians and they seem to sum up (ironically) how boring football is – too me, I’ve got no problem if you like football. (I secretly do have a problem with you however I’m not allowed to say because there’s too many football fans that would kill me for saying that. Some football fans are pretty violent)

I’ve not talked about sports anime but if you’re genre savvy then you’d know what I was leading up too. There are many more tournament arcs in anime than league tables! Another Blogger (kwenzqoatl) commented that anime is designed to be entertaining, that’s why there are so many tournament arcs in anime. The tension that they create is far more powerful than a mere league game, leading to a more compelling and inspirational plot.

I know that there are plenty of sports with lots of tournaments, which would be cool… if not for everything I said in my last post.

I don’t doubt that there’s lots of anime about leagues or that people don’t enjoy watching leagues as there’s some advantages too leagues. For one they make it fairer and more reflective on the actual quality of the team whereas in a tournament one of the best teams could be knocked out early by playing another really good team. But I find that part of the fun, just watch the first game of the winter cup tournament arc in Kuroko No Basket, if you want to see what I’m talking about (It’s worth your while)

After saying all this I don’t believe that leagues are always bad, they can probably be made good if the right people wrote it. Yet I still believe that a tournament arc is easier to write well (for anime screen writers). I f you want to see someone talk about how to make a good tournament arc watch this: . If not, I may just write a post in the future about them myself and go into more detail about why they’re good instead of just saying why they’re better than leagues.

It’s hard to end a weighty opinionated post like this so just know that this is my opinion about something that I don’t care about: sports, and compering an aspect of it too something that I absolutely love in anime. So no bias whatsoever…

As well as this I’ve not seen an anime about football so, any recommendations for good football anime with a good league?


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