I feel that it’s quite safe to say that not a lot of anime fans also like sports. Besides the mainstream sports shows I feel that most shows are overlooked by many fans, some of whom disregard the genre completely without giving it any thoughts.
As the creators of most sports anime appreciate that a lot of viewers won’t care about the sport they often do things to make it more accessible to others and people who don’t know anything about what they’re watching. I find that most sports shows in fact automatically assume that the watcher doesn’t care about the sport and tries to convince them to care, not by trying to shove the sport in your face and expecting you to like it, but by slowly reeling you in by using the drama of the situations the sports shows create. I went into Kuroko No Basket without caring about basketball yet by the end of it my opinion was changed without the show having to try too hard.
You may not be convinced to like a sport and watch it in real life but you might find yourself respecting it more (like I did with Kuroko’s Basketball). I’m not about to go and watch a game of basketball but I now respect the sport more and would find it interesting to talk about.
Even if it doesn’t do this, sports anime is almost never about the sport. It’s always about the characters; if you like the idea of friendship and teamwork then sports anime is something that you’ll like. As well as this, parts of other shows have sport-like games or competitions involved in them. Examples are fighting tournaments, small games like in Kaiji (If you haven’t watched Kaiji ultimate survivor then stop reading this and go watch it – it’s that good) or even anime’s which focus on the build-up to a game such as some parts of Shokugeki No Soma.
If you enjoy shows such as these then sports anime are very similar, the game in the middle or build-up just happens to be a sports game instead of a normal fight or similar. I have no interest in volleyball, tennis or table tennis yet I’m looking forward to when I watch Haikyu, Baby Steps and Ping pong purely because I know that sports anime can be interesting outside of the sports by using the characters and build-up to create a gripping story.
I know that there may be a lot of trashy samey sports shows plaguing the genre but if you’re new to sports then you’re in luck. When you find a new genre of show that you haven’t explored much of then it’s all too easy to binge watch on the good stuff. As well as many sports shows are longer than the standard 12 episodes so you can get more great content out of the shows that you like more.
Say you really enjoy comedy anime, unless its gintama or not purely comedy it won’t run for a very long time (with any exceptions that you’ve thought of) so if you like one individual anime (hajime no ippo for example) then you can have up to 126 episodes to watch. To some this is a major floor and deterrent for sports anime however if it stays good I don’t really see much of a problem.
To conclude: Give Sports anime a shot, chances are you’ll like it.