Wrestling is a fascinating sport for many Americans and Japanese anime feature a lot of shows about it.
Sumo is indeed a type of wrestling where a player loses if they leave the ring or if any body part, barring the feet, touches the ground.
This listicle ranks the best anime about wrestling based on our experience and knowledge. We will always update it to offer the best user experience possible.
Table of Contents
17. Sushi Sumo
We couldn’t resist, after watching it the inclusion of this anime in the list was almost a must.
The view does not deceive you, and as you may have guessed from the title and image, we are talking about real pieces of sushi challenging each other in sumo.
You won’t find any great plots, twists, or turns for obvious reasons, but for a healthy laugh and a taste of no-sense, it’s perfect.
16. Dosukoi! Wanpaku Dohyou
A short OVA released in 1994, lasting 55 minutes.
The combination of the central theme of sumo and a strong dramatic component makes it a concise but intense experience, ideal for people in love with the 90s.
15. Naked Wolves
Naked Wolves is a series of 52 deliberately strongly comic and demented episodes, produced with minimalist, almost cartoon-like graphics.
A sumo wrestler named Mikoshiarashi travels around the world to train to become the Yokozuna, the Grand Sumo Champion.
We will meet colorful characters along the way, all very well characterized and funny in their way. A light and entertaining watching that should be taken as such.
14. Rise Up! Animal Road
A fairly recent series adapted into anime just from 2019 that makes nonsense its absolute strong point. Don’t expect a wrestling-centric anime, but rather something almost unspeakable, combining several genres.
Shibata Genzo is a professional wrestler who is a great lover of animals and is summoned to another world one day. There the princess asks him to eliminate the monsters that infest it but Genzo, outraged by the request, lands the princess himself with a wrestling move.
Not knowing how he can return to Earth, he then decides to stay there and fulfill his dream: to open a pet store.
We think that after such a synopsis not much explanation is required, as dementia spews from every pore. Definitely a different vision from the others excellent for some healthy nonsense.
13. Aa Harimanada
A 1992 sumo series starring Harimanada, an eccentric wrestler.
Harimanada is a sumo wrestler who is as strong as he is quirky, self-confident, and flamboyant.
He appears in the ring wearing bizarre Big Van Vader-style masks and boasts that he can surpass the legendary Futabayama’s string of 69 consecutive victories.
The protagonist is the real beating heart of the series, which you will hardly fail to end up adoring.
12. Notari Matsutaro
OAV series of 10 episodes released in 1990 from a setting and graphic style that oozes the 90s from every pore.
The story tells the tale of Matsutaro Sakaguchi, a young man of enormous size and carefree disposition, who ends up becoming a sumo star due to his unparalleled strength.
The classic spokon anime plot of the 1990s, with the protagonist striving to excel in his sport.
11. Metal Fighter Miku
Metal Fighter Miku is a 1994 series, released in 13 episodes each lasting 30 minutes that combine wrestling and science fiction futurism.
In the future year 2061 Neo Pro-Wrestling, a new type of wrestling that allows the use of armor and other enhancements, is rapidly becoming wildly popular.
Miku, a young student, has created together with a group of friends a fighting team known as the Top Four to participate in a Neo Pro-Wrestling tournament.
An interesting blend of genres and themes, all brought together under the wing of vintage animation typical of the late 1990s. If interested in this mix, don’t miss it.
10. Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro!!
Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro!! follows Matsutarou Sakaguchi, a strong, burly punk with a great talent for Sumo but lacking all ambition and desire to work and commit.
Matsutarou will nevertheless end up pursuing a career as a professional wrestler.
We will see his growth, both as a person and as an athlete, in the 23 episodes in which this series is composed.
9. Fighting Beauty Wulong
Based on a seinen manga adapted into 25 episodes we have Fighting Beauty Wulong, a 2005 series with a very peculiar animation technique for the times.
Mao Ran appears as a normal girl but she is a martial arts master belonging to the Mao family. However, the girl is very reluctant about the idea of fighting, so one day she is tricked by her grandfather and forced to take part in Prime Mat.
It’s a mixed martial arts competition that includes wrestling.
Very peculiar series of the 2000s, with customs, habits, and themes of that era. If you are a nostalgic anime fan, Fighting Beauty Wulong should be on top of your list.
8. Animal 1
Very dated series, dating back to 1968 released in 28 episodes.
The plot is as simple and realistic as it is effective, starring Ichirou Azuma, a young wrestler whose dream is to compete in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
Animal 1 is extremely vintage, its animations are in black and white. Shingo Araki, the designer of the Saint Seiya Anime, worked on the character design for this series as one of his early works.
7. Ucchare Goshowara
Ucchare Goshuwara was adapted as a one-episode OAV from a sumo manga that won the XXXV Shogakukan Manga Award for the Shonen category.
The main character is the only member of the traditional high school sumo club he attends. He dreams of winning the school championship but since it is a team competition he seeks the other four elements to participate.
As happens in such cases, we recommend watching the OAV episode to see if you are interested in the plot, and in case then read the manga, the original source.
A one-episode OAV released in 1986 focused on women’s wrestling, but with a more serious mold than before.
Eri and Miki are two female wrestlers on the Wannabes team who just want to have fun. But when they begin their new training with the mysterious Kidou organization, they discover that there is something strange behind it.
A single episode lasts 45 minutes, thus making it suitable to be watched even without commitment as soon as you have a free hour.
5. Hinomaru Sumo
An anime that features a plot similar in some ways to that of Haikyuu!!, where we see the protagonist ill-suited for the sport he dreams of doing, but he will try his best to succeed.
Such is the case of Ushio Hinomaru, a new student at Oodachi High School who decides to join the sumo club despite his unsuitable physique.
He is neither big nor heavy, two key characteristics, but his goal is to win the title of Hinoshita Kaisan, the highest rank in professional sumo.
4. Ayane-Chan High Kick
Let’s talk about women’s wrestling again with Ayane-chan High Kick, a 2-episode OAV series released in 1997.
Ayane Mitsui is a high school girl who wants to become a pro wrestler, neglecting her studies and other responsibilities. The story begins with her at the All-Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling tryouts.
She fails but meets a man who saw her audition, who tells her that she has great legs suitable for the sport and invites her to train at his gym. But all is not as it seems, and a big twist awaits Ayane.
If you also want to find out what this twist is, which for obvious reasons we will not anticipate, approach this very short but action-packed viewing.
3. Wanna be the Strongest in the World
An anime centered on female wrestling, released in 2013 and with distinct ecchi elements.
The story centers on Sakura Hagiwara, a leading member of an idol group. One day Sakura goes together with her colleague Elena to a female wrestling gym for a photo shoot.
Here, Elena incurs the wrath of the touchy Rio Kazama. Rushing to her friend’s defense, Sakura impulsively challenges Rio to a regular match.
The match will turn into a great humiliation for Sakura, leading her to train in wrestling for revenge.
A series that should not be viewed as a sports-focused spokon, but more for entertaining viewing with very enjoyable ecchi-like elements.
The technical side is also very polished, and not thrown on as one might expect.
2. Tiger Mask
Tiger Mask was the brainchild of Ikki Kajiwara, the author of other successful spokons such as Ashita no Joe. The 1970 animated series was very successful and has had two sequels, including one in 2016.
Naoto Date is one of many children orphaned after World War II. One day, while visiting the local zoo, he finds himself in front of a cage of tigers, and the little boy decides that when he grows up he wants to be as strong as one of them.
So he escapes from the orphanage and finds himself in Tiger Den, a for-profit organization that trains wrestlers.
The series is first and foremost striking for its dirty and seemingly gimmicky style, which goes well with the tone and the to-the-death fights Naoto will have to undergo.
The battles are filled with this melodramatic charge, coming across as charged with violence and uncertainty for the protagonist’s fate.
Of course, it is not only focused on fighting, rather ample space is given to the characters and their growth.
An anime that despite being focused on the sport of wrestling makes comedy and dementiality its strong point. Kinnikuman began in 1983 based on the manga of the same name and then continued in a long number of series and products.
The events covered are those of Suguru Kinniku, aka, Kinnikuman, an alien warrior practitioner of wrestling.
A series that will make you bend over in laughter, accompanied by a very nostalgic and pleasant vintage atmosphere.
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