Get in the Game with These 7 Famous Sports Manga (part 3)
Hikaru no Go, by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
Hikaru no Go, the oldest manga on this list, is a classic example of a sports manga which doesn’t need to involve excessive sweating to rivete. It tells the story of the relatively normal child Hikaru with no particular interest in complex strategy boardgames, stumbling over an old Go board and accidentally awakening the spirit of the Heian-era Go player Fujiwara-no-Sai, who desperately wants to play again. Haunted by Sai, Hikaru lets his ghostly companion guide him through his matches with other players, but finally becomes enthralled by the game himself. This is the sports manga perfect for readers who are fascinated by intricate strategy. And if you don’t know how to play Go, don’t worry: the manga lays out the stakes of each match without requiring any in-depth knowledge of the game. Like most sports manga, it is really the clash of characters which keeps you hanging on. (Takeshi Obata is also better-known for his work on Death Note.)
Chihayafuru, by Yuki Suetsugu
It is woefully wrong to think that a board game was the strangest sport on this list. The sport featured in Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu is a Japanese poetry card game which is called karuta. That’s the combination of poetry, card, and game. Chihaya is a tomboy who always has interests in taking a backseat to her sister’s burgeoning modeling career, until she meets the quiet boy Arata, who lives and breathes karuta, a little-known competitive card game. Caught up by Arata’s passion for this game, she devotes herself to catching up to him, discovering her natural talent along the way.
Chihayafuru with a strong romance subplot is a deeper character drama than almost others on this list. It’s a lovely manga with one of the greatest things about sports manga: when it is good, it will make you care about its sport.