Full disclosure: I am not a fan of sports by any stretch of the imagination. After a brief (and fairly disastrous) bout with middle school basketball I have studiously avoided athletics of all flavors, even as a spectator, but I LOVE Sports Anime!
This genre tends to focus on character driven stories with boatloads of delicious drama. The four series featured below don’t assume that you have a great deal of prior knowledge about the athletic activities that they focus on and each does a great job of deftly integrating necessary information into the narrative without over explaining or talking down to their audience.
Behind all of these tournaments, though, is the daddy of all March Madness: the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. For the next three weeks, people all over the country will be talking basketball as the 68 best college teams face off in a single elimination tournament. The tournament ends with the championship game in Atlanta on April 8, but not before the initial group is narrowed from 68 teams to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, then Final Four. The tournament has been called the best sporting event in America; last year nearly 6 million people submitted brackets on ESPN.com. Basically, it’s a big deal. The first big round of tournament kicks off with 16 games today and 16 tomorrow. Brackets have been filled out and submitted to pools all over the country. Basketball fans are wearing their lucky t-shirts/hats/socks. In some places, like my hometown, whole communities will turn on their TVs to watch their teams play in what’s fondly known as the Big Dance. (Go Zags!)
Luckily, YA fans don’t have to be left out of all the fun. And (no offense, swoon-worthy guys of YA), we’re not stuck just voting for our favorite lovable characters. Below, check out a list of fiction and nonfiction titles about college basketball and the NCAA tournament. After all, you need something read between the games, right?
I wanted to write a review for an ongoing manga series that may have slipped under some radars but absolutely should not be missed. Volumes 1 & 2 also landed on YALSA’s 2009 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens list. From reading some of my other posts, you probably gathered that I’m more often than not a “shojo” manga girl – I love romance and romantic comedies. Shojo manga series tend to be my perfect snowy day, guilty pleasure reads. So it’s rare that I pick up a “shonen” or “seinen” manga. And not just any guy-friendly, action-filled manga, but a ‘sports’ manga at that. Perhaps what intrigued me was both the sport that Takehiko chooses to highlight, as well as the very compelling drama that permeates the lives of the three male teenagers: Tomomi Nomiya (18), Hisanobu Takahashi (17), and Kiyoharu Togawa (19).