Best Anime About Wrestling | TheReviewGeek Recommends

There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to art and design. From barbaric fight rings to traditional settings, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below, and we’ll get them added on!


Baki

Baki is a fun action-packed anime. This anime contains muscular men, mature themes, brutal fights, and charming animation. The characters in this show develop excellent strategies to combat their opponents, allowing each fight to look entrancing.

The story follows Baki, a noble fighter who wishes to get strong enough to challenge his father, Yuujirou. Unfortunately, the tournament showrunner Tokugawa informs Baki that highly-skilled death-row martial artists have escaped prison and are aiming to take him out.

Therefore, the anime revolves around Baki’s all-out fight with the fighters from the horrifying underground world in his native country. If you’re looking for a fun series that features multiple different forms of martial arts including wrestling, I’d recommend giving this show a shot.

You can read our thoughts on Baki in our full-season review here!


Abarenbou Rikishi!! Matsutarou

Abarenbou Rikishi!! Matsutarou is a fun sumo wrestling-themed anime with a hilarious protagonist and fun fight scenes. It centers around a giant man named Matsutarou, who’s stronger than the average human.

One day, Matsutarou collides with a nearby sumo wrestler, and they end up fighting in a sumo ring. Some sumo stable masters attend their brawl. Impressed by his strength, they offer Matsutarou a chance to attend Tokyo. Unbeknownst to them, Matsutarou has an ulterior motive to win the heart of a teacher he has a crush on.

While this shows offers some appealing fights, many fans enjoy this series for its comedy and characters. Matsutarou is a hilarious protagonist and will offer fans some pleasurable outcomes regarding his fights. This anime follows suit with other competitive sports anime and does a fine job of showcasing Matsutarou’s rise in popularity as a sumo wrestler.


Kick-Heart


Plastic Model Wrestling Sanshiro

Plastic Model Wrestling Shanshiro offers a bland storyline but an interesting approach toward robots and wrestling. The story revolves around a boy named Juohmaru, who participates in a wrestling game where players make robots to fight in the ring. Think of this as an anime version of the film Real Steel without grittiness.

The story follows your typical “villain of the week” formula and has Juohmaru and his robot companion fight numerous robots in each episode. The robot designs are decent enough to warrant stellar fights, but some fights feel like they’re lacking effort and creativity.

At the same time, Juohmaru feels like the only character that gets as much screen time in this show. The side characters do receive some things to do in the anime, but nothing too grand or awe-inspiring. The show does demonstrate an excellent portrayal of different wrestling techniques.

If you’re looking for a show with some decent fights and characters, give Plastic Model Wrestling Shanshiro a shot.


Tiger Mask (1969)

Tiger Mask isn’t your typical wrestling-themed anime. Despite its protagonist having worldwide fame, he endures multiple insecurities and dilemmas that result in him feeling a lot weaker internally than how he appears externally.

This 1969 classic follows Tiger Mask (or Naoto Date) who was known for being a fierce American wrestler. Upon meeting a young boy, Naoto decided to hang up his heel facade and aimed to make his character feel and look heroic. This leads to Naoto donating money to the boy’s orphanage, leading his former boss of the Tigers’ Den furious.

Now with numerous assassins and other professional wrestlers aiming to take him down, Naoto must suit up to defend his honor and pride in the ring. While Tiger Mask’s storyline is simplistic and its animation subpar, Naoto’s character makes this a series worth watching. If you’re looking for an old-school wrestling anime with entertaining protagonists, antagonists, and fights, check out 1969’s Tiger Mask.


Juushin Liger

Are you a fan of Devilman Crybaby, Cutie Honey, and Go Nagai in general, then you’ll get a kick out of Juushin Liger? This is one of Nagai’s lesser-known works. This is a 43-episode series with a few shortcomings in the character and story spectrum. It’s another monster of the week-styled show with enough brutal action scenes to keep you intrigued.

This tale takes place in a strange world where an empire’s Dragon Knights attack multiple lands. Their goal is to awaken their god Jashin Drago from the Rock of Sealing. 200 years ago, Drago was defeated and sealed by a holy warrior with the tattooed Liger mark. With the warrior gone, Drago and Empress Zara plan to conquer Earth.

As they attack cities, we run into the show’s protagonist Ken. After some time, Ken discovers he is the Liger warrior’s descendant. Enraged, Ken’s birthmark appears. After shouting a fierce chant, Ken’s engulfed in a biomechanical armor, transforming him into the fierce Jushin Liger, a warrior destined to defeat the Dragon Knights.

This is one of those wrestling anime where the plot lacks depth or nuance. While the characters lack memorability, they receive some development. The 80s aesthetic carries this work for many people. Fans will adore seeing monsters tear each other apart in gruesome fashions. The music features several guitar riffs that’ll get your adrenaline pumping.

If you’re up for a fun anime rich in brutality and epic soundtracks, check out Juushin Liger.


Kinnikuman: Scramble For The Throne

Kinnikuman: Scramble For The Throne is the prequel to the more well-known Ultimate Muscle wrestling anime franchise. Unlike its sequel, this anime feels more original and epic. This prequel touches upon similar themes regarding friendship and teamwork but makes everything feel more emotional and impactful.

If fans grew up watching the horrid 4-Kids dub of the show, it’s best to revisit this work and start with this solid prequel series. For those unaware, this tale follows Kinnikuman whose been deemed worthy of being Planet Kinniku’s king. At the crowning ceremony, five other Kinnikuman arrive and claim the prince being crowned is not the true Kinnikuman.

This leads to the formation of the Royal Survivor Tournament, where the real ruler will be crowned. With the help of his friends, our Kinnikuman fights his way to reclaim his rightful place as king. The bouts in this show will leave you engaged and exhilarated. Everyone feels like a threat in this work despite their goofy appearances.

That said, the violence is heavily scaled in this work. The techniques, martial arts, and fighting styles performed in this show are slightly over-the-top. These characters will perform moves that are as equal as the finishers you’d find in fighting games like Def Jam: Fight For NY. If you haven’t watched Ultimate Muscle, it’s best to start at Kinnikuman: Scramble For The Throne.

Hinomaru Sumo

Have you ever watched a show that ended up slipping past everyone’s radar? Hinomaru Sumo is one of those gems. This is one of those anime that creates this layer of masculinity with its well-rounded protagonist and the action-centric universe. It’s one of those sports shows that will get you invested in the sport, regardless if you’re a sports fan.

Our tale follows Hinomaru, a talented boy who dreams of reaching the highest class of sumo called Hinoshita Kaisan. To become a professional, he must become his high school’s Yokozuna, a title given to the stronger wrestler in tournaments. Unfortunately, Hinomaru must show his skills off swiftly or lose his chance to go pro permanently.

He enrolls in Odachi High and builds a sumo club from the ground up. With many odds stacked against Hinomaru, he plans to move forward with all his strength to achieve his childhood dream. Like other sports series, Hinomaru meets many people who are and aren’t into sumo wrestling. This adds a layer of realism to the show that’s vaguely absent in other works.

Unfortunately, this anime doesn’t showcase our characters’ training to become the best. Some of their successes lack authenticity because of the show’s insistence on telling the viewers that character “A” is the best. The story’s flow kind of shatters at points. There are times when episodes start feeling episodic and lack coherence. That said, this series includes some stellar tracks that fit well with certain scenes. 


Metal Fighter Miku

Imagine mixing sci-fi and wrestling together, you’d end up with a product like Metal Fighter Miku. This 13-episode series takes place in a distant future where Neo Wrestling is the best sport. In it, Metal Fighters challenge each other to be named champions.

At the center of this tale is the Pretty Four who must fight the opposing Team Sapphire. They’re guided by their drunken coach Eiichi Suo. Not only do these girls need to contend with issues inside the ring but they’ll endure problems that crop up in their daily lives. To understand Eiichi’s purpose and the shady secrets behind Neo Wrestling, the Pretty Four must protect their friends and fight multiple enemies who stand in their way.

While this show resides in a futuristic setting, fans needn’t worry about the story shifting focus away from its wrestling theme. That theme is present throughout the entire work as the Pretty Four will always have someone to contend with by the end of each episode. This show balances its humor, action, and drama well. There are strong themes of friendship, determination, and teamwork in this anime.

The wrestling techniques shown in this series vary from being somewhat realistic to overtly exaggerated. The plot offers a few unpredictable twists and some opponents have this Punch-Out-like feel to them.  The main cast’s transformations will remind folks of Sailor Moon and other magical girl-themed anime. If you’re looking for a wrestling anime drenched in sci-fi and drama, watch Metal Fighter Miku.


Kemono Michi: Rise Up

Kemono Michi: Rise Up is what happens when you put a professional wrestler like The Rock in a world full of fantasy and endless hilarity. While this show’s far from perfect, it’s insanely wacky and bizarre. It’s not an anime everyone will adore, but for those who find joy in absurdity, this might be the show for you.

Our tale follows Genzou, a professional wrestler who loves animals so much that it’s become his moniker in the ring. During his match for the World Championship, Genzou gets transported to a fantasy land by its princess. She pleads for Genzou’s help as monsters swarm her castle. He denies her offer and flees.

However, he finds himself stranded on an island, giving him the idea to become a beast hunter who’ll capture or befriend any creature he comes across. His life won’t be dull as he’ll be joined by a dragon-girl, wolf-girl, and vampire who plan to help Genzou accomplish his pet shop owner fantasy.

This anime is as strange as it sounds. However, it’s the series weirdness that makes it a fun show to watch. Genzou may have his weird habits but he puts on quite the show in each episode. This show feels like it’s making fun of the Isekai sub-genre rather than adding anything of value to it. The series overuse some gags and sketches that’ll feel repetitive though.

If you’re searching for an anime with a terrible story, fun comedy, and quirky characters, then Kemono Michi: Rise Up’s worth viewing.


So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about wrestling!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!


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