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How Sports Anime Finally Found a Fanbase in the US

It’s a good time for sports anime. Yowamushi Pedal is set to return in the fall after an initial 38-episode run, while volleyball series Haikyu!! is finally kicking off its first big tournament story arc. The Free! juggernaut continues to roll onward, drawing in a variety of fans in its target demographic and beyond. The genre is even being used as a sandbox for unique animation styles, exemplified by Ping Pong: The Animation. Here in the US, often seen as a difficult market for sports shows, jerseys from various fictional teams can be seen in increasing numbers at anime conventions. What is it about this generation of titles that sees the genre in such excellent health, especially on our side of the Pacific?

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