The sport of kabaddi meets the world of anime as Shakunetsu Kabadi - known as Burning Kabaddi in English - debuted its first episode on April 3. This is the world’s first anime based on the sport that has its roots in India.

The series is centred around Tatsuya Yoigoshi, a former football ace who has given up sports after graduating from middle school. Tatsuya, however, is eventually scouted by Masato Ohjyo, the captain of the Noukin High School kabaddi club. Initially convinced that kabaddi is just a joke, Tatsuya develops an interest after attending a practice match and discovers that the sport is actually closer to a martial arts competition.

The TV anime series is slated for a 12-episode run, with a run time of 24 minutes for each episode. The manga for Shakunetsu Kabaddi, created by Hajime Musashino, debuted in 2015 on Shogakukan's Ura Sunday website and the MangaONE app. The series’ 16th tankōbon (independent book, not part of a series) volume debuted on March 18, 2021.

Burning Kabaddi’s TV anime adaptation is a major milestone for a sport that is slowly gaining popularity across the globe. Kabaddi, a contact sport that originated in India, has always played second fiddle against the likes of sports like cricket and hockey in the sub-continent but the introduction of the Pro Kabaddi league (PKL) opened up new avenues for kabaddi on the international stage.

The sport, which has a history of over 4,000 years, first gained international prominence at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin where it was performed as a demonstration event.

Since then, 31 countries - which includes Iran, Canada, England and the United States - have become members of the International Kabaddi Federation. India are the most successful side, with the men’s team winning nine World Cups (three in standard style and six in circle style) and the women’s team winning four World Cups in the circle style.

Kabaddi is the latest sport to get an anime adaptation, following the likes of judo, auto-racing, baseball, boxing and volleyball being the first sports to have their mangas adapted into either a full-length TV series, OVAs (original video animation), ONAs (original net animation) or films.

Some of the most prominent sports animes to have gained popularity across the world are Captain Tsubasa (football), Haikyuu (volleyball), Kuroko's Basketball (basketball), Ace of Diamond (baseball) and Free! (swimming).

Where to watch Burning Kabaddi live streaming in India?

Indian fans can watch streaming of the Burning Kabaddi anime series on the Ani-One Asia YouTube channel.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / MiahMamoon