English: Slam Dunk
Synonyms: Slam Dunk: 10 Days After
Published: Sep 18, 1990 to Jun 4, 1996
Authors: Inoue, Takehiko (Story & Art)
Serialization: Shounen Jump (Weekly)
Score: 8.961 (scored by 12652 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page. Please note that 'R18+' titles are excluded.
The story is simple but the execution is incredible, each chapter is filled with humor, action, drama, comedy and a whole lot more. The anime series was good and worthy of being considered a landmark anime, but if you have yet to see the anime then you don't know what you're missing. However there are things that are not shown in the anime series which is why it is crucial for you to read this manga. The interhigh games are a blast!
Takehiko Inoue certainly knew how to end the series with a bang! The last game is so good, every character is at their best and certainly no other title can rile up the readers emotions like this, it really feels like your watching the NBA finals.
The artwork is simply great even though there are a lot of better looking manga out there, the decade old graphics still manages to go toe to toe with other more recent titles out there.
The characters of this title are by far the most fully developed in any title out in the market and I'm not just talking about the main characters, I'm also talking about the supporting cast even those belonging to rival teams. The character development is so good that it is difficult to choose one character as a favorite. Each character has a well told background even those who appear in just a few chapters have a very detailed and well executed background story. You'll probably remember the names of not only the Shohoku players but also the names of their rivals, most notably "Sendoh".
Overall Slam Dunk is one of the best Manga ever made and I'm sure that once you read it, you will agree with me. I guarantee that you won't be able to resist finishing the manga in a few days if not a few hours because it is that damn good. If you think the anime was great, try reading the manga and I'm sure you'll feel that the anime series could have been better, the interhigh games are one hell of a joyride!
The story follows Sakuragi Hanamichi, a delinquent who is in love with a girl named Haruko and wants to impress her in some way, so he decides to join the basketball club. That was his initial reason for joining, but he gradually develops a love for the sport and starts working harder than anyone else. Starting off from the very basics like dribbling, lay ups and defense, slowly gaining experience, you can see him improving with every match that passes.
The art looks rather simple at first, but improves after some time. The matches in particular, are really well drawn. Shots, dunks, passes, player movements - everything is drawn in a way you'd understand what's going on.
The characters is probably the strongest point of this manga. Sakuragi is one of the most well-developed main characters I've seen in all of manga/anime. The same can be said for the rest of Shohoku's team members. Heck even the rival teams are so well-developed, you would have a problem chosing who to cheer for. My favourite non-Shohoku character is Ryonan's ace - Sendoh. He is such an amusing and fun character that you just can't help but love.
As a sport manga, it's really beginner friendly. Even if you don't know much about basketball, this manga will teach you everything about the sport. From the basics like how to dribble, how to shoot a ball correctly, passing, to advanced skills like how to grab a rebound successfully, how to screen-out and set up screens, how to avoid the different kinds of fouls (double dribble, travelling, pushing and so on) and to use fouls to your advantage. Speaking of fouls, there are a lot of them in this manga, unlike in Kuroko no Basket where there was barely any contact between the players. If you get 5 fouls, you leave the game. Fouls bring more tension into the matches (which are already intense enough) and makes them more enjoyable. When the players are tired, they are tired. What I mean by that is that their movements slow down, shooting percentage goes down and the players become more vulnerable to mistakes. This is what realism is.
I also have to mention the final game (don't worry, I'm not gonna spoil it). This manga probably has the best final game ever. It hit all the right points and it was so damny emotional. I was barely holding my tears in the last 4-5 chapters of the last game and I doubt any other sports manga can make me even tear up like this.
Slam Dunk is the closest thing you'll get to a realistic basketball series. I also have to mention the humor. The humor in this manga is pure gold. I dare say it's near Gintama's humor level. It also references some things from real life, mostly from NBA. That is something rarely seen among anime/manga.
Highly recommended for fans of: Hajime no Ippo (it's like its basketball equivalent), Kuroko no Basket (I love Kuroko, but KnB fans must feel the greatness of this manga), Haikyuu and sport fans as a whole.
I also recommend this manga to people who want to get into basketball. This one will surely help you with your basketball studies. read more
Hanamichi Sakuragi, a red-headed delinquent and complete basketball neophyte, is the heart and soul of Slam Dunk. He's great at various things (beating up other delinquents, being tall, and being rejected by girls are chiefs among them), and while playing basketball is clearly not one of them, don't tell him that; in fact, Sakuragi's brand of unreasonable confidence and swaggery is a breath of fresh air in a genre usually populated by bland genius or meek underdogs as main protagonists. He's a very easy character to root for, and it's delightful to watch him slowly transform from playing just to impress a girl into being genuinely affected by all the feelings that the game entailed. Whether it's his one-sided rivalry with the prodigious Rukawa, his constant goofs in the court, or his endearing simple-mindedness, Sakuragi will make you laugh and face-palm until eventually he'll also make you fist-pump in pride as he successfully defended a dangerous opponent, secured a key rebound, ,nailed his first jump shoot, and many more.
This might seems like an unnecessarily obvious statement, but there's really a lot of basketball in Slam Dunk. It's drawn at a very deliberate pace; Inoue likes to take his time, often going over two or three volumes to depict a single match (for the final match, he went all-out and spread the match through 6+ volumes). Although there's a significant amount of humor, rom-com triangle, and off-court basketball events in the initial volumes, once the main cast is assembled it's pretty much Basketball Action all the time. Non-playing characters like Sakuragi's love interest Haruko and his amusing band of delinquent pals are inevitably demoted into the role of spectators, and character development is practically confined in the realm of basketball court as the main cast (especially, but not limited to, Sakuragi) learned to utilize/expand their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, and develop chemistry with each other. It's safe to say that if you enjoy the entirety of Slam Dunk, you're already a big fan of basketball or on your way into becoming one.
Inoue's art is a big part of what makes the matches, slow as they are, so enjoyable. You'd be hard-pressed to find more passionate depiction of a basketball game on manga pages; whether it's rim-shattering dunks, ferocious blocks, or gorgeous three-point swishes, there's a range of dramatic moments native to the sport that he successfully captured. It gets increasingly beautiful and detailed, too. Homages to the 1990s NBA are abound, from the players themselves (Sakuragi and team captain Akagi, for example, were clearly modeled after Dennis Rodman and Patrick Ewing respectively), some iconic poses, and jersey color schemes. There's also a sense of real-life plausibility within the games, as the players in Slam Dunk thrived with realistic skills and athleticism rather than over-the-top superhuman traits. Questionable tactical moments do exist (quad-teaming a single player, anyone?), but in terms of the general flow of the game,it's still a lot more faithful than your typical sports manga.
Slam Dunk ends rather abruptly, covering only a single tournament season, and some potential future opponents/match-ups being teased ultimately never materialized. It could've become a long-running epic a la Hajime no Ippo, but apparently Inoue had other plans. Even then, it's still a powerful and memorable journey, led by a beloved red-headed brat. read more
As said above, Slam Dunk is for those who are into basketball. Inoue Takehiko himself has been a basketball player in his high school days, and he is an active NBA watcher, so you don't have to worry about technical mistakes or poorly developed games, 'cause Takehiko truly knows how to write a basketball game and illustrate it, also adding as many intensity as possible, to make a thrilling and memorable game. (There are a few matches involving such great writing). Reason why I mentioned this is, this is the basic feature a basketball series should contain, to attract readers/watchers.
The characters are Slam Dunk's strongest point. A meaningful quote (from a review) by Inoue Takehiko is: "I don't force my characters to do things their personality doesn't allow, even if it means to progress the story". I wholeheartdly agree with this saying, and this is possibly why Takehiko's characters have been a successs.
Now let's focus on the actual story and characters of Slam Dunk. The main character of the series, which invests more time in him is Sakuragi Hanamichi. In the beginning, Sakuragi is a punk and delinquent who socializes with others of his kind and make troubles. He gets into fighting a lot and a notable characteristic of his, he gets rejected by every female he's confessed to. Heartbroken, Hanamichi stumbles upon Haruko Akagi, a pretty girl, who makes Sakuragi fall in love with her real quick. Due to her being the sister of the basketball club's captain, Hanamichi ended up in the basketball team and that's when his journey as a baskettoman (Hanamichi's pronunciation of basketball player). Simply put, Hanamichi starts a complete beginner, starting from the scratch, such as dribbling the ball, doing lay ups and rebounding. (Also to note that Slam Dunk explains almost every important and basic rule of basketball, via DR.T, a short and amusing tertiary character who has enough knowledge in basketball). And this said, Inoue Takehiko brilliantly develops Hanamichi's gradual growing love for basketball.
The Shohoku team's members are all nicely developed. Starting from Akagi, a tough, gorilla looking young boy who is the captain of the Shohoku basketball tean. Akagi has an unbeatable spirit for the sport of the basketball. This very spirit drives along the team in high morale which is very helpful and basically the core of their accoplishments. His relationship with Sakuragi Hanamichi is also one of the best things in the show, they have a cat and mouse relationship in the beginning which develops into a long term friendship. Next, we have the megane kun, which is the essential characteristic to every sports series. A megane kun who is loyal to the team and boosts their morale in times of trouble. Kogure is the vice captain of the Shohoku team and the helping hand of Akagi. They both have known each other since childhood and have a trusting friendship between each other.
Rukawa Kaede is the everlasting rival of Sakuragi Hanamichi. Rukawa is always one step ahead of Hanamichi, which irritates him the most and motivates him to actively practice basketball and get better at it. At first, Rukawa gives an impression of a popular, quiet, good looking guy who excels at what he does. And he really does excel at basketball. Though slow (very slow), his relationship wih Hanamichi gives fruits. (Not going to spoil). Also necessary to say, Hanamichi also considers Rukawa a rival in love. Unfortunately for Hanamichi, Haruko is all over and drools over Rukawa, not that the latter cares anyway.
Lastly, the trouble makers of the Shohoku. Ryota Miyagi and Mitsui Hisashi. Both have been delinquents and have had constant conflicts with each other. Due to a fight, Ryota is sent to hospital, resulting in a long break in bball.Ryota's quite short, and this makes him a key player for Shohoku. He excels at dribbling the basketball and giving no look passes, cause he knows where his teammates are in the court. He also shoots two pointers at times and has an unmatched speed which comes to hand Shohoku plenty of times. On the other hand, Mitsui Hisashi took a different path from Ryota. He decided to stop playing basketball (reasons stated in his arc, which it's pretty spoiler heavy), but he eventually comes back at the team after an exhaustingly long mini arc (in the anime, mostly).
Though those were the main characters, which are awesomely developed, Slam Dunk also focuses on the "opponents" of Shohoku. Aces such as Sendo Akira, Shinichi Maki, Kenji Fujima, Eiji Sawakita are all equally developed and sometimes you root for their team to win.
The distinct art of Inoue Takehiko is also enjoyable to watch and read. Slam Dunk actually is one of his first drawn series, and it's a very good chance to watch Inoue Takehiko develop as an artist.
Overall Slam Dunk is located at the 2nd place (of sports series). It was an undescribable ride with lots of fun, funny and sad moments. It clearly deserves a 10 in my book, as these kind of series are very rare. read more
Does this quote describes what this manga is about? Probably not, but I felt that it would be cool writing it before I start review. This is already 24 years old, it started back in 1990 and was publishing to 1996 (six years)
Back then, basketball wasn't that popular in Japan, very few really talked about it, but mangaka Takehiko Inoue liked basketball, and even though he was told by his editor that basketball is almost a taboo in Japan, he decided to write manga about it, mostly because of his love for the same sport. Takehiko Inoue understands what sport is about, he understands the value of friends and basketball, and he puts that in this amazing art work
Hanamichi Sakuragi is teenager that just started high school, and he doesn't have any luck with girls. He was rejected 50 times in middle school, and his friends always make fun of him because of that, telling him that he is "breaking records" . He stumbles upon a beautiful girl named Haruko Akagi that asked him if he does like basketball - because he was tall, standing 6''2' . He immediately says yes, altough he doesn't know anything about it, and there is the the so called "plot" . The guy picks up basket to get attention from the girl she likes, and that's the simple story, but simple can sometimes turn out to be best.
Many sport, shonen manga tend to have great characters, the case is same with SD. Maybe the best thing about this work are characters. They are vivid, have their own personalities and you can relate to many of them. It's not just that they are vivid, but after reading few chapters you imagine them as real persons, like they truly exist, they're alive and are making a story by themselves. They are filled with joy and freshness, comedic touch and great sense of humour. For example, Sakuragi, the main character is stating himself as a "genius" all the time, he believes to be the best even though he is (at the begininng) the worst in Shohoku basketball team. That personality of his is what makes this manga so funny and enjoyable, with that attitude he sometimes get in trouble with captain of the team, Akagi Takenori ( brother of Haruko). Because of his dark skin and extremely tall height, Sakuragi calls Akagi "Gorilla" or "Gori" , and that sometimes pisses of Akagi, but to readers, in many situations, that is hillarious. Akagi is the captain, best man on the team, leader and he appreciates dedicated person and likes cleanliness, everything that Sakuragi in the beginning isn't. Haruko, crush of Sakuragi on the other hand, likes someone else - Rukawa Kaede. first year student like Sakuargi, talented basketball player who is often silent and favorited by all the girls. And that makes both of them rivals - Sakuragi doesn't like Rukawa because he sees him as an obstacle to Haruko's heart. When Sakuragi makes a mistake in a game, Rukawa always comments on him with his favourite word "Moron" comically, which pisses of Sakuragi even more. The chemistry between those two is always funny and interesting to read, with Gorilla Akagi and two other players, Ryota Miyagi and Mitsui Hisashi, the team Shohoku is full of troublemakers, laughter, and great potential to win the National Championship - which is Akagi's dream, and the center of the story. The greatness of the main character Sakuragi is not just his humour and attitude, but in development he experiences through the story. It is how he becomes more mature-like person, a realy sportsman and basketball player. From short tempered and arrogant self calling genius, which started basket just to get attention from the girl he likes, he begins to realise the importance of practicing, and starts appreciating other people, their hardwork and of course, basketball. That doesn't happen at just one moment in manga, but through the whole story.
There are many other basketball schools, like Ryonan and Kainan, and they also have their stars (some of them are Akira Sendoh, Uozumi Jun, Shinichi Maki), with explained background stories and great personallities.
I have to mention one of my favourite characters from Slam Dunk - Mito Yohei, one of Sakuragi's best friends from school. He isn't the main character, he doesn't appears to often, but whenever he said something, I liked him more. He is usually silent and cool, but when it comes to making fun of Sakuragi's bad luck with girls, he acts like a kid, he is a good fighter, and understands Sakuragi the best. He is also very happy because of his friend, finding and focusing on something he likes(basketball).
Yep, starting this manga, prepare for many great, inspirational characters and a lot of laughter, heartwarming moments and great way to get more fond of basketball, or any sport.
I don't want to talk much about art, it fits sport manga, good character design, Inoue knows how to express character's feelings through their facial expressions, from panel to panel, they can be drawn pretty funny, like caricatures (when the scene is comic), and they can be drawn pretty serious (when panel is serious). Inoue knows how to tell story with drawings, and none panel doesn't feel unnecessary or out of the place, he is a genius when it comes to telling a story with only pictures - no text.
Ultimate sport manga, the best in its own genre, and even further. It has everything in it, from comedy to sadness, from love story to inspiring sport story, everthing stored in one work.
If you haven't read the manga, the rest of the review will be something like a spoiler and my personal disliking , so if you don't want some minor spoilers, stop reading
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Okay so, the way that manga came to a close. Not the ending, but the way it came to an end. Was it rushed? The last game was perfect - it had everything, but I wanted manga to go on. Inoue introduced many characters for national championship tournament, and were they all used to max potential? No. I can't remember the name but the tall guy with an older serious guy, they were watching game between Shohoku and Sannoh and left saying that Sannoh is winning. Hiroshi Morishige, the arrogant genius who was seen playing by Sakuragi? Maybe after match with Sannoh I wanted to see more of Sendoh apperiance, Sakuragi's bothering past (the thing with his father which he wanted to forget), Kainan match, and than maybe more of Sakuragi's gang, Aota judo guy. There was a big thing for national championship, many characters introduced, and it felt like few of them were forgoten.
That's why I'm giving it a 9, I still sometimes when I'm bored start thinking about Shohoku team, and what they did after.
Art: each character looks unique, can recognize each of them quickly (unlike some mangas where characters jus get a hair-style change and they call it another character). Gets better and better, quite realistic drawings compared with other mangas. The people look pretty real and the guys look damn cool when they're supposed to be. The girls are pretty cute too.
Story: Read to find out, don't wana give spoilers. Nothing feels extra in this, everything fits together. Be prepared to laugh lots and feel inspired with the characters' perseverance.
Character: If someone asks me whose my favorite character, I find it hard pressed to name one. Their interactions are funny to see and even the loss of a single character in the Shohoku team will surely be sorely missed. The whole Shohoku team combined is my favorite character. read more
holy crap..! when im reading this i was so excited and i even got chills!!! Its one of the longest series ive read so far (POT 379 these two were my all time favourite sports manga/anime), & honestly, it never bored me... they were totally awesome and theres a part that i almost cried!!! (what?) no, what i mean is i cried from laughing b'cuz of Sakuragi stupidness & cute boastfullness..LoLz.. this is the best ever.. I mean this is my best anime/manga & my favorite.. I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVE THIS.. from the story line,characters, oh everything.. though Im not a basketball fan but through this Ive learned more about basketball.. the line art was awesome & the story were so cool.. oh man, Sakuragi is so funny & hilarious all the time & certainly hes my favorite character in this anime/manga i mean of all the characters.. hes my number 1..!! he really makes me laugh...I really love this.. Yeah.. SLAMDUNK IS GREAT.. it REALLY ROCKS.. m/ m/ m/.. Sakuragi is absolutely a tensai.. but an idiot tensai...Lolz.. still he's the best..hahaha.. ill give this one a 10/10 its all becuz I LOVE SAKURAGI that much. read more
Unlike some manga which the main character always win the fight, or manage to gain some realistically impossible secret moves (read: kuroko no basket), or even a super jutsu that is applicable to every situation (read: naruto & bleach), this develops the character real. They face ups & downs. They need to train to get better.
Now that's what I call story!
Like every other mangas, every character has their own backstory in which it reveals the motivations for them to play basketball, but the real appeal of the story is the development, mainly the matches, in which Takehiko Inoue releases all of his artistic skills showed in very fast paced and exciting scenes that make you inxious to know if the ball entered the net or if the pass was sucessful or not.
Artistically talking, Inoue puts an almost realistic scenario with very detailed backgrounds and characters, along with some ocassional doodles mainly starring Hanamichi in over-laughable situations that gives the comedy factor to the manga, a perfect combination.
I personally LOVED Slam Dunk for many reasons, one of them being that I really enjoy playing basketball and this manga takes the most exciting aspects of the sport along with the story and make it fully enjoyable. Also i doubt someone can find it boring in any way, there is always something that makes you keep reading it. This is in lot of ways one of the best mangas i've ever read (maybe the best) and i recommend it to ANYONE. read more