Let’s take the time to give tribute to probably the greatest basketball anime ever created: Slam Dunk. This is truly an epic anime and manga series that doesn’t only deliver great hardcourt action – it has a story that can resonate to almost anyone out there! Let’s check out some reasons on what makes Slam Dunk a work of art!
It’s About the Grind
One of the most important traits that make Slam Dunk not only a standout in sports anime, but in the actual animation medium itself, is its focus on the grind. The main protagonist, Hanamachi Sakuragi, doesn’t even have real basketball skills to make an impact (although, he is blessed physically – his athletic prowess makes him a target for all sports clubs in his school to be recruited).
And even though he isn’t the best in the Shohoku basketball team, his dedication to learn the ropes and excel in the basics showcases his love for the grind.
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And that is what makes him a relatable character – he isn’t superhuman, nor will he have any special powers or skills to make him win games. Instead, his deep focus on focusing on the basics and making each of these simple movements right are all inspiring on their own.
It’s just like a message to all fans – if Sakuragi can do it, so can you!
Character Development is Excellent
More than focusing on the importance of basketball basics, Slam Dunk has great character development. From different plotlines to actual character growth, this series shows that a basketball player’s life can be equally touching and exciting as any game!
And the story behind these character developments can actually serve as a great surprise for fans and the series’ creator himself! Takehiko Inoue, the artist who created the series, simply created this series for his love of the game. Similar to Sakuragi, Inoue got into basketball because he wanted to impress girls and be popular in school. But more than those fickle goals, Inoue grew to love basketball.
Perhaps this is one of Slam Dunk’s greatest assets. It’s a simple story but told from the heart! So much so, that not only did the series win tons of awards as being one of the best anime and manga ever created – Slam Dunk created such an impact that most fans during the series’ run in the 90s actually started playing basketball (Japan experienced a boost of basketball players – most of these players attribute Slam Dunk as an inspiration in their games!)!
Real Basketball Concepts
The series wouldn’t have made such an impact only with its amazing characters (well… it can, actually!). Slam Dunk’s great spotlight on real basketball concepts is a winner!
A great example is rebounding. As one of Sakuragi’s first lessons about the game, he learns that it isn’t just points that win a game. In fact, rebounding plays a very important part in the sport. He who controls the rebounds can win possessions, increasing the likelihood to win games!
Another important skill taught in the series is the jump shot. As compared to the crowd-pleasing slam dunk, the jump shot is as basic as it gets. But as Sakuragi discovers, this basic move can very well spell victory in tight games!
So Many Possibilities
Unlike conventional anime stories, Slam Dunk went against the norms (spoiler alert!). Shohoku HIgh (Sakuragi’s team) did topple the best team in the conference – but at the risk of an injury on Sakuragi! Sure enough, Slam Dunk didn’t show the team’s blazing victory towards the conference finals. But it won everyone in the emotional and reality department. The way the story was written is so similar to life – you win some, you lose some.
Also, Slam Dunk also featured tons of characters and teams. There are so many possibilities that may arise from the interactions these characters have with each other. Fandom aside, the very structure of Slam Dunk’s unique main plotline makes it an instant classic!
Speaking more of players, and of course, character development, Slam Dunk’s myriad of characters also mean that fans of all sorts of personalities have someone they can connect to. Aside from Sakuragi’s dedication and even antics, an interesting persona to discover is Hisashi Mitsui. An interesting redemption story, Mitsui showed that hope is always on the horizon – even if you think it’s too late for anything to happen.
Even Mitsuyoshi Anzai, the coach of Shohoku High team, has a very interesting tale to tell. Known before as a demon coach, he eventually became a calm figure on the bench. Considering that a player he managed before died (with that player’s dream of being in the NBA prematurely), Coach Anzai, even if it isn’t that obvious, is dedicated to this players’ welfare and future.
And those are just players from Shohoku! Imagine just how amazing the plot is – Slam Dunk has a very nice and engaging setting to spin stories out from!
Even if you aren’t into basketball, do prepare yourself for some amazing eye-candy designs from Takehiko Inoue. Inoue has impressive character details that do mesh perfectly with each character’s personality. Even the action sequences show how exciting the game of basketball is! Just check out the cover art work and anime production of this series. Slam Dunk is indeed a work of art!
Even the shoe art on this series sizzles! Kudos goes to Sakuragi’s kicks, which showcases legendary footwear from Nike! Perhaps this series should also be a testament on just how great Inoue’s art is. From the initial gag stories to the full-blown basketball sequences of the series, this artist proved to the world that his art can help people find love in basketball. This is all there is to it, right? Pure love for the game of basketball!
Slam Dunk may have been long over, but its legacy lives on strong throughout the years. This just shows how powerful its impact is on the world! We hope you do get the chance to watch this amazing series – you’re missing out a lot if you still haven’t!