Sports mangas and animes are a dime a dozen now these days and out of 100% of them, none of them don’t stand out at all or don’t bring anything new to the table. In the entire history of this genre, there is a very small, and I do mean a small list of sports manga and animes that left an everlasting impact on both pop culture and real life. A perfect example of this would be Captain Tsubasa, thanks to both manga and mostly the anime series, inspired many of the greatest footballers around the world to become the best at what they do, this huge list includes Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Lukas Podolski, Kylian Mbappe and Kaka to name a few. Besides Captain Tsubasa, another series would do the same and that series is Slam Dunk.
The series was created by Takehiko Inoue, who is also famous for doing the series Vagabond, a series about Miyamoto Musashi, and Real, a series about wheelchair basketball. Slam Dunk manga series ran from 1990 till 1996 and in 1993 the TV series started to air and ran from 1993 till early 1996, just months before the manga series ended. The series is about Hanamichi Sakuragi, a delinquent and gang leader who after getting shot down by a girl that he likes the fifty times, starts his first year at Shohoku High School. He soon falls in love with Haruko Akagi and she introduces him to basketball and the rest is history. From here on out in the series run we are introduced to other characters and also see Sakuragi growth from being a walk-on player to being a power forward and ended up loving the game, despite the ups and downs that come with the game and life as well.
The anime series had a lot to live up to as the manga was on top of the world in Japan and it did. From the amazing opening theme, the voice acting and just like the manga showed the realism of how life is for a high school athlete to juggle both their personal life and professional life as well.
Both the manga and anime series ended in 1996, it did what no other sports manga and anime since Captain Tsubasa did, and it spark a huge interest in many in Asia about Basketball in the 90s and still to this day. I was in high school when I read and saw Slam Dunk and while I watch the NBA in the 90s, the series showed the love and passion for the game. Do yourself a favor and watch this series and if you get lucky watch the First Slam Dunk it’s a hell of a great film.