Slam Dunk (stylized as SLAM DUNK) is a Japanese sports manga series written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. It tells the story of a basketball team from Shōhoku High School in the Shōnan area of Japan. It was serialized in Shueisha's shnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from October 1990 to June 1996, with the chapters collected into 31 tankōbon volumes. The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Toei Animation which aired from October 1993 to March 1996 and has been broadcast worldwide, enjoying much popularity particularly in Japan, several other Asian countries and Europe. Slam Dunk has 170 million copies in circulation, making it the seventh best-selling manga series in history. In 1994, it received the 40th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shnen category. In 2010, Inoue received special commendations from the Japan Basketball Association for helping popularize basketball in Japan. Hanamichi Sakuragi is a delinquent and the leader of a gang. Sakuragi is very unpopular with girls, having been rejected an astonishing fifty times. In his first year at Shohoku High School, he meets Haruko Akagi, the girl of his dreams, and is overjoyed when she is not repulsed or scared of him like all the other girls he has asked out. Haruko, recognizing Sakuragi's athleticism, introduces him to the Shohoku basketball team. Sakuragi is reluctant to join the team at first, as he has no prior experience in sports and thinks that basketball is a game for losers because his fiftieth rejection was in favor of a basketball player. Sakuragi, despite his extreme immaturity and fiery temper, proves to be a natural athlete and joins the team, mainly in the hopes of impressing and getting closer to Haruko.
Inoue became inspired to make Slam Dunk as he liked basketball since his high school years.
Later on, Sakuragi realizes that he has come to actually love the sport, despite having previously played primarily because of his crush on Haruko. Kaede Rukawa-Sakuragi's bitter rival (both in basketball and because Haruko has a massive crush, albeit one-sided, on Rukawa), the star rookie and a "girl magnet"-joins the team at the same time. Not long after, Hisashi Mitsui, a skilled three-point shooter and ex-junior high school MVP, and Ryota Miyagi, a short but fast point guard, both rejoin the team and together these four struggle to fulfill team captain Takenori Akagi's dream of winning the national championship. Together, these misfits gain publicity and the once little-known Shohoku basketball team becomes an all-star contender in Japan who gained a popularity after defeating one of the powerhouse highschool teams at Interhigh. Inoue became inspired to make Slam Dunk as he liked basketball since his high school years. After Inoue started Slam Dunk, he was surprised when he began receiving letters from readers that said they started playing the sport due to the manga.
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His editor even told him "basketball was a taboo in this world." Due to these letters, Inoue decided he wanted to draw better basketball games in the series. With the series, Inoue wanted to demonstrate the feelings from some athletes such as their thoughts when they win, lose or improve at their sport. When he started making Vagabond, he noted that when he was doing Slam Dunk he had a simpler perspective on life as he focused more in victories and success. With the series, Inoue wants the readers to feel achievements as well as love for the sport. Thinking that his success as a manga artist being largely due to basketball, Inoue organized a Slam Dunk Scholarship for Japanese students as he wanted to give back to the sport by increasing its popularity in Japan. However, when asked about the response from readers to basketball, Inoue commented that although Slam Dunk is technically a basketball manga, its story could have been done with other sports such as football.
He also added that the artwork for the manga was very typical and mangalike in comparison to his newer works such as Real. His experiences with basketball also influenced the story from Slam Dunk: as a youth Inoue started playing basketball to be popular with the girls, but later became interested with the sport in and of itself. This was mirrored in the character of Hanamichi Sakuragi, who starts playing basketball to be popular with the girl he likes, to later become truly fond of the game. In North America, an English version of Slam Dunk was published by the now-defunct Gutsoon! Five collected volumes were published under Gutsoon's Raijin Graphic Novels imprint. After Gutsoon! went out of business, the license for Slam Dunk was purchased by Viz Media, which published a preview of the series in the December 2007 issue of the North American edition of Shonen Jump. As of December 3, 2013, Viz has published all 31 volumes of their translated edition. In 2004, Inoue produced an epilogue titled Slam Dunk: 10 Days After, which was drawn on 23 chalkboards in the former campus of the defunct Misaki High School located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, and was held for public exhibition for three days between December 3 and 5. The epilogue, along with coverage of the event, was reprinted in the February 2005 issue of Switch magazine.
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An anime series, consisting of 101 episodes, was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Nobutaka Nishizawa. It was first broadcast on TV Asahi from October 16, 1993 to March 23, 1996. It was later aired on the satellite television network, Animax, in addition to four animated movies produced. The anime followed the manga storyline, but left out the National Tournament games. Toei once again collected the series in three DVD boxes during 2008. All the three boxes have a total of seventeen discs. To celebrate 20 years since its broadcast, the anime was released on Blu-ray format. Toei and Geneon briefly teamed up to release the anime on DVD in North America after the manga was discontinued, though this was also discontinued after only a few volumes. The first DVD was released on March 15, 2005 and volume 4 was the last one released on June 14, 2005 before they were cancelled. Various episodes from the series were also downloadable in IGN's Direct2Drive service. Toei is currently streaming episodes of the series online for a fee and for free through Crunchyroll. Joost also started airing all 101 episodes as of May 2009 on their website. The music was composed by Takanobu Masuda (from episode 1 to 61) and BMF (from episode 62 to 101). Three CD soundtracks were published during the airing of the series in Japan. Four films were produced by Toei Animation from 1994 to 1995 while the manga and TV series were still running.
Shohoku Saidai no Kiki!
They contain mostly new material that is either only hinted at or is not presented in the manga. Set after Shohoku's practice game against Ryonan, the film focuses on a practice game against Takezono High. Before the game, Sakuragi runs into Yoko Shimura, the girl who rejects him in the very first scene of the series, and Oda, the basketball player she rejected him for. It happens during Shohoku's 4th Round Qualifying game against Tsukubu High. The film features original characters including Godai, an old friend of Akagi and Kogure's, Rango, a wild show-off who is in love with Haruko and quarrels with Sakuragi, and Coach Kawasaki, a former pupil of Anzai-sensei. Shohoku Saidai no Kiki! Set after Shohoku's loss to Kainan, and during a practice match against Ryokufu High. Rukawa's middle school kouhai Ichiro Mizusawa will be paralyzed soon and wishes to have one last game against Rukawa. On January 7, 2021, Slam Dunk's author Takehiko Inoue announced on his Twitter that the series will receive a new anime film by Toei Animation titled The First Slam Dunk. Inoue will be the director and writer of the new film, with Yasuyuki Ebara designing the characters. It will premiere on December 3, 2022 in Japan.
Numerous video games based on the series, mostly developed by Banpresto and produced by Bandai, have been published for the Japanese market. Slam Dunk 2 were released for the Game Boy. Slam Dunk 2: IH Yosen Kanzenban! Slam Dunk games have also been released for the Game Gear, Mega Drive, and Sega Saturn. A Slam Dunk coin-operated arcade game developed by Video System and published by Banpresto was released in 1995, which was called From TV Animation Slam Dunk: Super Slams. During development, the game was called 3 on 3 Dunk Madness and did not have the Slam Dunk license. Characters of the series also appear in the Nintendo DS games Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars. Unofficial game modifications have been made by fans for NBA 2K13 (PC Version). In 1994, Slam Dunk received the 40th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shnen category. 1 manga of all time. In the Japanese government's 2009 Media Arts 100 Poll of the public's favorite works of art of all time, Slam Dunk took first place in the manga division. In a survey from Oricon in 2009, it was ranked first as the manga that fans wanted to be turned into a live-action film.
In November 2014, readers of Media Factory's Da Vinci magazine voted Slam Dunk number 4 on a list of Weekly Shōnen Jump's greatest manga series of all time. 3, only behind One Piece and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. 121 million by 2014, making it Shueisha's fifth best-selling manga series. By 2017, the series had more than 170 million copies in circulation. Until it was broken in 2002, volumes 21 through 23 of Slam Dunk held the record for initial printing of a manga at 2.5 million copies. The print version of Slam Dunk: 10 Days After was popular, having initially ranked 6th and then 15th in Oricon's weekly ranking of manga. The first six volumes of the 2018 shinsōban edition of the original manga all reached the top eight of their release week, with the highest being the first volume at number two. 2018, with 3,486,988,423 in home media (video, music and manga) sales in Japan. The English translation of the manga was listed as one of the best comics of 2008 by Publishers Weekly. Based on the first volume however, his colleague Carl Kimlinger said it came off as more of a romantic comedy than sports manga as it focused on establishing the cast.