‘The First Slam Dunk’: Why Is This Japanese Anime So Beloved?

Anime films and series have a passionate fanbase, rivalled only by the fans of the MCU, the DC Extended Universe or the MonsterVerse. This isn’t surprising, given that some of the most poignant stories about different facets of the human experience have been told in anime. It is no secret that Japanese animated movies are constantly inducing nostalgia with their engrossing storytelling, distinct design and powerful music. One of the most recent examples of this is The First Slam Dunk, a movie which has really struck a chord with people.

‘The First Slam Dunk’: Which iconic manga is it based on?

The First Slam Dunk was released in Hong Kong and Macau on Thursday, creating a whirlwind of nostalgia, emotions and admiration among people who watched it. This mirrors the film’s reception when it was earlier released in South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan.

The film, which was initially released in Japanese theatres, is based on the popular manga Slam Dunk created by Takehiko Inoue. Interestingly, Inoue has also directed the anime film, which probably explains why the adaption has managed to connect with fans of the manga.

What sets this Japanese animation apart from the rest is its integral role in popularising basketball in Japan. Back in the day, it was Inoue’s Slam Dunk manga series that helped make the sport a household name. An anime series based on the manga also aired from October 1993 to March 1996, which further popularised the sport. According to Wikipedia, after the release of the manga, Inoue wished his readers felt the same love for basketball that he felt. It looks like he was successful in this endeavour as the Japan Basketball Association also highlighted Slam Dunk’s contribution to taking basketball’s popularity to new heights.

Inoue also shared that, while he started to play basketball to impress his love interests, he eventually fell in love with the game instead. The movie adaptation too revolves around a similar plotline, wherein the protagonist (Ryota Miyagi) also falls in love with the game.

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The Slam Dunk Scholarship

With a whopping 170 million copies sold in Japan, Slam Dunk was a raging success. It also led to the creation of the Slam Dunk Scholarship which financially supports athletes from Japan who love the game of basketball. The next scholarship programme is scheduled to take place between April 2024 and May 2025. To know more about this scholarship, head to the link here (you might need an extension to translate the page).

Take a look at the nostalgic and heartfelt trailer for ‘The First Slam Dunk’ 

(Hero image credits: Courtesy Instagram/INOUE Takehiko)
(Featured image credits: Courtesy Instagram/INOUE Takehiko)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What does a slam dunk mean?

Answer: Slam dunk is a basketball shot worth two points that involves the player jumping in the air and shoving the ball through the basket.

Question: Is the Slam Dunk anime popular?

Answer: Yes, the Slam Dunk anime series, as well as the movie adaptation, are both quite popular.

Question: Is Slam Dunk based on a true story?

Answer: The manga Slam Dunk is inspired from creator Takehiko Inoue’s personal admiration for the game of basketball.