Slam Dunk (English)
Suramu Danku (SLAM DUNK) (Japanese)
Author and Artist: Takehiko Inoue
- Shonen (Boys') Manga
About the Manga:
Slam Dunk is a shonen manga series that focuses on one season as played by the Shohoku High basketball team spread out over the course of 31 volumes. Originally featured in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, Slam Dunk is credited with inspiring an entire generation of Japanese boys to take up the sport.
Slam Dunk was adapted into an anime TV series in 1993, and the graphic novels have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
In a poll taken for the 10th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2007, 79,000 Japanese fans chose Slam Dunk as their all-time favorite manga series, beating out manga icons like Dragon Ball and Astro Boy.
About the Author / Artist:
Takehiko Inoue was born in 1967 in Okuchi, Japan. His lifelong love for basketball began in high school when he took up the sport for the same reason that Slam Dunk's hero Sakuragi did: to impress girls. Admittedly a so-so player, Inoue took his passion for the game to create Slam Dunk, one of the most popular sports manga, ever.
Inoue has won numerous awards for his manga, including the Kodansha Manga Award and the Osamu Tezuka Culture Award. His artwork has been featured in anime, television commercials and art exhibits, including a mural that he created for the Books Kinokuniya store in New York City in 2007.
Slam Dunk follows a year in the life of the Shohoku High basketball team as they meet rival teams and strive to win the championship. With guts, determination and luck, this mismatched team grows into a real force to be reckoned with in their league.
The focus of the series is squarely on high school roughneck Hanamichi Sakuragi, and follows his evolution from being a punk who can barely dribble to a star player who can execute show-stopping slam dunks.However, the road to greatness is a rough one, as Sakuragi and his teammates must learn to work as a team, not just a group of individual hotshots.
Red-headed, rowdy and tall, Sakuragi is a high school freshman who looks and acts like a street-fighting punk. While he has a knack for trash-talking first and asking questions later, Sakuragi is a romantic who is heartbroken by his lack of luck with the ladies. So when Haruko asks him if he plays basketball, he immediately says yes, even though he barely knows the rules. Sakuragi's boundless energy and fierce competitive spirit eventually allows him to become one of Shohoku's top players -- but not without some struggles and conflicts along the way.
Cool and confident Rukawa is the strong, silent type. Already recognized as a top athlete from his junior high days, Rukawa immediately establishes himself as a rising star in the Shohoku high team. Focused, skillful and popular with the ladies, Rukawa is everything that Sakuragi is not, so it's little wonder that Sakuragi immediately sets his sights on Rukawa as his rival.
Sweet and pretty freshman Haruko loves basketball. When she spots Sakuragi in the halls on the first days of school, she immediately figures out that his height and strength makes him a great candidate for the basketball team. Haruko's enthusiasm and belief in Sakuragi fuels much of his initial desire to play basketball, and she's always on the sidelines cheering him on. Much to Sakuragi's disappointment, Haruko sees him only as a friend, because she harbors an unrequited crush on Rukawa.
Third year student Takenori is the captain of the Shohoku High basketball team. His passion for basketball makes him a bit of a hard-case, as he can be quite strict with players who don't take the sport as seriously as he does. His great height and strength make him an imposing presence on the courts. Most of his players take him very seriously, with the exception of Sakuragi, who gives him the nickname "Gori," which is short for "gorilla."