Ephemeral-Garden's Slam Dunk Manga Review

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk manga Review

Story & Playability

Slam Dunk is first introduced with an infamous red-head delinquent, Sakuragi Hanamichi, a first year freshman in Shohoku High School, a total failure in romance when he got rejected by the 50th girl he proposed to. Due to his infamous records back when he was in his junior high, most girls are afraid of him.

But later, a girl named Haruko approached him, asking him if he is interested in basketball due to his height of 188cm. From here on, Sakuragi was introduced to join Shohoku's basketball team because of Haruko, who apparently is Sakuragi's current love interest which is a fan of basketball herself, lead by Haruko's brother, Akagi Takenori. And from then on, Sakuragi's life has changed and with the potential Haruko's seen through him, Shohoku slowly began building it's strength and has dropped the title of being the one team from Kanagawa which never won a single basketball match.

Slam Dunk is a manga series which runs for 31 volumes by Inoue Takehiko, dated back from 1990 to 1996. Shohoku High School Basketball Club is the focus of our manga here, and starting out with Shohoku being a one-man only team for the last 2 years because Akagi was the only one who should not be messed with, but he alone isn't enough to win a match for the school.


Sakuragi Hanamichi - Like I said, a red-head delinquent who likes to fight with people and knocks people down with his forehead. But sooner, Haruko introduced him to the basketball team with quite a bumpy start, as he's a total newbie in this particular sports. But overtime, he became an essential asset to the team and became one of the main players, mostly to rebound his way to the team's victory, wearing jersey #10 playing the position as Power Forward (PF).

Rukawa Kaede - Your bishie in Slam Dunk. He is a total opposite of Sakuragi; he's good at basketball, girls like him, he's cool. The only thing these 2 share in common are bad grades and fighting ability (but this is not the main point). He's a kick-ass basketball player, can play all kinds of position on the court, shoots every type of balls despite only being a first year. His ability is well-known and Akagi placed hope on him when the story first began. He's overall, Slam Dunk's Sasuke, only that his percentage of being punched on the face by me is way lower than Sasuke because, well, he's just good. He wears jersey #11 as Small Forward (SF).

Miyagi Ryota - We don't find much shorter basketball players than him. With the height of only 168cm (a second year at that), he's not to be underestimated as he makes up his weaknesses by his incredible speed, smooth passes and court awareness; he's the one commanding when it comes to the floor. He, like Sakuragi, has no hope in romance as it was explained he was rejected 10 times (not as bad as Sakuragi). He appear later in the story due to his fight with Mitsui and was hospitalized. Wearing jersey #7, he rules the court as Point Guard (PG).

Mitsui Hisashi - An ex-MVP back when he was in junior high. Why? Cause his accuracy for shooting 3-pointers is 99.9% and he saved his team from losing during the last minute with Anzai-sensei's encouragement back in junior high. He was the one who caused Miyagi to be hospitalized before he joined the team later on. He used to be Akagi's rival back when they were in first year. After 2 years of hiatus from basketballing, he's back with jersey #14 as Shooting Guard (SG). He's da bomb!

Akagi Takenori - Our gorilla (as labeled by Sakuragi) who's now leading the Shohoku basketball team. He has a huge love for basketball and gets ticked off when anyone insults his favourite sports, and thus Sakuragi has paid the price but in the end humiliating Akagi himself. Unlike the other 4 members, Akagi's extremely good in his studies and doesn't get himself into fights, well, cause he knows the consequences of getting into fight as the leader of the basketball club. He's Haruko's brother, a shocking fact Sakuragi have to accept despite the huge differences in these siblings. Plays as Center (C) in jersey #4, he's the pillar in Shohoku with amazing body-build; gori!

Basketball. This one word is enough to explain the plot of Slam Dunk. Shohoku grows as more stronger members joins the team. From the unheard losers from Kanagawa, they eventually made their way into the National Championships (although losing to Kainan during the Kanagawa prefecture team selection), which has been Akagi's dream. This manga has caused most teenagers who read them to start picking basketball up nationwide so what else you have to say? If you like basketball, you'll be hooked up. If you don't there's still something else that'll make you like this manga anyway. I'm a big fan of basketball, so I love Slam Dunk. The storyline is very realistic, basketball-oriented plot targeted at teenagers and we get to see Anzai exploit Sakuragi's natural-talent in sports as he grow in just 4 short months. (Well that's just Inoue Takehiko!)

Rating: 8


We're talking about Inoue Takehiko. Are you kidding? This guy has awesome drawing skills! Although his drawing looks a little quirky when the manga first published but soon his drawing style improved and became much more smooth and neat, pleasant to the eyes after the mid volumes. What really makes me fall in love with Inoue's drawing is that the characters looks realistic, but not too realistic like Hojo Tsukasa's. And what sets him aside from the rest of all the famous manga-kas we've known is that the beauty of his drawing is so powerful that even though his characters has funny hairsyles and old-fashioned, his amazing drawing skills just pulls everyone's attention away from that kind of thoughts and makes the manga looks refreshing and new.

And most notably, Slam Dunk is just full of details thanks to Inoue. Ranging from shades, complicated little backgrounds such as basketball rings, foldings, and even the brand of everyone's shoes like Nike, Asics, Converse, Adidas. No matter how small the details are, he never misses one, which makes his drawings near perfect; they just never lose their sparks no matter how many times I flip through them.

Well, overall, the art section is just awesome. But his early drawings are a little weird and quirky unlike his latest style, so I'd give him a 9. Inoue is just great, and you're going to face my fists if you rate his art lower than 9.

Rating: 9


Unfortunately you can't hear any sound in manga, so I'll talk about the dialogs delivery instead. Well I think the dialogs in Slam Dunk can be very funny. I never seen any players with so much free time on the court to the point where they even insult, provoke, joke around and even argue with each other; this is really something basketball players should try to keep the mood up during matches.

But most of the humor in Slam Dunk comes from Sakuragi himself. Without him, Shohoku would not be as lively as it would be right now. Shameless and full of pride, he rarely addresses everyone with their proper names (except those he's quite attached to). Otherwise, he'll just refer them with animal titles like Gorilla (Akagi), Fox (Rukawa), Monkey Boss (Uozumi), South African Gorilla (Kawata) and so on. His ability to crack smiles at everyone's faces has been acknowledged by Ayako back in chapter 8 of Volume 1.

So overall, the dialogs are great. They're serious when it's serious, funny when it should be applied although the dialog is nearly non-existent in the last volume. But it's really good.

Rating: 8


I just enjoy Slam Dunk. No, I enjoy everything from Inoue Takehiko. I play a little basketball but that is just one of the long-listing reasons to why I'm hooked with Slam Dunk. Having a complete collection of Slam Dunk is like owning a pile of gold. Unlike most shounen mangas, Inoue's usually full of guys with countable number of female characters, mostly good-looking ones of course. He don't really draw much about romantic relationships and focuses heavily on basketball matches and character's progression.

The ending is just great. It just leaves you with the feeling like "Owh... that's just great. Awesome. I'm touched to tears." The ending is just something you can't describe with words. But the feeling is just... blissful.

Slam Dunk might be old, but I still love it. You can never find a perfect manga like Inoue's. And if you want to know more about Slam Dunk, I suggest you to just read the manga, skip the anime. The anime isn't as good as the manga version, although with more match details which has been left out in the manga.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.50 (very good)

Reviewed by Ephemeral-Garden, Feb 28, 2007


  1. shoujoboy Mar 01, 2007

    I've thought about picking the anime up on a few occasions, but its just I really rarely read manga unless I'm absolutely enthralled by the anime material. Backwards? Sure. But that's just me. Regardless, very detailed and very enthusiastic review. I like when you can just get a sense of the feeling the writer is trying to portray with their score, and you did exactly that. An asset to MT reviewing.

  2. Akaiken Mar 01, 2007

    Only saw the anime and it was really great! XD

    What do you mean Rukawa's Sasuke? Rukawa's already born before him! It's not CooL! >_<

  3. PureInnocence Jan 04, 2008

    I love the manga and anime. own them both.

    Rukawa is not Slam Dunk's Sasuke! He's way stronger and Cooler than Sasuke in Naruto. That's practically an insult.

  4. beyondmeasure Jan 24, 2008

    One of the great anime of the early 90's...

    ... and, I'd like to point out that no other sports-oriented anime after Slam Dunk got such prestige as this one.

    Slam Dunk.

  5. rukasu04 Mute Member Nov 30, 2009

    Nice review, thanks

  6. SchRita Jan 15, 2010

    Thanks for the review!

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