I don’t read much sports manga. You know this. I don’t care for sports. So years ago, I picked up “Slam Dunk”, not in an effort to mix up my reading selection, but because I liked the theme of the anime. My brother mocked me forever after about that.
Slam Dunk. It’s amazing. I didn’t like it back then, but now I can appreciate it for what it is: A romp of sports, romance, and drama. Plus, the first chapter is in color! That’s neat! I like that!
Plot: Hanamichi is a scary-looking guy, but all he wants is a girlfriend! After 50 rejections in junior high, a cute girl, Haruko, takes an interest in him. Although he doesn’t realize that she only likes him for his body… 6″2, perfect for basketball, Haruko’s favorite sport. In a blind attempt to gain her love, Hanamichi tries to join the basketball team, but makes a poor impression on the captain. Will he be able to join?
Hanamichi is probably the best lead role the author could have chosen. He’s tall, but horribly inexperienced. This means we start the basketball aspect from the ground up. On top of that, it’s plausible for Hanamichi to be chosen, as opposed to a typical modern-day male lead loser, who would be bad at sports and short. It’s thought-out.
The manga is no slouch in the humor department. I cracked up at Hanamichi’s fantasy about what would happen if everything went his way. It’s a manga that likes to have fun with itself, and there’s no shame in that.
Except for the pants-pulling scene.
Yeah, Hanamichi and the captain of the team get into a game, and Hanamichi accidentally pulls his trunks down, exposing his butt. Neat. Hey, Slam Dunk, repeat that scene as many times as you can! It never gets old!
I like how the first manga doesn’t focus solely on the basketball aspect. Otherwise, I might have been turned off. In fact, the first volume ends with Hanamichi quitting the team, and… well, I’m just guessing here, but I assume that next volume has him back on the squad. Just a guess. Probably wrong.
After reading this manga, I don’t really have much appreciation for basketball, but I do for the manga itself. Hanamichi is a great lead, and some of the side characters can be very entertaining. Haruko is kind of disappointing, since she just kind of nests into her role as nice girl, but her basketball fixation and crush on Rukawa, Hanamichi’s rival, makes her more appealing than she could have been.
I recommend this manga. It’s a great travelling companion, specifically for a buddy-movie. Starring Zach Galifinikasnankak. As the straight man, oddly enough.
I guess you could say that Slam Dunk… is a home run!
Note to self, if I ever want to plagiarize Slam Dunk, make it about baseball and call it Home Run. 100 million copies right there, guys.