Anime Vice News

SLAM DUNK #1 -- Watch & Learn

This guy's got to use some zone defense to get out of the friend zone. Or something.

Somehow, for some reason, I get the idea the creator was Bulls fan.
Somehow, for some reason, I get the idea the creator was Bulls fan.

For a show that I’ve never actually watched before, SLAM DUNK’s conjuring several levels of nostalgia.

My first encounter with this franchise was way back when I was growing up in Singapore. My barber had copies of the manga right next to volumes of OLD MASTER Q in the waiting area. I remember flipping through the pages and having no idea what the story was because the text was in Mandarin (or maybe Cantonese. I wouldn’t have known the difference.) I remember wondering what the reasoning and appeal was for doing a comic about sports. Most of all, I remember all the gross hairs that were peppered on every page.

A second level of nostalgia lies in the rendering of the actual animation. I can practically smell the plastic packaging and other assorted semi-anti-septic odors that would be floating around the department stores stocking the VHS or laser disc of this in the 90s. I don’t know why anime of this era triggers such strong olfactory memories, but it does.

Finally, the subject matter of this episode just makes me think of all the time I spent in rec leagues and basketball camps throughout middle school. At the time, the experiences weren’t too pleasant, actually. I was overweight. I had trouble keeping up. I got picked on a lot. Somehow, I only think of the simplicity of those times, now, though. Back when a day could be concerned with playing knock-out, eating cheap pizza and learning my fun-damentals.

I’ve digressed so much because this is such a simple show. And it’s so fun because of that. I’ve found that these long-running shows have the best first episodes (as you’d expect) and this is no exception. It’s really one of the best high school shows I’ve watched so far, because the humor’s simply funny, the character drama’s simply relatable and the whole frame work of b-ball rivalries provides some simple conflict.

I feel like there's some pun to be found in this guy needing to use some zone defense to get out of the friend zone with that girl, though...

Watch this episode, "Birth of a Basketball Genius?!” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

shiro11on Nov. 11, 2011 at 6:37 a.m.

Best sports anime ever

NakAttackon Nov. 11, 2011 at 7:47 a.m.

@shiro11: i disagree, that still goes to hajime no ippo.

NectariaKiritsion Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
 I have watched this anime when I was a kid.  It was alright not the best anime I have seen.
JediAutoboton Nov. 11, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.

Love the show and the manga, and being from Chicago, love the Bulls colors :)

AlwaysBeClothingon Nov. 11, 2011 at 9:59 a.m.

KIMI GA SUKI DA TO SAKE BITAI!

During my young and impressionable youth, it made me get really into basketball. Having them based on bulls players only makes me enjoy them more.

zaldaron Nov. 11, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.

bleh. I don't want anime for simple shows. I can watch any western sitcom for that. Very much not interested in this one.

Dunchadon Nov. 11, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.

@NakAttack said:

@shiro11: i disagree, that still goes to hajime no ippo.

I disagree - Ippo can't hold a candle to Touch.

Slam Dunk definitely is a decent sports anime. Though I think I prefer Buzzer Beater as far as basketball goes, because it's just more exciting and flashy.

Doppelgameron Nov. 11, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.

Once again with the Hulu. If you can, please use someone else. Your customers outside of the US will thank you. Other than that, thanks for reminding me of this show.

csl316on Nov. 11, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.

I remember when I came by my buddy's a few years ago and noticed this was on his computer.

And being stunned by what I was witnessing.

KuroNekoXIIIon Nov. 11, 2011 at 1:18 p.m.

This was one of my favorite anime shows growing up and it brings back so many nostalgic memories

I used to watch it dubbed in my native language when I was in elementary school, but after reading this, I want to start watching the original Japanese dub

GaspoweRon Nov. 11, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.

Man, they never actually got to finish the anime did they? I love Slam Dunk. It was actually the reason why I was able to perform a proper free throw when I was growing up. That episode of the coach teaching Sakuragi how to do a free throw actually helped me! :)

Mezmeroon Nov. 18, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.

Speaking as a self proclaimed expert on sports animes I'll say that while this show doesn't have the most striking animation style it more than makes up for it by having perhaps one of the best main characters in any sports series. Too many protagonists in these types of shows fall short of their potential by just having super boiler plate personalities. On paper, having noble goals like "win the championship at all cost" or "win it for the team" are nice, but Sakuragi is great because he doesn't follow such selfless trends. He's a dude who starts out using basketball to satisfy his completely selfish desires and he does it with such incompotent flair that you can't help but cheer him on from beginning to end. I think the only other great main character in a sports show is Joe from Ashita no Joe, which I only started watching recently. I'm always shocked to find myself enjoying these classics and I hope you try a couple more older shows for W&L in the future.

Dig Deeper into Slam Dunk

The unimaginably popular tale of an outcast named Sakuragi who becomes a basketball star at the behest of a girl he's interested in.

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