Slam Dunk is truly one of the greatest animes out there. It's a classic story with memorable characters and exciting games. Despite a few flaws, it does the classic formula right and extremely well. I wholeheartedly recommend Slam Dunk.
Slam Dunk is truly one of the greatest animes out there. It's really hard to summarize how great this show. Slam Dunk has great memorable, extremely likable characters, from Hanamichi Sakuragi and his silly antics to Rukawa Kaede and his amazing skills yet tendency to fall asleep anywhere. Each of the characters have such distinct personalities and their interactions are hilarious, memorable, and sometimes even dramatic. Each character is three-dimensional as well, with the pasts of most characters shown. We get to really understand the feelings and thoughts of every single character. Even the personalities of the enemies are fleshed out. We aren't locked into the usual good guy vs. bad guy. The opposing teams the main characters often face are just as determined and honest as our main characters. Even when our heroes win, we feel for the team that has just lost as well. Also, the characters develop throughout the series, especially Sakuragi. They learn basic morals of determination, patience, hard work, and many others.
The show is also incredibly hilarious, with much humor coming from Hanamichi's total cluelessness to basketball rules. Actually, a majority of the comedy is centered around the extremely likable personality of Hanamichi Sakuragi.
The basketball in this anime is another one of the shows strongest point. They capture almost every aspect and strategy of basketball, and very well too. They cover basics like lay-ups, free-throws, jump shots, three pointers, rebounds, passing, and dribbling. They even cover the more complicated ones like zone defense, boxing out, drawing a foul, finger rolls, posting up, fakes, fade aways, turn around shots, full court press, and alley-oops. Some of the more complicated ones I just said are covered in the manga actually (I'll discuss later). Each of the games are incredibly dramatic, with lots of Oohs and Aahs in the shots and actions. This show is the first time where I actually cheer out when they make a block or a point. This is the first time when I have to hit pause just understand what just happened. Every game is amazing in its own way, where our heroes face different players, different strategies, and different ways of playing. No one is invincible either, where we learn weaknesses of our heroes as well as the enemies. Everyone isn't perfect either, with mistakes made every now and then.
If the characters, drama, humor, and basketball games make up the triple chocolate layer cake, the frosting on the top is the awesome music. Not just the background music, but the Opening and Ending songs to the shows are outstanding. Hands down, the Slam Dunk songs are my favorite anime songs. (especially the 2nd and 3rd ending songs)
Although I'd like to end here, I'd like to explain the 9.9 rating. To be honest, the show is not perfect. Keep in mind that these flaws don't completely take away from the show, it's just the show could have been a perfect 10. Firstly, as many have pointed out, some matches are long and dragged out. Then show almost what everyone is thinking, even characters I don't care about. They also heavily use flashbacks, which can be really annoying. These aren't brand new flashbacks, but flashbacks of episodes before. Also, the show is only 16 or 17 minutes long. Although the download may say 22 minutes, you take away the Opening and Ending song, and the 2 to 3 minute recap at the beginning of the episode, and there you have it. My biggest gripe is that the show ended, but the story did not. The anime barely even covered the championships, and to truly finish the show, you would have to read the manga, by the way, I read it. The manga basketball games are truly the best games in the entire series, and if they turned the final volumes into anime episodes, Slam Dunk would have surpassed all animes out there. If I had a chance, I'd make this 101 episode anime series to about 70 episodes, the final matches would be another 40 to 50 episodes. The final FINAL match in the manga was not even illustrated by the way.
Despite these flaws, the pros of the show more than make up for the cons. When you get a chance, watch the entire series on youtube, finish the manga on mangaspot, and then proceed to buy the DVD's and mangas, which I am currently saving up for. However, I think the dubbed DVD's are discontinued (stopping at episode 20) as well as the English manga.
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