Slam Dunk manga: Where to read, what to expect, and more
The Slam Dunk manga is a testament to the medium's rich history, and it is arguably the most important text when it comes to the spokon genre. Author Takehiko Inoue is one of the medium's all-time greats, and this 90s masterpiece is where he cut his teeth to become a colossus of the manga industry. In fact, his Slam Dunk manga is, as of this article's writing, the seventh highest-selling story of all time in this medium.
There is much to like in the Slam Dunk manga, whether it is the charismatic and outrageous protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi, the strong characterization of the entire class, or how Inoue's art evolves from amazing to borderline perfect. It is one of those manga series that can be enjoyed even by people who don't like sports, as the message it conveys—to give your everything for something you're passionate about—is universal and very relatable.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for the Slam Dunk manga.
The Slam Dunk manga is one of the most popular mangas in the spokon genre
Where to read
Interested readers can read the Slam Dunk manga on the Viz Media website, who have translated the entire series into English. There is also an option to buy the manga, which can be a great investment for those who enjoy collecting the series as a whole.
When it comes to other options on the physical copies side of things, Amazon is always the best way to go. In this case, the entire series can be found and bought in English, which makes things easier for most people. The manga can also be bought in other languages.
What to expect
Teenager Hanamichi Sakuragi is a classic example of an early 90s Japanese delinquent—he doesn't do well in school, doesn't do well in love, and only does well when it comes to fighting. He doesn't seem to have any interest in anything, until he falls in love with a girl named Haruko, who loves basketball and joins his school's team to impress her.
The Slam Dunk manga shows how Sakuragi has no knowledge of basketball, its rules, or its tactics, so the series helps newcomers who don't understand the sport quite a lot. The protagonist learns a lot about the game and begins to develop a love for it, which is something that plays a huge role as the story progresses, particularly when it comes to decisions he makes along the way.
Inoue also spends a lot of time in developing other characters, with the team's captain, Akagi (also Haruko's older brother), and Rukawa, the star player, being two central focuses. Other teams also get a lot of exposure and development, which makes the series feel a lot more vast, and every game is executed in a way that is both compelling and almost artistic in terms of how events are portrayed.
While basketball is obviously a heavy focus of the series, there can be entire chapters where a single ball is not played. This is because Inoue places a lot of emphasis on characterization, and the series' focus can range from spokon and romance to comedy and a lot more.
The Slam Dunk manga is a major piece of the medium's history, and its place is well-deserved as the series is as good as it was when it was ongoing.
Hanamichi's journey from a delinquent without dreams or ambitions to a man fully dedicated to the sport is a story that deserves to be enjoyed by everybody.