During a rare one week break that I had, I picked Slam Dunk from my to-watch list to entertain myself throughout the Chinese New Year holidays. I didn’t enjoy the series as much as I thought I would. Basketball is my thing, I love watching the games even though I probably know nothing about it.
See, the reasons I love watching sports anime are the adrenaline rush and the excitement. With Slam Dunk though, instead of getting the doses that I need, I got annoyed. I’m well aware that Slam Dunk is a wildly popular series, even among non-anime fans. Unfortunately though, I don’t think the series is my cup of tea.
Here’s why. (Please don’t throw shoes at me if you’re a Slam Dunk fan).
This is probably the first time I describe an anime being noisy. Seriously, if anyone asked my opinion about Slam Dunk, that’s the first word that came to mind. NOISY. And I wasn’t even talking about the cheers in matches. Those, I think I can understand although Rukawa fangirls are a annoying bunch.
I’ll probably forget about the intense cheering after a few weeks, but I’ll never forget the main character Sakuragi Hanamichi’s annoying laughter (this is coming from a person who watches One Piece, which is filled with a variety form of laughters…) and baseless claim of being a basketball genius. Being originally a gangster with quite the reputation, the main character often resorted to violence to resolve nagging issues. Also, it doesn’t help that 3 out of 5 starting members of Shohoku are originally troublemakers to begin with.
Plus, having Ryonan’s Aida Hikoichi around is a pain. His favorite phrases – “Unbelievable ya” and “Yo checku ya” (spelling based on what I heard) were funny at first. After a few more episodes, I wish I see less of him.
Long & “Draggy” Matches
I’m glad I watched Slam Dunk after it’s completed. Otherwise, I think I’ll loose my patience waiting to find out who won a match. I already know I’m the impatient viewer so I put both Kuroko no Basuke Season 2 and Saki: The Nationals on hold until it’s finished before I start watching. I did that with Chihayafuru and enjoyed the two seasons tremendously.
With Slam Dunk, I thought I could get the same adrenaline rush I get from watching Kuroko but boy, instead of feeling excitement I began to get annoyed. Here’s why – the matches are very long! Shohoku vs Ryonan match alone took well over ten episodes to complete. An episode can consists only 45 seconds of a match or a single shot. It’s a bit too long for my taste. Instead of feeling the rush, I got bored. And it’s not like there’s anything really exciting about the matches like Kuroko’s (Slam Dunk’s matches are more realistic in that sense). On top of that, I had to deal with Sakuragi’s constant chant of being a genius.
So yeah, I’m glad I watch it after the series is finished. Otherwise, I’ll probably feel like I’m watching Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu‘s Endless Eight.
One of the reasons why the matches are too long is because of repeated flashbacks. They’re the same flashbacks I’ve seen a million times over the course of the 101 episodes. I grew tired of watching Mitsui’s reason for attending Shohoku because it’s played over and over again. And I grew tired of certain part of previous being played repeatedly as part of some player’s flashback. It’s fine if it’s a fresh flashback on a player’s past because that allows me to learn more about them. Repeated flashback though is another story. It ruined my viewing experience.
Again, if I were to watch this on weekly basis, I probably would have gone insane.
Slam Dunk is not without its positive points. As much as I dislike Sakuragi Hanamichi, his perseverance and determination are some of the qualities I enjoy watching. In fact, all of the players carry the “must-win” attitude and I believe this fires up any viewer who has goals they want to achieve in their lives. It took
Gori Akagi Takenori three years to make to the National Championship. Slam Dunk carries a message – Nothing comes easy and perseverance will win.
Although these points will never overshadow the irritating issues I dealt with watching the series.
P.S. I was going to say there are no likeable characters in the series, but I do think Sendoh’s a likeable character. He’s calm, collected and quiet…