Slam Dunk: Unbelievable Ya

Slam Dunk Sakuragi Hanamichi

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).

Slam Dunk Shohoku


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.

Slam Dunk Sendoh

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.

Slam Dunk Rukawa Vs Sakuragi

Repeated Flashbacks

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…


9 thoughts on “Slam Dunk: Unbelievable Ya

  1. Slam Dunk was something I was really big into back in the day, it’s got ridiculously long-winded matches though, and the ending sucked balls. Not a very good adaptation. Would like to see it get rebooted with fixed pacing and the Nationals too.

    I had the fortune of watching Slam Dunk back in my early years when I was a far more patient viewer. It still has a lot of staying power with me because of the positives you mentioned, but it’s something I don’t want to revisit.

    • I totally agree – I’d like to see a rebooted version with better pacing and with the whole manga series adapted. Stopping at the place it did, it left a lot to be desired in the sense that I wanted to see how far Shohoku go in the Nationals and the challenging opponents they have to meet along the way. With how things ended, Slam Dunk was made to look like it has unfinished business, especially to those who aren’t reading the manga.

      Thanks for reading and taking time to comment, Gedata. =)

  2. 101 episodes! you really like these superlong animes ^^
    Yet it’s remarkable that you could finish it, even with a medicore watching experience.

    It sounds like bold show with thughs as characters.
    As youngster I really liked basketball, but baseball is my favorite sport in anime, I like the way it’s played. Haha I roughly know the rules to be honest and when watching Diamond no Ace I really don’t get the rules XD

    • It’s just a coincidence, I swear >.<.
      Well, I watched in during my holidays so I guess that somewhat motivated me to complete the series after knowing I put it off long enough.

      Your interpretation is just about right. It's always full of fights and more of a fist-fest than basketball series. Haha, I watched a few episodes of Diamond no Ace. I probably will continue once it's completed. Sports anime are best watch marathon-style =).

  3. by the way the game with ryonan lasted 18 eps. i ended up skipping 10 eps so I can reach the conclusion of the match. The other points you raised are valid. There is something important you forget: disruption of the flow of games.

    Sakuragi’s antics destroy the flow of too many games. Just when you think the game gets exciting, there is a pause for sakuragi to advertise his stupidity to everyone else. This greatly annoys me. The shows producers made it a point that each and every episode should dedicate at least half of the show to his antics.

    Character development is increadibly terrible in this series. Basically with each and every ‘arc’, it consists of:
    Akagi screaming even louder about the nationals
    Rukawa being more withdrawn from everyone else
    Sakuragi learning a new technique and everyone screaming how amazing his progress is
    Mitsui dismantling our eyes with his flashbacks
    Ryota daydreaming about Ayako
    Megane kun bemoaning his last summer with each and every game.

    Another problem with this anime is over-analysis of games. Basically with each and every game with have a panel of experts, huge section of the crowd, giving their views on the game. This waste a considerable amount of time as one is not merely dealing with one person giving their view, but usually at least 10.

    The good and the bad. Why do anime and manga creators always feel the need for there to be a bad guy in everything. This series has that in abundance. Every team shohoku usually faces the is an evil person some where in their starting line up. This is usually manifested in fouls, the bad guy never gets caught for fouling the but the opposite can never be said of shohoku.

    And I hate hanamichi

    Except for that you pretty much touched on everything which is wrong with this anime

    • I couldn’t agree more on what you said about the disruption of the flow of games and the sort of “must-have” in each match. It gets tiring after seeing the same old thing getting repeated or more or less the same thing is shown. Nothing’s new with Hanamichi’s antics. It’s always him monkeying around. And nothing’s new with the flashbacks.

      Hmmm…I never thought about the over-analysis part, but yes, we don’t need too many point-of-views. It’s fine with just a few, since there may be certain things the audience missed. Even the characters on the sideline are annoying.

      It’s really hard to find nice things to say about Slam Dunk.

  4. Pingback: Why I Like Sports Anime? | World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko

  5. Pingback: Why I Like Kuroko no Basuke? | World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko

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