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Description

Slam Dunk is not just about basketball (as its title obviously implies). It is also a funny and inspiring look into the development of a character, as he learns and matures through adolescence. This is the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi, a freshman high school student in Shohoku High, who has the dubious honor of having been rejected by fifty (that's 50!) girls he courted in his junior high years. Hanamichi, being a proud one, hated having such a dismal "batting average" with girls. His last rejection was from a girl who chose a basketball player over him. So, any mention (or even hint) of the word "basketball" from his classmates gets them a lump on the head courtesy of a Hanamichi head-butt!

Thus Hanamichi wallows in despair... until he bumps into Haruko, who notices Hanamichi's height and athletic build and innocently asks, "Do you like basketball?" Hanamichi is instantly smitten by Haruko's beauty and confidently answers, "Of course I do!" when the reality of it is he has never even held a basketball in his entire life!

So like any other lovestruck boy, Hanamichi goes about proving his love for basketball in order to impress Haruko. But it is easier said than done, as he encounters many obstacles, primarily another freshman named Rukawa Kaede. Rukawa was a basketball MVP player in his junior high years and a strong contender for Rookie of the Year in their district, and he is the one who Haruko admires! Likewise, things don't go easy in the basketball club when he decides to join and show off after inadvertently butting horns with the club leader and Shohoku High basketball team captain Akagi, who just happens to be Haruko's older brother!

But for Haruko's love Hanamichi will endure anything, and thus begins his trials of learning basketball from the ground up and getting along with his teammates in the basketball club, and eventually the Shohoku High team, which include both Rukawa and Akagi!


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Teams

Aiwa High School
Aiwa is ranked 4th in Japan and was favored to win the Aichi Interhigh Tournament, but was upset by Meihou. Shohoku faces them in the third round of the National Championship and loses to them because they were exhausted from the Sannoh match. The team's captain, Dai Moroboshi, is known as the "Star of Aichi" and knows Maki. He was injured by Meiho's Hiroshi Morishige during the Aichi Interhigh finals, and despite returning to the game later, could not push Aiwa over the top. Some consider Moroboshi as the only one who can beat Sannoh's Eiji Sawakita in a one-on-one, though Moroboshi himself does not think so.


Daiei High School
Daiei (Daiei Gakuen) is the lead representative for Osaka in the National Championship, having beaten Toyotama. Their captain, Atsushi Tsuchiya, is also the top player for the team, and proved key in their victory.


Jousei High School
Jousei is ranked 8th in Japan, and the main representative for the Shizuoka Prefecture. Their coach is a former pupil of Coach Anzai's, and prior to the start of the National Championship, Shohoku (minus Sakuragi, who undergoes a weeklong training on how to shoot from Coach Anzai) visits them for a weeklong training camp that includes three matches, resulting in a win, loss, and tie for Shohoku. They are knocked out of the National Championship in the second round by Meihou, in a match where Morishige alone eclipses the whole opposite team, leaving the team captain, Mikoshiba, greatly depressed.


Kainan University Affiliated High School
The Kainan University Affiliated High School basketball team is a fictional Japanese high school basketball team depicted in the anime and manga series Slam Dunk from Kanagawa Prefecture. Kainan has won the Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament for 17 years running and are known as the "Kings of Kanagawa." Their entire team is composed of elite players and demonstrates incredible stamina and defensive ability. The team has no notable weaknesses. Kainan lost in the semifinals in the previous National Championship, where they faced the defending champion Sannoh, losing by 30 points. At the end of the manga, they are ranked number 2 in Japan.

Meihou High School
Meihou is a surprise newcomer to the National Championship, knocking off the favorite Aiwa to qualify as the lead representative for Aichi. They are spearheaded by a massive first year student, Hiroshi Morishige (so massive, he can take Sakuragi down with a mere nudge - given by Sakuragi himself). Meihou beat Jousei in the second round of the National Championship.


Miuradai High School
Miuradai faces Shohoku in the first round of the Interhigh Tournament. They do well at first, because Takenori Akagi is the only one of the five starters to actually start the game, the other four being temporarily benched by Coach Anzai for fighting. The tide turns against Miuradai once the other four starters enter the court and Shohoku is restored to full strength. Miuradai is quite a self-confident team, whose members - particularly their captain, Kengo Murasame - only respect Kainan as an opponent.

One character who only appears in the anime, Tetsuya Naito, is enrolled in the ranks of Miuradai as a substitute Power forward and a brute physical force - he used to play for the Miuradai rugby team, but he was dissatisfied with the lack of challenge and dropped out after Murasame approached him. Naito's inexperience as a basketball player is quickly exposed by Rukawa though, and Shohoku go on to win decisively. In the end, Naito ends up knocked out after Sakuragi (who was pissed off after Naito blocked him several times successfully) tries to use a slam dunk, yet ends up bashing him on the head by mistake.


Ryonan High School
The Ryonan High School basketball team is a fictional Japanese high school basketball team depicted in the anime and manga series Slam Dunk from Kanagawa Prefecture. Ryonan is considered one of the top teams in Kanagawa along with Shoyo and Kainan, the defending Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament champion for 17 years running. The team was seeded first in their respective division during the Interhigh Tournament. However, their main weaknesses are the lack of a star point guard and a three-point shooter.


Ryokofu High School
Ryokofu appears in the third OVA, inviting Shohoku for a friendly match right after their defeat from Kainan. They are a relatively new team, but were a force to be feared as their ranks included star players from junior high, including their half-American ace, Michael Okita.


Sannoh Industry Affiliated High School
The Sannoh Industry Affiliated High School basketball team is a fictional Japanese high school basketball team depicted in the manga series Slam Dunk from Akita Prefecture. They are one of the few teams depicted in Slam Dunk who do not appear in the anime.

Sannoh has been the defending national champion for three years running and is ranked as an AA team. They are considered the top high school team in Japan and have been a dominant force in high school basketball for years. The team has mastered the full court press defense and can trap even the fastest point guards and immobilize their opponents' offense.

Aside from the players here mentioned, their ranks also include shooting guard Minoru Matsumoto (jersey #6), which is a standard starter unless Ichinokura is designed to replace him.


Shohoku High School
The Shoyo High School basketball team is a fictional Japanese high school basketball team depicted in the anime and manga series Slam Dunk from Kanagawa Prefecture. Shoyo is considered the top rival of Kainan, the top team in the prefecture and defending Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament champions for 17 years running. The team was seeded first in their respective division during the Interhigh Tournament, and is the only team so seeded not to make it into the final four because of their loss to Shohoku. The height of Shoyo's players are among the tallest in Kanagawa; this was revealed in their match against Shohoku, where only Akagi was as tall as his marker (Toru Hanagata). However, their one weakness is the lack of a dedicated coach and Kenji Fujima is forced to play the roles of both coach and point guard. Shoyo is known for their large cheering section, all of whom are members of the basketball club but are not actually players.



Shoyo High School
The Shoyo High School basketball team is a fictional Japanese high school basketball team depicted in the anime and manga series Slam Dunk from Kanagawa Prefecture. Shoyo is considered the top rival of Kainan, the top team in the prefecture and defending Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament champions for 17 years running. The team was seeded first in their respective division during the Interhigh Tournament, and is the only team so seeded not to make it into the final four because of their loss to Shohoku. The height of Shoyo's players are among the tallest in Kanagawa; this was revealed in their match against Shohoku, where only Akagi was as tall as his marker (Toru Hanagata). However, their one weakness is the lack of a dedicated coach and Kenji Fujima is forced to play the roles of both coach and point guard. Shoyo is known for their large cheering section, all of whom are members of the basketball club but are not actually players.



Takezato High School
Takezato was seeded first in its respective bracket in the Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament and makes the final four. However, they prove to be the weakest team present, losing to Shohoku, Ryonan, and Kainan and finishing fourth.


Takezono High School
Takezono is the team for which Tatsumasa Oda, the boy for whom Sakuragi suffered his 50th rejection, plays. Unluckily, their last match in the Kanagawa Tournament is against the reigning champion Kainan, who beats them handily with a reserve team, the only starters to play being Jin and Muto.

Sakuragi, who at first mistakenly thought that Oda was mistreating his girlfriend Yoko Shimamura, wanted Takezono to win so he could face Oda again (Shohoku and Takezono face each other in the first Slam Dunk OVA, in a friendly match). Oda was injured, but played all the same. However, none of these events are mentioned in the manga. That Oda is playing in Takezono or that Shohoku played them are also not mentioned.


Toyotama High School
Toyotama is the runner-up team from Osaka in the National Championship, having lost to Daiei. They are an A ranked team and almost all of their starters are third years.

Shohoku faces them in the first round of the National Championship, where Toyotama show a talent for getting away with violent, flagrant fouls, not to mention the constant teasing from the crowd, that constantly yells, swears and threatens the opposite team. They have mastered the run and gun style of play and divide their effort between 80% offense and 20% defense. Their main weakness was the replacement of their coach, Jiei, who nurtured the team's offensive philosophy and is widely respected by the players. His replacement, on the other hand, Kitano, emphasizes defensive basketball, which the players have difficulty adjusting to. Because of this, they prefer to play their own way than listening to their new coach.

The Toyotama match only appears in the manga. One of the reserve players, Teruo Okawa, is a friend of Hikoichi Aida's from junior high. Toyotama has an ace in the form of Minori Kishimoto, who earns not only Hikoichi's enmity for Toyotama after he dismisses Sendoh's abilities as a player (Hikoichi in retribution gives Shohoku information on Toyotama), but also from Sakuragi, who spent the first half under intense pressure and could not perform well enough, being substituted for by Yasuda early in the match. Their other ace and captain is Tsuyoshi Minami (who Sakuragi calls "chick-face" after the bird), who is the most aggressive of the players. He is known as the "Ace Killer", and lives up to this nickname by hitting Rukawa in the face with his elbow as he once did to Kenji Fujima from Shoyo, leaving him with a black eye for the whole second half of the game. Minami however makes up for it later, as the night before the match against Sannoh, he gives Rukawa an ointment to help his eye heal and warns him about Sawakita. The other players include Mitsuaki Iwata (center), Kyohei Yajima (shooting guard) and Daijiro Itakura (point guard).


Tsukubu High School
Tsukubu used to be a high-leaguer team before the rise of Shohoku. They were the fourth team Shohoku faced in the Prefectural Tournament and, after a good start, they let their defense be breached by Miyagi's fast play and lost concentration, leading to a rather shameful loss.

Tsukubu is featured prominently in the second OVA (which portrays the tournament match), where their star rookie, Koichiro Nango, falls in love with Haruko and becomes a bitter rival to Sakuragi, to the point of betting with Sakuragi: whoever wins the game will have the right to ask Haruko out. Their coach, Kazuma Kawasaki, was a former pupil of Anzai, while their captain, Tomokazu Godai, attended Kogure and Akagi's former junior high and is on friendly terms with them, but is kicked out of the game after losing his temper.


CHARACTERS:

Takenori Akagi
(赤木剛憲 Akagi Takenori)

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Year: 3rd Year
Height/Weight: 197 cm, 90 kg
Jersey Number: #4
Position: Center
Birthday: May 10
Voice Actors: Kiyoyuki Yanada
Takenori Akagi is the captain of the Shohoku basketball team and Haruko's older brother. Despite at first not thinking too much of Sakuragi (who addresses him as "Gori" for gorilla due to his immense physical presence), he actually realizes Sakuragi's potential as a basketball player. Serious and disciplined, Akagi's dream is to lead Shohoku to the national championship. His determination is shown in the match against Kainan, where he played on despite a serious injury to his ankle. Akagi considers Uozumi of Ryonan to be his biggest rival, though their rivalry is not antagonistic; indeed, there is respect that borders on friendship.

Akagi differs from the other starters in two respects. First, he is the most academically talented out of all them and is considered a model student. After the loss to Aiwa knocks Shohoku out of the Nationals, Akagi leaves the team along with Kogure to study for the college entrance exams. In contrast, the other four had to beg their teacher to be given the chance to retake some exams they had flunked; they would otherwise have been disqualified from playing in the Nationals for having failed too many classes. Second, Akagi is the only starter not to have gotten into an actual fight, although he has used physical force against his own players (most notably Sakuragi, and once Mitsui after the gym fight) to keep them in line. He is the only other character besides Rukawa able to take one of Sakuragi's trademark headbutts without being knocked out and the only other character who has had Sakuragi inadvertently dunk a ball on his head (Murasame of Miuradai was the second, in the manga; in the anime, the second one to be dunked on the head is Naito, also from Miuradai).

Regarded as the best center in the Kanagawa prefecture, Akagi plays as a fairly typical center, using his height and power to score close to the basket. He also has a reputation for being a virtually unbeatable defender. As captain of the team, he keeps discipline among his players during matches. Akagi met his match during the game against Sannoh, in the form of Masashi Kawata, considered one of the best centers at the high school level. Initially intimidated when Kawata outplayed him, he regained his confidence thanks to Uozumi's encouragement and led his team to victory.


Kentaro Ishii, Satoru Sasaoka, and Toki Kuwata
(石井健太郎 Ishii Kentarō), (佐々岡智 Sasaoka Satoru), (桑田登紀 Kuwata Toki)

Year: 1st Year
Height/Weight: 163 cm/50 kg (Kuwata), 170 cm, 172 cm (Ishii, Sasaoka - their weights are unspecified)
Jersey Numbers: #12, #13 and #15
Positions: Forward (Ishii, Sasaoka), Guard (Kuwata)
Birthdays: January 18 (Ishii), October 13 (Sasaoka), July 28 (Kuwata)
Voice Actors: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Kuwata), Shinobu Satouchi/Masaya Onosaka/Hikaru Midorikawa/Yoshiyuki Kono (Sasaoka), Nobutoshi Hayashi (Ishii)
None of the these players see any match time, so they largely act as a rooting section for Shohoku. Ishii is the only player other than Kogure on the team who wears glasses.


Satoru Kakuta
(角田悟 Kakuta Satoru)

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Year: 2nd Year
Height: 180 cm
Jersey Number: #9
Positions: Center
Birthdays: November 4
Voice Actor: Shinobu Satouchi
The tallest second year player. He has been subbed in for Sakuragi on two occasions: in the final minutes of the Shoyo match after Sakuragi fouled out, and briefly during the Sannoh match, when he was matched up against Nobe Masahiro. Nobe succeeded in blocking Kakuta out of his position and exhausting him, even though Kakuta was only on the court for a few minutes.


Kiminobu Kogure
(木暮公延 Kogure Kiminobu)

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Year: 3rd Year
Height/Weight: 178 cm, 62 kg
Jersey Number: #5
Position: Small Forward
Birthday: July 12
Voice Actors: Hideyuki Tanaka
Kiminobu Kogure is Shohoku's vice-captain and a good friend to Akagi and Mitsui. He and Akagi are the only two players who have been on the team for all three years - Mitsui left during their first year, while other players quit the team because they found Akagi's training regimen to be too strenuous. Along with Miyagi and Ayako, he always tries to bring out the most of Hanamichi's talent. He is gentle, empathic, and always friendly, and is almost never seen without his glasses on (this is why Sakuragi calls him "Megane-kun" which loosely translates as "glasses-wearing guy"); however, when needed he shows notable willpower and brutal honesty, such as when he barely flinched after being slapped twice and cruelly insulted by the embittered Mitsui during the gym fight.

Despite spending a lot of time on the bench, Kogure brings experience and considerable firepower to the team when he's on the court; he is the player most likely to be subbed in to replace one of the starters. A pretty good shooter and tactician, he hit a crucial three-pointer against Ryonan.


Hisashi Mitsui
(三井寿 Mitsui Hisashi)

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Year: 3rd Year
Height/Weight: 184 cm, 70 kg
Jersey Number: #14
Position: Shooting Guard
Birthday: May 22
Voice Actors: Ryoutarou Okiayu
Before joining Shohoku, Mitsui Hisashi was an MVP for Takeishi Junior High. Despite having opportunities to join more prestigious high schools like Ryonan, he choose to go to Shohoku because of Coach Anzai; Anzai had given him the courage to win in the Junior High tournament by encouraging him during the last seconds of the match. However, an injury to his left knee in a training session interrupted his basketball career. An imprudent early return to the basketball court reinjured the knee more severely, leading to a basketball hiatus of over a year. Although he eventually healed, he was embittered by his exclusion from the court, and quit basketball to become the leader of a gang. His gang picked on Miyagi during his first year, and during a fight that ensued Miyagi beat Mitsui senseless before taking a beating himself.

Afterwards, Mitsui attempted to ruin the basketball team by instigating them into fighting with his gang, as the team would have been banned from competition for fighting. In the end, Sakuragi's own gang - Yohei, Takamiya, Ohkusu and Noma - voluntarily took the blame for the fight, and Mitsui was filled with remorse when he saw Anzai again. He rejoined the team and vowed never to fight again.

Mitsui is best known on the team as a three-point specialist, though his skills extend to other areas; during a practice match, he once managed to shut down Sakuragi, playing center. His defensive ability completely shut down Fukuda's scoring abilities. His three-pointers helped Shohoku catch up when they were 12 points down against Shoyo, and again when the team was 20 points down against Sannoh in the National Championships. His greatest weakness, though, is his lack of stamina due to his long break from playing basketball. Thus, in the latter halves of games, he has not always been as reliable - he was completely worn out in the game against Shoyo, missed a potential game-winning shot against Kainan, and collapsed on-court during the game against Ryonan.


Ryota Miyagi
(宮城リョータ Miyagi Ryōta)

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Year: 2nd Year
Height/Weight: 168 cm, 59 kg
Jersey Number: #7
Position: Point Guard
Birthday: July 31 Image
Voice Actors: Yoku Shioya
Ryota Miyagi is Sakuragi's closest friend on the team. After an initial misunderstanding that caused conflict between them (he was fighting Mitsui when Sakuragi and Ayako came around, and he thought she was dating him), both found comradeship in the fact that they had both been unlucky in love, although Miyagi, having only been rejected 10 times, still falls short of Sakuragi's record who was rejected 50 times. Like Sakuragi, Miyagi is motivated to play by his love for a girl: his best friend and classmate Ayako, the manager of the team, whom he refers to as "Aya-chan". He has been known to pose for Ayako during matches. Off-court, Miyagi has a reputation for being a bad boy. He was hospitalized for a while after his fight against Mitsui's gang.

Miyagi is small for a basketball player, but makes up for it with incredible speed, skills, and court awareness. His skills are typical of a point guard: strong passing and dribbling, as well as an understanding of the game that allows him to be a floor leader. He also shares a similar level of arrogance with Sakuragi, claiming to be the number one point guard in the prefecture, though popular opinion among characters in the series ranks him just behind Maki of Kainan and Fujima of Shoyo. In the series he is often pitted against taller point guards (Toyotama's Daijiro Itakura, for example, spent nearly the whole match picking on his height as an attempt to sap his focus away) but he is able to beat them with his incredible speed. Miyagi becomes the captain of the team after Akagi and Kogure leave the team.


Kaede Rukawa
(流川楓 Rukawa Kaede)

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Year: 1st Year
Height/Weight: 187 cm, 75 kg
Jersey Number: #11
Position: Small Forward
Birthday: January 1
Voice Actors: Hikaru Midorikawa
Rukawa Kaede is, in many ways, the opposite of Sakuragi - attractive to girls, skilled at basketball, and very cold and unfeeling. The only traits they share are that they are not academically inclined and good fighters. He regards Sakuragi as an idiot, and is not shy about calling him an idiot to his face - actually, he knows Sakuragi can put his talents to a better use, but is ashamed to see the immaturity with which he deals with things. His hobby is sleeping, and is usually seen asleep whenever he's not on the court; he can even ride his bike while asleep. Waking Rukawa from a nap is considered unforgivable, since he will almost automatically beat up the culprit. Unsurprisingly, he has also been in his fair share of off-court fights, but can hold his own. Rukawa's goal is to be the best high school player in Japan, and he considers Sendoh of Ryonan to be his greatest rival.

Rukawa is extremely good at basketball, and possesses a wide range of skills to complement his height, athleticism and drive to win. Despite being merely a first-year high school player, he is the undisputed ace of Shohoku's team. In the Kanagawa Interhigh Tournament, he was named one of the top five players, the only first year player so honored. He has managed to change the course of many games, such as when he single-handedly brought Shohoku back from a double-digit deficit against Kainan. He even managed to continue in the game against Toyotama despite losing the vision in one eye due to an intentional foul and could take free throws with his eyes closed. However, his style was criticized as being too selfish, and he sometimes comes into conflict with his teammates for various reasons; this was one of the reasons why Coach Anzai refused to give him his blessing when Rukawa told him that he intended to go to the USA, and told him to become the best in Japan before he even thought of it. When he was outplayed by Sawakita during the match against Sannoh Technical, though, he realized that he had to change his style and pass the ball. It was his pass that led to Hanamichi's buzzer-beating shot, winning the match. Rukawa is subsequently named a member of the All-Japan basketball team.

Hanamichi Sakuragi
(桜木花道 Sakuragi Hanamichi)

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Sakuragi with his first hairstyle.
Sakuragi with his second hairstyle.Year: 1st Year
Height/Weight: 189.2 cm, 83 kg
Jersey Number: #10
Position: Power Forward
Birthday: April 1
Voice Actors: Takeshi Kusao
The protagonist. At the beginning of the series, Sakuragi was a slacker, good for nothing other than fighting. He is the leader of the feared "Sakuragi Legion", which consists of his four friends Mito, Noma, Ohkusu and Takamiya. Sakuragi's quest for love was nothing but humiliating. He was always trying to ask girls out, but was rejected constantly, the 50th rejection occurring at the start of the series. He then met Haruko Akagi, a lovely basketball fangirl, whom he fell in love with immediately. This and Haruko's encouragement led to him to join the Shohoku basketball team. However, as a complete beginner, he was not able to keep up with the rest of the team at first despite his physical attributes (great height, athleticism, stamina, speed and leaping ability). He regards himself as a genius though, with self-confidence that borders on arrogance.