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The First Slam Dunk

2022 / 124m - Japan
Sport - Animation
The First Slam Dunk poster

I was only vaguely familiar with this franchise, never having seen or read any of it, just knowing it was a basketball-themed sports manga/anime. I figured it couldn't hurt to support Slam Dunk when it hit the local theaters here, and I found myself pleasantly surprised at the quality of this production.

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Ryota is rather small in stature, yet he dreams of becoming a basketball star. When his older brother, a natural basketball talent, is lost at sea, Ryota is even more determined to make his dream come true. His first big test is beating the guys from Sannoh high school, but they are a tough and talented bunch.

The film covers just this one match, but it includes enough flashbacks to give the characters some heart and soul. The film sticks closely to genre conventions but still manages to build up the tension remarkably well. The finale is a real thrill, the detail of the animation is spectacular and the love for the sport is tangible. A neat surprise.