Slam Dunk Volume 1

Slam Dunk Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue, published by Shonen Jump Manga / VIZ Media
Slam Dunk Volume 1. © 1999-2007 Seven and Y Corp

The Bottom Line

If there was ever a classic formula for sports manga, Slam Dunk provides the template. With blood, sweat and determination, a misfit turns into a superstar athlete and a team player, or at least that's what's going to happen in the 30 volumes to come.

With so much slapstick comedy and characters that are painted with broad strokes rather than the rich character development we see in Inoue's latter works, Slam Dunk Volume 1 is like its hero, street punk Hanamichi Sakuragi: full of raw potential that will be refined much later in the series.

Still, it's a fun story that will entertain sports fans and newbies alike.

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  • Lots of enjoyable slapstick comedy as Sakuragi tries to go from punk to player
  • Artwork shows readers some of the excitement and fast-paced action of basketball
  • Provides basic introductions to the personalities of Sakuragi's Shohoku teammates
  • Gives even novice readers an introduction to the basics of basketball
  • Color insert in the back introduces readers to major NBA players to provide real world context


  • It's unclear how petite cutie Haruko and hulking gorilla Takenori could possibly be siblings
  • The comedy can be a bit overly silly and immature at times
  • Female characters are pretty much just window dressing at this point


  • Original Title: Suramu Danku (SLAM DUNK) (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Takehiko Inoue
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1421506791
  • Cover Price: $7.99 US / $9.50 CANADA
  • Age Rating: T – Teens, Age 12+ for fighting and comical violence
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
    • (Boys')
    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • Sports
  • US Publication Date: September 2008
    Japan Publication Date: September 2002
  • Book Description: 208 pages, black and white illustrations, 34 color pages
  • More Manga by Takehiko Inoue:
    • Vagabond

    Guide Review - Slam Dunk Volume 1

    Red-headed roughneck Hanamichi Sakuragi is tall and strong, but he's a loser with the ladies. When cutie Haruko Akagi asks him "Do you like basketball?" he can't help but say yes, even though he knows nothing about the game. He barely knows the rules, but Sakuragi has got potential to be a great athlete -- if he can only figure out how to be a team player, not a street punk.

    In this first volume of Slam Dunk, there's lots of slapstick comedy, thwarted romance and larger than life characters. It's fun to read, but it barely gives a hint of the high-intensity sports action that will develop over the 30 volumes to come. The artwork, while great, is no where near as refined as Inoue's later work. Still, there's a lot to like here.

    Inoue sets up the main characters of the Shohoku team. Hard-headed Sakuragi is a doofus, but he's a good guy who just needs an outlet for his boundless energy. His arch-rival, Kaede Rukawa is everything that Sakuragi is not: cool, confident and an ace athlete. Hard-case team captain Takenori Akagi is there to lay down the law and offer comic relief when he and Sakuragi bicker. Sakuragi has a ways to go until he becomes a star player, but seeing where he begins makes it that much more satisfying to watch him grow in the volumes to come.

    Slam Dunk follows the classic sports manga formula, where an inept misfit learns about the ins and outs of a sport and strives for athletic excellence. Of all the sports manga out there, Slam Dunk is one of the best and one of the most influential. It's credited with turning on a generation of Japanese boys to the joys of basketball.

    You'll just have to take my word for it, as this first volume won't totally blow you away with its art or story. But stick with Slam Dunk for a few and you'll be rewarded with some of the most exciting sports action you'll ever see on a printed page.

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    Your Citation
    Aoki, Deb. "Slam Dunk Volume 1." ThoughtCo, Jun. 1, 2016, Aoki, Deb. (2016, June 1). Slam Dunk Volume 1. Retrieved from Aoki, Deb. "Slam Dunk Volume 1." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 24, 2017).