(photo credit: Toei Animation)
(photo credit: Toei Animation)

Basketball fans, anime fans, or basketball and anime fans, rejoice: THE FIRST SLAM DUNK has finally made its Israel premiere on 24 August 2023. 

SLAM DUNK is a shonen manga by Takehiko Inoue that was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump from 1990, issue No. 42, to 1996, issue No. 27. The series, which depicts the personal growth of several high school basketball players, has been sold in 25 countries and regions, and more than 140 million copies in Japan. It has inspired numerous boys and girls to get into basketball. 

An anime series (that ran from October 1993 to March 1996), several video games, and other media based on the manga have also been produced.  The Slam Dunk Scholarship was established in 2006 to support young basketball players in Japan. In 2018, a new, 20-volume shinsoban edition with all new cover illustrations was published, with volume divisions at each milestone in the story. An artwork compilation, PLUS / SLAM DUNK ILLUSTRATIONS 2, was released in 2020 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the series’ launch.

THE FIRST SLAM DUNK is the series’ first foray into a feature-length film as well as the author’s directorial debut. 

Shohoku's “speedster” and point guard, Ryota Miyagi, always plays with brains and lightning speed, running circles around his opponents while feigning composure. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ryota had a brother who was three years older. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, who was a famous local player from a young age, Ryota also became addicted to basketball. In his second year of high school, Ryota plays with the Shohoku High School basketball team along with Sakuragi, Rukawa, Akagi, and Mitsui as they take the stage at the Inter-High School National Championship. And now, they are on the brink of challenging the reigning champions, Sannoh Kogyo High School.

An exciting and touching story about family and sports

Despite being based on a 33-year old series, THE FIRST SLAM DUNK is not a mere remake - the manga is revitalized through the movie’s shift in focus from feisty delinquent Hanamichi Sakuragi to fellow teammate, the troubled but capable point guard Ryota Miyagi. 

Instead of the 2D animation used in most Japanese animation movies, the spirit of the series is enhanced with 3D Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), creating an immersive experience which transports audiences right into the thick of the fast-paced and exhilarating court action.

Intertwining tragic yet heartwarming personal stories with the excitement of an intense, passionate basketball match, the film moves along at a pace that never sags even in its slower moments. It offers longtime fans a glimpse into a different side of the series and characters, while providing new fans a great eye-opener to the immense, wondrous possibilities of Japanese animation. 

It would not be an exaggeration to ask audiences to pack their tissues - the movie may incite a nostalgic tear or two, and it is difficult to not be touched by the show of determination and love for both basketball and the people on the sidelines who are no less important to the game than the players.

A huge box office hit in Japan and the world

Smashing Japan’s box office at US$106.9 million upon its theatrical release on 3 December 2022, the film has since gone on to gross a whopping US$257 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing anime film of all time. More recently, it was awarded the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year at the 46th Japan Academy Film Prize.

And finally, from 24 August 2023, THE FIRST SLAM DUNK has made its way to all major Israel cinemas. Don’t miss this top-grossing Japanese animation film and receive a Thanks Visual Card specially illustrated by Takehiko Inoue with every ticket purchase. To enjoy the card’s Augmented Reality (AR) function, simply scan the QR code on the back with your smartphone and watch the illustration of the Shohoku Team come to life!

This article was written in cooperation with ODEX PTE LTD, Singapore