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The First Slam Dunk


Year: 2023 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Takehiko Inoue 
Starring: Luis Bermudez, Paul Castro Jr., Abby Espiritu  
An image from The First Slam Dunk

This is the first ever sports based anime shown at WSC, and we have certainly chosen a truly great film to showcase the sub-genre. Written and directed by Takehiko Inoue, the creator of the original Slam Dunk manga series, Inoue’s clear care and love for his work shines through fully here. This is seen in the decision to use a blended animation style, using 3D computer generated animation for most basketball scenes to truly express the action and excitement of the game, with the use of a classic 2D hand-drawn animation style for daily life scenes to express the emotions and individual interactions better, taking full advantage of each style to create a beautifully blended film. Inoue’s care goes even further, as he personally retouched and corrected both the 3D and 2D scenes, to fully ensure that every scene really comes to life and makes the characters feel real. This makes the film feel a lot more visceral and really grabs your attention as you truly see the care that went into every single frame, allowing the slightly experimental blend of animation to be even more effective. I am convinced that with how well this film utilises the style, we will see it as a norm for future sports anime, making this film a must-watch to see for yourself how truly effective the style is. The story is based around Ryota Miyagi (Shugo Nakamura) who plays as the point guard in the basketball team of Shohoku high school. His key inspiration in basketball is his now gone elder brother Sota, with the memories of him being the key thing Ryoto falls back on. The story follows Ryoto and his basketball teammates Hanamichi Sakuragi (Subaru Kimura), Takenori Akagi (Kenta Miyake), Hisashi Mitsui (Jun Kasama), and Kaede Rukawa (Shin’ichiro Kamio), as they challenge the champions of the inter-high basketball league, the Sannoh school.

The use of different actors to the TV anime was a deliberate choice by Inoue, utilising a new cast of voice actors with strong natural voices to better sell each scene. Although this film is an adaptation of the popular Slam Dunk manga, it requires no prior knowledge of the manga to be understood and enjoyed to the fullest. Further, the story deliberately takes a different perspective from the manga by focusing on the idea of living with and overcoming pain opposed to focusing on a protagonist with overwhelming potential and achievable goals. This means the film has something fresh to offer even the biggest fans of the manga and gives them a new experience within this world. With the title showing how deliberate this is, whether you have read the manga or not, this will be your First Slam Dunk as you will be either experiencing it for the first time or as if it was the first time. Meaning this film is perfect for long time manga and anime enjoyers, or if it is your first foray into this beautiful and passionate world.

James Patt

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Screenings of this film:

2023/2024 Autumn Term (digital)