Slam Dunk (スラムダンク, Suramu Danku?) is a sports-themed manga series written by Takehiko Inoue about a basketball team from Shōhoku High School. It was first serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan from 1990 to 1996 and had also been adapted into an anime series by Toei Animation which had been broadcast worldwide, enjoying much popularity particularly in Japan, several other Asian countries and Europe. Inoue later used basketball as a central theme in two subsequent manga titles: Buzzer Beater and Real. In 2010, Inoue received special commendations from the Japan Basketball Association for helping popularize basketball in Japan.
Slam Dunk centers around Hanamichi Sakuragi, who starts as a delinquent outcast, becoming the leader of a gang. Hanamichi, being very unpopular with girls, has been rejected by them fifty times. Yet, he finds out that Haruko Akagi is the girl of his dreams, and is happy when she's not scared of him like all the other girls he has asked out.
Haruko Akagi, who recognizes Hanamichi's athleticism, introduces him to the Shohoku basketball team. Hanamichi was reluctant to join the team at first because he had no previous background in any sports and thought that basketball was a game for losers (also because the fiftieth girl rejected him for a basketball player). Sakuragi, despite his immaturity and hot temper, proves to be a natural athlete with potential and joins the team in order to impress Haruko and prove that he is worthy of her. Kaede Rukawa — Sakuragi's bitter rival (both on the basketball court and love, even when Rukawa doesn't acknowledge Haruko's crush on him), the star rookie and a "girl magnet" - joins the team at the same time. Hisashi Mitsui, an ex-junior high school MVP, and Ryota Miyagi , a short but fast player, both also rejoin the team and together these four struggle to complete team captain Takenori Akagi's dream of making Shohoku the national champion. Together, these misfits gain publicity and the once little known Shohoku basketball team becomes an all-star contender in Japan.
The anime series, consisting of 101 episodes, was produced by the TV Asahi terrestrial television network and Toei Animation and directed by Nobutaka Nishizawa. It was first aired on TV Asahi from October 16, 1993 to March 23, 1996. It was later aired on the anime satellite television network, Animax, in addition to four animated movies produced. The anime series follows the manga storyline, but leaves out the National Tournament games. Toei compiled the episodes into a series of seventeen DVDs which were released in Japan from December 10, 2004 to May 21, 2005. Toei once again collected the series in three DVD boxes during 2008. All the three boxes have a total of seventeen discs.
Toei and Geneon briefly chose to release the anime on DVD after the manga was discontinued, though the anime was also discontinued after only a few volumes. The first DVD was released on March 15, 2005 and the volume 4 was the last one released on June 14, 2005 before they were cancelled. Various episodes from the series were also downloadable in IGN's Direct2Drive service. Toei is currently streaming episodes of the series on-line for a fee and for free through Crunchyroll. Joost also started airing all the 101 as of May 2009 on their website. Each episode is in Japanese, with English subtitles.
The music was composed by Takanobu Masuda. Three CD soundtracks were published during the airing of the series in Japan. The openings, ending and other two themes were collected into the CD soundtrack The Best of TV Animation Slam Dunk, released on July 21, 2003.