THE FIRST SLAM DUNK
English - Paul Castro Jr., Ben Balmaceda, Aleks Le, Jonah Scott, Aaron Goodson
Japanese - Shinichiro Kamio, Kenta Miyaki, Subaru Kimura, Shugo Nakamura, Jun Kasam
Director: Takehiko Inoue
The First Slam Dunk is a gorgeous film that visually and emotionally exemplifies the beautiful game of basketball. The dramatics are hilarious at times and ridiculous at others, but it always demonstrates the passion that basketball can generate on and off the court. Following the players’ lives interspersed throughout the game connects us to each player without taking us out of what’s happening between each play. Being anime, it does take forever and a day to get to the final buzzer, but the film does a great job building the tension to make us question what the ultimate outcome will be.
The First Slam Dunk is a beautifully animated sports drama that skillfully weaves exhilarating action sequences with introspective character moments. The film is just as much a pulse-pounding basketball epic as it is a heartfelt exploration of grief. Director Takehiko Inoue brings an emotional depth to this cast of characters, transforming a game of high school basketball into a momentous, larger-than-life event. While the film somewhat struggles to maintain its pace around the midpoint, the intense final moments more than make up for it. Incredible animation and a poignant story make Slam Dunk truly worthy of its name.