Thanks to GKIDS, THE FIRST SLAM DUNK movie is currently in North American theaters. Takehiko Inoue, who is the creator of the manga series as well as the director of the movie, said he wanted the film to please old fans as well as people new to the story.
“The cast of characters in the movie are mainly the ones who appear in the original manga, and the game also was the same one that appeared in the original manga, but they are depicted from a completely different angle,” he told IndieWire. “I was hoping that would make watching this movie an exciting and surprising first encounter for those who already know the original manga very well. At the same time, I aspired for it to be also understood and enjoyed as a single movie by those who have no previous knowledge of Slam Dunk.”
The central theme of the movie is “overcoming inner turmoil” through basketball, and Inoue came up with this idea after seeing a book on people’s potential for leadership.
“What kind of pains and struggles do the players who appear calm and strong on the court have within?” he mused. “What path have they taken? I am much older than at the time of serialization and I have started to imagine that sort of thing more. I feel pain more, too. I think this perspective is reflected in this film.”
Another important aspect of the movie is the main character. While the manga concentrates on Hanamichi Sakuragi, the film instead zeroes in on Ryota Miyagi.
He explained, “When it comes to Miyagi, I didn’t think that I depicted his character enough at the time of the serialization of the manga, and he was someone who remained somewhat mysterious. Therefore, as an author, it was a natural desire to focus on what was still left to depict and that was how another new angle and theme came about. His being the smallest of the team was also symbolic of the theme.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.