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The Crack Magazine

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The First Slam Dunk

Director: Takehiko Inoue

Adapted from his own highly popular series of 90s manga comics, Takehiko Inoue’s directorial debut is a rousing and immaculately-crafted basketball anime. The ragtag Shohoku High School basketball team are facing the fearsome Sannoh High School in the National Championship. During the game the action flashes back to profile the team’s disparate characters. The main focus is on Ryota Miyagi, the shortest player, and, it is revealed, younger brother of Sota, a celebrated and popular player who died in a tragic accident. Ryota lives with his single mother Kaurou who is still in mourning for her eldest son. Also vividly profiled are team members Hisahi, the cruel school bully turned team player and the amiable brute Hanamchi, who learns to target his anarchic energy. The various character sketches add up to a rich mosaic while illustrating the team dynamic. Director Inoue deftly juggles the poignant family flashbacks, realised via traditional animation, while thrillingly kinetic CGI on-court action places viewers bang centre in the fray. The editing is frantic but coherent, and excellent sound design captures every grunt and bounce.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm