Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 葬送のフリーレン // Next: ウスズミの果て

Slam Dunk (スラムダンク)


Natively: Level 24


Taken from MAL:

Hanamichi Sakuragi, infamous for his temper, massive height, and fire-red hair, enrolls in Shohoku High, hoping to finally get a girlfriend and break his record of being rejected 50 consecutive times in middle school. His notoriety precedes him, however, leading to him being avoided by most students. Soon, after certain events, Hanamichi is left with two unwavering thoughts: “I hate basketball,” and “I desperately need a girlfriend.”

One day, a girl named Haruko Akagi approaches him without any knowledge of his troublemaking ways and asks him if he likes basketball. Hanamichi immediately falls head over heels in love with her, blurting out a fervent affirmative. She then leads him to the gymnasium, where she asks him if he can do a slam dunk. In an attempt to impress Haruko, he makes the leap, but overshoots, instead slamming his head straight into the blackboard. When Haruko informs the basketball team’s captain of Hanamichi’s near-inhuman physical capabilities, he slowly finds himself drawn into the camaraderie and competition of the sport he had previously held resentment for.


No ebook available, so I’ve put in extra effort track down more links for physical copies.

Physical copy (Tankoubon edition): Amazon, Manga Republic (used/new), Verasia (EU), Kinokuniya (USA)

I’ve nominated the original Tankoubon edition, but some people may be interested in opting for the (larger) Kanzenban edition. I own both and put in more details below to help you choose.

Physical copy (Kanzenban edition): Amazon, CDJapan, Manga Republic (used/new), Verasia (EU)

Additional notes about editions and ordering physical copies.

There are three editions:

  • Original 31 volumes Tankoubon (marked ジャンプコミックス ). I have this one and it’s great, pretty standard size manga.
  • 24 volume Kanzenban (完全) - the first chapter includes color spreads and it’s nicer overall. I switched to this one because it’s larger and the furigana is easier to read. It’s about 33% larger and has more chapters, but twice the cost (currently) compared with the other options.
  • 20 Shinsouban 新装再編版 - reviewers complain that the thick books are difficult to read and the paper too thin. I don’t recommend this one.

The above links are suppliers I know are generally popular and reliable. Verasia (EU): if a title is unavailable, click the button to be notified when in stock and they normally come around again with 1-2 weeks. You can also email them.

Personal Opinion

I have a Japanese friend who taught me some quotes from the manga series, and after looking into it, realised this is really well known as one of the THE most legendary manga ever. It would be a great asset in the book club archives and I’m pretty sure an offshoot would form to read the whole series (31). Flicking through my copy, the artwork is incredibly dynamic and really gets the intensity of the scenes across. The story includes great character development and reviewers are always really attached to them.

From @WaniTsunami 's original recommendation (moved from ABBC):
The dialogue is fun and the vocab is easy enough. You can enjoy it in it’s entirety without being a Japanese expert and the pacing feels good. Its also one of the greatest manga of all time by one of the best mangaka of all time… So a great motivator to keep reading and find high quality content with a low bar for entry.

Pros and Cons


  • Easy grammar and words.
  • Good pacing and encouraging if you feel you’re a slow reader.
  • Excellent characters that feel like real people.


  • Paper only, the author has expressed a wish that his work not be available digitally
  • For some readers, the lack of 100% furigana (see pictures to get a feel for it); this is very few of the kanji and they are easy to read. In the first chapter, for example: 中学, 年間, 人, 心, 自分, 思う, 赤い
  • Not sure if this is a con as I haven’t read many manga (so this might apply to all manga in this setting, lol) the boys use male speech contractions with each other. I found an article from Maggie Sensei that explains these and have already populated a spreadsheet with @prath (we put more effort into Ch 1) so I don’t think this is really an issue.


First Three Pages of Chapter One


Additional Pages

About 1/4 of the pages are mainly artwork with very little text. I included pages representative of the amount of text.

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • 1 - No effort at all
  • 2 - Minimal effort
  • 3 - Moderate effort
  • 4 - Substantial effort
  • 5 - So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know
0 voters