Updated on November 30, 11:45 a.m. (GMT+8): Added images.

Slam Dunk, a beloved sports manga and anime series that has captured fans’ hearts for years, debuted in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1990. 

Even though more than 33 years have passed since its inception, the series’ fanbase is still going strong. However, Shokohu High’s competitive journey has not received a proper and conclusive Slam Dunk ending.

The First Slam Dunk Re:Source manga cover in ONE Esports featured image for article "What did The First Slam Dunk movie change from the manga and anime?"
Credit: ONE Esports, Toei Animation
What did The First Slam Dunk movie change from the manga and anime?

If you’re a devoted fan wondering where the story of Sakuragi Hanamichi and the Shohoku High basketball team concluded, this article will delve into the franchise’s final events.

Warning: Major spoilers if you have not read the manga, watched the anime, or watched The First Slam Dunk movie.

Slam Dunk ending explained for the manga and anime

The final five episodes of the anime deviated from the manga. Rather than proceeding directly to the inter-high tournament, the conclusion of the Slam Dunk anime depicted Shohoku High getting ready for the tournament.

The anime’s finale showed the main protagonist, Sakuragi Hanamichi, and his teammates engaging in a practice match against top players from Shoyo and Ryonan – an event that did not occur in the manga.

Meanwhile, the manga ended in 1996 and had a bittersweet conclusion. In this final arc, Shohoku High faced off against Sannoh High, one of Japan’s top teams, led by the nation’s best player, Eiji Sawakita.

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After an intense match, Sannoh emerged victorious over Shohoku, leaving Sakuragi with a significant back injury. This injury placed his team in a challenging position for next year’s basketball season.

Slam Dunk manga illustrated by Takehiko Inoue taken from VIZ Media
Credit: VIZ Media

In 2004, Takehiko Inoue, the creator of the series, released a short sequel to the Slam Dunk manga, set immediately after the inter-high tournament. During Sakuragi’s recovery in the hospital, he receives a letter from Haruko Akagi updating him on the current situation of his teammates.

Where to read the Slam Dunk manga right now
Where to watch the Slam Dunk anime right now?

The sequel provides insight into the developments involving Shohoku’s rival schools.

If you watched the First Slam Dunk movie released in 2022, you would know that the film also had a completely different ending. In the movie, Shokohu emerged victorious against Sannoh, with Sakuragi delivering an impressive buzzer-beater – his first successful jump shot in an official match.

Rather than centering around Sakuragi, the primary focus of the First Slam Dunk movie was on Ryota Miyagi. As a result, the concluding credit scenes depicted the later phase of his basketball journey after his time at Shohoku High.

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It is speculated that the series has stayed on hiatus because the creator, Takeniko Inoue, struggled to take creative control from the anime producers.

Who is Eiji Sawakita in The First Slam Dunk movie? Story, personality, and skills

The First Slam Dunk movie sparked renewed interest in the franchise, with fans eagerly anticipating what’s next for the series.

Mobysing Slam Dunk Figure, Hanamichi Sakuragi, Ryota Miyagi, Ju Mitsui, Gonori Akagi, Car Decoration, Anime Figure, Set of 5
Credit: Mobysing
GRAB YOURS TODAY: Mobysing Slam Dunk Figure, Hanamichi Sakuragi, Ryota Miyagi, Ju Mitsui, Gonori Akagi, Car Decoration, Anime Figure, Set of 5

Slam Dunk has remained a timeless classic, resonating with audiences for its intense basketball action and its relatable and well-crafted characters.

Over the years, Slam Dunk’s manga and anime have left an indelible mark on sports anime and manga, contributing to the genre’s growth and evolution.

As fans await the possibility of a conclusive ending, the appeal of Slam Dunk serves as a testament to its enduring legacy and its ability to capture the hearts of generations.

Slam Dunk Manga set chapters 1-31 hardcover on Amazon
Credit: Takehiko Inoue
GRAB YOURS TODAY: Slam Dunk manga whole volume set (1-31)

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