8 Books/Manga Like Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk is a basketball manga written by Takehiko Inoue. This manga features relatable characters, exhilarating and intense basketball games, and impressive artwork. Slam Dunk was serialized in Shueisha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from October 1990 to June 1996. This series spawned 31 manga volumes and a wonderful anime adaptation by Toei Animation.
If you’re in the mood for more sports manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve completed Slam Dunk. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Real – Takehiko Inoue
Similarities – Basketball, Slice of Life, Comedy
Slam Dunk and Real were works created by Takehiko Inoue. They respectfully capture the spirit of basketball in their narratives while offering tales that’ll grip you on emotional levels. Inoue’s realistic art style helps immerse readers into both worlds. You’ll find yourself cheering for our protagonists and feeling down whenever they encounter hurdles that are too challenging.
Fans looking for another emotionally-gripping story with incredible artwork should give Real a try. Our story revolves around Tomomi Nomiya, a former high school basketball team captain and student. He feels solely responsible for ruining a young girl’s life in a traffic accident and spends his life catering to her needs.
Tomomi encounters a wheelchair-bound girl named Kiyoharu who challenges him to a game of basketball. Tomomi loses but gets inspired to pursue a dream he once valued. This manga offers a touching tale about individuals who must overcome their mental and physical hurdles to achieve the dreams of their wildest imaginations. With touches of lighthearted comedy and superb character development, Real offers an authentic life-changing experience for new readers.
Haikyuu – Haruichi Furudate
Similarities – Sports & Characters
Haikyu and Slam Dunk contain similar themes of friendship, sports, and teamwork. Although Haikyu involves our cast playing volleyball over basketball, you’ll attain as much satisfaction with Haruichi Furudate’s work as you did with Inoue’s. On that note, Haikyu contains many shonen themes of never-giving-up and striving for success.
The interactions between its protagonist Hinata and his teammates will feel infectious. You’ll adore seeing them celebrate their victories and discuss their failures. Like Slam Dunk, this manga may entice you to go outside and play a round of volleyball with your friends. If you’re looking for another manga with a well-developed cast and inspirational dialogue, give this one a read.
Haikyu follows Shouyou Hinata, who dreams of becoming a phenomenal volleyball player like the well-acclaimed Little Giant. To achieve his goals, Hinata plans to form a team in his last year of junior high and enters his first volleyball tournament. His team gets decimated by the rival school led by their ace, Tobio Kageyama.
Later in life, Hinata enrolls in Karasuno High School and seeks vengeance against Kageyama, but still strives to follow in Little Giant’s footsteps. His plans are thwarted when he learns Kageyama enrolled in his school. Therefore, the series follows Hinata and Kageyama’s mental journey of working together to claim multiple victories for their school.
Kuroko’s Basketball – Tadatoshi Fujimaki
Similarities – Basketball & Strategy
Kuroko’s Basketball mixes supernatural shonen elements with realistic basketball play well. Although this manga contains some realistic team-based strategies, it leans more toward the fantastical end as opposed to Slam Dunk. Nonetheless, this series’s characters receive enough fleshed-out characteristics to help them feel memorable.
Our story revolves around Taiga Kagami, who joins the basketball team at Seirin High School to locate strong team members. He meets Tetsuya Kuroko who used to be the sixth member of the famed Generation of Miracles. This was an elite and undefeated middle school basketball team who split up because of their differences.
Kuroko was known as the weakest member who was only good at passing the ball to his teammates. With Kuroko, Kagami plans to defeat every member of the Generation of Miracles in hopes of making Seirin’s basketball team the best in Japan. This manga knows how to build tension with each game. It contains some pleasing psychological aspects and readers will enjoy the strategies our characters develop per game.
Rookies – Masanori Morita
Similarities – Distinct Art Styles, Sports, Themes
Rookies is a phenomenal sports manga that leans toward professional baseball. This manga contains amazingly realistic artwork and dramatic moments that’ll inspire you. This series emphasizes teamwork and cooperation like Slam Dunk and has a slew of character-driven segments that’ll help readers grow attached to our cast.
Furthermore, the protagonists in these series don’t start off as skilled individuals. Both mangas excellently showcase their progress over time, making their growth feel authentic. Even if you’re not a sports fanatic, you’ll grow fond of Rookies’ cast and will cheer for them to succeed in their pursuits. With a hint of humorous sequences inserted occasionally, this is an enjoyable work.
Rookies follow Professor Kawato, a new Japanese teacher for a poorly-received high school. Its basketball club features thugs and bullies who aren’t opposed to causing more trouble. They show no interest in the sport and only desire women and smoking. With Kawato’s guidance, they discover a new passion for Koushien (the tournament finals). With newfound determination and strength, Kawato plans to help his students become legendary champions.
Crows – Hiroshi Takahashi
Similarities – Characters & Tone
Crows in a martial arts-centric manga. It offers characters who display similar personalities to those found in Slam Dunk. Crows’ characters are strong and determined and their rivals have similar qualities. This allows each bout to feel exhilarating and tense, as you’re never sure if our characters will claim victory or lose.
This story takes place in a school filled with misfits. The students are deemed “Crows” because they lack a promising future and only solve issues with their fists. Its school harbors no true leader and failed educational system. At the center of this narrative is Harumichi Bouya. He has little intellectual capability, loves fighting, and plans to use his strength to reach the top.
This manga art style might evoke mixed reception. While some may adore its style, some character designs will put people off and make them not want to continue. If you’re okay with manga that doesn’t have the best visuals, give this one a shot.
Basketball Fighter – Takao Aoyagi
Similarities –Basketball & Setting
Where Slam Dunk likes showering readers with the dark aspects of Basketball, Basketball Fighter favors showing readers what makes the sport enjoyable to many people. Both mangas follow characters who want to make it in life and become formidable players though. This is what drives the story forward and keeps people hooked from start to finish.
Furthermore, both manga contains exhilarating basketball games that’ll leave you in anticipation. Basketball Fighter’s art style feels more soft compared to the gritty realism portrayed by Inoue’s work. If you’re into basketball stories that solely focus on the glamorous aspects of the sport and never delve too deep into the dreadfulness of it, give Basketball Fighter a chance.
Ashita no Joe – Ikki Kajiwara
Similarities – Themes
Ashita No Joe is regarded as the godfather of sports manga. This manga contains passionate dialogue, emotional scenes, and a determined protagonist that strives for a better life. It offers a dark perspective on boxing and features some comedic bits to provide fans with breathing room.
Our tale revolves around Joe, a troubled individual who prefers to settle matters through fighting. He adores beating up gangs and thugs. One day, Joe bumps into a former boxing coach who offers him an opportunity to become a professional boxer. Although Joe doesn’t accept his offer from the get-go, he eventually concedes.
Therefore, we follow Joe’s newfound professional journey as a world-class boxer. This work contains some astonishing fights that get progressively difficult for Joe to handle. Fans will adore seeing Joe improve upon his craft and develop strategies to overcome these terrifying hurdles. With passion, strength, and clever wit, Joe’s journey is something manga enjoyers don’t want to miss.
Hajime No Ippo – George Morikawa
Similarities – Sports, Characters, Comedy
Hajime No Ippo is an iconic boxing and shonen manga series. It provides excellent storytelling, well-written characters, and brilliantly drawn fights with great tension. The series delivers well-executed humor that varies from sensual jokes to exaggerated facial expressions. At its heart, this manga will motivate you to strive for your dreams and overcome life’s challenges.
This story follows Ippo, a respectable boy who has trouble supporting his mother and avoiding bullies. He runs into a professional boxer named Takamura, who motivates Ippo to pursue boxing. After training for several days and impressing Takamura, Ippo gets recruited to fight in the big leagues. Therefore, we explore Ippo’s challenging journey to becoming a stronger persona and fighter.
Ippo’s journey won’t be an easy one. Like Hanamichi, he’ll appear as a novice in the sport. He’ll endure numerous bouts that’ll knock him down, but help him grow. Ippo develops new techniques to use in his fights. The boxing matches can stray the line from fantastical to realistic at times, though. However, those who adore series with motivational quotes and humorous circumstances will find many things to love about this manga.
So there we have it, our 8 books/manga to read after you’ve completed Slam Dunk.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!