Anime Series Like Slam Dunk

Hanamichi Sakuragi is known for three things – his height, his fire red hair, and his fire red temper. Hoping to get a girlfriend, unfortunately his is reputation precedes him. However, when a girl approaches him one day and asks if he likes basketball, of course he falls in love with her and tries to impress her with a slam dunk. Unfortunate, he overshoots, but when the girl informs on him to the basketball team about his great physical capabilities, he finds himself pulled in deeply.

Slam Dunk is getting on in age, but it still tells a great basketball story as well as a story about how one event can change a person’s whole life. If you are interested in more anime recommendations like Slam Dunk, then look no further.

For Fans of Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball

For three years in a row, the Teikou Junior High basketball team took the championship crown thanks to their outstanding players. However, after graduating, the team split up and went to different high schools. At Seirin High School, two students have been recruited to the team. Taiga, a player just returning form the US, and Kuroko, a a student whose lack of presence allowed him to move around the court unnoticed. Kuroko was Taikou’s phantom sixth man who, while receiving little recognition, guided the team to victory with his assists.

The obvious connection here is that they are both basketball stories. However, they are also both exciting basketball stories. As Kuroko’s Basketball is newer, it has the benefit of better animation, but both anime series have a way of both making basketball exciting and creating intriguing characters.

Dear Boys

Although Aikawa was the captain of Tendoji High School’s prestigious basketball team, when he moves to a new town, he fins the basketball team defunct. However, his passion and persistence, he builds a group of misfits into a dysfunctional team that he intends to whip into shape.

Most notably, both of these series are older basketball anime series. Not only do they share that older animation, but they also share a lot of the same themes that you find in older sports anime. As such, they both end up being about teams that desperately want to improve themselves and the trials and tribulations therein.

Buzzer Beater

Hideyoshi is a homeless kid in New York that hustles kids at basketball. However, he has now been drafted into a pro league with one goal: to beat the aliens at basketball! While humans once dominated, aliens have taken over supremacy at basketball, but these rag-tag misfits aim to bring the championship back.

Despite Buzzer Beater being basically the anime version of Space Jam, it is still a basketball anime like Slam Dunk. You will find a lot of similarities despite the more sci-fi plot. Both series essentially take tough street kids and grow them to basketball glory.

For Fans of Delinquent Characters Given Purpose

Great Teacher Onizuka

After becoming reformed from his rough and tumble past as a bike gang leader, Onizuka is looking for a new ambition in life. After witnessing a hot girl falling for her ugly teacher, he decides to become a teacher himself. However, instead of hot girls draping themselves all over him, he just has a group of problem students that the school administration had all but given up on.

Essentially, what you see in GTO and Slam Dunk is a thug that ends up following their voracious desire to have a cute girlfriend into more aboveboard activities. Onizuka becomes a teacher instead of playing basketball, though. However, despite following women into these professions, they end up developing a very real love and talent for them.

Kyou Kara Ore Ha

Takeshi and Shinji are both new transfer students who are equally bored with their here to now normal lives. Instead of being your standard students, they both decide to be delinquents. Initially, they were annoyed by each other, but after becoming friends, they aim to be the top delinquents in Japan.

While it is not about sports, if you enjoyed the delinquent characters in Slam Dunk, then this is one for the books. Furthermore, in a very Japanese fashion you will find that the thugs in both stories want to be the very best at what they are doing.

Yu Yu Hakusho

Yusuke Urameshi is your average thug, but one day, he sees a kid about to get hit by a car and saves him. Unfortunately, the car kills him instead. Impressed by his heroic deed, the afterlife gives him a second shot at life, but only if he becomes a Spirit Detective and keeps all the demons and other supernatural beings from destroying the human world.

Again, Yu Yu Hakusho isn’t about a sport, but it is about a delinquent. In a similar fashion to Slam Dunk, this delinquent ends up in a new profession due to various circumstances. This twist of fate ends up finding a good use for their talents.

For Fans of New Geniuses

Baby Steps

In order to work on his health, honor student Eiichirou Marou decides to spend his free time playing tennis. There he meets Natsu, another student who is determined to become a professional tennis player due to her love for it. Her passion begins to rub off on him, but as he continues to play, the more fascinated by it he becomes.

In both series, you start out with a main character that is generally disinterested in sports. However, then a woman appears! Through unique reasons in each show, this woman  inspires them to turn to a sport where, as it turns out, they actually have quite the talent for it.

Hungry Heart: Wild Striker

Keisuke loves soccer, but he has consistently been overshadowed by his older brother and the talent he has for soccer. Eventually, this lead to him not even wanting to play the sport at all. However, this all changes when he enters high school and gets convinced to join the team.

Both series follow red-headed characters that claim themselves as geniuses at their sport. Of course, while they are quite good, there is always something – or someone – who will put them back in place so their ego doesn’t grow too big. However, make no mistake, both are also about how their teams bond together as well.

The Knight in the Area

Kakeru and Suguru are brothers with a passion for soccer. However, while Suguru excels on the field, Kakeru flounders. He ends up falling into a more managerial role for his soccer team, but ultimately his passion forces him to take the field. Now he is determined to train harder than everyone else to be a top player.

While being about different sports, they tell a similar kind of story about growth. Both series feature main characters that have some talent for the sport, but they ultimately have a lot of room for improvement. With hard work and the right team behind them, you watch them grow as a player and allow their natural talent to really flourish.

Did we miss any more good anime recommendations like Slam Dunk? Let hungry fans know in the comments section below.

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