The protagonist is inconspicuous and the story develops in two lines
The protagonist of the manga “A Man in a Bottle” is obviously the self-proclaimed basketball genius Hanamichi Sakuragi. Why did Takehiko Inoue take the risk of being criticized by fans and insist on replacing the protagonist of the movie with the less popular Miyagi Ryota? The author explained in the interview that as he grows older, his experience and state of mind have changed. He is no longer obsessed with heroic characters, but is interested in “characters close to reality”. The point guard of the Xiangbei High School basketball team plays the leading role in the new film.
The story of “The First Slam Dunk” develops in two lines. On the one hand, it tells the background of Miyagi Ryota who never mentioned in the manga, and on the other hand, he and his Shonhoku teammates: Sakuragi Hanamichi, Akagi Takenori, Rukawa Kaede and Mitsui Shou narrowly won the national high school basketball competition The process of the strongest rival Sanno Industries. One still and one movement interact with each other, allowing old readers to rediscover the past of the characters. Even viewers who have never read the original manga can easily find the entry point. We have to admire Takehiko Inoue’s clever methods.
“The First Slam Dunk” fills in Miyagi Ryota’s growth experience: he fell in love with basketball when he was enlightened by his brother in childhood, the death of his father and brother caused a heavy blow, the relationship with his mother gradually drifted away, the loneliness of moving away from his hometown, the resistance of school violence, etc. It was all about basketball that brought him his redemption. It is worth mentioning that the story of Ryota Miyagi is to some extent a portrayal of Takehiko Inoue, no wonder it is so real and moving.
During the match between Shonoku and Sanno Industries, Miyagi Ryota grew up through memories, from doubting life to self-affirmation, and gave courage through his deceased brother, mother, and team manager, and finally won a beautiful victory. The movie also mentions his relationship with his teammates, such as his acquaintance with Hisashi Mitsui, but this is only an understatement. Even the comic protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi’s exposure rate is not much. Fortunately, there are surprises every time he appears, such as in Before the end of the game, with a back injury, he suddenly asked Anxi coach: “Old man, what is the most glorious moment in your life?” Before the coach answered, he asked himself and answered: “I am at this moment!” Entering 2023, the movie teaches us that we must have the courage to live in the present in order to continue on.
Japanese box office leaves “Avatar 2” behind
“The First Slam Dunk” not only completes the results of “Shohoku vs. Sanno Industry”, but also creates a new ending for Miyagi Ryota. At the end of the film, it is mentioned that he went to the United States after graduating from high school, and met Sanno Industry player Zebei again on the basketball court Rongzhi, from the eyes and body language of the two, it can be seen that they are not old enemies of “two can only live for one”, but more like comrades in arms who “know heroes and value heroes”. How can old readers not be moved to tears when they see this?
Takehiko Inoue’s character design skills are beyond doubt. What’s more commendable is his dedication to the animation technology of “The First Slam Dunk”. He retained the 2D strokes of the comics, replaced them with ink lines, and added 3D visual special effects at the same time. It’s a rare combination of both. There is no conflict, and the effect is natural; what is even more powerful is the speed and smoothness of shooting the game, which is simply impeccable. The excitement is comparable to that of a real game, and it also makes the audience nervous. The audience applauded and cheered. This touching feeling that had been buried for many years was re-experienced. It is not for nothing that the Japanese box office of this film can significantly outperform “Avatar: The Way of Water”.