Slam Dunk: Sakuragi Hanamichi
Name: Sakuragi Hanamichi
A.k.a.: Red Haired Monkey, Tensai, Genius, King of the Rebound, King of Fouls, Iron Man
Age: 15 - 16
Birthday: April 1st
Highschool: Shohoku Highschool
Junior High: Wakou Junior Highschool
Height: 188 cm (6'2); at the end 189.2 cm (6'2 ½)
Weight: 83 kg (182.6 lbs.)
Position: power forward (PF)
Jersey no.: 10
Shoe Brand: Nike Air Jordan 6 and Nike Air Jordan 1
Voice actor: Kusao Takeshi
Family and background:
Sakuragi probably has no siblings and probably spent most of his youth on the streets. From a flash back we learn that his father died from a heart attack. Sakuragi got into a fight again with a few guys, when he got home and found his father on the floor, he went to get a doctor but the guys he had just beaten up blocked his way after getting some reinforcements. Sakuragi probably couldn't get a doctor for his father in time...
He has four very good friends with which he forms the Sakuragi Gang. They are Yohei Mitoi, Sauichiro Omachu, Anozumi Hakami and Yuji Ookuzu. They have known each other since Junior High and have a bad reputation. Sakuragi has been rejected by 50 girls in his Junior High time, when he meets Akagi Haruko at Shohoku High he immediately falls in love again. And since Haruko is a great b-ball fan he joins the b-ball team to please her. But soon he finds out that he really has talent and loves the game very much. The game kept him from the streets a lot and changed his personality.
Sakuragi is a natural talent. His greatest abilities are his rebounding ability and his endless energy. He is tall and strong, but also very fast and flexible. And just like Rukawa he can jump really high!
The Slam Dunk story's time span is only 4 months, but during these months Sakuragi already learned how to dribble, rebound, dunk, block, the layup and some shooting to become a very valuable player to the team. And he is able to do unbelievable things at unexpected moments! He grows stronger by every game he plays. By the way he gets into fights a lot, but probably hasn't lost any fight in his life, so he actually is the Street Fighter King... A funny note: Sakuragi was able to ride a bike even faster than a car.
Coach Anzai says that Sakuragi brings the team rebounding powers and strength.
Sakuragi is a loud guy and claims to be the genius of the court. You recognize him by his big mouth... And his red hair is definitely his trade mark. He cut off his hair after the game vs Kainan, because in his opinion it was his fault they lost the game. He passed the ball to Kainan's center Takasago instead of Akagi with less than 20 seconds on the clock and 2 points behind.
Sakuragi is a short tempered person, but he slowly changes. He is anything but modest: although he is just a rookie he always claims to be the best player of the team, district and country. He is very stubborn and ignores criticism. But he is also a very quick learner who learns from his mistakes. He can be sensitive and naive sometimes, which shows that he actually is still a young guy.
He 'hates' Rukawa for his ability and for being the person Haruko is in love with. Deep in his heart he knows that Rukawa is a very capable player, but he will never admit. Rukawa has become his biggest rival and that probably will never change. But Rukawa is also an important reason for this development: he wants to be better than Rukawa so badly!
He isn't really a very smart guy, but you have to admit that sometimes he really is a genius (on the court). He is just a newbie but understands the game very well. He's always learning from his own mistakes, he analyzes his own technique and improves every day. For example: his free throw kinda sucked, and he found out to throw the ball from low (between the knees) to high.
Rukie: Sakuragi is the main character and also has the personality of the standard main character. He can be clumb and yet smart. I don't like him for being truly selfish (in contrary to Rukawa, who is considered selfish) and doing things without thinking. I know he has brilliant moments and without him Shohoku wouldn't be able to win some important games (but that goes for every important Shohoku player). Sometimes I think that Shohoku wouldn't get in so much trouble if he didn't do such stupid things, he does make it up to his teammates by doing good things at the end, but those were probably not needed if it wasn't him messing up. I think that's the brilliance of Mr. Inoue for creating such a character both a fool and a genius. You can hate him and yet have to love him.
Vincent: Sometimes the difference between a fool and a genius is just determined by failure and success. In my eyes, Sakuragi is in the beginning a real fool, but when he starts to really love basketball, he slowly changes into a genius. Anyway he amazes people, no matter as a fool or as a genius. Sakuragi's true talent is his physical strength, it's just inhuman. With this advantage, Sakuragi is in my opinion a born talent to play any sport. And luckly for Shohoku (I think) Sakuragi chose to play basketball.
Rukie: I think Sakuragi shouldn't pick on Rukawa so much. I mean, Rukawa won't fall in love with Haruko since his life is dedicated to basketball and he's just a marvelous player. But so is he. Maybe they should get along, on the court that is, and learn to cooperate so Shohoku can get even stronger.
Vincent: I think it's some kind of sportsman rivalry. They keep each other in shape, they keep each other at their highest level. I think Rukawa knows that Sakuragi has great potential, and he even offers his help to improve Sakuragi's lay up, but of course Sakuragi refuses...
Rukie: I have a lot of respect for Sakuragi's physical strength, the guy just don't know how and when to stop. When he injured his back in the game Sannoh vs Shohoku he just went on although the pain was killing him. And he did some really marvelous things to help Shohoku to victory!
Vincent: I really hated Sakuragi in the beginning of the story. He was a real idoit, doing the most stupid things you can imagine. But he is a real talent, working very hard to learn different skills like rebounding, passing, shooting and more. At the end of the game versus Sannoh, I was really speachless, he is a genius.
Rukie: Sakuragi reminds us in every way of Dennis Rodman, don't you think? The red hair and the incredible rebounding ability are the most notable things, then we also have the fact that he kept being fouled out... That was also a very remarkable thing with Rodman, who was also known as the genius and the fool. He did many crazy things and yet he was unmissable on the court. Besides, didn't Rodman's free throws suck as much as Sakuragi's? I think Mr. Inoue had some inspirtation taken from this former NBA guy!!
AnimeAnalyze's memorable scenes:
Rukie: Hmm.. I think that slam dunk over Shoyo's Hanagata was pretty memorable. Too bad it was an offensive foul and also Sakuragi's fifth foul (again).
Rukie & Vincent: Of course his last shot in Sannoh vs Shohoku!! That buzzer beater brought Shohoku a victory over the AA classed team and national champion Sannoh!! And the low five right after it is probably one of the greatest moments in Slam Dunk history.
He also had a lot of marvelous blocks. Gotta love that one on Sannoh's Kawata in the last minute of the game. The pain in his back was killing him, but at that moment he was probably telling himself that he felt nothing and just hit the ball REALLY hard.
Vincent: His block in the game versus Ryonan, when Akagi didn't try to block cause he was afraid to receive his 5th fault. Sakuragi appeared behind him and smashed the ball away, also very very hard.
AnimeAnalyze's favorite line:
Rukie: "How dare you to talk like that to miss Haruko!! Who are you?"
"I really do love. And this time I didn't lie."
"I won't lose to you, Wild Fox!"
"I'm a genius!!"
Vincent: "HAHAHAHA I fooled you all!!!"
"We won't lose, because we're the strongest!!!"