The Animated Film Slam Dunk Master: The Return of "Motif" Behind Feelings

Original title: slam dunk: the return of "motif" behind feelings

Twenty-seven years after the termination of the serial, it was released again, which set off a wave of "reliving the memories of youth" in China. This is a "Ye Qing Hui" emotional bombing with a fixed audience. It is a carnival before the "final whistle of youth" of a generation of viewers, and it also allows the "pre-Z generation" group to fully realize their feelings. Looking at this work, it is not difficult to find that the author has made adjustments on the basis of the original cartoon, and we can see the return of the cultural motif contained in Japanese animation creation.

The hero’s exit in TV era

Looking back at the "popular history" of Slam Dunk Master, its popularity has remained high since the animated version was released in 1993. After it was released in mainland China, it was sought after by many China audiences after 1980s and 1990s, which made the movie version have gathered a large number of fans who recalled their feelings before it was released. For most post-80s and post-90s China audiences, this youthful memory is waiting for this basketball "hero" story in front of the TV every time they come home from school. The feeling brought by slam dunk is the audience’s "scene-like" nostalgia for their youth after 80′ s and 90′ s. However, the author didn’t simply put cartoons on the screen, but made great adjustments in visual effects technology and narrative perspective. In terms of image technology, it is different from the TV era when the image frame is still 4: 3. This time, Slam Dunk Master uses 3D rendering 2D technology. In terms of viewing mode, it is more suitable for cinemas, but it makes the original 2D characters have 3D visual sense. This very strange image style makes it completely different from the original. At the same time, with the blessing of image technology, the narrative perspective of the story changes more obviously. The original work started with Hanamichi Sakuragi, a young man with red hair who didn’t want to play ball. Through his perspective, the audience began to understand Xiangbei Basketball Team, Kanagawa Prefecture and even the national competition. In the film version, the narrative perspective is developed by Miyagi Ryota, and the original protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi or Rukawa Kaede is no longer in the center of the "stage".The audience participated in the game from a new perspective. Although this approach can expand the richness of the original plot, the shift of the protagonist’s point of view will inevitably weaken the audience’s attention to the original protagonist. Therefore, even though the author still retains a large number of important plots in the original cartoons in the play, the angle of view is mostly fixed in Miyagi Ryota, which makes the "century high-five" of the original protagonist after winning the heroic victory stiff and the emotional bedding insufficient, which also confirms that the heroes in the TV era in the hearts of the audience have gradually withdrawn.

The complex of "losing father" after the shift of perspective

In this film version, the author’s design of the role Miyagi Ryota is worth pondering. In the original work, Miyagi Ryota’s plays are far less than those of Hanamichi Sakuragi and Rukawa Kaede, and his birthplace and growth history have not attracted everyone’s attention. More audiences recognize him as a native of Kanagawa Prefecture. However, in this work, Miyagi Ryota’s birthplace is located in Okinawa, and his growth background is based on the absence of his father and brother, thus finally completing the "inspirational history" of competition and self-growth. Therefore, it is not difficult to find that in this work, the author no longer associates all the characters only with basketball like the original, but makes more efforts to tell a brand-new story on the background of the characters. If the original is to let the audience gradually understand basketball from the perspective of "basketball layman" Hanamichi Sakuragi, then this work is to invite the audience into Miyagi Ryota’s inner world and explore a basketball player’s unknown past. Okinawa, where there are historical problems, is the birthplace of the protagonist, which also hides the author’s political position. At the same time, the story of "the loss of father and brother" created by the author for Miyagi Ryota has already appeared in various Japanese video works after the war. This kind of "fatherless" complex condenses on Japan’s defeat after World War II, laments the disintegration of the patriarchal family in traditional Japanese society, and hides concerns about the country’s fate and personal future. In this book, the author will Miyagi Ryota’s "fatherless"The complex is tied to the memory of my brother’s death. Through a lot of flashbacks, interludes, flashbacks, etc., I constantly remind the audience of his past traumatic memories, so that this personal story outside the stadium will go to the foreground. At the end of the film, when the game is over, the camera will return to the windowsill again, and the photo of my brother wearing a jersey will stand on it, which also implies that the protagonist will step over the emotion of "losing his father" and move forward, and then this culture will be repeated in Japanese images.

Reflection of Bushido Spirit in Hot-blooded Youth

Tracing back to the source, Japanese sports cartoons represented by Slam Dunk Master started in the early 1950s. When the US military stationed in Japan hoped to revive Japan’s national confidence on the premise of eliminating Bushido, a large number of sports cartoons began to appear. They have opened up a new path for Japanese nationals who can’t inherit the Bushido spirit in the early post-war period. Whether it’s Soccer Kid and Slam Dunk Master, which are familiar to China audiences, or Tomorrow’s Zhang and Baseball Hero, which have great influence in Japan, every Japanese sports cartoon has a warm-blooded teenager. They may have an average talent, and after undergoing rigorous training, they will finally win through numerous challenges and tempering. The audience enjoyed the broken movements and flashback memories again and again, but at the same time, they were infected by these teenagers with pure hearts, and then regained their faith in the destiny of their own nation. However, for the audience in China, the reason why slam dunk can be classified as youthful feelings is not the same as that of the local audience. Different from the needs of Japanese adult audiences to boost national confidence, slam dunk is more like an unforgettable seasoning in the memory of young people in China. These hot-blooded animation stories make the audience in China after 80 s and 90 s feel the unique charm of sports, and the hot-blooded characters have become the embodiment of young people’s strength, courage and struggle. Just as all the characters in Slam Dunk are related to basketball,Hot-blooded teenagers in Japanese sports animation are willing to devote their youth to the sports they love. This kind of concentration and stubbornness is close to samurai, or it can be regarded as a kind of "bushido" that removes swords and keeps their spirit. In the movie version of Slam Dunk Master, Miyagi Ryota, who lost his father and brother, was also lost and depressed. However, after constant encouragement and self-analysis, he once again strengthened his belief and won the game with concentration, and completed a leap forward. At the same time, Hanamichi Sakuragi is troubled by back injury but insists on playing, captain Akagi regards defeating his opponent to dominate the country as the ultimate dream, and Mitsui fights for atonement, all of which are like the variants of Japanese samurai’s view of life as "short and gorgeous as cherry blossoms", which not only makes the audience moved by his youthful blood, but also reflects his "Bushido" spirit on the spiritual core of his works.

Up to now, the movie version of "Slam Dunk Master" has won more than 600 million box office in China and has been recognized by countless audiences. While people are partying for youth and paying for their feelings, we also find that this work inherits the cultural "motif" that has never been interrupted in Japanese image culture.(Author: Xiong Ying, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Philosophy of Wuhan University and a lecturer at the School of Journalism and Communication of Hubei University of Economics)