Anime News

Yasunori Arai, Drummer of Slam Dunk’s Ironic First Anime Opening, Passes Away



Japanese pop rock band BAAD announced on their website yesterday that lead drummer Yasunori Arai passed away on May 22. The message didn’t say what was the cause of death but mentioned that Arai had recently been undergoing medical treatment for “some time.” BAAD is best known for performing the iconic first opening for Slam Dunk in 1993. 


The band posted a live version of the song “Kimi ga Suki da to Sakebitai (I Want to Shout ‘I Like You’)” on their Twitter account on May 12.




In the announcement, the band said that they had “reunited” officially for the first time since 1999 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut and their first major hit song, the opening to Slam Dunk, with events set to occur throughout the year, starting with a guest appearance on May 18. The website was opened in April 2023 to facilitate this.


Arai “strongly wished” to perform at the appearance but was unable due to his health. While the band reunited on the wishes of fans, the band members and staff members are “unable to accept the reality” of Arai’s passing, implying that events may be postponed for the foreseeable future.


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A funeral for Arai has already been held with his family and close friends in attendance. The band has thanked everyone for their support over the years and expressed their condolences to Arai’s family.


Sources: Oricon, BAAD official website



Daryl Harding is a Senior Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.