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For anime fans, there’s nothing quite like a visit to the local branch of Animate. The mega-retailer is a great place to pick up the latest Blu-ray releases or newest bits of anime merchandise.

Or, as of this month, to slap a fat dude in the neck.

While it’s never been a runaway commercial success in English-speaking territories, Slam Dunk, which started as a manga in 1990 and was adapted into an animated TV series in 1993, was a pop cultural force in Japan. Immensely popular during its initial run, it’s got a special nostalgic place in the hearts of anime and sports enthusiasts alike, and remains Japan’s most iconic fictional depiction of basketball.

The story follows main character Hanamichi Sakuragi, a gang-leading delinquent despite having the kanji for both “flower” and “cherry blossom” in his name, and a complete failure with girls even though he has the face, build, and hairdo of an early ‘90s male model.

Sakuragi’s life starts to turn around once he joins the Shohoku High School basketball team, where he meets the kind and corpulent Coach Anzai.

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Initially, Coach Anzai’s calm and stoic demeanor doesn’t sit well with the hot-headed Sakuragi. Whenever the teen’s frustration with his mentor’s methods boil over, he begins jiggling or prodding the coach’s extra body mass, with his well-padded neck a frequent target.

“Why aint I in the starting lineup? Why, huh?”

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This vitriolic bonding, as well as many other less bizarre yet memorable scenes, left such a lasting impression that Slam Dunk is now being rereleased in a Blu-ray box set. To commemorate this, voice actor Takeshi Kusao, who played Sakuragi, made an appearance at a fan appreciation event with fellow cast members Hikaru Midorikawa and Ryotaro Okiayu. While onstage, they revealed a unique piece of Slam Dunk art.

▼ The reveal comes at the 0:52 mark.

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The life-sized bust of Coach Anzai, which will be making the rounds of Animate branches across Japan, appears to be made out of a soft, rubbery material that mimics the properties of the character’s flab. Customers are encouraged to recreate the above scene from the manga with a speech bubble inviting them to “Tap on me as much as you like.”

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Repeat slapping are expected, as there’s even a digital counter underneath the coach that records the number of times he’s been throat-spanked.

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As shown in the video, a pretty forceful smack is necessary to trigger the sensor and increase the tally. If you’re feeling particularly diabolical, jabbing a fingertip into the gentle Anzai’s windpipe also appears to be an option.

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The figure seems ready to handle all this abuse and more, as after 901 slaps, it still looks to be in good shape.

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Animate hasn’t released any specific schedule, only stating that Coach Anzai’s odd tour of Japan will be starting in late August. So don’t forget to stop by your local branch if you’re a sports fan, love classic anime, or just can’t resist the urge to tap that neck.

*UPDATE* The schedule for Coach Anzai’s tour has just be released! Here it is!:

Animate Yokohama : August 22 – August 24
Animate Nagoya : August 29 – August 30
Animate Osaka Nipponbashi : September 5 – September 7
Animate Hiroshima : September 13 – September 15
Animate Kumamoto : September 19 – September 21
Animate Fukuoka Tenjin : September 26 – September 28
Animate Kokura : October 3 – October 9
Animate Sapporo : October 17 – October 19
Animate Sendai : October 24 – October 26
Animate Shibuya : November 1 – November 3

Sources: Zaku Zaku 911, Gamme
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Twitter, Wikipedia, Zerochan, Jin, YouTube, Twitter (2)