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Slam Dunk Vol. #24 Manga Review

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Slam Dunk Volume 24
Slam Dunk Volume 24
Shohoku tries to beat their opponents at their own game as the second half gets under way.

Creative Staff
Story: Takehiko Inoue
Art: Takehiko Inoue
Translation/Adaptation: Stan! and Joe Yamazaki

What They Say
It’s the second half of Shohoku’s debut game in the National Championship. Toyotama boasts the top three scorers from the Osaka regionals, and they’re bent on nothing less than crushing Shohoku! But Coach Anzai’s got a plan: steal the ball, run and score, facing Toyotama’s run-and-gun style head on! If Shohoku can’t beat Toyotama at their best game, what chance do they have of beating last year’s champion Sannoh in the next round?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We’re two dozen volumes into this great series now, and somehow Slam Dunk keeps finding new ways to surprise me.

There were some big challenges facing Shohoku in the first half of this game, challenges that continue into this volume. Inoue shows us how they deal with them, of course–anybody would do that much, though probably not as well. But what really got me about this volume is the challenge that Inoue set for himself. We’ve seen the other team play rough. We’ve heard them talk trash. We’ve even seen one of them deliberately injure one of our guys. After all that, we want to see them get thrashed.

Until, all of a sudden, we don’t anymore.

I’ve been pretty enthusiastic in my praise for Inoue’s abilities so far. He can draw like crazy, he has an incredible feel for the rhythm of a game, and his plotting has been second to none. But in this volume he outdid himself. He turned a bunch of guys we loved to hate into…well, into a basketball team. A very dedicated, very human, squad of athletes. You won’t like what they did in the past; and Inoue, to his credit, doesn’t try to excuse them. He just tells you their story. And when he’s done, you understand them. Even their coach–a man we saw as too weak to control his team, and see in this volume as a man unable to control himself–becomes sympathetic to an extent I wouldn’t have thought possible if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. You know how long it takes Inoue to pull this off? Just four short chapters. This guy is scary good.

In Summary:
In this volume we expect–and get–an exciting finish to an exciting playoff game. And we also get something we don’t expect: a touchingly human observation of a team that, more than any other in the tournament so far, we’ve come to think of as The Enemy. The character work in this volume has a rare richness. You’ll rarely see so many complete, emotionally complex, understandable human beings than Inoue treats us to in this one volume. And after all that, he prepares to give us more.

Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
MSRP: $9.99