Shohoku sizes up their most dangerous opponent yet.
Story: Takehiko Inoue
Art: Takehiko Inoue
Translation/Adaptation: Stan! and Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
After watching a video of Sannoh’s semifinal game from the previous year, the Shohoku players, except Sakuragi of course, are feeling nervous – three of Sannoh’s starters this year played on that championship team. To make things worse, the stands are filled with Sannoh supporters eager to see their favorite rack up an easy win against Shohoku. But Coach Anzai’s been here before and he knows his players, instructing them to lead off with a surprise attack that lets Sannoh know that Shohoku’s in the house, and they aren’t going out without a fight!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Not many artists can do dialogue scenes as well as they do the big action set-pieces, but dashed if Takehiki Inoue isn’t one of them. Take the first chapter of this volume. Coach Anzai shows his team some video of their next opponent and gives them some commentary. These guys are nothing like the teams they’ve seen so far. They’re at an entirely different level. But it’s the response of the Shohoku team that illustrates what I mean. There’s no yelling in the chapter, no histrionics, no exaggerated lightning bolt effects. It’s just a group of guys watching a tape and listening to a mild-mannered, middle-aged man talk. And it’s positively devastating.
Devastating also is the beginning of the big game, which we reach after a few more preliminaries–such as the hysterical moment when the opposing team views tape of Sakuragi. But as always, calling them preliminaries sells them short. In Inoue’s hands they become anything up. We get a rundown of the matchups that we’ll see in the game, Coach Anzai’s encouragement of his players, and of course, Sakuragi’s attention-getting challenge to the other team.
It’s time to play.
As we move into another volume of Slam Dunk, we get the start of a brand new basketball game to look forward to. But 25 volumes is a milestone, and this seems a fitting time to look back on the masterful performance the author has turned in to get us this far. He has brought us, with unwearying consistency and excellence, a sprawling story of thrills, drama, laughs and strategy the likes of which has seldom been equalled before. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to this one. But in the meantime, I’m more than happy to welcome Shohoku’s next challenge.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz
Release Date: Oct 2 2012