Story: Takehiko Inoue
Art: Takehiko Inoue
Translation/Adaptation: Stan! and Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
With a slight lead thanks to Mitsui, Shohoku has their hands full as the game against Sanno heats up. Sanno’s coach Domoto sends in Mikio, a player whose strength and size make up for his lack of experience. Coach Anzai counters by telling Shohoku to run their offense through Sakuragi, and the game becomes a battle between the two inexperienced power players.
What Sanno thought would be an easy win for them is turning out to be a lot more than they bargained for – Shohoku’s here and they mean to go all the way to the top!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Well, it’s finally here. The big time. The toughest game of the tournament. The Top Dogs against the Underdogs.
The characters in the story weren’t expecting this to be much of a game. But naturally, we, the readers, were. It looks like we’re going to get one. From the first page our boys are on the attack. The initial frame in the book shows Mitsui going up to drain a three. He’s on a roll–it’s like he can’t miss a shot, and Shohoku’s strategy is to feed him the ball and let him find the bottom of the net. It works, for a while, but even while it works we get hints that it’s not going to work forever. The guy guarding Mitsui won’t give him a moment’s rest. He’s a dangerous opponent who takes the long view: he knows that if he keeps up the dogged pursuit, eventually Mitsui will crack from exhaustion.
But Mitsui can’t carry the team alone, so Rukawa steps up to challenge the Sannoh ace. Their battle is short, fierce, and leaves both of them winded. With each team’s most dangerous player on the bench, the game moves into a new phase. It’s a big game, and it’s time for a big player. Or rather, the biggest player. Sannoh brings in a gentle giant who’s the bigger than anyone else on the court.
Guess who gets to guard him.
So, with Sakuragi in a shoving match for the low post, the game begins to take shape. A sense of duality, even rivalry forms as the component parts of the matchup split into pairs. Sakuragi and the big guy; Akagi and the almost-as-big guy; Mitsui and his defender; Rukawa and the speedy ace. The balance of power is, ironically, a delicate one. And who would Coach Anzai choose to upset the balance other than his least delicate player?
Slam Dunk continues to impress me with its professionalism, its rhythm, its suspense, and its unending joyous ease of reading. We have a great time in store for us, and now that we’re finally getting the opponents we wanted, it’s impossible not to be excited. “Maybe we can win,” says Haruko in this volume. Maybe we already have.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz
Release Date: Oct 2 2012