As if the going hasn't been tough enough, Shohoku's basketball team is now facing their biggest challenge yet. Even though it's only the second round of nationals, fate has pitted them against last year's reigning champions, the mighty Sannoh Kogyo!
Although they might seem like easy pickings to Sannoh Kogyo's group of all-star elites, our home team hasn't let it get to them. In fact, they've managed to come out with an unbelievable two-point lead in the first half! However, it might be a little too soon to celebrate. After all, there's still the whole second half for the national champions to turn the game around and defend their prestigious title.
Although every player in Shohoku has something special to offer, captain Takenori Akagi's role is indispensable. It's always been his mission to bring out the best in everyone, and he does a great job of keeping the team's spirit alive. But what happens when even he finds himself cornered? Sannoh Kohyo's genius center Masashi Kawata has been running circles around him the whole game, and it won't be long before he reaches his limit. Kawata has fully mastered every position in basketball, which makes him the most experienced opponent Akagi has ever faced. There isn't a single thing this powerhouse doesn't know, and you can bet he's got Akagi's moves all figured out! Is there any way he can see past this genius and keep Shohoku moving forward?
For the entire season, our hero Sakuragi Hanamichi has wanted nothing more than to make himself useful to the team. Now that he's a key player in this crucial match, this might be the chance he's been waiting for! But it seems like Coach Enzai has other things in mind for him. In fact, he has sent out one of their weakest players to replace him on the court! Could he be giving their bench warmer one last chance to play before it's all over? Sakuragi's sure he's given up all hope, but Coach Enzai's years of experience soon reveal his true motives. In fact, he's letting him in on a special trick that just might spell victory for Shohoku...and no one other than Sakuragi can pull it off! What will make him the trump card that can overcome Japan's reigning champions?
The second half's started in the epic Shohoku vs. Sannoh Kogyo match. Who'll advance to the next round?!
Slam Dunk is available at VIZ.com!
by Julie Lutz