First off, let's get this out the way—I'm a crazy basketball nut, especially at this time of year when the playoffs are in full swing. From yelling at a TV screen to going through superstitious routines (gotta wear the right color on gameday!), I'd like to think these wacky rituals show my enthusiasm for the sport, but I'm pretty sure I just look like a plain lunatic. With that said, it's only natural that I LOVE SLAM DUNK! However, I like Slam Dunk, not only for it's amazing basketball accuracy, but also for its intriguiing storyline and great character development.
One of the great things about our hero, Hanamichi Sakuragi, is that he's not the best player out there on the floor (only don't tell him that!). If you've ever tried to learn basketball, you know it's not something you can pick up just like that and start dominating. For Sakuragi, thankfully his best traits on the court don't require an abundance of natural talent. Instead, through hard work, effort and determination, he's made himself into a valuable team member. And I have to personally thank Takehiko Inoue for truly understanding and loving the sport, because I would be completely put off if Sakuragi all of a sudden became the ace player on his team. Instead, Inoue Sensei has Sakuragi start from the basics and hone his skills in particular areas (defense and rebounding). And all that hard work finally pays off in the tournament, where Sakuragi's team Shohoku faces an almost impossible challenge against the defending champs Sannoh.
At the start of the second half, Shohoku finds itself in a deep hole against last year's champs. Sensing that his teams needs a good kick in the pants to swing momentum in their favor, Sakuragi jumps up on the scorer's table (please don't do this in a real game!) and makes a bold declaration. In his mind, Shohoku will not lose and the comeback starts at that moment. But the redheaded phenom isn't all just talk—he backs his words with his on-court actions. He's active and feisty, grabbing every rebound that comes his way. Feeding off his energy, the rest of his teammates follow suit and start dictating the flow of the game.
The action in this volume is so fast-paced, I found myself devouring the entire volume in a mere 20 minutes! And it's shocking to me that in the entire volume, only a few minutes of gametime pass! Do yourself a favor and start reading Slam Dunk. Even if you're not into sports, it doesn't matter because the story and characters are so amazing. Just replace a sword with a ball, and you can see that this particular series doesn't find itself cornered in a niche, it's got universal appeal!
Slam Dunk volume 28 is available from VIZ.com!
by John Bae