It’s pretty dang hard to not be amazed by every new Slam Dunk release. With that being said, it’s no surprise that volume 30 is another exciting, emotional, intense (I could keep going but I’ll stop) addition to the series.
Here’s a little refresher for you—or at least for those who, like myself, have trouble with the names of Japanese basketball teams. Underdogs, Shohoku, are facing crowd favorite and the previous year’s national champions, Sannoh Kogyo. Pay attention to the scoreboard in this volume, it is constantly changing: In the second half, we see Sannoh leads 74 to Shohoku’s 61. There’s a 13 point lead with three and a half minutes left in the match. Whew, that’s enough recap.
It’s an incredible experience reading through the pages of this volume with an awareness that so little time has actually passed from one panel to the next. Every moment is packed full to the brim with the movements of the players. Every single action they take has a huge impact on the match, and Inoue’s artwork pulls this off effortlessly.
The evolution of Shohoku’s ace is on display—Rukawa finally learns to rely on his teammates, making his moves tougher to pin down. Meanwhile, Sakuragi’s “genius” is finally showing through—he goes to inspiring lengths for his team, risking his own health to keep their hopes alive. It's amazing to look back at the journey he's made as a player. From the selfish delinquent in the beginning, to the team player that will risk everything to help his team win.
Though it’s late in the game, neither team can afford to take it easy. When pushed to their limits, both both Shohoku and Sannoh show their fighting spirit. I love this volume because we get to see how close Shohoku has grown as a team. They’ve come to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are a worthy foe for Sannoh. Not only that, but Sakuragi finally realizes why he is so dedicated to the sport. With only a few minutes left on the clock—anything can happen. This is Shohoku.
Slam Dunk volume 30 is available from VIZ.com!
from Cat Rechsteiner