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Slam Dunk Vol. 11 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 27, 2013 by  



“Slam Dunk” vol. 11 features the thrilling conclusion of Shohoku High School vs.  Shoyo High School. Can Shohoku High School find a way to win this tough game? Find out in volume 11 of Takehiko Inoue’s hit manga series “Slam Dunk”!  Recommended!

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© 1999-2009 Takehiko Inoue and I.T. Planning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 11

STORY AND ART BY: Takehiko Inoue (井上 雄彦)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: August 3, 2010

Shoyo’s ace, Fujima, drops himself into the lineup and quickly helps his team retake the lead from Shohoku, and despite struggling with fatigue, Mitsui stays on the floor as well. Realizing that they are the keys to winning the game, coach Anzai focuses on both Mitsui’s scoring finesse and Hanamichi’s monstrous rebounding, but with only five minutes left on the game clock, Shohoku will need to deliver, and fast.

Which player will ignite the spark that will carry Shohoku on to victory? And does Mitsui have enough stamina left to hit some crucial three-pointers?

The semi-finals for the prefectural high school basketball tournament featuring Shohoku High School vs. Shoyo High School continues as Shohoku has the lead!

Despite Shoyo High’s size difference, Shohoku High has found a way to counter Shoyo’s size.  But when Shoyo High’s phenom (who is also the coach), Fujima comes into the game, Shoyo’s transformation is amazing as the team dynamics have changed and now Shoyo is mounting their comeback.

Can Shohoku contain Fujima?  Will Sakajima foul out again?  Find out in “Slam Dunk” volume 11!

What is “Slam Dunk”?

I can easily remember the popularity of “Slam Dunk” during the early ’90s. Despite being here in America, I would venture to the local Tower Records or travel to Japan Town and head to the Japanese bookstore to pick up the latest Shonen Jump magazine and watching the anime series.

Granted, I came into “Slam Dunk” several years late but I recognized how popular the manga and anime series was, especially the music and sure enough “Slam Dunk” was one of the first anime soundtracks (on cassette) that I had purchased. For me, it was quite intriguing because the sports that I have watched from Japan and manga and anime being based from those sports are typically baseball, soccer or tennis. You just don’t think about basketball but sure enough, “Slam Dunk” captured the essence of high school basketball and the excitement of team dynamics, offense/defense and squaring off against a rival team.

But this is what Takehiko Inoue is known for. A mangaka who is a basketball fan, his manga series is considered iconic in the fact that many kids in Japan played basketball and became interested in the sport because of “Slam Dunk”. In fact, the series was not just popular in Japan but also throughout Asia. The manga sold over 100 million copies in Japan between 1990-1996, earning a Shogakukan Manga Award in 2005 and in 2007, the series received the distinction as “Japan’s Favorite Manga”.

Inoue would eventually follow up with “Buzzer Beater” in 1997 (which he collaborated with ESPN) which was a more farfetched story about basketball ala intergalactic competition. Followed by a samurai manga story titled “Vagabond” in 1998 and back to a basketball manga with “Real” in 2001 (based on people with disabilities in wheelchairs who compete in basketball), so Inoue has a pretty strong following for his works.

And his hits series “Slam Dunk” has been released ala manga in America courtesy of Viz Media.

“Slam Dunk” revolves around a cocky and rough street punk named Hanamichi Sakuragi who is a first-year student at Shohoku High School. He had to be a tough kid growing up. Often teased for his red hair, Hanamichi and his friends would be part of a gang that grouped together to fight other gangs and to show that they are not afraid of no one. And for the tall Sakuragi, he has shown his power in defeating other people in fights.

But there is another side of Hanamichi Sakuragi and that is the fact that he has been rejected by 50 girls in junior high school and now that he’s in high school, #50 tells him that her heart is for Oda who plays for the basketball team.

One day he meets Haruko Akagi, also a first-year student and is the sister of Takenori Akagi, a third-year student and the team captain of Shohoku High School’s basketball team. She also happens to have a crush on star athlete, Kaeda Rukawa, a basketball player that many girls at the high school have fallen for. And because of that, a rivalry between he and Rukawa is instantly created and Hanamichi always feels he must one-up Rukawa (despite Rukawa being a phenom high school basketball player in Japan).

And now Hanamichi Sakuragi wants to prove that he can also be a very good basketball player. And while he doesn’t know the fundamentals of the game, he shows his aptitude of learning quickly.

So, to prove his worth in front of Haruko, Hanamichi joins the Shohoku basketball team which includes Kiyota, Maki, Hisashi Mitsui, Ryota Miyagi and their team manager, Ayako.

In volume 10, the group have now made it into the semifinals but the team feels very stressed because their matchup is against the dominant Shoyo High School, a team that is better than Sendoh and has been dominant because of their height advantage. Also, they are led by third year Kenji Fujima, a star athlete but also doubling as the coach of Shoyo High School.

And immediately, Shoyo High School shows their dominance thanks to their height advantage. But what if Shohoku High School can find a way to use Hanamichi’s dominance as a rebounder. Will it help them defeat Shoyo High School?

In volume 11, as Shohoku High School has managed to find a strategy to beat Shoyo, everything changes when their team phenom and coach, Fujima comes into the game.  And with Fujima back in the game, everyone on Shoyo becomes better players and manage to cut the point deficit but also now have taken the lead.

With a whole different team in the second half and the Shohoku players become exhausted, what will they do?

If you love basketball, you will love “Slam Dunk”.

The continuing story of a brute named Hanamichi who has his issues finding a girlfriend (or any girl to like him), but has fallen for Haruko Akagi, the sister of Shohoku High’s Takenori Akagi, the team captain of the basketball team. But knowing that she loves basketball and likes star player Kaede Rukawa. So, Hanamichi is determined in proving to her that he can excel in basketball but also hopefully winning her heart.

But because of Hanamichi’s lack of manners and basketball knowledge, he has gone through training to learn the fundamentals and from Team Captain Akagi and others on the team, he has learned to sharpen his offense and defense slowly. But most recently, learning the importance of rebounding but trying his best not to foul out (a major problem that Hanamichi has yet to figure out).

Having to learn the discipline of being a master rebounder and trying not to foul out, it has been tough for Sakuragi in the semi-finals against Shoyo High School.

But with the semi-finals on the line, they need to put up the best defensive game as Shoyo High School’s phenom, Fujima, has entered the game and literally has changed the dynamics of the team.

Not only has Shoyo cut down the deficit but now have taken the lead.  Not knowing how to contain this new offense/defense since Fujima comes in, it means others on the team will have to step up to the plate.  Including Hisashi Mitsui, the former junior high MVP and a player known for being a deep threat on the three-point line.

But in order for Shohoku to win the game, everyone is going to have to give their best offensive and defensive effort but will they figure out how to come back and win with time expiring?

Once again, Takehiko Inoue’s artwork is simply wonderful. His illustrations have always been a highlight for me and I was always amazed of how he captured movements, the offensive and defensive stances to how the players penetrate the perimeter and score. But what I enjoyed about this latest volume is showing Hanamichi’s progression as a player. While he has learned the game quickly, he is still learning the fundamentals and finds himself worried because he fouls out of a game too quickly. So, it’ll be interesting to see how he improves from this latest challenge.

As for the manga, the detail of Inoue’s artwork is just wonderful, the action, the sweat, the emotions are captured amazingly well on each page.

Overall, “Slam Dunk” is an enjoyable manga series that is not just for basketball fans but for those who want a manga series that captures the spirit of basketball, competition, the strategy involved in the sport but a captivating storyline with cool characters that makes this series worth recommending!

Volume 11 features the thrilling conclusion of the Shohoku vs. Shoyo semi-final match.  Can underdogs Shohoku High School win the game?

Love basketball and manga? Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” vol. 11 is highly recommended!

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