Slam Dunk Vol. 15 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
April 5, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Slam Dunk” is one of the classic and best selling manga in Japan for a reason. Showing that people can rise to the occasion to be the best and the importance of teamwork and more! Volume 15 is a pivotal volume for the entire series as it showcases the conclusion of the Shohoku High School and Kainan High School matchup and I highly recommend it!
© 1999-2011 Takehiko Inoue and I.T. Planning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 15
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: April 5, 2011
The Kings from Kainan hold firm to their four-point lead over the boys from Shohoku, and there are only 30 seconds left on the game clock! Mitsui puts up a desperate prayer of a three-pointer, but it’s the always-unpredictable Sakuragi who succeeds in shrinking the point deficit and drawing a crucial foul. But if Sakuragi wants to keep his team’s hope alive, he needs to nail his next free throw… and he’s absolutely terrible at free throws!
Shohoku High School has advanced to the prefectural tournament and now they must take on top ranked Kainan High School and so far, Shohoku who are the underdogs are showing Kainan that they should not be counted out. But each time Shohoku has come close or to tie, Kainan keeps coming back and taking the lead.
With only two minutes left and the players exhausted, can they come back and win this huge game?
Find out in Takehiko Inoue’s hit manga series… “Slam Dunk” vol. 15!
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 has fallen for Haruko Akagi, the younger sister of Takenori Akagi, the captain of Shohoku High’s basketball team. But for Haruko, she likes Kaeda Rukawa, the first-year basketball star that all the female students love.
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 15 of “Slam Dunk”, it’s tournament time and Shohoku takes on Kainan High School which feature two prodigy basketball rookies, Kenji Fujima and Shinichi Maki. It’s the final half with two minutes left in the tournament and Kainan is ahead by six points.
Can Shohoku High School make a comeback and who will become the victor?
For those who love basketball or love the thrill of sports manga, “Slam Dunk” is a classic.
And with volume 15, it’s a pivotal volume that many readers will see changes with Sakuragi’s gameplay but most importantly, it’s the game that sets things in motion for Shohoku High School for future volumes.
With volume 15, it’s the final two minutes between the underdogs, Shohoku High School as they take on “King” Kainan and they have shown why they are a champion caliber-team but Shohoku has shown that they are not the underdogs that should be taken lightly.
With the last two volumes showcasing the group’s ability to fight back, the matchup concludes in this exciting volume 15!
With that being said, reading this volume will go quickly because it’s more illustration versus dialogue but if you appreciate basketball and Takehiko Inoue’s work, you know that this style works and the efficacy of competition of competitive high school basketball is captured amazingly well.
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. He also doesn’t step back when it comes to capturing the players during competition. He fully includes detail of profuse sweating and the fatigue a player goes through from start to finish. Also capturing the strategy of basketball in general!
Overall, “Slam Dunk” is one of the classic and best selling manga in Japan for a reason. Showing that people can rise to the occasion to be the best and the importance of teamwork and more! Volume 15 is a pivotal volume for the entire series as it showcases the conclusion of the Shohoku High School and Kainan High School matchup and I highly recommend it!
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