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Slam Dunk Vol. 24 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 12, 2012 by  



It’s what the players have been dreaming of… to play at the Summer National Tournament. And now, ranked C team, Shohoku High School must take on ranked A, Osaka’s Toyotama High School.   Exciting, all basketball action in every page… Find out who wins the first matchup in volume 24 of “Slam Dunk”!

© 1999-2011 Takehiko Inoue and I.T. Planning, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 24

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: October 2, 2012

 

It’s the second half of Shohoku’s debut game in the National Championship. Toyotama boasts the top three scorers from the Osaka regionals, and they’re bent on nothing less than crushing Shohoku! But Coach Anzai’s got a plan: steal the ball, run and score, facing Toyotama’s run-and-gun style head on! If Shohoku can’t beat Toyotama at their best game, what chance do they have of beating last year’s champion Sannoh in the next round?

The National Tournament (the summer championships) have begun and Shohoku High School who is ranked “C” is taking on ranked “A” team, Toyotama High School.

And already, the guys of Shohoku are realizing that these guys is their biggest challenge yet and to win, they are going to have to play as a team.  Meanwhile, star player Kaede Rukawa was hit hard by Toyotama High’s “Ace Killer”, Minami and his eye is swollen shut.  With Shohoku’s top shooter  now limited to one eye, how will this affect the team’s chances?  Also, will Hanamichi Sakuragi show his true offensive prowess?  Or will he continue to embarrass himself in front of the team.

Find out in the conclusion of the Shohoku High School vs. Toyotama High School competition in vol. 24 of “Slam Dunk”!

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 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.

What happens in Volume 24?

In Volume 24 of “Slam Dunk”, as the Shohoku High School basketball team play their first matchup in the summer tournament, bad blood has already erupted between Shohoku and Toyotama High School.  And now, taking that energy to the basketball court, but as Toyotama High School has the upper-hand and Shohoku’s Kaede Rukawa has a swollen eye and Sakuragi not playing team ball, does Shohoku even have a chance?

Volume 24 is the conclusion of the matchup between Shohoku High School (Rank C) takes on Toyotama High School (Rank A). Who will win?

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

The thrill of basketball competition is alive and active in volume 24 of “Slam Dunk”.

In the last volume, things were not easy for the Shohoku players. In fact, Toyotama shows off their brilliance by countering the offensive tactics that Shohoku has in the early minutes of the game and taking an early lead. And for the trash talking Kishimoto of Toyotama High School, he wonders if Shohoku is a joke, especially Hanamichi Sakuragi, who he has to guard.  But when Toyotama shows they are a dominant team, Coach Anzai has a new strategy to take on Toyotama and that is utilizing team captain Takenori Akagi, ace player Kaeda Rukawa and bencher Yasuda! Will this strategy pay off?

In volume 24, it’s all about the basketball matchup between both high schools and while not so much about strategy, it’s about people overcoming issues.  Kaede Rukawa is the best player  of Shohoku, but with a swollen eye, he must continue to show that he can play a high level and still play with one eye.

Meanwhile, Sakuragi who has practiced many times to improve his jump shot, still has a lot to prove as he is not exactly doing all that well.

But if the team can play together as a team, perhaps there is a chance that they can put some points up on the board and defeat Osaka’s Toyotama High School!

As for the manga series, Takehiko Inoue’s illustrations have always been a highlight for me and I was always amazed of how he captured movements of basketball. I did notice with vol. 24, he is doing a lot of experimentation with character shading more than any previous volume.  So, not sure if this is a step into a different direction illustration-wise.

So for any “Slam Dunk” fan, this is what everyone has been waiting for in the manga series. For so long we have seen these players dream of playing at the summer tournament and now they are there, about to play their first game against the dominant Toyotama High School team and knowing that even last year’s champs are in their competitive bracket.

It’s 100% basketball action in volume 24 of “Slam Dunk”.  If you are a sports manga fan, and love basketball, this volume is definitely recommended!

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