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Slam Dunk Vol. 27 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 5, 2013 by  



Underdogs..Shohoku High School takes on the defending champions, Akita’s Sannoh Kogyo. But as Shohoku showed them they can match up quite fine with Sannoh in the first quarter, by second quarter, Sannoh shows amazing offense and also superior defense and increasing their lead.  Will Shohoku have an answer to the explosiveness of Sannoh Kogyo?  Find out in  volume 27 of Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk”!

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

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MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 27

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 2, 2013

 

Winning isn’t everything in the game of basketball, but who wants to come in second? It takes dedication and discipline to be the best, and the Shohoku High hoops team wants to be just that. They have one last year to make their captain’s dream of reaching the finals come true—will they do it?

As the game against Sannoh heads into the second half, Shohoku struggles to keep up. Sannoh’s coach Domoto isn’t about to let Shohoku think they can stage an upset and lets loose his team’s explosive offense. With Shohoku on the ropes and Sakuragi upset by a substitution, the players start feeling completely outmatched, and even Akagi begins having doubts. But Coach Anzai hasn’t given up yet, and he begins priming Sakuragi on the sidelines for a comeback!

The National Tournament (the summer championships) continues as the underdogs, Shohoku High School had the lead over three-time championship team, Sannoh Kogyo.

But now, Sannoh Kogyo has unleashed the press and defensively, have contained Shohoku High, to the point that they can’t even score one point.

With everyone from Shohoku High stressed out that they can’t shoot or find a flaw in Sannoh’s press defense, the lead that Shohoku had has now gone in reverse as Sannoh is now ahead in the first half.

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.

In Volume 26 of “Slam Dunk”, as the Shohoku High School basketball show they are good enough to content with an A-rank team, Sannoh Kogyo knows they must change things up as they are the defending champions. That includes sending their untested huge man, Miko Kawata.

But how will Coach Anzai respond? Shohoku High also has an untested player…Hanamichi Sakuragi. But will Sakuragi find a way to overcome Kawata’s massive height and frame?

What happens in Volume 27?

Shohoku High School made themselves known to the championship team that they had what it takes to go against them and win.  And with the first quarter looking like Shohoku High had the potential to be the better team, Sannoh uses the defensive press (double teaming the ball carrier) and now Shohoku is unable to shoot or get inside the paint.

Rukawa can’t even make one point with Sawakita on him, Akagi can’t even get a basket off with Kawata guarding him and the speed of Ryota Miyagi is proving to be ineffective.

And when Sannoh runs up the points in the second quarter, will coach Anzai have an answer to Sannoh’s defensive press formation?

Do you love basketball? The excitement, the strategy that goes behind-the-scenes with coaching?

Volume 27 of Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” explores the Shohoku High School strategy in the underdogs taking on the A-ranked Sannoh Kogyo. But as volume 26 was about Shohoku using strategy against Sannoh, now the roles are reversed as Sannoh has become defensively aggressive, double teaming anyone in Shohoku who has the ball, Shohoku can’t even get one point against Sannoh, who is able to score with ease now.

But what becomes a 3 point lead becomes a 10-point lead and the lead continues to increase.  What kind of strategy will Coach Anzai have now?

As this volume concludes first half of the competition and begins the third quarter.  The thrill of the game of basketball is quite evident in the pages of volume 27 of “Slam Dunk”. With a total of four volumes left in the manga series, Takehiko Inoue definitely wants to show readers that this game will not be like any game Shohoku has played.  This time, the defending champs will show why they have won three years straight but will Shohoku have an answer to their amazing offense and defense?

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. From the layups, the dunks, the defensive coverage and just the feeling of basketball, he captures it so well in the pages of each manga release.

So for any “Slam Dunk” fan, this is a pretty awesome volume and I’m looking forward to the second half of the competition which will continue in volume 28 of “Slam Dunk”.

Overall, if you love manga and basketball, “Slam Dunk” is a manga series that I highly recommend!

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