Slam Dunk Vol. 28 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 8, 2013 by  


Underdogs..Shohoku High School takes on the defending champions, Akita’s Sannoh Kogyo. In the fourth quarter and down by ten, with only a few minutes left, will Shohoku have an answer to Sannoh Kogyo’s awesome offense or defense? Find out in volume 29 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. 28

STORY AND ART BY: Takehiko Inoue (井上 雄彦)


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

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2013


The best-selling series from Eisner-nominated Takehiko Inoue, one of Japan’s greatest manga creators.

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?

With Sannoh pulling away with a big lead on the scoreboard in the second half, Shohoku is looking clearly outmatched. With the team foundering, Sakuragi decides he’s got to get everyone fired up and boldly declares that he’s going to take Sannoh down. Shohoku still has a long way to go, and Akagi himself needs to find a way to overcome Kawata’s strong defense. But if Shohoku can find their rhythm, they just might get back in the game.

 The National Tournament (the summer championships) continues as the underdogs, Shohoku High School are losing by 24 points against the three-time championship team, Sannoh Kogyo.

With the second quarter beginning and the team already spent and tired, Hanamichi Sakuragi tries to get the team motivated by screaming on top of the table that he will bring down Sannoh.

But against an elite team such as Sannoh Kogyo, does Shohoku High School have any chance of winning?

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. And through various matches, the Shohoku High School team have evolved, as have Sakuragi’s gameplay, which he continues to shock people with his quick adaptability of the fundamentals of the game.

What happens in Volume 28?

Shohoku High School is 24-points behind and the guys are tired, with the exception of Hanamichi who proclaims that he will bring Sannoh down.

Wanting to prove that he is a basketball phenom, will Hanamichi’s athleticism and skill help motivate the team and trim Sannoh’s lead?

The second quarter begins and if there is one thing that Sannoh should be prepared for…that’ s never to count Shohoku out from a comeback!

The excitement of Japanese high school basketball continues in volume 28 of “Slam Dunk”!

Volume 28 of Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” continues to explore the Shohoku High School strategy in the underdogs taking on the A-ranked Sannoh Kogyo. With Shohoku behind, it’s going to take a new strategy and full-on teamwork for them to come back from behind.

But victory looks so far as the Shohoku is losing by a 24-point margin.  But with Hanamichi using rebounds to get the team excited and motivated, can Shohoku trim Sannoh’s lead?

The thrill of the game of basketball is quite evident in the pages of volume 28 of “Slam Dunk”. With a total of three 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.

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!

The latest volume is somewhat of a quick read because it focuses on basketball and with Takehiko Inoue’s artwork, he tries to capture the intensity of basketball in his pages with very few word balloons. But for basketball fans, you can’t help but be captivated by the underdog/beginner Hanamichi and the entire Shohoku High School Basketball Team because they are an unknown team with a lot of heart, but also skill.  Can they beat the champs?

“Slam Dunk” Vol. 28 is highly recommended!

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