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Slam Dunk Vol. 3 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 12, 2009 by  



“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!  With Shohoku High School preparing for their first exhibition matchup with their new players, will they be ready to take on Ryonan High School?  “Slam Dunk” Vol. 3 is highly recommended!

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

MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 3

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 8, 2009

For a self-proclaimed genius such as Sakuragi, executing a dazzling slam dunk is no problem at all, but what about some other basketball moves that require a bit more finesse? Not to mention exhibiting a firm understanding of basketball fundamentals, which he most certainly doesn’t have. With the help of Haruka (and some goading from captain Akagi), Sakuragi attempts to put his pride in check and learn how to pull off a basic lay-up. In theory it should be easy… but sometimes the simplest shots are the toughest to master.

As Hanamichi Sakuragi has shown that he intends to stick with basketball and become a “Basketball Man”, the Shohoku High School basketball team learns that they will be competing in an exhibition match with Ryonan High School, a team that made it to the final four matchup the previous year.

But before their competition, Akagi wants Hanamichi to learn how to do a layup (as his only basketball skills are defense and slam dunking) and also how to rebound, but will Hanamichi’s ego prevent him from learning the fundamentals of doing a layup?  And will he be ready to play in the exhibition matchup?

Find out in volume 3 of Takehiko Inoue’s hit manga series “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.

In volume 2, Hanamichi is determined to prove that he has what it takes to play the game and make it on the team. But for Takenori Akagi’s rival (and former childhood friend), Judo Team Captain Tatsuhiko Aota, Aota is determined in recruiting Hanamichi to join their squad and not the basketball team. And to do that, to strike at Hanamichi’s weakness, by using Haruko!

In volume 3, despite the judo team’s attempt to recruit Hanamichi, his teammates who were spying on them learned of Hanamichi’s determination to stay on the basketball team.   But with an exhibition matchup coming up against Ryonan High School, Akagi must get Hanamichi ready and that is by teaching him to shoot and the quickest way for now, before their first matchup is by having him learn how to do the layup.

The problem is, Hanamichi’s impatience and showboating tends to get into his head and him wanting to do a dunk in order to impress Haruko than learning how to do a slam dunk.

Meanwhile, Ryonan sends a scout named Hikoichi Aida to check out Shohoku High School, but instead of observing and meeting Akagi and Rukawa, Aida meets Sakuragi instead!

Will Shohoku High School be ready to take on Ryonan High School?

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

The 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, will he be able to prove to Haruko and the team that he deserves to be a player for the team? Or will he be the laughing stock of Shohoku High School?

The storyline of the naive Hanamichi continues as the former gang member is even more determined to be a member of the Shohoku High School basketball team but he must learn more fundamentals, despite his whining of not wanting to learn.  But Akagi wants Hanamichi to learn about scoring by doing a layup and also to learn about rebounding as it can control the direction of the game.

But when Hanamichi’s attempt to learn of how to do a proper layup is making him the laughing stock at school, Haruko Akagi who played high school basketball wants Hanamichi to learn and so she wants to train him.  But is it possible?

Meanwhile, Shohoku High School prepares for their exhibition matchup against Ryonan High School (a team that beat them by a large number of points the previous year) and Hanamichi meets their team captain Uozumi (a rival of Akagi) and their ace, Sendoh.

What a hilarious and fun series “Slam Dunk” has come to be!  The fact that we have the most unlikely character playing basketball is quite fascinating but the process that he goes to learn the game is very interesting.  The characters for “Slam Dunk” are awesome, the story is well-written and Takehiko Inoue just knows how to capture the sport of basketball on the pages of “Slam Dunk”.

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. The detail of Inoue’s artwork is just wonderful and I look forward to volume 4!

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!

“Slam Dunk” Vol. 3 is highly recommended!

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