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Slam Dunk Vol. 30 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 29, 2013 by  



slamdunk-v30

Underdogs..Shohoku High School have now cut the lead by 15 points again Sannoh Kogyo in the national tournament.  With a few minutes left in the fourth quarter and down by 15, will Shohoku be able to make a comeback with three minutes left on the clock? Find out in volume 30 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. 30

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 1, 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?

The second half is winding down and Shohoku is working harder than they ever have before to close the seemingly impossible lead Sannoh has over them. Rukawa has found something inside him and continues to evolve as a player, and Sakuragi is totally in his own zone. But will pushing themselves beyond their limits lead Shohoku to victory or ruin?

The National Tournament (the summer championships) continues as the underdogs, Shohoku High School has cut the deficit to 15 points after a late surge from Sannoh Kogyo.

Shohoku is exhausted but with several minutes left in the fourth quarter, they can feel momentum on their side as they finally found a weakness in Sannoh High School’s offense and defense.

With the crowd shocked with Shohoku trimming Sannoh’s lead, can they make their comeback while behind with three minutes left?

The volume leading to the explosive final volume, find out what happens in volume 30 of Takehiko Inoue’s “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 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 30?

Shohoku High School made themselves known to the championship team, Sannoh Kogyo 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.

Sannoh Kogyo figures out Shohoku High School and dominantly comes up ahead by 19 points. But now it’s the 4th quarter and Shohoku High School has managed to prevent Sannoh Kogyo from scoring and trimmed their lead down to 10 points.

But now Sannoh’s star player, Eiji Sawakita and the team intends to end this game and beat Shohoku. Sawakita challenges Rukawa but each time Rukawa tries, he is unable to figure Sawakita out.

Fortunately, Hisashi Mitsui’s three pointers have brought Shohoku back to the game and Rukawa found a way to make a difference as a team player, while Ryota Miyagi and Captain Akagi find ways to bring a new offensive and defensive style to halt Sannoh Kogyo.

And as for Hanamichi Sakuragi feeling the team getting closer and catching up to Sannoh Kogyo, something unexpected happens to the phenom.

For over 29 volumes, we have seen Shohoku High School start the season as underdogs.  Never major contenders and looked at as a team of troublemakers, the team led by Captain Akagi have shown they are a team with talent and can be something special if they played as a team.

And their culmination of practice and becoming better has resulted in one of the most exciting sports manga’s ever created.

Volume 30 of Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” continues the matchup between Shohoku High School vs. Sannoh Kogyo but showing that even great teams have weaknesses and for the underdog Shohoku team, they have found the weakness of Sannoh Kogyo but the question is if the have enough time to make a comeback.

15 points behind and several minutes left, they are going to have to play their best offense and defense in order to make a comeback.

While focusing on the fourth quarter of gameplay, the storyline focuses on how Shohoku intends to make their comeback with new strategies but also giving your all!

The thrill of the game of basketball is quite evident in the pages of volume 30 of “Slam Dunk”. With a total of one volume left in the manga series, Takehiko Inoue is setting readers up for one exciting finale!

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. And in the case of volume 30, he manages to capture intense fatigue and even the emotions of the audience and everyone on both sides.

“Slam Dunk” is an exciting manga series with fantastic characters and there is no special abilities, it’s a sports manga series with dramatic elements but focusing on the soul of basketball competition.

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. 30 is highly recommended!

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