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Slam Dunk Vol. 7 by Takehiko Inoue (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 1, 2009 by  



When a group of thugs come to threaten the players of Shohoku High School, will the players engage in a fight and get disqualified, or will they let these thugs beat them down?  Find out in vol. 7 of “Slam Dunk”!

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

MANGA TITLE: Slam Dunk Vol. 7

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: December 1, 2009

He tried to slam her with love, but she dunked his heart. R to L (Japanese Style). Though they initially got off to a rocky start, Hanamichi and Ryota Miyagi quickly form a bond based on their mutual experiences with heartbreak (and being all-around losers when it comes to the ladies). Their unlikely camaraderie also helps in firing up the rest of the Shohoku team and gives everyone a substantial morale boost. This all comes to an abrupt halt, though, when a group of thugs with a score to settle with Ryota crash a practice session. Explosive personalities collide as everyone in attendance braces themselves for an all-out brawl! 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? Takehiko Inoue’s legendary beloved basketball manga is finally here and the tale of a lifetime is in your hands.

Ryota Miyagi, a member of the Shohoku High basketball team has returned.

After being hospitalized for fighting, the hot tempered Miyagi has returned.  The problem is, immediately he and Sakuragi, another fighter with a hot temper instantly don’t get along and begin fighting with each other.

But the two are very similar as they are on the basketball team because of a girl they like and instantly become friends.

But one day during practice, the guys who have a problem with Miyagi have begun fighting with the Shohoku High School basketball team and try to blackmail them that if they fight back, the mere mention that their team had got into a fight will lead them to canceling the basketball team.

But as these guys get rough, how will Sakuragi, Rukawa and Miyagi response.

Find out in “Slam Dunk” Vol. 7!

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.

In volume 7, Hanamichi Sakuragi comes into contact with Ryota Miyagi, a person who also gets into lot of fights and has a hot temper.  But as the two don’t get along at first, they eventually find out that they are members of the basketball team because a girl they like, in Miyagi’s case, he has always been in love with Ayako, as Sakuragi has always been in love with Haruko.

I have always said that if you love basketball, you will love “Slam Dunk”.

But volume 7 is a much different story as a group of thugs who have problems with Ryota Miyagi, have come into Shohoku High School.  Disrespect their court by spitting on it, hitting some of their players in the face and using weapons and hurting the players of the team.  While blackmailing them, if they fight back, it would be the end of their season.

But for Sakuragi, Rukawa and Miyagi, can they let these thugs disrespect their court and their team without a fight?  Will they risk it all?

Of all “Slam Dunk” volumes I have read, this is the volume that is not about basketball but about a team working together and backing up each other like brothers against a group of dangerous thugs.

Overall, “Slam Dunk” is an enjoyable manga series and while this volume is not about basketball, there is a lot of fight action that people will see in this volume.  So, if you have warmed up to the characters of the series, you’ll definitely dig this volume!

“Slam Dunk” vol. 7 is recommended!

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