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June 16, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Slam Dunk vol. 10

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Slam Dunk
Author: Takehiko Inoue (Vagabond)
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volume 10 (of 31), $9.99
Vintage: 1990-1996 (volume 10 in 1992) in Japan by Shueisha, June 1, 2010 by Viz
Genre: Shonen, sports manga

The story so far:  This one is completely new to me, so I’m going to be a little lazy today and give you the summary from the beginning of the book.

Hanamichi Sakuragi is rejected by close to 50 girls during his three years in junior high.  In high school, he joins the basketball team in order to get closer to his beloved Haruko [Akagi], whose brother is the team captain.  However, the endless fundamental drills do not suit his personality, and he and Captain [Takenori] Akagi frequently butt heads.

After a good showing in their first exhibition game, the team already has its sights set on Nationals when Ryota Miyagi reclaims his position as Point Guard.

Not yet over his feud with Miyagi, former-player Hisashi Mitsui and his gang invade the gym and try to start a brawl, but Coach Anzai gets through to Mitsui and convinces him to rejoin the team.  With Mitsui on board Shohoku [the name of their school] advances through the early rounds of the tournament – despite Hanamichi’s repeated foul outs.

In the tournament semi-finals, Shohoku is up against the second rank team, Shoyo.  Shohoku is immediately outmatched by Shoyo’s gigantic players.  Shoyo’s height advantage causes the team to struggle early on, but they’ve got some tricks up their sleeves, if they can just focus.  Sakuragi’s rebound skills, Akagi’s power, Miyagi’s incredible speed, and Mitsui and Rukawa’s shooting prowess…they will all have to play their part with exceptional skill if they’re going to beat Shoyo and advance on in the tournament.  It’s a tense game as the stress builds and Shohoku makes many small mistakes early on, but once they kick it in gear, Shoyo’s got a real competition on their hands.

Alright.  I’d been putting this title off, thinking that if I didn’t necessarily hate it, I’d be exceptionally indifferent.  I’m not at all into sports, and I haven’t played basketball since I was thirteen.  With that confession out of the way, here’s another – I found Slam Dunk fairly entertaining.  I imagine someone with more interest in the sport would be on the edge of their seat in excitement; I almost was.  I was also quite surprised by the incredible dynamics between the characters, and the excellent capture of the mentality of high school boys.  They may not all look like they’re in high school (they’re huge!), but their thoughts and words and actions reflect that mental mindset.  Really, my prejudice against sports manga has been sort of turned on its head here.  To top it off, it’s very well drawn, and it’s always clear what’s going on in each panel.  It’s engaging and fun.

Little basketball tips like these are also printed at the back of the book in Slam Dunk vol. 10.

Seeing as how sports comics aren’t exactly prevalent in American comics, if you’re a sports fan, particularly if you enjoy basketball, then there’s no reason not to pick this up.  It’s not a market that’s very well addressed in American comics, but there are actually quite a few sports manga in Japan, covering sports like tennis, basketball, baseball, track, gymnastics, dance, hockey, even ping-pong.

Slam Dunk also has an anime series and four animated films.  Takehiko Inoue was recently given an award by the Japan Basketball Association in recognition of his contributions to the popularity of basketball in Japan, and for his basketball scholarship program.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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4 Comments



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: Oh, hi. Here's a new review. @Viz_Media's Slam Dunk vol 10 http://comicattack.net/2010/06/bblslamdunk10/ #manga […]



  2. […] (Japan Reviewed) Sean Gaffney on vol. 5 of Shinobi Life (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Kristin on vol. 10 of Slam Dunk (Comic Attack) Sergar on Twin Spica (Genji Press) Kate O’Neil on World of Warcraft: Mage […]



  3. […] (Japan Reviewed) Sean Gaffney on vol. 5 of Shinobi Life (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Kristin on vol. 10 of Slam Dunk (Comic Attack) Sergar on Twin Spica (Genji Press) Kate O’Neil on World of Warcraft: Mage […]



  4. […] out my review of volume 10 for some background (missed volume 11, but it’s still the same story […]



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