Slam Dunk 18

May 17, 2012

Takehiko Inoue – Viz – 2011 – 31 volumes

My reviews of this series are always really short, because I really am at a loss as to what to say every time. There’s only so many times I can reiterate that this is exciting even though it’s a basketball manga. That I love it even though I have no interest in the sport. That the action is really gripping and the characters entertaining. That it’s easy to root for Sakuragi and Shohoku. It’s just a great read. Not for everyone, but fantastic all the same.

The game between Shohoku and Ryonan is on in this volume. I predicted this would last for quite some time, because there is only one more game after this in the tournament, and we have more than ten volumes left. This covered more ground than I thought, and ends at the first quarter break.

Two things happen here. One is that Gori is thrown off his game, and it takes him a minute to get his head back in things. Shohoku gives up a lot of points during this time, and the teamwork suffers. Inoue depicts this mental struggle well, and it was one of the best portrayals of random interrupting thoughts I’ve ever seen in a comic. It doesn’t sound like much, but it happens to all of us, and this is a great visual representation of it.

The second is that Sakuragi is at war with the man he is guarding. It becomes clear that Ryonan has pegged Sakuragi as a weakness, and all the points are being scored by that player breaking through Sakuragi’s guard and humiliating him. This struggle was the more interesting to me, especially in the case of a hothead like Sakuragi. He’s learned a lot of control, temper-wise, but it’s still hard work for him.

One last thing I liked about this volume was all the trash talk on court. It was perfect. Not quite as hilarious as The Bus Driver from an earlier volume, but it was still fairly spot-on as far as trash talking goes, and of course a bunch of manly guys like the players of Shohoku and Ryonan would engage in it relentlessly, and in each other’s faces.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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