Manga Review: Slam Dunk V 5 by Takehiko Inoue

May Contain Spoilers

Wowzers, this was a great volume! I’ve said before, I don’t even like basketball, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire book. There is something to be said for an artist who is talented enough to keep me entertained while telling a story about a sport I could care less about. I am following at least three like that now – Haikyu!, Kuroko’s Basketball, and Slam Dunk. They are currently among my favorite series.

The game between Ryonan and Shohoku rages on. Hanamichi’s lack of experience is obvious, but, man, can he jump! And he’s fast. And he hates to lose, so he is even more motivated to play hard. Add in his rivalry with Rukawa, and you have hijinks on the court that make him look like a genius. Hanamichi has come out of his nervous fog, and now he is a spotlight hog. He doesn’t want to share any of the big plays with Rukawa, which is both a weakness and  makes him look like he knows what he’s doing, which is laughable.

Instead of passing to Shohoku’s ace, Hanamichi passes to Kogure, a decent player who can land a basket while under pressure. Since Ryonan has put big-time pressure on Rukawa, maybe it’s a good thing that Hanamichi’s pettiness doesn’t allow him to try to pass to him? I don’t know, but I was highly amused by his antics as he tried to keep the ball away from him.

The action and dialog are tight, and this installment breezed by. I did not want it to end. Akagi’s efforts to educate Hanamichi about the game, despite their conflicts, was a highlight of this volume. Akagi loves the game, and even if he doesn’t believe that Hanamichi deserves to play, he recognizes that the big lug would be a great player if he had any discipline or knowledge of the game. And some of his lessons stick, just when the team needs Hanamichi’s contributions the most. This was a great book.

Grade: 4.75 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Hanamichi finally gets some game time as a substitute for the slightly injured captain Akagi and quickly goes about making a spectacle of himself. Not only does he manage to strip the ball from Ryonan’s veteran center, but he also succeeds in making several key passes that result in some much-needed baskets. With Shohoku closing in on their opponents’ lead, is Hanimichi on the verge of proving that he has what it takes to become the next captain?