May Contain Spoilers
After the brawl in the gym, Hanamichi’s friends, as well as Mitsui’s, take responsibility for the fight. They are suspended, but the team emerges from the altercation unscathed. Practice continues, and the team prepares for their first game in the upcoming tournament. Coach Anzai, however, thinks that the players involved in the fight need to be taught a little lesson.
Shohoku’s first game is against Miuradai, and these guys are tough. Especially since Coach is making most of the starters sit on the bench at the start of the game. With the team behind, Coach asks if they learned their lesson. Will there be any more fighting? The guys’ answers range from a definite “no” to as vague as you can get. Satisfied, Anzai subs them all in, and it’s time for the team to get down to business.
This was fun volume. Hanamichi is fouled and gets to shoot free throws, but since they have haven’t practiced that, he freezes up. Poor guy! He’s so concerned about missing that he completely messes up, and it’s Rukawa to the rescue. Grr.
While Rukawa turns it on, Hanamichi discovers that the game isn’t as easy as he thought. He keeps getting called on for fouls, and when he’s trying to show off for Haruko, his smooth moves are not appreciated by either his defender or the ref. Oops. He will never learn, and he is fouled out of the game. Which is devastating for him.
He continues to be called on fouls in the next games, and in desperation, he asks Akagi for advice about how to not foul out of a game. The advice he gets isn’t what he wants to hear. Hanamichi is so reactive I don’t know how he can ever contain his emotions on the court. He hates to practice, so he doesn’t have a solid foundation to build on, and his defense pushes the limits every game. Between his emotional outbursts over opponents and his competition with Rukawa, I despair at him attaining the peak of his abilities.
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
As luck would have it, the basketball team narrowly avoids suspension over the all-out-brawl incident when Yohei and Mitsui’s friends take responsibility. Now, with Mitsui back in the lineup for the first time in two years, Shohoku quickly resumes practice in preparation for their upcoming tournament. As punishment for the lack of discipline they displayed in the fight, though, Coach Anzai decides on a starting lineup for Shohoku’s game without Hanamichi, Rukawa, Ryota and Mitsui. Can Anzai’s squad hold their own when their best players (and perpetual problem children) ride the bench?