May Contain Spoilers
While Hanamichi is steaming on the bench, Rukawa rallies a drive against Kainan. Everything is cruising ahead like roses – until Akagi twists his ankle landing a jump. In obvious pain, he leaves the game, and Hanamichi overhears him instructing Ayako to tape it up. She fears that it’s broken, and Akagi, in an unusual show of temper, yells at her to do as he says. He has waited three years to make it to Nationals, and a little injury is not going to stop him. Inspired by his resolve, Hanamichi is determined to cover for Akagi and lead the team to victory!
Yet another winner in the Slam Dunk series. This volume encompasses the end of the first half of the game, and man oh man is it action packed. Kainan is faintly gloating, knowing that Akagi is Shohoku’s team leader, and without him, they will be hard pressed to play well. Little do they know! Both Rukawa and Hanamichi are determined to step up and fill Akagi’s massive shoes! Coach Anzai, in one of the funniest panels of the series so far, instructs them to defend the low post with their lives. Then he touches Rukawa and Hanamichi’s hands together. Hahaha! The reactions from both Rukawa and Hanamichi are comical. And completely in character.
What follows is a head to head contest against Hanamichi, Rukawa, and Kiyota. Hanamichi is a rebound machine. He dubs himself King Kong’s little brother, and darned if that isn’t perfectly descriptive. This volume showcases everything I love about sports manga. The art is one big, action packed panel after another. Rukawa makes one mind boggling play after another, scoring basket after basket as he blows by Kainan’s defenses. Hanamichi fights for rebound after rebound, refusing to lose to either Kiyota or Rukawa. Shohoku is out matched, but the team finds the determination to elevate their skills, matching, and even surpassing their opponents.
Grade: 4.5 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
Shohoku is down fifteen points against the Kings from Kainan, so whom do they turn to in an effort to get back in the black? Superstar Kaede Rukawa, of course. Rukawa’s natural abilities help put some crucial points on the board, and a comeback seems possible, but when Captain Akagi twists his ankle on an opposing player’s foot, Shohoku quickly finds itself without one of its biggest offensive and defensive forces. Can Sakuragi step into Akagi’s shoes and keep Kainan from running away with the game?