May Contain Spoilers
While the Kainan – Ryonan game rages on, Akagi gets an unwelcome emergency phone call. Coach Anzai has collapsed, and he’s been admitted to the hospital! How will Shohoku play their most important game of the year without Anzai’s guidance?
We get a brief glimpse into Hanamichi’s past, but not enough to satisfy any burning curiosity you might have. Coach Anzai collapsed while watching Hanamichi practice shooting baskets, and Hanamichi called for an ambulance in a panic. We get a flashback to when he discovers his father facedown on the ground, and he frantically tries to call for help. Hanamichi’s troubles catch up to him, though, and he’s jumped by some guys he beat up earlier. No phone call for him.
Before this short snippet of information, I never really stopped to think that we don’t get much personal information on any of the characters. Sure, we saw Haruko and Akagi eating dinner at home, only to be interrupted by Hanamichi, but that’s really it. We don’t know much about the guys outside of basketball, and I feel a little cheated by that. The most domestic scene we’ve been treated to is Anzai’s wife greeting them in the hospital, assuring them that Coach will be okay. After seventeen volumes, I’m a bit disappointed to realize that I know nothing about Hanamichi before basketball, other than he was (and still is) a troublemaker, who lashes out first and thinks about things afterwards. Maybe he thinks about them. There’s still a debate about that.
The game with Ryonan starts, without Anzai to guide them. That means more pressure on Akagi. If they lose, this is his last game. Ever. The stakes are so high, and the pressure is intense. Ryonan is no pushover, and everyone is feeling a touch of nerves. They have to win for Anzai.
This was a quick volume, with lots of basketball, a touch of human interest, and then more basketball. Hanamichi has a lot to make up for, having thrown the ball away in the loss to Kainan, and then missing the next game. Let’s see if his hours of practice helps him to land more than one basket.
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
As the boys from Shohoku watch from the sidelines, the much-anticipated game between Ryonan High and Kainan High continues to heat up. Kainan superstar Maki’s stellar play helps swing the momentum back in his team’s direction, aided in no small part by a key player from Ryonan getting into foul trouble. However, Captain Akagi and company leave the game early when they receive an alarming bit of news: Coach Anzai has collapsed and is now in the hospital!