Manga Review: Slam Dunk V 22 by Takehiko Inoue @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

What a great volume! We’ve hit the lull just before Nationals, and we get to focus a little more on the players’ lives outside of basketball. In this case, it’s exam time, and you know what that means! All great sports manga have the challenging trial of exams, the failed tests, and the threat of banishment from the team. When not just one but FOUR players fail most of their tests, Akagi has some serious diplomacy to command. Will he get permission for the dunces to retake their tests, and can he and the other non-morons help them pass the tests.

I just have to say that I was shocked to see who failed their exams. But then again, they are some of the most troubled, complicated guys on the team, so the fact that they would blow off their studies to play basketball – maybe I wasn’t really so surprised. This little interlude was pretty funny, and as obnoxious as Hanamichi is, I can’t help but envy his confidence. Not sure where the heck it comes from, especially when he is so bad at so many things.

I love Coach Anzai. While the rest of the team goes off to training camp, he keeps Hanamichi home for special training. Then he totally sets him up and trounces him in a shoot off. So funny. For a round guy, he sure can nail a basket. And Hanamichi – not so much. Not at all once he’s away from the net. After shooting 20 thousand baskets, will he really improve?

This was a great installment with more time spent on character development. Hanamichi is completely schooled by Anzai, and he comes back more determined than ever to become the phenom that he thinks he is. Especially after seeing a video of himself shooting baskets. Boy, that was ugly! And highly amusing. Will all of Hanamichi’s practice pay off? Only the next volume will tell.

Grade: 4.5 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Winning isn’t everything in the game of basketball, but who wants to come in second? It takes dedication and discipline to be the best, and the Shohoku High hoops team wants to be just that. They have one last year to make their captain’s dream of reaching the finals come true—will they do it?
For the Shohoku High players, the past echoes in the present as Rukawa learns something about Coach Anzai that leaves him determined to be the best high school player in Japan. With ten days remaining until the start of the national tournament, Coach Anzai sends the Shohoku High team to Shizuoka for a week of practice with another local team. But Sakuragi stays behind for a special practice session that will push him to the limit and improve his individual skills for the crucial games ahead.