May Contain Spoilers
Wow, this volume was painful to read. The Shohoku team, after leading going into the second half of the game again Sannoh, gets completely shut down. Nobody is playing to their potential, and without Rukawa and Akagi’s confidence to gain the momentum, the team has nothing to give. Every play is stopped, and Sannoh turns around and drives for a basket instead. Sheesh.
Things look completely hopeless. How can Shohoku regain their drive and determination. Even Rukawa’s cocky attitude gets stomped into oblivion. When he has a one-on-one with Sawakita, Rukawa isn’t the one who comes out on top, and that play pretty much destroys him. Akagi can’t get anything going against Kawata, and I was resigned for a loss. How can Shohoku rally from a 20 point deficit, when nobody is playing like they believe they can win?
Well, Anzai saved his secret weapon again. Hanamichi is too oblivious to realize how impossible a comeback will be, but he jauntily strides back onto the court after being forced to sit on the bench. While there, Anzai, with the patience of a monk, attempts to instill some wisdom into his young player. I’m not sure if it stuck, but when Hanamichi is let loose back on the court, he sure seems to think that they can turn the game around. IF his teammates get their heads back in the game. And with his typical bravado, Hanamichi makes a bold statement, looking like a champ and a complete jerk at the same time.
This volume was all about how Sannoh dominates, then mercilessly crushes their opponents, and the art reflected the desperation and hopelessness of the Shohoku team. They couldn’t pull off one impressive play, couldn’t score one point, and when Hanamichi steps out to re-enter the game, all previous expressions of helplessness transform to shock. That’s the way, Hanamichi! Shock and awe!
Grade: 4.25 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? As the game against Sannoh heads into the second half, Shohoku struggles to keep up. Sannoh’s coach Domoto isn’t about to let Shohoku think they can stage an upset and lets loose his team’s explosive offense. With Shohoku on the ropes and Sakuragi upset by a substitution, the players start feeling completely outmatched, and even Akagi begins having doubts. But Coach Anzai hasn’t given up yet, and he begins priming Sakuragi on the sidelines for a comeback!