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Manga Review: Slam Dunk Volume One by Takehiko Inoue

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Slam Dunk Volume One is a manga by Takehiko Inoue, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2008. The series is rated “T” for older teens; after reading this first volume, I would agree with this rating.

Hanamichi Sakuragi is a tough first year high schooler, but he is very unfortunate when it comes to love; he’s already been rejected by 50 girls. He also can’t stand basketball.

One day, he meets Haruka Akagi, when she approaches him and asks if he plays basketball. Hanamichi immediately falls for Haruka, and he claims to be an athlete in order to impress her.

Later, he finds out that Haruka has a crush on Kaede Rukawa, who had been a star basketball player at his junior high and a shoo-in for the high school team. At first, he gives up on the idea of impressing Haruka, but after being hit by a basketball and being overheard by the captain of the basketball team, Hanamichi finds himself on the basketball court in a contest against the team captain.

It turns out the team captain is Haruka’s older brother. After some crazy stunts, Hanamichi ends up becoming part of the high school’s basketball team; however, Hanamichi is rather clueless about how to actually play the sport.

I have to give credit to Inoue for his portrayal of Hanamichi. He is accurately portrayed as a teenage boy who is being motivated more by his hormones than his brain. Inoue also has enthusiasm for the sport of basketball, which he displays through both his writing and his art. Speaking of Inoue’s art, I noticed that he relies heavily on lines in the background to emphasize the action that’s taking place in the story.

This volume includes some color for roughly the first 36 pages. In addition to the manga story, this volume also includes a profile on basketball player LeBron James and some information and tips on how to make a slam dunk.

I have to admit that I didn’t find myself hooked on Slam Dunk by the time I finished the first volume. It’s not that Slam Dunk was necessarily bad, it’s just that I’m not much of a fan of basketball. If you’re a fan of the sport of basketball, or enjoy reading sports manga or sports stories, then you might enjoy reading the Slam Dunk manga series.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.