Monday, November 24, 2008

Manga Monday: Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk (Volume 1)
Takehiko Inoue
I'm not a fan of basketball. Or sports in general for that matter. But it turns out, the main character of this manga, Hanamichi Sakuragi, isn't either. In fact, he knows pretty much nothing about basketball. But he's tall, athletic, fast...and a pretty girl noticed him and thinks he should join the high school team. Hanamichi has never been a lady's man (he's been rejected fifty times), but he vows to win over Haruko Akagi, who happens to have a crush on a star basketball player, and whose brother is the coach of the high school team. In order to win a spot on the team, Hanamichi goes head-to-head with Haruko's brother and subsequently has to win him over, along with the rest of the team. But his battle doesn't end there, as he needs to get down the basics of the game (such as, you know, dribbling) before he can play with the other guys. Luckily, he has a lot of potential and is seen as worth the effort to teach.
I had a good time reading the first volume of Slam Dunk. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it much, to be honest, but with its acclaim, I figured that I had to at least give it a try. And I'm glad I did. While the book centers around basketball, a majority of what's going on focuses on the characters, and that's the kind of story I like. Hanamichi is a little goofy, kind of a spaz, but his past is shrouded in mystery with his ties to gangs and violence. The characters around him are mostly basic "types," but there are a few people kind of coming into their own already, only one volume into the series. In the end, it's all very light-hearted and dramatic, but loads of fun. I love the art, the fast pacing, and yes, even the portrayal of basketball that I've seen so far.

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