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?

Hanamichi finally gets some game time as a substitute for the slightly injured captain Akagi and quickly goes about showing everyone that he isn’t all talk. Not only does he manage to strip the ball from Ryonan’s veteran center, but he also succeeds in making several key passes that result in some much-needed baskets. With Shohoku closing in on their opponents’ lead, is Hanamichi on the verge of proving that he has what it takes to become the next captain?

I was quite fond of Takehiko Inoue’s smash hit basketball manga back in my twenties, and I must admit, it is somewhat of a guilty pleasure to get back into it again, now in my thirties, though admittedly I do seem to have outgrown it just a tad it would seem.

Anyway, volume 5 of Slam Dunk still has us caught slap bang in the epic basketball battle between Ryonan and Shohoku, though unbelievably the entire volume 5 is used to tell just a few minute’s worth of game time – to actually finish this (and remember, this is only a practice game – the season hasn’t even started yet!), you’ll need to head out and ensure that volume 6 is also within your grasp.

That said, with Sakuragi now firmly in the playing field, this book is loads of fun, it literally whizzes past as you’re treated to some engaging and exhilarating hoops action, complete with Inoue’s trademark drama, slapstick comedy (the rivalry between Sakuragi, Rukawa and now Sendoh is an absolute riot at times) and of course, plot twists!

Matching the non-stop pace of the basketball action story being told is Inoue’s energetic, well drawn and detailed panels, matching every aspect of tone, from silly to serious, perfectly.

It really is a pity that the game doesn’t come to an end in this volume because it means that Inoue has now stretched a single game over the course of three volumes, but that said, this really is an enjoyable book that is sure to appeal to any lover of shonen sports manga titles.

Loads of fun and well worth the read.

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