Talking about Slam Dunk volume-by-volume is always difficult for me. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know I’m a huge fan of the series. I’ve watched the show in its entirety twice, including the movies. The TV series (watchable on Funimation’s video site!) doesn’t cover everything that happens in the manga, but what it does show it follows almost frame-by-frame. I know this stuff by heart.
Even so, the ebb of emotions as I read stays the same. Shohoku finishes their practice game against Ryonan with a surprising result. As the last moments of the game tick away you can see not only the steel determination of the team, but also their relative immaturity as they begin to celebrate a few seconds too early. Hanamichi, despite attempts to make people believe otherwise, has worked harder than anyone. His cheap sneakers have worn through completely, and look a bit more like sandals than tennis shoes. He takes the loss especially hard, but his feelings only serve to remind his friends that finally, the red-haired bully has found something worth his attention that doesn’t involve flying fists.