#310 Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” and “Vagabond”

Slam Dunk/VagabondTakehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk is easily mistaken for a serious sports manga. Pick it up, though, and you’ll find instead a hilarious ensemble comedy that just happens to involve basketball. Still, the series is credited with basketball’s 90s popularity in Japan, and led Inoue to create several other basketball-related series. But is oeuvre isn’t all hoops; he’s also the creator behind Vagabond, a sometimes-violent but intriguing take on the life of 17th-century historical figure Miyamoto Musashi. Tim and Kumar dig into both series.

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Resident of Japan since 1989, creator of "The Crazing Spider-Hag"

4 thoughts on “#310 Takehiko Inoue’s “Slam Dunk” and “Vagabond””

  1. This cracked me up! Thanks H — you even had to provide the link for us! We’ve got comics on the brain!

  2. Great episode! This is a good comic to break down, especially because of the difference between the initial impression it gives, and the reality of the story inside. The covers and promotional images look so serious and 80’s-fashionable. You wouldn’t know that it has a wealth of fun and silliness and character drama that is fun regardless of the style or period. I think it’s just as good as Dragonball.

    I’d like to add that this is a great example of “what makes Japanese genre comics SO good.” I was so surprised at how diverse and rounded the characters are. I don’t know if any comics in the US do this as successfully. Scott Pilgrim comes close. The fact that there are not one but TWO female leads is great. They’re not just simple romantic interests. In fact, they are smarter and more relatable than the male characters, who are sort of too-goofy (Hanamichi) or too-scary/serious (the basketball captain)… although, they too are GOOD characters.

    I only read volume 1, about a year ago. I want to go back and read more. This is such a good comic.

    Oh one more thing I want to say about Slam Dunk – it’s drawn SO well, Takehiko Inoue is SO good, even though he’s keeping it cartoony. It’s of course especially interesting and impressive knowing that draws Vagabond, too. I haven’t ever read it, but I should!

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