Takehiko Inoue was born in Kagoshima prefecture in 1967. His first major success--the hugely popular 31-volume long basketball manga SLAM DUNK--sold over 100 million copies worldwide and catapulted him into the top ranks of Japanese manga artists. Besides manga, Inoue also worked on character design for the Playstation basketball game ONE ON ONE.
Basketball-obsessed manga superstar Inoue (Vagabond; Slam Dunk) returns with a series about wheelchair basketball. Nomiya is a young thug recently kicked out of high school who yearns to play basketball. When he meets the wheelchair-bound basketball prodigy Kiyoharu Tagawa, the two begin hustling pickup games at local outdoor courts. In the meantime, Takahashi, the newly appointed captain of Nomiya's former school basketball team, is hit by a car and paralyzed from the waist down. This first volume feels less dynamic than Inoue's previous manga series, and it would have been a better idea for Viz to follow Del Rey's example and simultaneously release volumes one and two for readers to get a better foundation for the story. Inoue's illustrations are consistently gorgeous--volume one features ink watercolor paintings of his characters. His sense of action and drama is solid, but this opening book feels as though Inoue is figuring out how to get the different parts of his story to fit together fluidly--something to be remedied by volume two. Those who enjoyed Inoue's other famed basketball manga, Slam Dunk, and anyone moved by triumph over great obstacles are encouraged to give it a read. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.