Reviews for Slam Dunk: Conquer the Nation
keneki055 chapter 49 . 2/11
I LOVE THIS STORY
Fino-Lilian chapter 82 . 12/20/2016
It's part 5 (last part) of my over-6-thousand-word review, following the one posted under chapter 82.

Like what Mitsui had done. Like what Miyagi had done. Like what Akagi had done. And like what Sakuragi had done.

***

“Let this Tensai handle it!” The redhead has said. Holy crap! I couldn’t believe that it took me this long to bring our favorite Tensai Sakuragi up until now! He must be cursing me now!

While I had to constantly asking myself to shut up when I wrote about other characters, I had almost nothing in my mind on Sakuragi. That is, the redhead is such a genius I just could never understand him.

That simple, innocent but pure love for basketball and confidence in himself will conquer me times and times. Even when Sakuragi was struggling, against Ken or Mikio or what’s-his-name-again? he seems... undefeatable. Yeah, undefeatable as if he doesn’t need any one to motivate him or to set him or anything like that, Sakuragi is...well, Sakuragi. I haven’t the chance to read your original chapter 4, but I like it so much when you have Sakuragi ask Miyagi “Did we always play this way?” (Run and gun, I mean.)

What can I say? That’s Sakuragi. The guy who Shohoku players used to have little to none exception from and no one knows exactly when but they come to expect more from anyway. The guy who could get better in the middle of a match. The guy who could just figure things out like it’s the most natural thing to do. The guy who claimed himself to be the savior of Shohoku basketball team, which, stupid as it sound, isn’t a lie. It’s exciting for me to see Sakuragi grow in your story just like in the manga.

From the first time that someone actually put their faith in him to asking more from him constantly. And I really like the goal you set for Sakuragi as surpassing Akagi. Not replace. There’s no replacement for their old captain.

But like Miyagi is able to lead a new Shohoku different from what Akagi led but still kept that weird chemistry between team members, I am convicted that Sakuragi will shine that unique sparkle too.

That him becoming the last line of defense between opponent and the basket while his team members not need to worry but instead could easily laughed and say: What are you guys thinking? We have Sakuragi as our center! I’ve been waiting to see that moment. Promise me you’ll guarantee that moment, okay?

And before the crazy review becoming insufferable, I’ll (try to) give it an end.

Nothing but brilliant. Your writing that is. With all the carefully planned character development as well as the deep thought you give upon them, I could hardly believe the later chapters came from the same person as the earlier ones. And all the “coach” thing left me with nothing but pure admiration.

Especially in that scene where Aoba realized Anzai sensei was better than her when he used triangle and two... but making Aoba totally confused by agreeing Miyagi to use man-to-man later.

I have to admit that I don’t like Aoba. Not really. Though I could understand she has a good heart as well as any other who was in this story, just like what Yamamoto said earlier, sometimes she acted like she own the team and it drove me crazy seeing an OC talking basketball as if she knew much much better than any other one who actually played basketball... Even if she was right on something.

Like that sentence “I saw them doing almost entirely man-to-man, which didn’t make sense to me because one of their players kept getting beat. You know, the one with the glasses.” I believe Aoba was perfectly right on that particular game between Shohoku and Aiwa, as well as the fact that Kogure was not that good as others which make me dislike her more. It’s not rational for me to dislike an OC for the said OC being neutral and objective. Still... Aoba doesn’t know Shohoku, and I don’t think she shows any respect for Shohoku even if she pretends she does. Not that she showed any respect for other team either.

Well, Ayako was a great lot likable than Aoba to me. And besides... “Being able to accurately judge your players and predict their responses. Trusting them to come to the right conclusion.” I think that’s what Aoba lacked. Heaven knows that those boys love basketball and want to win by their own hard working instead of some random people talking about data or probability. Of course, it’s only what I think.

Anyway, you did a great job portraying most characters, canon or OC and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end of the game between Shohoku and Aiwa.

And I have a final question. Could you recommend some real good SD fan fictions to me? I have read all the one-shots written by Laziness Incarnate and is hence in desperate need for new stuff. And it would be greatest if you could just update.

Well, I guest that’s it. I don’t think I could see the update come any time soon but I’ll pray nevertheless and...

If you ever get to see this, I just want to say that... Thanks. Thanks for producing such incredible work and thanks for bearing with me.
Fino-Lilian chapter 83 . 12/20/2016
It's part 4 of my over-6-thousand-word review, following the one posted under chapter 83.

No matter how much it looks like, Tsuchiya is nothing like Sendoh. Hikoichi couldn’t be more wrong about the fact.

***

Ah, Sendoh. That guy is just unbelievable. Yes, you made him struggle and you even made Rukawa sighed over him, which is SCARY but still... It’s Sendoh we’re talking about and I have to hate you and love you at the same time since you gave me so little Sendoh time but whenever you did you did brilliantly.

It’s a bit hilarious when you made Sendoh said Shohoku was lucky to have Sannoh as their first opponent in the Nationals and only one day after you have him thought “Not good that they got Sannoh in the first round. Not good at all.” I got what you meant to say, though. I love those scenes when other people from Kanagawa watch Shohoku play and give some insightful comments, especially when Sendoh is around.

Just like what Fujima said earlier that Sendoh was probably the best Kanagawa could offer, Sendoh’s opinion on everything seems so “that’s just the truth” to me and it feels almost wrong seeing Sendoh struggle on the court other than be wise as ever at spectator seats.

And then I remembered. I remembered when Sendoh as long as the Ryonan team came to see Shohoku play with Shoyo, he produced the same amount of wisdom on both team. That calm, confident attitude shows that he’s a true great player. But when he got on the floor to play with Kainan or Shohoku, Sendoh became human again. Genius or not, Sendoh IS human.

So I realize that not wanting to see Sendoh struggle is something I need to come over with, though maybe the reason behind it is not what I first thought. Maybe it’s not about Sendoh, but about Ryonan instead. There’s a line between the story said by Aobo that “Those one-man teams always get crushed at some point or another in the Nationals.”

Always. I believe that sentence appeared a lot of times when we reread the manga. It would be very disrespectful for me to judge Ryonan as a one-man team. Nevertheless Ryonan will need to watch out for it. It is true that every great team need an ace who should believe that “he, and he alone, could still lead ‘his team’ to a victory”, it is also true that every other member of the team should also play well.

What Miyagi said to Yayoi was absolutely right on a spirit level, but what Hiroshi stated was also as right: “How if just one of us doesn’t play well, it’ll be over.” The balance between star power and team spirit is quite amazing and I think you really did an excellent job displaying the importance of both.

Shohoku couldn’t make it here without each and Ryonan shouldn’t be exception either. They wouldn’t win if they only relied on Sendoh. (It suddenly reminded me of how Shoyo relied on Fujima and when Fujima wavered, even only noticeable by few, Shoyo crushed.) Sendoh may probably be the first to realize this and I suspect that’s why he arranged all those plans for Koshino to play even if Koshino had doubts himself. Sendoh needs his teammates as much as his teammates need Sendoh. I hope the rest of Ryonan never forget that.

And that single line said by Sendoh that “if I get eliminated, I’ll be joining you old guys here in the back.” It was funny when I first see that line, but then it became somewhat heartbreaking not only because sometime Sendoh might really be joining those, but also that Sendoh would not be the only guy joining them.

Seeing this is like seeing Fujima sitting there, no longer one of those running on the court. And then seeing Maki sitting there or getting out after the game was done, no longer a player played high school basketball. It’s an end of an era. With Fujima out, with Maki out, without Uozumi without Akagi without Kawata without Kazunori.

But things are always like that no matter I like it or not. So one day Sendoh and Mitsui and Miyagi all will leave, too. I just hope that day comes later. BTY, I just thought it really was a pity that Sendoh doesn’t have the opportunity to play with Sawakita which I’m sure will be fun to read. I wish Sawakita know that there’s another guy besides Rukawa that may be his opponent.

***

Back to Rukawa. I think it’s really lucky for Rukawa to be in Shohoku. Yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit that I just favor Shohoku that much. That Shohoku allowed him to try one-on-one against Sawakita last year so many times was really a miracle. Or maybe it’s not just Shohoku, but a common privilege for aces when required.

Anyway, when reading the game between Shohoku and Daiei, I think the familiar questions which Miyagi ask himself is exactly what Akagi asked himself a year before.

“How much do you trust your teammate’s pride?” “When do you know it’s detrimental to the team?” “When do you know you made the right decision as captain?” That 3 questions were really great. And it suddenly occurred to me that aces for other team may be given the privilege for being wayward by actually earning it, but in Shohoku, Rukawa somehow just... had it.

He messed up earlier. He was beaten again and again, by Sendoh, by Sawakita and other crazy monsters out there. But he’s still there, being Shohoku’s ace and being believed in and being trusted. So they allowed Rukawa tried and tried and tried a year earlier, and they passed the ball to Rukawa again and again and again this year. It’s not a lie when other readers said the sequel seams real to them. It does.

And it’s not only that. The later chapter you featured on Mitsui, you know what? It’s nothing but incredible. What Mitsui thought during the last 12 seconds on that game he became MVP was a perfect match with what Rukawa thought during that countless games and what Tsuchiya was supposed to think but failed miserably.

The power of an ace. Putting all those horrible thoughts like what if he misses or he could pass it to a teammate away, Mitsui proved to be such a competent ace it would be unacceptable to me if you don’t let Mitsui have his moments after that, which of course you did.

I love the scene where Toshiya accused Mitsui of “holding back” during a game. Toshiya’s so arrogant but he’s telling the truth. Toshiya would recognize it since that’s exactly what Toshiya himself had done.

So it’s really not surprising when you have all the 4 starters except Hiroshi answered “me!” to the question “Who would get the last shot of the game, if it came down to it?” Such arrogant brats they are. But somehow, just like Hiroshi, I wasn’t expecting any other answer.

Like how last year Akagi had to literally barked those trouble maker teammates out to play after he just thanked them a second ago, with said members showing bastard feedback like “I wasn’t doing it for you!” “I only did this for myself” blablabla.

Still, they’re one damn good team, with “a weird, unbreakable bond that unites them, makes them unstoppable on the court”. Besides their real ace Rukawa, every single person on that team is prepared to be the ace, prepared to carry the team to victory anytime.

Like what Mitsui had done. Like what Miyagi had done. Like what Akagi had done. And like what Sakuragi had done.

tbc
Fino-Lilian chapter 84 . 12/20/2016
It's part 3 of my over-6-thousand-word review, following the one posted under chapter 84.

Let all these be, the most important part of Ayako is that she loves basketball as much as she loves Shohoku. So she is willing to learn, to help, to shape and to be there for all those idiot boys. Isn’t that the most wonderful thing of this girl as a manageress?

***

And then comes another girl. No, I’m not talking about Aoba. I’m talking about Haruko. I don’t know about other places, but back in my hometown, if there are how many people love her, there will be an equal number of people that hate her. Yeah... strange but believable. Just like there are almost a same amount of people who want her to be with Rukawa, to be with Sakuragi, or to be with neither.

Interesting, right? So many readers interested in the love triangle when comes to Haruko that I personally could take offense on behalf of her since, well, since Haruko does hold as much love to basketball as everyone else in the SD world so why everyone keeps denying that or pretending to forget that?

She’s the one who introduce Sakuragi into the basketball world. And I could always remember that day when Shohoku went to the Nationals, Haruko played basketball in the big gym and told Youhei she almost felt jealous of Sakuragi since he’s so talented. And all those days when she seated beside the Sakuragi Army and acted like Dr T to explain all those basketball knowledge to the Army (as well as to me). They are memorable.

I felt mildly interested in the part where Haruko didn’t put herself in the bench even if Matsui suggested. You never gave me a detailed answer other than what Haruko herself had said: “I don’t feel like I’m watching basketball down here, I feel like when I cheer them from the stands, I’m really giving them a morale boost. In the stands… I’m a real spectator.”

To tell you the truth, I’m a bit disappointed. Even you showed me you hadn’t forgotten that earlier scene by having Ayako said “Haruko, I do think it’s time you started to spend some time on the bench, next to me.” It still comes a bit not-that-persuasive. Well, I guess it’s only me being whiny since it actually makes sense that you portrayed Haruko as “only knew the surface of the sport, the feelings, the emotions, the highs” (Just like me, which I had to admit, ha-ha).

Anyway, I hope Haruko could get her moments just like all the others in the story. No matter what others think, I believe she deserves that. As for the love triangle? Er... Write whatever you like, I’m sure you couldn’t satisfy everyone...

***

OK. Another break. Of Youhei and the Sakuragi Army. Of Norio Hotta. Of Matsui and Fujii. Of all the Rukawa Brigade. I think you did well on Youhei and the Sakuragi Army especially the cute scene where Sakuragi learned bank shot after Youhei won the match. I also love it when Sakuragi and the Army showing concern on Ayako being alone by herself. Maybe it’s being offensive for me to say this, but I wholeheartedly believe that you can do better than this.

Like Norio for example. I know it’s fun seeing him waving the flag of “Man of Fire” and everything, but is that all about this man? He’s at the same grade as Mitsui and if nothing special happened, he should be at college (though I have doubt over this) this year. I know you took it for granted that the guy would always be there for Mitsui. I did too, which is not proper for us actually.

And there’s always that guy who turned up in the Shohoku gym being hateful at first but called Mitsui an Athlete and wished him a good farewell (I don’t know how you call him). Sometimes I missed that guy. He’s part of Mitsui’s history, too. But it’s totally fine if you don’t give them much time. After all, the main story line is around the Nationals.

***

So, enough for the break. Let’s welcome Rukawa time. Wow. Didn’t know it would take me so much time to come to him. After all, it’s our favorite ace... Well, maybe not favorite, but beloved anyway.

I still consider the Shohoku-Daiei game the best-written one in your whole story (that is, unless you finish the Shohoku-Aiwa game since a game not finished should not be counted in!) and Rukawa just happened to play so well in that particular game. Like I said before, he’s such an outstanding ace.

But we seldom get to see what it will be like when there’s no player like Sendoh or Sawakita or Maki in the opponent’s team but they still manage to perform relatively well to match-up Shohoku. This game is it.

Rukawa stated that Tsuchiya was no opponent of his, with such confidence, such arrogance, such truth. Mitsui said that “we’re only ahead because Rukawa busted his ass to keep us there”, you said that “not a single person in the gym was blind to the fact that Rukawa had carried the team to the victory”.

And THAT IS AWESOME! I tell you, awesome! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that Rukawa is the only thing keeping Shohoku in the Nationals, but you know that we (I as well as everyone else) need to see those two beautiful words you used in the title of that chapter - star power.

When it comes to Rukawa, it’s easy for fanfic authors to criticize him for lack of team spirit which I should not blame since that’s how Inoue sensei did in the manga. However, truth it might be, as far as I’m concerned, it is not a COMPLETE truth.

Though I don’t totally agree with what Yayoi stated earlier in the Kainan game in canon that Rukawa was already beyond that (being sole or not sharing the ball or something like that), we have to admit that if there’s one thing we can’t deny is that Rukawa is great.

He IS great and he IS the ace. An ace who must take the burden of leading the team into victory. A weakness that Tsuchiya failed to conquer. Tsuchiya and all the other critics are absolutely right about the team spirit part but it should never be an excuse for a player to avoid fighting his own battle.

No matter how much it looks like, Tsuchiya is nothing like Sendoh. Hikoichi couldn’t be more wrong about the fact.

tbc
Fino-Lilian chapter 85 . 12/20/2016
It's part 2 of my over-6-thousand-word review, following the one posted under chapter 86.

Mitsui was sometimes described as a guy living in the past (while Akagi and Kogure moved on). Truths to be told, it’s a sad description but it was even harder for us Mitsui fans to resist loving this kind of special Mitsui. When you have Akagi say "It would be best for you to stay behind, after all." My breath stopped. Literally.

I have read an outstanding Mitsui-centered fan fiction where the author make Mitsui think: They thought I stopped regretting when Shohoku won the match against Sannoh, but what they never got was that Shohoku was supposed to have a deeper bench with half a winner team from Kanagawa which I brought to. My translation is poor, but I believe you could get the author’s point. Mitsui brought half his middle school teammates to Shohoku. Those teammates who may be young or ignorant or not-so-persistent but still once belonged to a Kanagawa-Champion-Team.

If those members were still on Shohoku, maybe there would be a different story last year. Maybe not. Who knows? But there’s something that is sure: Mitsui has failed himself. He has failed Akagi and Kogure. He has failed Shohoku. Such pain and regret will never leave him alone and he’ll have to deal with them again and again and again.

Yet he’s still there. Living with the fact that he was no longer the ace of a team nor was he able to claim he can play any position in a team. Capable or not capable let it be, Mitsui is Mitsui. Struggling. Figuring things out. And helping others. Like what he did in the match with Ryonan in canon to help Sakuragi defense Fukuda, he repeated it during the game with Aiwa to help Hiroshi. Somehow, these small scenarios seem to make me prouder on behalf of Mitsui even than where he shot and shot and never miss, which, I must say, I like very very much.

Though I know this can’t last forever. Aiwa was certainly going to catch up in the 2nd half, and the main character will be Rukawa or Sakuragi or Hiroshi or Miyagi again. But it’s alright. It’s fine. As long as Mitsui is still playing basketball, nothing is a big deal. For he himself has said, “The basketball world was much too large to not have an answer, somewhere.” Though I also have to admit I wish they could all just stay at Shohoku and play with each other forever. Not a thought that I’m proud of, but that’s what in my mind anyway.

***

And now let’s focus on Hiroshi the OC. I know it’s how hard to write OCs. Sometimes you hate your own OCs because the mere existence of them is a proof that you have done some damage to the original wonderful canon world. Though you knew you created those OCs just so the story could get going, somehow it still frustrated you. You would ask yourself if the OCs have become Mary Sue or something like that, if they have out shined our main characters, or many other possible ifs.

And even if those are not problems, you might have a new question for yourself: Do I love my OCs enough? The ones you created only because you can’t finish the story without them, somehow have grown into someone you can’t ignore. You love those guys in SD canon and know they’re the best, but you can’t turn an indifferent eye on those OCs... or love them more than canon characters either. It’s difficult. Yet you made a perfect Hiroshi.

Hiroshi who was not talented (monster) like other starters but completely capable of fulfilling the role - a wonderful role player. You carefully planed his history and instead of rushed it out, you showed it in a smooth and natural way I almost forgot there’s an intense game out there. Not to say that shoes shop owner’s son, what a creative and beautiful plot!

Yet apart from those small tricks, what get me most was those two simple questions: 1. You like basketball? 2. What’s your name? Very, very well-written. Honestly, I don’t know how you could write those beautiful lines. Yes, Hiroshi is an OC which I normally hate seeing, but by understanding his love for basketball, I seem to be softer and softer and finally accept him. Not that he needs my acception, that is.

And there’s the scene Hiroshi asked “Then why didn’t you stay at Shohoku?” I couldn’t decide whether I like it or dislike it since I thought the question may not come from Hiroshi, but come from you, my dear author. It’s time like this that makes me think there’s a reason for OCs to exist, and for them to can not help but take a part in the story.

Unlike other teams in your story or real life in Japanese high school basketball teams, Shohoku was so perfect it’s almost like a dream. I won’t comment on your point about the problems in Japanese basketball since I’m not a pro here, but I could say that I really appreciate it that you praised Shohoku (admired, even) at the same time as you did the criticism thing.

Shohoku is Shohoku. I love the team and never will I getting tired of seeing others admire the team. By the way, I actually like how you originally made Hiroshi wearing the #5 jersey as Kogure did. I think it’s cute. But no big deal now that his number turned to #13.

***

I bet you think next character that comes will be Rukawa, the answer of which will be no, I need a break for the starters so it’s Ayako, ha-ha.

Only kidding. Ayako was great and I suddenly had a loss what to say about her, as you have already made her shine in the most beautiful way in your story so it really doesn’t leave me any space to describe her. In canon or in your story, that is. I love how you made her think “those idiot boys” and love them anyway. Though you haven’t written it, it feels to me that “those idiot boys” actually means “Ayako’s idiot boys” or “my idiot boys” from the view of first person.

I never gave it any thought why Ayako was there with Shohoku team other than being a crush of Miyagi and to make the Manga have something else besides basketball. But as we all know it, Ayako is a lot more than that. She keeps traces of all the players as well as the data for matches and she even has a say if a player should still play on the court when it comes to injury issue.

Let all these be, the most important part of Ayako is that she loves basketball as much as she loves Shohoku. So she is willing to learn, to help, to shape and to be there for all those idiot boys. Isn’t that the most wonderful thing of this girl as a manageress?

tbc
Fino-Lilian chapter 86 . 12/19/2016
It seems this site doesn't want to show my review, (Seriously, I wrote over 6 thousand words!) I just want to test if it is my review being too long for it to show, or it doesn't want to show anyway.

So, I'll just leave a new review on this chapter. I remotely remember that I have found out a few little bugs in your story but could only remember some of them. (I know you were already told about Rukawa's father calling his son family name and some other confusion of family name and given name)

- White team, Shohoku; red team, Aiwa. So it should be a "Shooting foul, RED #7" instead of "white #7" in chapter 86 Impetus

- The finals last year. You have said in chapter 69 that Kainan lost to Meiho (barely), and some player on Maiho thought they might have a different story if they had Aiwa as their opponent. And then, you made Nezu being chosen by the All-Japan based on the very gamy Aiwa High against Meiho.

I hope you would fix them.
And I hope my 6-thousand-word review could be displayed.
Fino-Lilian chapter 87 . 12/18/2016
Wow, I made this big... Hope you wouldn’t mind ridiculously long review and bad English. I reviewed for the entire work.

It took me forever to get this out, seriously. I didn’t know what made me work this hard to find a SD fan fiction on this website while there were loads of stuff well-written in my mother tongue. Well, I have to say I’m so glad I didn’t miss this (though you won’t believe how crazy I have been just to read your work smoothly, like translating all those guys/schools the pronunciation of whose name I’m not that familiar with (or absolutely have no idea who the hell that is) as well as all OCs’ name into Chinese like Uekusa to 植草)... Oh, that’s off the point, I guess.

What I mean to say is that WHAT A BRILLIANT STORY it is! Yeah, I love it.

Maybe not include the earlier chapters. I don’t think they are bad or something, just, it kind of made me happy and unhappy at the same time seeing history (manga showed) repeated in those chapters. I mean, when I saw Mitsui hurt his ankle and insist playing on the court I (include everyone else I guess) remembered Akagi. It’s natural reaction, but it’s been overdone like I have to be forced into remembering that feeling of being moved... when I know I could be moved all the time and don’t need this kind of remind.

Or like when Rukawa being the stubborn one again with the whole “not passing the ball” issue. It has disappointed me since I thought Rukawa had grew out of that. I don’t like it in those earlier chapters where you made it look as if the Shohoku players didn’t improve (or what’s worse, they took a step back) any after what they had experienced, what they had did actually.

Of course they have yet to learn, to fail, and to get better, but I think that should not be something they already mastered, somehow. Sorry, I hope I haven’t been rude saying this because I could feel how much you love those characters and you want nothing but to reproduce what Inoue sensei had created before: the great great SD world and all the character developments. Despise the poor attempt of the earlier chapters, reading your story is just like enjoying the canon SD manga as your writing improved just like Inoue sensei’s drawing level enhanced!

I love the scene in the match before Kainan where Mitsui and Miyagi totally freaked out and each murmured "I have no freaking idea what to do." "What the hell am I going to do?" I love the scene during the match with Daiei when Mitsui push Miyagi to make a captain talk and when the other didn’t talk the truth Mitsui said it out loud "We played like crap and we’re lucky to have the lead" instead. And I absolutely love the scene where Tsuchiya(in my own device it is 土屋, ha-ha) realized that Miyagi and Rukawa "had never believed he could play Rukawa one-on-one".

Really, I can see, feel and sense our beloved characters grow and grow with each game. They become more mature each day and this made me so excited and genuinely happy. They are very strong. 4 simple words build a beautiful Shohoku. They are not perfect. Of course they are not perfect. But this "not perfect" somehow make them "perfect" to me. I love seeing those boy fighting, struggling beyond themselves.

Sometimes they are with each other while sometimes they have to figure thing out on their own. It’s almost a miracle to me seeing those boys (young men may be more accurate recently) go out from manga but still so vividly live in your story. Yeah, vividly, and they look so real to me as if it’s just what it will be like if Inoue sensei keep drawing.

When I got to read the scene where you had Anzai sensei put Sakuragi on the bench during their game with Aiwa, I felt that so familiar yet so different nostalgic feeling instantly. Unlike the similar scene you made in the Ryonan or Kainan game which seemed odd, this time it’s much better and I just felt... right.

To surpass Akagi was such a wonderful and perfect goal for Sakuragi and what was the true meaning of it as well as how to realize it were far more important than the mere action of Anzai sensei substituting Sakuragi with Kakuta itself. Yes, you got definitely better with each chapter and each game, just like Inoue sensei did.

And at the same time, I feel a bit strange and almost surreal...like a lot other readers I guess. You know, Shohoku was always portrayed as a lower-ranking team which had to try really hard in order to become a match-up with those national-level school, and that’s not without difficulty.

They kept chasing and chasing and could finally be able to catch up. Like when they were fighting with Sannoh in canon, they were the one who was more than 20 points behind. But in your story, from Ryonan to Kainan to Sannoh to Daiei to Aiwa... Shohoku seems to play better and better each time. As if they used to be defeated or narrowly escaped but not any longer.

They had Rukawa. Rukawa who was such an ace that they shouldn’t be afraid of any other player or other team but there always has to be another player like Sendoh or Sawakita that just has to be better than Rukawa. It has even nearly become a truth that there always is another player just so happened to be an existence that need to be challenged by Rukawa. And the same goes to Shohoku. They are always the one challenging other teams.

Except things change now. Rukawa becomes an ace other teams are afraid of, and Shohoku becomes a team other teams need to catch up with. I can hardly believe it when I watch them play when I get around 75% of your work. Shohoku played like Shoyo. They played like Kainan. Damn, they even played like Sannoh. Seeing the match between Shohoku and Aiwa is almost like seeing the match between Sannoh with Shohoku last year in canon. 20 points behind but still not give up, still struggle to catch up, still believe they have chance somewhere.

It makes me want to cry. I love Shohoku and its players so much and I hope they make the championship but I can not be indifferent to Aiwa or Daiei. The credit belongs to you, my dear author, instead of Inoue sensei.

Inoue sensei created those teams but you developed their players and their souls like Inoue sensei did Shohoku and other teams in Kanagawa. Especially Aiwa. The team was full of OCs who I had to get names into Chinese so as to memorize who played which position. But then the complications seemed vain. I shouldn’t have done that, or I’ll be able to tell you how much I like each of them. I’ll reread the story, without doing any substitution.

Now let’s focus on those guys who I actually could recognize their names.

***

Miyagi. Though you said and I believed it that Sakuragi was the main character, the name Miyagi appeared 3345 times during the story while Sakuragi 3139 times. And just FYI, Mitsui 2373 time, Rukawa 2309 times, Hiroshi 2299 times, Shohoku 1256 times, Ayako 835 times, Sendoh 628 times... Yeah, I’m that crazy.

So, Miyagi. Among the original 5 starters in Shohoku, somehow I always consider Miyagi the most matured one following Akagi. Sure, he behaved childish sometimes, but that was always because he was with Sakuragi and Mitsui, who just couldn’t behave any better.

When facing Youhei and other Army, Miyagi was reluctant to get into trouble which just proved that he really cared. About his basketball life, and about Shohoku. When Sakuragi didn’t focus and have the ball stolen in the game with Ryonan in canon, Miyagi called him an idiot but run and saved the ball from Koshino. (Which instantly reminded Mitsui of how Miyagi was good at kicking in the rear and I laughed at the scene.) And when Sakuragi challenged Rukawa in canon, Miyagi was the one that asked other team members to go home and save Sakuragi from the possible shame (well, Mitsui should get the credit, too).

There are just enough gentle and reliable genes in Miyagi, which will one day grow into leadership. Even when he was not captain but an ordinary player in Shohoku, he was able to hold Sakuragi back when the latter shot the ball casually after getting a rebound. I think it’s a gift. That can handle Sakuragi, that can be friendly with Mitsui, that can be trusted by Rukawa enough the latter did pass the ball to him. There’s no way Miyagi wouldn’t make a good captain.

I have read stories where Miyagi became captain but couldn’t really handle a cheeky Mitsui (the guy was senpai and not the nicest one in the team, after all) and Ayako and her fan had to take place. Some of them were well-written, actually, which could remind me of the scene in canon when Shohoku lost to Kainan and Ayako used her fan to knock those who she thought had small voice (Senpai or not is off the point). But somehow, in my heart, I believe, or more likely, I know that this may be happening before Winter Cup that year, but could by no means last till next year.

Miyagi wouldn’t be like that. He’s not Akagi. He’ll never become Akagi. But he is meant to be a great captain just like Akagi. It was difficult for Akagi to lead Shohoku the team who were eliminated first round into the National IH and defeat Sannoh. It wasn’t going to be any easier for Miyagi to lead Shohoku the team who used to defeat Sannoh the AA but couldn’t even make the Winter Cup fight their way into the National IH again and get even further.

What would it take for him to become a leader? I thought about the question before but could never answer it until I read your story. You gave me a perfect answer. I couldn’t ask more.

***

With that vice-captain Mitsui. Oh my beloved Mitsui. I have read some good Mitsui stuff, but it’s always great to have something new. To have Mitsui purposefully stayed one more year in Shohoku is an interesting try, which was not as common in my country. But I like it anyway.

Mitsui was sometimes described as a guy living in the past (while Akagi and Kogure moved on). Truths to be told, it’s a sad description but it was even harder for us Mitsui fans to resist loving this kind of special Mitsui. When you have
Guest chapter 87 . 10/23/2016
Pleaseeeeee update, it has been almost a year since you last updated. Amma dying to know what happens next...
PS #mitsuiisawesome
Sentinel1995 chapter 64 . 6/29/2016
Yo!

Love the chapter and the progression of the story and hopefully you will deliver the Sakuragi/Morishige match soon :P

The whole Mitsui/Hiroshi flashback was amazing and i'm not ashamed to admit it, i cried during the last few paragraphs of Sakuragi's chapter when Kogure was describing his thoughts.

You make me wanna strangle you when you put Sakuragi on the back bench for so long but make me wanna send you cookies when you turn your attention to him.

Again, Hopefully, You're still working on this story and have not given up. This is one of the best things on the internet right now.

Please update soon.
Guest chapter 1 . 6/20/2016
That chapter about Mitsui is just... No words can fully describe it really. Very, very intelligent writing.
Vel'Koz chapter 87 . 6/16/2016
Hi!
Warning: Wall of text is coming!
First of all, thanks a lot for your hard work. Seriously... 11 years. That's huge amount of time, I can't even imagine how you do this. For me reading your story was like reading a real book. Throughout this story I had a feeling like I'm reading some sort of continuation of the manga. Developments, writing style, characters...You did an amazing job here. I just love how, for example, Sakuragi is developing, we can see how talented he is, his progress, but he isn't an OP character in the slightest. Your other characters also is very well "balanced". Oh, and Mitsui's chapters, love them. For real and totally.

I really like Slam Dunk, but I'm in no means a basketball fan and I still love to read this story. That's just one more time confirms that you are an amazing writer :) I'm a little bit worried, that last update was back in December, but I hope you are doing ok and just don't have enough time right now. I'm looking forward to new chapter and I'm ready to wait.

P.S. yeah, I hope word "story" wasn't bugging you too much, but your work is this awesome, I just couldn't use word "fanfic", for me it's just much more.

P.P.S. oh, and sorry for my bad English, it's not my native language.

Best regards from Latvia :)
Nzd chapter 1 . 6/12/2016
Hey! Your 1000th reviewer! I first read your fic. 2 years ago and I've been a silent reader ever since. I must say this is one of the most incredible things I've ever read, and I am very sorry for not writing to you before. It's very selfish of me. The amazing thing is that you slowly but surely forced us to respect your story. I can't imagine how much dedication went into this. I hope you're planning to do Shohoku vs. Mieho in the finale, and I can't wait until Akagi's chapter :)

Thank you so much
ofhustlersandastronauts chapter 87 . 6/10/2016
Hey there! This fic is just :D

I love it. I like the way you incorporate all of the basketball technicalities in this fic, just like in the anime/manga, bc that's what SD is all about, the basketball. And character development. That's pretty important too, I love seeing our beloved characters grow and mature throughout the story, especially with their distinct personalities. Also, Hiroshi just blends into the Shohoku team, it's just so perfect, sometimes my brain messes up thinking that Hiroshi is a canon character! He's a really really really (x100000000000) good OC.

And the way you changed the narration to Aiwa's side is also just cool. Like we get some insight in what the team dynamics are, and the characters in Aiwa are alive, they have their own personality and don't just blend into the background like some...wallflower. (though sometimes I can't keep up with who's who hehehe but it's no big deal. That's just my brain). Also, too bad that Moroboshi had graduated, I was really looking forward to his appearance in the Nationals especially in the manga but yeah. I mean, can you imagine Moroboshi vs Rukawa? But your character Nezu is also pretty strong and I like the fact that he also went to All Japan. Hehehe.

I don't know if you're going to continue this story (PLEASE YES, but no pressure) and for some reason I can just see Shohoku vs Ryonan in the finals. Hehehehehe.

The best SD fic ever, worthy to be an official SD sequel! :D

-Lyn

P/s I'm your 999th reviewer! Almost to that 1k mark! :)
arktinc chapter 87 . 5/28/2016
hi! a new reader here. i finally caught up with the last chapter(so far), been reading this SD fic for the past two weeks. I can't believe i just discovered your fic this late when it's been here for the past 12 years! (althou in 2004 i was just a brat who thought reading was such a drag.) I got hook up (again) recently in Slam Dunk after i took my board exam last January, then ended up reading (and re-reading) the manga, then got dissapointed because the ending was not much of an ending at all (not bec. it's not cool or anything) , then i gave your fic a shot. I must say, thank God for people like you who has the brains to pull it off ! I bet takehiko-sama would give you a thumbs up if there's a chance he'd stumbled upon your fic, then the gods of anime will grant our wish for a sequel of SD (so sir, please keep on writing! hoping that shohoku will win the championship in the end!). please inform us if one day you'll be able to publish your own works, i'll definitely buy one of those!

PS.(i'll make this review a bit longer_hehe i hope you don't mind XD)
just wanna tell you sir that you really did an awsome job on Mitsui's back story(on chapter 79), it's my favorite chapter (so far). somehow it struck a nerve on me and i was inspired (really..by your words) even thou i'm not a basketball junkie in real life (just the anime, althou i'm aware of the basic rules). i sort of relate it with finding what my real passion is..pursuing it in college then losing heart over it just because realization hit me with the huge difference between theory and real life. i hope one day, i would be able to see and feel my passion clearly just like how mitsui's breathing his (of course, if he's real-i think he is with you sir:)).

PSPS. i hope you'll be able to read this.
please update soon! thanks!
cheers from the philippines :)
Guest chapter 87 . 5/10/2016
when will you publish new chapter ?
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