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Although Inoue's imported teen sport-romance manga Slam Dunk-a big hit back in Japan-is ostensibly about the love of basketball, it really starts out as a chronicle of love and rejection in high school. The series' towering, red-haired hero, Hanamichi Sakuragi, is first shown in utter dejection, after having been rejected by 50 girls in a row (apparently, people are keeping count). But saving him from utter despair is the appearance of the angelic Haruko Akagi, who flirtatiously swoons over his stature and wonders whether or not he plays basketball. After some gentle considerations of whether he's interested ("If only I could walk her to school!! Then I could die happy") Hanamichi sets about trying to get on the basketball team. Haruko disappears from the pages not long after she has conveniently set the plot device in motion, leaving Inoue free to depict Hanamichi's attempts be accepted by the arrogant upperclassmen who dominate the team. It comes as a disappointment to Hanamichi-a hot-tempered kid who prefers to pick fights and slam dunk than learn how to actually play the game,-that winning Haruko's heart is going to take some work. Inoue's pacing is frantic, if somewhat padded, but he manages to maintain a welcome sense of humor amid all the adolescent gamesmanship. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.