Taking it Personally: Thoughts on Kuroko no Basket

With the series having hit its mid-series climax a few weeks ago, I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about what I think of Kuroko no Basket so far.

Let me tell you, Kuroko no Basket is anything but realistic basketball. But let’s do a reality check, in a world where little girls are guns and King Arthur is a woman– I don’t see why this is a problem. It’s always about how you’re going to sell your premise anyway.

But unto the main point of this post: Is Kuroko no Basket good? Yes. It’s very good. And I’m saying this without the yaoi goggles off. The direction is well done, the pacing is great, the characters are well defined and the animation isn’t so bad either. ¬†The humor is fantastic, there’s no obvious buildup and a joke gets thrown at you so fast the only way you can react is by laughing. The matches themselves are fun to watch and I love how there’s always something revealed in the middle of the game. It wasn’t always good though, to me it started gaining momentum when the match against Midorima’s school started. The matches before that were so-so.

MOMENTUM.

But if there’s anything that makes this series better than most shows it’s that is has a great cast and they’re all given a good amount of the spotlight. You get to see what these characters do in their free time, what other hobbies they’re into and how everyone has their own specific strengths and weaknesses. But what stands out to me the most is the depth in Kuroko’s character, and his relationship with his ex-teammates in Teiko.

There was a time I jokingly said that Kuroko no Basket was basically Basketball Utena, but while reflecting on this post, I realize that there might have been an inkling of truth to that joke. Yeah, yeah it sounds crazy but hear me out on the more psychological implications of the series hahaha! (If you find this boring, feel free to skip this part) It’s not just Kuroko chasing after the Generation of Miracles, his ex-teammates have their own issues to settle with him as well. From what I’m seeing no one from the Generation of Miracles believe Kagami or the Seirin team are capable of utilizing his talents as a ‘shadow’. In the anime, three of the five other Teiko team members have made their appearance and both Kise and Midorima interact differently with Kuroko but both have voiced out their ‘respect’ for him, but there seems to be a case of Kuroko’s ex-teammates projecting themselves on Kuroko or forcing their ideals on him.

Yeah.

The first scene with Kise is fairly humorous, he claims they were both bullied by their teammates but Kuroko outright denies this and says that it was only Kise who was bullied all along. This is proven by a flashback where everyone scolds Kise for being 20 points below his average score despite Kuroko being the same. Akashi (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya nonetheless!) blatantly announces that Kuroko is different from them and hence, gets different treatment. Its pretty ironic how Kise projects himself at Kuroko, when his ability is copying other people. The second one with Kise convincing Kuroko that he’s wasting his talent staying with Seirin, this is a reoccurring¬†sentiment shared by most ex-Teiho team members.

Implying you can trust a guy with a grin like that.

Midorima on the other hand goes on about how it’s more about how he respects Kuroko and how his dislike for him comes from Kuroko’s choice to join a fairly new team that can’t make proper use of his misdirection. He constantly berates Kuroko for his naive thinking. Even as he elaborates as to why he is disappointed by Kuroko’s choice of school, he goes on about how Kuroko is ‘useless’ without anyone.

However, in a flashback– it shows Midorima wanting to prove to Kuroko that 3 pointers are better than dunks. It’s a stupid juvenile thing, but still- for a character like him, this was a very telling moment.

And then we have Aomine, Kuroko’s previous light. I like his choice of confronting Kagami, and claiming that his light is dim. It looks like something to do more with his pride than Kuroko being someone else’s shadow. He too, has the same belief as Kise and Midorima, the Seirin team can’t use Kuroko’s skill properly.

Aomine’s clearly confirmed his asshole status, and I’d make Aomine-Akio comparisons from his descent from a good guy to a total jerkface but NO. I haven’t seen enough of him to do this and Aomine hasn’t been riding sexy cars lately.

To keep it short, the similarity of these three in terms of thinking boils down to how Kuroko can only be at his best if he stuck with an old teammate, there’s this condescending tone as they speak about that you have to wonder if the respect truly is there. The Generation of Miracles seem to be made up of people with very strong personalities who like to impose their will on a passive Kuroko, but things have changed and Kuroko recognizes his own will– as such he wants to carve his own path and show his former teammates that basketball isn’t solely about winning or being the strongest. That’s essentially what the Seirin team is, they don’t have the strongest players but they work so well together that it’s led them to beating two of the Kings and having the strength to stand up to the Generation of Miracles.

I could go on and on about these characters, but I might have to save that for future posts. I find this to be a rather underrated series, so I thought I’d just share my musings.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you with the fact that I know a thing or two about the game from being forced to play it in high school, and in most cases sports anime would normally be something I’d avoid, but I’ve somehow come to really enjoy this.

    Originally I was going to say that my favourite aspect of this anime is actually the game play, simply because it manages to be so interesting when normally watching basketball would probably bore me. Though, after reading your whole post, I understand where you’re coming from in saying the cast is your favourite aspect. Without them, the games wouldn’t have much feeling at all. And it’s because you understand who each player is, that you can have a stronger sense of the struggles the character’s have to face both on the court and off. Maybe the dedication put into actually making the characters in this series be interesting and dynamic is why I enjoy this sports anime more than others? Either way, I also agree that this is a series that should most definitely be getting more attention!

    • Originally I was going to say that my favourite aspect of this anime is actually the game play

      The gameplay is implausible, but you’re right about how it keeps itself interesting. I wouldn’t be bored by watching a basketball game, but I’d be bored watching an anime simply animating a game especially when you’re not emotionally invested in any of the characters. The character drama and gameplay go hand in hand in this show, and that’s what’s so great about it. I also like how none of the teams introduced are overpowered and the characters actually live up to the hype built around them. I didn’t think Kagami was that great in the beginning, but when he played against Midorima on his own you got to see what his raw talent was like which was a nice callback to what Kise was foreshadowing in the beginning of the series.

      Either way, I also agree that this is a series that should most definitely be getting more attention!

      Definitely! At first I thought it’d be good to pass the time watching the series, but with the recent character developments and conflicts introduced… I’m curious how the series will progress from here.

  2. It’s funny that you should write about KuroBasu now since I’ve just started watching it again (because I can’t work up any enthusiasm for the Summer shows). I’m definitely enjoying it but I don’t quite rate it as highly as you do. I like the characters, especially the two leads, and their interactions are fun but I don’t think the matches are that good. Maybe I’ve read too many shounen sports series before so the cliches are annoying. Also I think the series sits awkwardly between supernatural shounen sports and attempts to keep it realistic (my god the pseudo-science explanations!), and the “reveals” come across as random power-ups the author thought up on the spot to move the plot forward.:p But I admit I did love the full-court three pointers!

    It is well made though. And the unsubtle fujoshi fanbait is hilarious (looking forward to a glorious Aomine/Kagami endcard tyvm). But the best sports show on at the moment is probably Ginga E Kick-off.

    Interesting stuff about the Kisekis projecting themselves on Kuroko. Not sure I see it as much as you, I need to see more of their point of view to draw conclusions.

    • Yeah I’ve had my enthusiasm for summer anime shot down a couple of times this week myself. I don’t read a lot of sports manga since most of the time, I keep up with Shounen Jump releases. In truth, I read the manga a few years ago and my interest sort of dipped somewhere before episode 15. I laughed when the guy with eyeglasses compared Aomine to Shaq and Tiger Woods (FOR VARIOUS REASONS), but its the goofiness about it that’s endearing to me. I loved the whole Kamikaze Captain reveal last week. I just did not see that coming!

      I can’t get into football so I don’t know what to say about Ginga E Kickoff, but I can’t get over these end cards the show has. It’s hilarious and I’m pretty sure we’ll get an Aomine/Kagami somewhere down the line. I don’t mind the pandering since from what I heard the anime follows the manga pretty closely and apparently the mangaka is good friends with Togashi (Togashi even nicknames one of his characters. A very telling fact, I believe) so…

      There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding the Kisekis, starting from how they changed and what caused Kuroko to quit. The show has been very subtle about that, and I wonder why. Of course the whole projecting themselves to Kuroko is something I just thought of while rewatching the series, they’re given special treatment in their new teams and I wonder if that leads to some sort of dissatisfaction (like in Aomine). But yeah two more Kisekis have yet to appear, and I’m wondering if it’s something they all share.

  3. Ahhh, I love Kuroko no Basuke! While there is an undeniable fujoshi-baiting aspect to the show, that isn’t really the main draw to the show. It’s about purposely unrealistic basketball filled with super powers and jaw-dropping moments. My interest really picked up during the match with Midorima as well because of how unexpected all of the new levels of their “special abilities” were as they revealed them over the course of the game.

    I really like your analysis of the Generation of Miracles. The character web between all of the members becomes more and more complicated as we meet new members of the former star team. And it all links back to Kuroko. For someone with so little presence, it’s amazing that he played such a pivotal role for the Generation of Miracles. I love how Kuroko no Basuke fleshes out all the characters – even the side characters. It’s common for school teams to bench everyone except the star athletes, so it’s nice to see that the other teammates still get to play. The spotlight really is shared evenly, and I appreciate that.

    I can’t wait to meet the other members of the Generation of Miracles too…

    • To me, Kuroko no Basket is a result of a sports series combining with a battle series because of how during the games play out. What I enjoyed about the match with Midorima is that even with all the conditions met, you could still do something about it if you knew his personality well enough.

      Thanks! One of the reasons I want to keep watching is so I can see how it turns out between Kuroko and the Generation of Miracles. Kuroko alluded to something happening during the championship but he (or the members) never delve into the details.

      I expected the series to have Kuroko and Kagami keep carrying the team but it’s great to see how everyone in the main team have their own skill sets. It also helps how funny everyone is in Seirin.

  4. aomine is awesome!!

  5. while in S2 ep 34… kirisaki team play unfair move.damn it. I WANT TO DESTROY MY SCREEN!!!! i cant take it anymore.poor iron teppei while playing inside got to take all the damages.DAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNNNN!!!!!!!!

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