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It took a while, but I finally managed to finish Production I.G.’s other great sports anime accomplishment: “Kuroko no Basuke.” The show has the feel of being mostly a giant tournament arc, but there were still a lot of ups and downs, especially near the end. With that said, here are some of my Final Thoughts.
“Kuroko no Basket”: Friendship is Magic
Although I have still yet to watch many sports anime, one thing that I have noticed among the ones I have seen is there tends to be a bit of weakness when it comes to thematic endings. The same seems to be true of “Kuroko no Basket.”
While the road to get to the show’s thesis was certainly exciting, and I would happily watch another season were one to be made, the series seems to suffer from the same lack of a greater overall point. At the end of the series, after beating Akashi, the takeaway seems to just be that “everything will be OK as long as you’re having fun.”
While this is not even a bad message, it does feel a little boring from a show that was otherwise action packed and pretty much always delivering in its game scenes. Speaking of the games, though…
The Games are Incredible
One of the reasons I initially did not want to watch the series was because, out of context, the scenes where characters use their special techniques look pretty dumb. However, plenty of things do not make sense out of context, so of course I ignored this and just gave the series a chance.
Even though the abilities themselves still do not make a ton of sense in context, it works enough to where there is still plenty of room for hype when Seirin faces their next opponent. Specifically, all of the games against the “Generation of Miracles” are extremely well done. There is a lot of back and forth, emphasis on the decision making and technical abilities of each of the players, and exploration of character motivation during the games.
One game, or rather series of games, that stands out is Seirin vs Shutoku, where Kurkoko and Kagami have to contend with Midorima’s insane shooting ability. Through a series of extended flashbacks, the show demonstrates just how much practice Midorima has put into his shots, to the point where he can easily make three pointers from full court. Most of their games are spent figuring out how to counter Midorima and make up for lost points that they could not defend against.
Even during the games without the “Generation of Miracles, there is still plenty of strategy and play-making that gets explored, which makes them all the more interesting to watch.
Kuroko and Kagami
Previously, I wrote about my feelings on the similarities and differences between “Haikyuu” and “Kuroko no Basket.” While the two can definitely feel a bit one-dimensional at times, there relationship certainly stands out from the first episode.
Using the power of misdirection, Kuroko can seemingly make himself invisible. This, combined with his ability to pass incredibly fast give him the title of the “Phantom Sixth Man of the Generation of Miracles.” At the beginning of the series, Kuroko makes a promise to Kagami that he will make him number one, and will become the shadow to his light.
It is a really cool dynamic and also allows for a pretty powerful visual metaphor for their play style. Kagami likes to be flashy, often using his incredible jumping power both on defense and to score, and Kuroko works from people’s blind spots, making passes and steals with ease.
Exciting really only begins to describe the sports anime experience that is “Kuroko no Basket.” It combines a sport that is already pretty high energy with a storyline that, while thematically weak, creates a lot of tension among its characters, almost all of whom are fleshed out incredibly well. Fans of sports anime who somehow have not seen this show should definitely fix that immediately.
How do you all feel about Kuroko no Basket? Let me know in the comments below.
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