Review: Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko no Basket

Sports anime have a way of entertaining even the most nonathletic of people, namely myself. The player’s talents are exaggerated, their personalities are quirky and fun, and there’s at least one hot guy thrown in there to please fangirls like me. Kuroko’s Basketball is no exception, but there’s something about it that appeals to me more than other anime in its genre. Right from the get-go, I was impressed with Kuroko, simply because he defied all my expectations of a main character. As it turns out, he’s specialty is being invisible and passing the ball, and his goal is to help his teammate become the best player in Japan. A main character with the role of supporting character? Now that’s…different.

The basic setup here is that you have five prodigies who formed a team called “The Generation of Miracles,” and now they each have separated to join different high school basketball teams. Kuroko is one such prodigy–the sixth “phantom” member. At the beginning of the series, he signs up to join Seirin, a team that is in need of a major breakthrough to be taken seriously. Unlike other teams, they have a young female coach who is good at reading physical strengths and weaknesses instantly just by looking at people (it’s not an excuse to look at half-naked men or anything).

Seirin also welcomes another new member, the hotheaded Taiga, who is quite impressive for his height and slam dunks. It doesn’t take long for Kuroko to recognize his potential to be as strong as the Generation of Miracles. Despite their personalities are completely opposite, they learn how to work together. Kuroko becomes his “shadow,” using his lack of presence to direct the ball to Taiga so that he can make all the big shots. Before Seirin realizes it, they depend on this unlikely duo to win their most challenging games. In this season, their goal is to break through the Interhigh championship and then prepare for the Winter Cup.

The Generation of Miracles is fascinating. Each player has their own style of basketball and a big ego to go with it. While Kise is good at copying other player’s moves, Midorima can score from any spot on the court, and Aomine is just a monster. What’s interesting to notice is how different Kuroko is from the other prodigies. He never steps into the spotlight or looks down on others. That is because to him, basketball is only worth it if you incorporate good team play. It’s not all about winning by yourself, like the other GoM players seem to believe at first. It’s an important lesson for Taiga to learn, as Kuroko wants to prove the power of their style of basketball.

I don’t know how anyone can watch this and not get addicted. Every match is designed to be exciting due to the reputation of Seirin’s opponents, increasing in suspense towards the heart-pounding finale. The series is animated by Production IG, so of course the most important games are going to look stunning. So much detail goes into every inch of their movement and sweat, allowing them to appear fluid and crisp.

Not only is this series dramatic and suspenseful, it’s also a great comedy! Kuroko’s invisible nature gets a lot of laughs, as he seems to appear in front of people without warning, scaring them half to death. There’s a joke at every corner of their practices, lunches, or whatever they might be doing. So the coach is a bad cook? Then make the players die a slow death. So they find a cute little puppy that looks like Kuroko? Then make the oh-so-aggressive Taiga afraid of dogs. My favorite is probably Midorima’s obsession over zodiac signs and horoscopes. You never know what “lucky item” he’s going to be carrying next. See that pretty little frog in the screenshot? *cowers*

If you’re about to pick up Kuroko’s Basketball, then I really envy you. This is the kind of show that’s best to marathon when you get hooked. And if you’ve already seen and love it, then let’s hope for a second season in the near future, because this is only just getting started! What’s going to happen at the Winter Cup? And who are the last two members of the Generation of Miracles? To be continued…

Mimi’s Score: 8/10 meeps

Justin’s Score: 8/10 meeps

Dusk’s Score: ?

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Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 25 [Final]

Our Basketball

Manly tears… Lots and lots of them! T_T

So yeah, this is a typical shounen anime ending for ya. Kise and Aomine appear evenly matched throughout most of the game, and then they do something very familiar: collide in mid-air (while talking) and end the game at the buzzer, with Aomine barely winning by 12 points. Well actually, to be a true shounen anime ending, it should have been Kise who won (assuming most people were rooting for him), so I give the show credit for being a little less predictable. For once, the guy who tries really hard to win with the right motives doesn’t automatically win.

But who wins or loses isn’t the most interesting part, rather, it’s how they win or lose and what can be gained from it. Kise’s “mistake” is that he attempts to pass the ball to his teammate, which is uncharacteristic of Aomine’s style of basketball. If Kise had stayed in Aomine’s character, he could have won, according to the guy himself. Well you know what? I’m glad he didn’t try to win that way. Cuz you know–Kise and Kuroko have something powerful going on with this teamwork stuff; it’s only a matter of time before they prove it to Aomine and the other self-centered elitists, right? If Kise has to sacrifice teamwork in order to win, then what’s the fun of it? What’s the point? So I’m proud of him for sticking to his guns. FIGHTO! ( o >.< )–O Oh great, now I’m starting to sound really cheesy… *ahem* Moving on…

Of course, what is Kuroko’s Basketball without a cliffhanger ending? We finally catch a glimpse of the last two members of the Generation of Miracles, with the purple-haired sweets addict passing by Kuroko after the game. And what is this “higher level” to Aomine? Urrgh! Second season where?! D:

Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 24

Don’t Get the Wrong Idea

This about sums up my reaction:

But unfortunately, I have to break out of speechless mode because I have a job to do here. Okay. Where do I even start? Well, first off, there are two objectives in Kaijou’s plan. The first one is to wait for Kise to copy Aomine’s moves perfectly so he can beat him. His teammates do their best to keep the gap between their scores small so that there’s still a chance to come back. And the second one is to force fouls on Aomine, so that by the time Kise is all warmed up, Aomine has to a play more carefully as not to risk any more fouls.

It’s not as simple as learning to copy moves, however. Kise’s problem is that he can’t imitate anyone stronger than himself, so he has to break past his limits. And beyond that, the fact that he has always looked up to Aomine holds him back. How do you beat someone who you also want to win because he’s so darn cool? Kise realizes that you can’t. So he also has to muster up the courage to give up on Aomine, never to look the same way at him again. That’s a little sad. Just a little.

There’s no denying that this is the most suspenseful game of the entire series. Considering that Kise’s personality is usually silly and carefree, it gave me goosebumps to see him tap into Aomine’s darkness, looking as if he’s going to murder someone. His stare is so intense that I was afraid it would burn a hole in my laptop screen. o_O

Now, I have to hand it to the music (which sounds like it came straight from a horror movie) for enhancing the atmosphere, as well as Production IG’s best animation yet to allow for such a great watching experience. Every single movement is fluid and detailed. It’s not just the sweat flying all over the place that looks cool, but the close-up of Kise’s feet lifting off the ground as he gets ready to break past Aomine, and the slow narrowing of his eyes that make you go “uh-oh!” The entire episode gave me the chills. I can’t remember the last time my heart pounded so fast from watching anime.

No matter what happens in the next episode, Kise is officially my hero… ^_^

Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 23

I’m Not Mature!

Back in the old days, life was dull and boring for Kise because he was “better” than everyone else at sports. That is, until he met Aomine, who inspired him to play basketball. Although he has lost to him in all their games thus far, he still used that time to study Aomine inside out, which would explain his confidence in beating him now.

This game wastes no time in pitting them against each other, making it a thrilling watch from beginning to end. Kise has obviously gotten stronger since the last time they played, since he’s able to stop Aomine from scoring (sometimes). But did he really think that he could predict all his crazy moves? He forgets that Aomine knows him just as well as he does.

Where this series gets really interesting is when it examines the strengths and weaknesses of each player. So far, Aomine doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. He’s the best and that’s it. His team looks down on Kise as being a mere copycat who has no weapons of his own. But on the flip side, he’s continuously learning and improving. It seems that Kise would have the potential to be the strongest out of all of them if he could make everyone’s special technique his own and perform them better. All the Generation of Miracles packed in one! Well, all except for Kuroko.

I get a feeling that the best has yet to come. Kise is saving something big for the next episode. Oh goodie, what is it?! I can hardly wait. D:

Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 22

I’ll Win Even If it Kills Me

Of course… Kise and Aomine’s game doesn’t start until the very last second of this episode. Why must this show always be so evil with cliffhangers? But with that, I’m crazy excited for the next episode. It’s nice to take a break from Seirin’s games as well. Although Kise hasn’t won against Aomine one-on-one before, I’ve always wondered if he had a chance since his specialty is copying other player’s moves with ease. Maybe he could play just as well as Aomine. He’s pretty confident this time, so we’ll see (though I’m supposed to believe that Aomine will always win…and still do ^^!).

As for the majority of this episode, it just focuses on more grueling training. Taiga finds himself in a little predicament when he plays against Midorima who easily prevents him from scoring. And the reason why it’s so easy is because his dunks are so darn predictable. But with his jumping ability improving, he’s leaning more towards “aerial basketball.” If he can’t compete with Aomine on the ground, it has to be in the air. Interesting. This sparks an idea in Kuroko, though. To the skies, everyone?

With only three episodes left, this series will probably conclude with Kise’s game and when they finish training. Or another cruel cliffhanger. Now…where the heck is the announcement for season 2? I’m dying to see the last two guys from the Generation of Miracles… T_T

Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 21

Let’s Get Started

As a heads up, my posts are going to be slow up until next weekend. Exams, birthdays…you know. Life. Once everything calms down, I should be back to posting quickly. I also have a couple of movie reviews coming up for Berserk and Mardock Scramble: First Compression, so stay tuned for those. =)

Now on to last week’s episode! xD Riko is planning to take her team to the beach for practice. Their biggest concern? Food. Why female anime characters must always be such dreadful chefs is beyond me, but she’s definitely the worst I’ve seen in a while. I mean, her cooking must be pretty bad to almost send people to the afterlife. The bravest and poorest soul of them all, Hyuuga, consumed every bite just to show that he appreciated her hard work, only to collapse on the brink of death moments later. It’s up to Taiga to save the day and teach her how to make curry. Thank goodness for that.

Things get more interesting and funny when they try to play basketball on the sand. Silly Kuroko forgets that he can’t bounce the ball, and Taiga can’t do his spring jumps. But of course, Riko had a plan for them all along. Once they’re back on a regular court, everyone notices sudden improvement, like playing basketball had just become so much easier. Taiga has to restrain himself just so he won’t fly over the hoop. Riko makes him do extra physical work, which she knows will pay off eventually.

It turns out that Midorima and his team are there as well, so they have a quick practice game. Kuroko makes some unusual moves, as he’s still trying to find that new style. I’m not sure what it could be, but surly something other than passing. I think the message everyone’s been trying to send him is that he must be stronger in multiple areas and not depend on other players so much. Will he ever be able to stand on his own or play one-on-one?

The next episode preview shows…more training! But I’m excited to see Kise and Aomine in this one. ^-^

Kuroko’s Basketball Episode 20

I Don’t Want To Be

Kiyoshi really is an interesting character. The series is building him up to be a fearsome player, the “ace” of Seirin, yet he acts like a clumsy idiot. He loses against Kagami, clearly out of shape, but he doesn’t play to his full potential either. Wrong shoes, for one thing. I just can’t wait to see this guy play for real. He also acts as Seirin’s mentor, the voice of reason. I thought he would be working on Taiga’s attitude in this episode, but it’s actually Kuroko who needs an attitude adjustment. Or rather, a new style of basketball. Kiyoshi requests the first-year members to practice against another team so that Kuroko can realize the limitations of his style, which is too dependent on others and won’t work if all trust is gone.

The plan works, and Kuroko and Taiga have a good talk. Kuroko admits that he used him to force GoM to recognize his style. The scene feels all too familiar since that was where Kuroko promised to help him become the best in the beginning of the series. There’s just one difference though. Now he intends to become much stronger and be the best player in Japan. He’s abandoning his style and reinventing himself. He also promises Taiga that he’ll have something figured out before the Winter Cup begins. Needless to say, I’m glad they’re back on the same page. I’m curious to see what Kuroko will come up with. It’ll have to be soon because there’s only five episodes left… *sob* This better get a second season.