Huh, I suddenly feel like playing basketball now…
|As a former, competitive basketball player, I feel compelled to check out any basketball anime or manga that comes my way. While I’m fine watching anime about sports I know next to nothing about, it’s comforting to watch something I actually know all the rules to without having it explained to me. I can genuinely appreciate any sort of talent too, since I know first-hand just how hard it is to become skilled in that sport. Oh, and there are gay undertones. That lured me out of my den too, I must admit. *hides a creepy smile*|
Kuroko has the reputation of being a mysterious 6th regular player of his middle school basketball team – a team that completely dominated everyone else in what is now called “The Generation of Miracles.” Moving onto high school, he applies for the basketball club…except no one even notices his presence. Kagami, an extremely tall and muscular first year who went to middle school in America attracts much more attention when he applies. He looks like a star player, and he has the cocky attitude to match it too. He refuses to write down a reason for joining, and simply leaves them with his form and some harsh words.
Aida, just what are you measuring with your eyes down there?
The first practice finally begins with…stripping. Aida, the coach, has a bit of an eye for reading power levels just by looking at someone’s body. All the guys strip, and she works her magic. Everyone is pretty average except for Kagami, who is so mind-blowingly perfect that her only advice to him is to suck more so she can give him critique the next time. Just when they think everyone’s been checked out, Kuroko finally steps out and announces that he’s been there the whole time. His lack of presence, muscles, and height make the team extremely dubious that he was actually a legendary basketball player in middle school. The numbers say he’s below average if anything, which makes him all the more of an enigma.
Later that night, Kagami practices on his own in an outdoor court. He seems to be going through his usual routine, until he’s interrupted by Kuroko being a stalker. Kuroko bravely challenges him to a one on one fight, and Kagami gladly accepts. He’s been curious why Kuroko doesn’t ‘smell’ either weak or strong, and senses the disconnect between his reputation and what he’s seen so far. However…Kuroko really sucks at basketball. He can’t even shoot without being stuffed. :/ Exasperated, Kagami leaves and tells him to quit basketball for good. He’s already sickened by the low standards for the sport in Japan when compared to America, and doesn’t need weaklings getting in the way of him finding an exciting challenge. Kuroko stubbornly refuses and says he’s a shadow. Uh. Okay.
The next day, the newbie first years face the current basketball team members in a friendly scrimmage match. Right from the tip-off, Kagami dominates the match. He hogs the ball whenever he can, and dunks at every chance he can. Could anyone on my team dunk in highschool? Not even close. This guy is a fiend! The second years remedy this by double or thriple teaming Kagami so he never gets the ball. Even if he gets the ball, he’s going to have a hell of a time moving with 3 men around him. The other players aren’t good enough to take advantage of having one person without someone guarding them, so the gap between them is quickly filled and second years pull into the lead.
Kagami starts to get pissed off at the first years for losing hope, and Kuroko has to stop him before he knocks someone out. Suddenly, everyone realizes that Kuroko was playing the whole time. Nice. Now that they’re really hammered home Kuroko’s lack of presence, he decides to show off his secret ability. Once passed the ball, he can expertly make a perfectly-aimed pass to someone who is conveniently open. It’s cool to watch in motion, and it’s enough to have the first years catch up. With only a one point difference, Kuroko manages to intercept a pass and go for a lay-up uncontested. But..he misses. Kagami picks up the slack and finishes the match with a dunk.
Now that Kuroko has shown his true skill as the 6th regular member, Kagami is a little bit more friendly. By more friendly I mean he went from “detest” to “dislike.” He gives Kuroko some food and even chats about Kuroko’s old team with him, and how he matches up. Apparently, he doesn’t match up at all, and they’re gonna be in trouble when they face the highschool teams the other regulars scattered to. However, Kuroko is willing to be Kagami’s shadow in order to make him shine and become the star basketball player he’s always wanted to be. Insert dramatic light/shadow metaphor aaaaand end scene!
>sit down in front of boy with bright blue hair >claim not to notice him
NO KISSING ON THE COURT!
“Did I miss anyone?” “Um, yes, I still haven-” “Okay, good! Moving on!”
Literally what all fangirls see when looking at hot guys.
You have 5 seconds to find Kuroko in this scene. GO!
I went into Kuroko no Basuke expecting next to nothing, and ended up adoring it. It’s nothing really amazing in terms of the shounen sports formula, but it’s a very solid anime. You’ve got the weakling main guy who has a very niche specialty that propels him and his team towards fame. The same is seen in Eyeshield 21 and Ookiku Furikabutte. It’s an average show with straightforward directing and good animation. Nothing less and nothing more. Yet it had me excited and anxious for them to reveal what Kuroko’s *magical power* was. Okay, I kind of guessed it from the OP since all the blue-haired brat did was assist, but it was still pretty cool. I think my emotional involvement comes from A. it’s basketball, and I can relate and B. the characters are interesting.
Kuroko himself is a fun character. He’s supposed to be unremarkable, but he stands out a lot more than most harem leads that couldn’t be any more dull to observe. Kuroko is blunt, impossibly calm, and kind of adorable. Within a few days of knowing a guy he decided to help him achieve his dream by becoming his shadow and essentially letting him hog the glory. He’s also voiced by Ono Kensho, who *puts on hipster glasses* you probably haven’t heard of since he’s been in so few roles. He plays opposite Ono Yuuki, who also hasn’t really played very many characters either. I thought they both did a good job, so hopefully they get more roles after this! Kuroko is accurately deadpan and Kagami has all the vigour and bite I would come to expect just from looking at the guy. Back to their actual characters, the two of them working together make a fun pair in terms of both teamwork and getting the old fujoshi cogs in my head turning. Ohohoho, don’t tell me you can’t see all the potential homolust coming a mile away. I’ll spare you the details, but I can’t help the occasional remark.
Having a mini mystery in the first episode is generally a good way to reel fans in, and Kuroko managed to do that right. They set him up as simultaneously being this week, almost nonexistent person…but with slightest hints of greatness. It was a fun paradox. Can they keep up the intrigue with a guy whose only special ability is to be a detour for the ball and free up someone for a shot? I’m hoping so. The other 5 members will no doubt come into play soon, and their own niches are sure to be fun. Sports anime are great for made-up techniques that most people could never even hope to pull off in real life. Logically, Kuroko’s ability is still kind of sketchy, but shhh, it’s cool, don’t question it. If you want a good sports anime or you like bishies (who potentially like other bishies), get to watching this! I’ll be waiting eagerly on episode 2 to see if I still feel the same high after watching it. I don’t doubt that I will.
Preview: An entrance exam? Uh oh, that’s usually bad news for the less well-rounded jocks. If that isn’t bad enough, it looks like a new player is being revealed. Friend? Foe? Potential lover for me to ship with everyone? WE SHALL SEE! You have no idea how tempted I am to blog this right now…I’ll think about it…