First Impressions – Kuroko no Basuke

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

Over-time:

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!

End Thoughts:

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…

About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

38 Responses to “First Impressions – Kuroko no Basuke”

  1. Tofu says:

    I myself haven’t seen much sports anime or read much sports manga but Kuroko really had that intensity I was searching and hoped to see in a sports anime. The only reason I picked it up was because I wanted to expose myself more to the sports genre and I came out with more than I expected ^^

    Sadly it only has 13 episodes going for it (unless this changes in the future) while the manga has gone past chapter 100. I do hope they choose to give Kuroko continuous seasons like what they do with Bakuman because you can really feel that Kuruko can become a great basketball anime. Sadly… the sports genre doesn’t appeal to most so many become under-rated and I feel that Kuroko will become under-rated as well even though it’s such a blood rushing and exciting anime about basketball.

    The person in the preview looked like one of the Generation of Miracles. Probably he came to check things out, own them then walk out and call them weak then our little Taiga will start going all YOU BITCH I’M GONNA TRAIN HARDER AND ETC ETC ^^

    That BGM pumps you up so much! I love listening to it even when they’re off court and the same goes for the OP. Befitting choices of music for a basketball anime ^^

    • Overcooled says:

      I like the genre, even though I’ve only read/watched a handful. Glad you’re liking it (next up, you really are gonna have to read eyeshield 21 XD)

      Only 13? I hope it gets more…I’ll switch over to the manga if it ends early. Which will suck, because then it will have some crappy, made-up ending or a cliffhanger. It’s hard to tell if this could be renewed, but I hope so…

      I assume everyone with flamboyant hair is from the Generation of Miracles XD I can’t wait for those dramatic training montages lol

      I really liked the music too! Surprisingly exciting! The OP visuals were really nice too o 3 o

  2. Moni Chan says:

    I love love LOVE this anime. Not going to compare it to Slam Dunk, cause I’ve never watched it.

    This is one of my favorites this season. Ohh and the ending theme is awesome.

    • Overcooled says:

      I may have to read Slam Dunk after this if I get carried away. This isn’t my favourite of the season, but I definitely really like it!

  3. Moni Chan says:

    and the Kuroko and Kagami Yaoi was easily spotted.

  4. Rakuen says:

    I wonder of Kuroko learned to play basketball on the streets. His passing has that flashy yet fluid feel to it that you don’t see a lot of on the court. Though, I have to admit, I haven’t sat down and watched a game of basketball in years.

    In any case, the color-coded oni have me intrigued. I hope the rest of the team can pull their weight, both in skill and in character.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’ve never played ball with someone who only played on the streets, so I don’t know the difference. It’s alright, I rarely watch or play nowadays either.

      I hope they’re a nice challenge for the newly-formed duo as well as being fun to watch. So far we’ve only really got a few main characters to latch onto, so they’ll be welcome additions.

  5. Karakuri says:

    Be straight with me OC, should I watch this? The bromance looks tempting.

    • Overcooled says:

      Hmm, you don’t like sports series, right? If so, I don’t think you’ll like it. The bromance is pretty mild thus far and might not make up for all the actual time playing sports here lol. I really liked it, but I’m not sure if you would. Uh, one episode test if you’re really curious?

    • anaaga says:

      I don’t watch sport anime and I loved it. So gooooddddd.

  6. Foshizzel says:

    I usually pass at every sports anime ever created! But I actually watched this and liked it…I guess because all I see from the main two characters are Bleach ones!

    Kagami = Ichigo

    Kuroko = Hitsugaya

    Then again whenever I hear the name Kuroko I think of Railgun’s yuri teliporting girl!? If only she played basketball…

    So I will watch this xD

    • Overcooled says:

      lol so true that everyone at Metanorn shies away from sports anime. IT’S GOOD THOUGH!

      You and your crossovers…No bankais allowed on the court!!!

      • Foshizzel says:

        LOLOL Yaaaaaahh brosuketball is awesome.

        I KNOW! I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON T____T jkjk I do love them crossovers <3 and yeah Kagami better not bankai or he will get removed from the game.

  7. Kencana says:

    I like Kuroko no Basket. It didn’t have the typical main character. Usually they’re either a clumsy boy who gets bullied, falls for a beautiful girl, or prodigy.
    I’m glad that Kuroko is neither prodigy or newbie.

    • Overcooled says:

      I agree, it’s a welcome change. He has a spine, and that’s a lot more than I can say for some male lead characters. Oh, and he’s not the complete opposite either (like the overconfident prodigy Ryoma from Tenipuri who doesn’t even need to train).

  8. anaaga says:

    Really? It’s actually a REAL sport anime? Then I have to watch it. And all that hot guys. And that bromance

    • anaaga says:

      ASDFGHJKL SO GOOD IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I’VE WATCHED SPORT ANIME BUT THIS IS SO GOOD

      And you should blog it

      • Overcooled says:

        Good, right? Glad I got you to watch it and you liked it in the end.

        The only thing stopping me from blogging this is the prospect of having to blog 4 shows at a time. I’ve done it before, but it was a real challenge. I’ll think about just always having Kuroko late or something lol. I might ask if I can get away with a paragraph long summary to make it doable. I’m sure I can sum up a sports anime episode in one paragraph if I needed to.

  9. xochandaox says:

    haha. I also played basketball.. so I’ll be watching 😀

    • Overcooled says:

      The wonderful, scratchy, slappy, uniform-grabbing world of women’s basketball! *high five*

  10. Justin says:

    Found Kuroko–he’s behind like two people on the left lol

    I seem to just be addicted to sports anime. Well, almost. Maybe because’s there’s so few of them…

    • Overcooled says:

      Indeed! I took the screencap and only noticed that he was actually there as I was sorting them out. Kuroko is just too good at what he does…

      They’re more rare than some genres, but there’s at least one new sports anime per season, so it’s not that bad, is it?

  11. Kyokai says:

    I was not going to check this but damn it, OC and every other commentor, you guys are not helping my big fat spring list. =3=

    • Overcooled says:

      So many good spring shows…We’re all gonna be swamped with anime <3 (Yesss, get into the BL basketball showww)

  12. Joojoobees says:

    This season is thick with sports shows. We have this, Ginko (kids soccer show), and Area no Kishi is ongoing. Rather unusual.

    I like the playmaker skill of the lead. They did a good job of setting it up, first with the whole “can’t be seen” bit, then showing him in action.

    • Overcooled says:

      IT’S LATE REPLY TIME!! Sorry.

      It seems like there’s at least one sports show per season as of late. I’m not surprised there would be an eventual concentration of them in one season.

      It’s hard to think of “powers” that make sense for sports. It’s a littttle far-fetched, I’ll admit, but still a really cool technique to watch.

  13. Kitty says:

    I was really surprised at how much I actually liked the first episode. Man I haven’t watched a sports anime since…. beyblade… is that even counts XD

    • Overcooled says:

      I don’t even know if that counts. Kuroko is a good sports anime though, even for those who aren’t big sports fans.

  14. Aniplogs says:

    My standard for basketball anime was slam dunk so I can compare if an anime is really good based from watching the few episodes of the show. I thought that nothing could beat slam dunk as my number 1 basketball anime but watching Kuroko no basket gave me some second thoughts that “Slam Dunk” will have a fair competition.

    The thing about Kuroko No Basket is that the pacing is totally outrageous. I’m talking about Pacing of the Story and not pacing pacing of action per episode. “Slam Dunk” has a great Pacing of action per episode but Kuroko no Basket excels both.

    I was thinking that Kuroko no Basket would take some time for the intensity to develop but just 3 episodes and Wham! they’re talking about the Generation of Miracles already.

    The introduction of characters with their specialties is good too and they’re not the usual “Newbie to Pro” intance. Yet they stirred up my emotion by showing those amazing skills.

    So far Kuroko no Basket is on top of my list. And I’ll be writing my first impressions of the show too after the 5th episode :)

    • Overcooled says:

      I’ll have to read Slam Dunk some day. If it’s as catchy and exciting as Kuroko is, then I need to look into it. I really like the pacing as well. They went right into their first match recently to show off some action, but at the same time, it’s just an exhibition match.

      I was half-tempted to write about Kuroko, but decided to spare anyone my ramblings about BL and the occasional “OH, BACK IN MY BASKETBALL DAYS, I DID THIS TOO” selfish rant. Hope you enjoy writing about it!

  15. Namika says:

    I am SO GLAD that I watched this~!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t even know where to begin 😀 marathoned it for a couple of days, stopped at the 17th episode because I’m all bitter about waiting whole week for another ep but what choice do I have TT^TT I LOVE IT. So much freaking hot bishies and bl fanservice~ I’m going to die of a bloodloss <3

    • Overcooled says:

      Glad you like it, Namika! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the series so far. I didn’t expect much, but it’s really grown on me. It’s definitely oriented for a female audience, which makes it even BETTER for people like us hurrhurrhurrrr~

      • Namika says:

        I don’t mind the fangirl fanservice at all too ^w^ so much bishies and couples, I don’t know which one to ship 😀

  16. Alexandra Marie Vilalfuerte says:

    What is the Episode is that?

Leave a Reply