Review: Kuroko’s Basketball

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I decided to watch this anime after I saw this AMV at Anime Boston 2016:

Prety awesome, right?

If you like basketball–playing or watching–you will LOVE this anime. Despite how it looks, actual basketball physics are used.

Kuroko’s Basketball, or The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays (aka Kuroko no Basket) is the story of the love of the game of basketball first and former team mates now rivals second. Let’s go over the seven main characters:

 

  • Tetsuya Kuroko (Sixth Man): One of the two lead protagonists. Kuroko was the Phantom Sixth Man on Teiko Middo School’s Basketball team, which  dominated the competition all 3 years. Kuroko specializes in Misdirection, which utilizes his lack of presence in general. Because of this, he is virtually invisible on the court to the opposing team and sometimes his own team mates. When he meets Kagami, he offers to be the Shadow to Kagami’s Light. During the course of the series, Kuroko develops several new skills including the Vanishing Drive, Disappearing Shot and Misdirection Overflow. Kuroko’s experience with his now former team mates is tested as like him, The Generation of Miracles has become stronger since they were all on the same team.
  • Taiga Kagami (Power Forward): The other lead protagonist and Kuroko’s team mate on the Seirin High Basketball Team. A basketball prodigy himself who learned to play basketball in America, Kuroko senses his potential to rival the power of his former team mates when they first meet. During Seirin High’s second game against Aomine, Kagami enters The Zone (more on this in a bit), giving him the power he needs to lead the team to victory. During the championship game against Akashi, Kagami enters the True Zone (more on this in a bit) due to the bond between him and his teammates, allowing him to complete the team’s comback and win.
  • Ryota Kise (Small Forward): One of the Generation of Miracles. Kise has the ability to copy any technique after seeing it once. He perfects this ability sometime after his new team Kaijo loses their practice game with Seirin to the point he is able to perfectly copy his former team mates!
  • Shintaro Midorima(Shooting Guard): One of the Generation of Miracles. A touch superstitious, Midorima has the ability to make a shot from literally anywhere beyond the 3-point line on the court by arching the angle of his shot with 100% accuracy. I can actually do this myself so this is certainly possible to do.  Kagami and Akashi are the only two players who have demonstrated the ability to block his shots.
  • Daiki Aomine(Power Forward): One of the Generation of Miracles. During his time with Teiko, Aomine dominated the court to the point his opponents lost their will to play against him. His agility on both ends of the court and streetball style of play made it impossible for anyone to keep up with him. By the time he reached high school, Aomine was convinced no one could beat him. Then he met Kagami. During the course of their battles on the court, the other members of the Generation of Miracles realized Kagami had reached their level by his own means. Aomine later teaches Kuroko to shoot ahead of his game against Murasakibara.
  • Atsuhi Murasakibara (Center): One of the Generation of Miracles. Despite his general disinterest in basketball, Murasakibara has a natural talent for the game. Known for his defensive prowess in the paint, Murasakibara can cover the inside with a single bound and has even led Yosen to several shutout games. Along with the rest of Yosen’s frontcourt, the team excels at defense. Entering the Zone against Seirin proved to not be enough to claim victory.
  • Seijuro Akashi (Point Guard): The captain of the Generation of Miracles. Akashi actually has a split personality and that made him dangerous and unpredictable in both middle school and high school as well as both on and off the court. Akashi’s Emperor Eye allows him to predict not only what his opponents will do but his team mates as well. He uses this ability with high-speed dribbling to easily break past defenders on offense and stop the offense in their tracks on defense. Akashi is virtually unstoppable when he enters the Zone in the Championshop game, isolating his team mates. This proves to be his downfall as it paves the way for Kagami to enter the True Zone and give him a taste of what defeat feels like for the very first time in his life.

…Yes, the Generation of Miracles were monsters.
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Their skills are easily NBA level. Of course, they do have a glaring weakness: Their bodies can’t handle the strain of their near-superhuman abilities for too long. This is made apparent with Kise, Kagami and Kiyoshi (a Seirin player who missed almost a year due to a knee injury suffered during a game). Even so, their abilities can definitely be done for real. Like I said earlier, I can make shots from anywhere on the court (Midorima). I can also predict my opponent’s movements and react accordingly. Fakes don’t work on me (Akashi).

It’s hard to look at the Generation of Miracles and not compare them to NBA Players. Let’s get that out the way now (These are my picks):

  • Kuroko: Rajon Rondo when he was a Celtic. Easily. Rondo was a playmaker for his team mates during his time in Boston. That made it hard to guard him because you never knew what he was going to do.
  • Kagami: Kevin Durant and Dwayne Wade. He has the drive of Durant amd the experience to D-Wade to just know how to react in any given situation. Not yet Lebron James-level but he’s getting there.
  • Kise: DeMar DeRozan or Derrick Rose. He’s got DeRozan’s stamina but his health issues ala Rose. Same leg, actually (LOL). With a bit more time, he’ll reach Durant-level.
  • Midorima: Steph Curry obviously. Dude takes the shot and then walks away because he knows it’s going in. Larry Bird-level swag (“Which of you guys is gonna be second?”) and Ray Allen-level drive (All-time NBA leader in 3-Pointers Attempted and Made).
  • Aomine: If Michael Jordan and LeBron James had a baby, you’d get Aomine. Now that he knows how to enter the True Zone, he’s gonna be unstoppable. Despite his personally, Aomine’s basketball IQ is off the charts (LBJ) and no one can guard him (MJ). He does impossible like no one’s business.
  • Murasakibara: Shaq. ‘Nuff said.
  • Akashi: Isaiah Thomas. Both of them. Both the Pistons Hall of Famer and the Celtics All Star of the same name. Put ’em together and you get Akashi despite his split personality.

I’ll now back up a bit and explain The Zone, which is a term that originated in basketball during the early 90s (and is now used in other sports). Getting in the Zone means your mental and physical states are beyond their normal limitations, allowing you to perform far beyond what you’re able to do normally. Willpower is a trigger as is Focus, which Kagami demonstrates by entering the Zone at will. You also have to love the game as a precondition though in the case of Murasakibara, wanting to win can be a substitute for that.

Even when you are immersed in the Zone, there is a level beyond it. Those who are in the Zone are aware of it but few are able to open that door. I have been at that point a few times. Even though you’re already on top of your game, you know you can go further. You don’t know how you know but you just KNOW. Unlike the Zone, I do think going beyond it is different for everyone. I also think as was demonstrated by Kagami and Kuroko, you can’t do it alone. When you and your team are in sync because of the bond between you, that’s when amazing truly happens.

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For those who wanna watch Kuroko’s Basketball, it’s on Crunchyroll. I give it a 10/10 obviously so go watch it! I’m hopeful it may get dubbed by Funimation at some point.

Before I forget: I have a 3-month sub with Crunchyroll. I have alot of Anime to catch up on (YAY!) so…yeah. More reviews will come!

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