Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball)
Final Score: 8.7 /10
Producing three perfect seasons in row, the “Generation of Miracles” parted ways when they left Teikou Middle School. The “Generation of Miracles” was said to be composed of five ace regulars, however, there was a ‘phantom’ sixth member.
Enter Kuroko Tetsuya, a first-year high schooler at Seirin. He’s got zero presence and zero talent (and it’s so refreshing). And frankly, he’s the bane of Kagami Taiga’s existence. It causes great surprise to Kagami, as well as the Seirin basketball team, to find that not only is Kuroko amazing at passing, but he was also said sixth member of the “Generation of Miracles.” Kuroko, it turns out, wants to defeat his former teammates as much as Kagami and vows to be the “shadow” to Kagami’s “light,” wanting to create a style of basketball together with him that utilizes their talents.
Overall, for a basketball anime, Kuroko has an interesting enough plot. It’s not horribly complex but not horribly simple either. By the end of season one, there are still some unresolved plot points. Most of these feelings and plot points revolve around Aomine. The series isn’t horribly emotional but there are themes of friends growing apart and Kuroko being left behind due to, not so much his lack of skill, but rather the others’ growing skills as well as their lack of confidence in Kuroko.
I found each of the characters to be lovable in their own way, even Kuroko’s rivals. Kuroko himself is refreshing in that he lacks any true skills; the only skill he has, passing, relies on other people. Kagami is stubborn and hot-headed but endearing in his own awkward way. Coach Riko isn’t unbearable and she looks out for the team. All of the Seirin seniors are interesting (and I adore Junpei Hyuga the most). Kise Ryouta is funny, loving, but talented. Midorima Shintarou is very serious but relies on horoscopes so much that he buys wacky and weird items. Aomine Daiki is still a mystery, and while I do not hate him, I feel he needs to be knocked down a few pegs. However, he was adorable in the past when there was still hope and excitement in his eyes. Even the background characters for rival teams are interesting in KnB. My only wish? To see more of the other first-years at Seirin actually do something!
The art for Kuroko rarely falters until after episode thirteen and then we see some issues with eye placement, face shape, and arm proportions. Their minor problems are easy to overlook when one is distracted by the flawless animation and realistic movements we see when basketball matches are happening. Also, the soundtrack for Kuroko is eclectic and enjoyable. At times, it feels like stereotypical anime OST music, and other times it is very different. I would love to get my hands on this soundtrack and listen to it all the time!
The basketball matches only take about two-three episodes, which in retrospect isn’t as much as it could be. The show maintains a nice balance of scenes on and off the court, progressing the plot as needed in respective places such as a training camp. I honestly thought that with the match lengths, I would grow tired of constantly seeing basketball but in fact, I found myself anticipating the next match when we had to sit through normal scenes!
Being from a state that places a lot of focus on basketball, I found myself nit-picking certain things like the lack of lay-ups, the over-abundance of dunks, and the fact that the Kagami dunks more than any person should. (I understand he’s an ace player but come on!) I’ve been to a lot of local basketball games in my life and I never really had an interest in it. I honestly went into KnB with no real expectations. I can’t tell you what I wanted from it, but I am happy that I watched it! I even find myself glued to re-caps of basketball games on the news now. I have never been a big sports fan but KnB has changed my mind on basketball for certain!
In conclusion, KnB season one was an experience that I am glad I put myself into. I rather enjoyed it and it even made me laugh and (almost) cry a few times. While I recognize that KnB has its flaws in animation at times and I can’t for the life of me tell you what over half of the character’s playing positions are, I really have enjoyed KnB and I look forward to season two!