Review

Kuroko No Basuke in some ways surprised people when it first came out. Sports anime is definitely a niche but with the powerhouse that is Production I.G. behind it, (End of Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Attack on Titan) it took off and became one of the biggest hits of 2012. Season one was a fantastic introduction to Kuroko and friends as they faced off against the most formidable opponents in the form of the Generation of Miracles. While the first season was great, does the second step it up even further?

In case you are not familiar with season one, you should watch it. For a quick recap, the Seirin High basketball team is lead by the talents of first years Taiga Kagami and Tetsu Kuroko. The former went to junior high school in the United States while the latter was the sixth man on the incredible Teiko Junior High squad a.k.a. the Generation of Miracles. The end of the first season saw Seirin watching two members of this elite group go head to head as they had been eliminated in the Inter High tournament. Jump to season two and they are now fighting for a spot in the Winter Cup.

Regardless if a sports anime is dealing with an exhibition game or a championship, it is only as good as its characters. Luckily that is a strong point for this show. From the beginning Kuroko and Kagami have been the main protagonists with their personalities being opposite in every imaginable way. However, their friendship is touching whether it is on or off the court. Kuroko is so silent people often don’t notice him when they enter a room only to be frightened when he decides to speak resulting in some laugh out loud moments. Other characters have also been fleshed out as well especially the relationship between Seirin veterans Hyuga and Kiyoshi. Their relationship can be one-sidedly aggressive from the perspective of Hyuga but Kiyoshi’s cool temperament and incredibly selfless attitude balances it out well.

While Hyuga and Kiyoshi's relationship is pretty great...

While Hyuga and Kiyoshi’s relationship is pretty great…

Lastly in the character department are the members of the Generation of Miracles. By the end of season one, we had only seen two of the five players (with those two being slightly underwhelming). However, in season two we see two more with Aomine and Murasakibara and they are awesome. I won’t spoil their specialties, but they contribute to the best games of the series yet.

However much like other sports anime, (Eyeshield 21) these star players have special abilities where your suspension of disbelief needs to kick in and acceptance is required. For example in season one, Midorima (the three point specialist from the Generation of Miracles) could shoot from literally anywhere on the court. Kise, the other member revealed in season one, could copy any other player’s technique. Some of them are silly and way over-dramatic such as Kagami being “in the zone” where he becomes lightning fast and cannot be stopped or Kiyoshi’s “vice grip” which consists of him rebounding with one hand. However, they are there to make the games over the top and more interesting which they accomplish.

The animation of these powers but the characters as well are well done. Each character is expressive and fluidly animates with my only real complaint being that the players’ heads are too small for their bodies while in uniform. However, that is a small gripe that is dwarfed by the dunks, passes and special abilities that are flashy and fun to watch.

...Kagami and Kuroko are the heart of the show.

…Kagami and Kuroko are the heart of the show.

 

In the sound department, everything is great as well. Sneakers squeak, blocks have impact and dunks are ferocious. Most importantly, the voice acting is stellar throughout. Since this series is still running it is currently only subbed, but even when it is eventually dubbed I don’t think that I will be able to watch it. Each character’s voice actor exudes their character’s personality whether it is the timid and emotionless Kuroko or the overly-dramatic (at times) and intense Kagami. This might be my favorite Japanese cast of any show to this day.

Is the show perfect? Of course not. My biggest pet peeve with Kuroko No Basuke is when a player is blocked and the characters stop to talk about it…while play is still going on. Maybe this is part of the necessary suspension of disbelief, but it bothers me too much not to mention it. Also the predictability of the inner monologues of characters throughout the game is becoming tedious. For example when a character says in their mind “I’m open! There is no chance that I can be stopped” and then, well I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Ultimately these are small issues.

Kuroko No Basuke is not just a stellar sports anime but a fantastic anime period. The character interactions drive this show forward and with season two not completing the story, we can look forward to even more in the inevitable third season. Even if you don’t like basketball, try it. It is definitely worth your time.

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About the Author

Ross
A recent college grad who just loves playing games. Hopefully I can help you save some money (and possibly spend more than you would like).