Watching Kuroko no Basket

Yes, finally watching another basketball anime 😀 My favourite is obviously Slam Dunk 🙂

It’s a discombobulated watching though. I decided to skim a bit because there are like 40 episodes and there is gonna be a 3rd TV series soon and I need to watch all of this in a short time it feels. Though as soon as I can I am gonna marathon all of it because I am bit busy right now with studies so marathoning is quite not happening at the moment.

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I think 2nd TV series is where Kuroko no Basket really starts shining. I really like Kuroko. Tetsu is this strange, deadpan character. What;s cool is that of all the characters he is the most unique and I can actually feel it palpitate in him, around him and out of him. I really love that his actions are a bit unpredictable and that he is a very ghostly character. No one detects him until like he is 2 inches or 2 seconds away which is a good running gag XD

A complaint I have of Kuroko no Basket is that it has some very glaring flaws. I think I give the mangaka props for making a lead hero as passive to a certain extent to an otome heroine: I can actually imagine this guy being pushed around by a Tsundere love interest prior to any interaction (that does happen in the anime). Yet he does have that virtuoso quality of being inconspicuous and super fast reflexes so that’s pretty awesome. Yet Kuroko steals the show pretty much. I am noticing that none of the other characters are given that much introspection. Yes, they have distinct traits some of them but most of them don’t.

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Even out of the Miracle 5 only Seijuro Akashi is the one that is both enigmatic and shares an aura similar to Kuroko’s. That guy screams Yandere which is interesting. This is the first Yandere character I saw in a sports anime not to mention a guy. There are many layers to this guy so I hope they do focus on him a lot.

It's nice to show an African American player in a Japanese anime. This is Papa Nboye Siki they just call him Dad LOL
It’s nice to show an African American player in a Japanese anime. This is Papa Nboye Siki they just call him Dad LOL

I guess this is also the fault of adapting animes early from manga. I notice that before people use to wait a bit more for manga to progress a lot before they made them animations. Nowadays, anything that sells well will be turned out very quickly. This makes an anime weak in layers which is also Shingeki no Kyojin suffered from to a certain extent. Compared to Slam Dunk this anime also suffers from that. Also Slam Dunk also focused a lot on training the protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi to become an A class basketball player. Those practice sessions are detailed making me involved with the characters. This is not done as much in this anime. I would also like to see the players on daily life interactions. In Slam Dunk each character even minor was shown a lot outside the court doing well what normal adolescents/young adults do and that made a fulfilling experience. In this aspect  Kuroko no Basket is detached. You want to invest on all the characters so it would be nice to see them out of their comfort zones.

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Especially this can be shown about Seijuro. Apparently, he is both an academic and athletic prodigy which is like the Leonardo Da Vinci in this anime. However, Seijuro is also very disembodied person because his genius alienates him from even himself. His father pushes him a lot to be the best and he comes from wealth and privilege. It would be great to know what his thoughts on are about different things. I remember in Jigoku Shoujo or Hell Girl live action series the very first episode showed a rich girl who thought that the poor or less financially fortunate should work and that they deserved no privilege. I know this anime is about basketball but all characters have a wide range of interests especially this guy I would want to know what he thought about, his state of thinking of his self and society. After all, what do prodigies like him think on.

The character designs, well at times they are repetitive, they are not so clean and distinguished as they should be but the level of detail to anatomy is priceless. The flexibility of muscles and body movements are beautifully choreographed:

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This looks like martial artists: ABOSLUTELY BEAUTIFUL
This looks like martial artists: ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL

At this moment I do think Slam Dunk is a more variegated anime as in still top notch and Kuroko no Basket has a lot of strong points. However, I do think it needs to pull up more to match against that anime. Yes, Kuroko no Basket does have some great moments especially in game play but I do want it to also focus on character depth and study. In the 2nd TV series the introduction of Aomine actually show deep insecurities and vulnerabilities on Tetsuya Kuroko and there were some beautiful expressions and emotions related. If the anime can retain such dimensions it is definitely a great piece of animation and story with spectacular execution.

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So, what do you think of this anime? What do you think of both Slam Dunk and Kuroko no Basket, the pros and cons of both series?

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Slam Dunk — One of the classics

The Shohoku High School Basketball Team along ...
Image via Wikipedia

Slam Dunk is probably one of the most memorable animes from the 90’s and actually one of the best animes of all time. I was, however, introduced to it when I saw it in 2008 (MANY YEARS LATER I KNOW) when they aired it in Animax. Now most people know that most popular animes focus on martial arts, fantasy, comedy, blood, gore pretty boys, pretty girls, action and/or drama with a combination therewith — Slam Dunk did not really have those but did have them in another way. It packed tons of comedy, had some violence in the form of fighting, had drama and was able to install pretty boys and pretty girls without having the otaku (Japanese denotation) — its most unique feature is that it was primarily a sports anime and its main focus was basketball and how protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi learns how to play it and becoming an athlete in his own way.

Hanamichi Sakuragi is one of the most memorable characters in anime — initially he is an academic failure, schoolyard “gangstar” and never romantically inclined (he has so many rejections that it makes many of us happy with ourselves) — enter Haruko Akagi, a very beautiful young highschool freshman like him and attends Shohoku High with him. Seeing his height and athletic build she asks him if he wants to play basketball — this begins the journey that is Slam Dunk.

What he starts out initially to impress his crush turns out to challenge him and make him stand out. The young Hanamichi is good at fighting but can he fight without fists? Can he dodge without letting others get to him? Can he defend without a foul? Can he master the slam dunk, three pointer and the rebound?

This anime is beautiful because it fuses a fantastic sport with the actual trials and tribulations of life — if you know nothing about basketball be prepared to learn with Hanamichi in an effective, non-boring manner that’ll stick.

Every character in this anime has such three dimensional substance that one cannot refuse to love them. We have Hanamichi Sakuragi the loveable lead but his “rival” and opposite Kaeda Rukawa — who is handsome, cool, attractive to girls (got a big fan club) and is the apple of his crush’s eye — unlike Hanamichi he seems so not reactive about things and is only emotional about basketball; the only thing he and Hanamchi share are bad grades.

The captain of the Shohoku High Basketball team, Haruko’s older brother, Takenori, is fierce and passionate of his team and basketball and he is not gonna let anyone mess it up. Though he is kind of shown as an unattractive character aesthetically I find him quite handsome and amazing as a personality. Then of course there is Ryota, a guy Hanamichi feels like his pal on the team and Mitsui the rebellious troublemaker, the judo captain who wants to recruit Hanamichi for his tea and Hanamichi’s gang who also attend Shohoku.

Aside from our main characters at Shohoku there are other teams that serve as rivals to it that increases both the intellectual and entertaining quality of this entire series. The main rival — compatibly — is Ryounan and its ace player Akira Sendoh (guy is hard to miss with his signature Guile-like hairstyle) who is more matched up with Kaeda but finds a rival in Hanamichi. Then of course there are the top players of Shoyo and Kainan (who are the undefeated champs) It takes Hanamichi a lot of practice and laughs along the way to hone his skills in the entire series. The series does not only focus on Hanamichi’s basketball development but focuses on how other characters grow too in their skills and learn to find their strengths in the court. It really does illustrate how athletes live, grow and learn.

It is also one of the longest series with reasonable sized episodes coming up at 101 episodes (it has memorable opening and ending themes as well)

Overall Slam Dunk will remain as one of my favourite animes of all time and one of the best animes to come hit the storyboard.