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Kuroko no Basuke – 03 »« Kuroko no Basuke – 01

Kuroko no Basuke – 02

「本気です」 (Honki desu)
“I am Serious”

I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that Aida-chan has an obsession with getting her players to strip.

Shounen Jump manga are notoriously slow starters, and sports series certainly aren’t exempt from this trend. That can make them somewhat hard to figure out in the early stages, and I’m still at that stage with Kuroko no Basuke. Some things are pretty clear – the series is going to be well animated by I.G.. There’s a very solid knowledge of the game of basketball grounding the show – sure it’s SJ, but this isn’t a total disconnect from reality when it comes to players and their talent. But if I were to pick one word that sums up the impression I get from KnB after two episodes, it would be “quirky” – just like its main character.

I see evidence of this in lots of ways. Unlike most sports shounen, I find myself at a loss to predict what a character will say most of the time, or where the narrative will go next. There’s a somewhat kinky overtone to Aida, too, and her odd methods remind me just a bit of the stuff we saw in Oofuri. Then there’s Kuroko himself, who’s as hard to read as a character as he is as a player. It’s interesting and odd to build a series around someone so emotionless and flat – as he himself said he has “no sense of humor”, though he’s certainly capable of being unintentionally funny. In effect, this leaves Kagami – by contrast a much more conventional shounen character and an emotionally transparent kid by comparison – to do most of the heavy lifting in the first two eps. It’ll be interesting to see if this continues, because you’d think sooner or later the mangaka has to let us inside Kuroko’s head a little more – but in doing so, he risks destroying the characters mystique. We get bits and pieces here – Kuroko’s motivation for not following one of his fellow “Generation of Miracles” teammates to high school is that he never felt that they played as a team – but he’s still mostly a sphinx. Intriguing, but remote. But it’s still very early.

There are plenty of new faces this week, and old ones who get a little fleshing out. There’s Aida’s Dad (the always excellent Shinichiro Miki) The three other first-years get their introductions – quite literally, as Aida makes them declare their goals on the rooftop of the school, under the threat of having to strip naked and confess if they don’t meet them (kinky Aida-chan). Kawahara Kouichi (Yoshimoto Yasuhiro) delivers the ep’s biggest laugh when his goal turns into a soliloquy about his childhood, hopes, dreams and basketball. Hiroshi Fukuda (Sasaki Hiroo) shows he’s a good-hearted but gullible soul who just wanted to help. Furihata Kouki (Mizutani Naoki) really just wants a girlfriend, but that’s not good enough for Aida – so he says he’ll be the best at something because that’s what the girl he likes said it would take for her to date him (I’d keep shopping, Kouki). Of course Kagami’s goal is predictable enough – to beat the GoM and be the best in Japan.

Unfortunately Kouichi-kun’s long-windedness deprives us of what would have been the really interesting goal to hear, Kuroko’s, as the kids are booted from the roof for raising a ruckus (he does write “We will be the best in Japan” in the dirt, but I’d like to think he’d have used that bullhorn for something more personal). What introspection we do get comes from the first GoM player we meet, Kise Ryota (the suddenly very busy Kimura Ryohei) the star freshman of the Kaijou High team that Aida has signed up for a practice game with (and a model, too). He’s the self-professed “weakest of the Generation of Miracles” but still plenty good enough to make Kagami look silly – and while he claims to have been best buds with “Kurokochi”, our blue-haired android doesn’t remember it that way. He takes Kagami’s relative ineptitude as the signal that Kuroko is wasting his time and invites #15 to join him at Kaijou – but Kuroko refuses.

So our themes are in place – Kuroko wants to build a team, and not just a collection of stars (it’s the Bulls’ way over the Heat’s way). I suspect the other GoM members will show up in turn, each talented and arrogant enough to provide hurdles for Kuroko and his teammates to overcome (after failing a few times). It’s a good setup – but my favorite part of the series so far (along with the excellent soundtrack) is how it’s just a little off-center and weird in everything it does. Where I still don’t make the connection is on the emotional side, especially with Kuroko – I really want to hear Ono Kensho remind us of why he was arguably the best male seiyuu of 2007 with his work in Ghost Hound.

 

Special Bonus Coverage: Ginga e Kickoff

I just wanted to take a minute to let fans of sports shounen know that soccer series Ginga e Kickoff has found a subber, and is out there for your enjoyment. I know very few of you will watch, but if you appreciate really well-made all-ages anime, you should give this show a chance. It’s relentlessly upbeat, energetic, funny and surprisingly well-made. Some of the talent involved: Director Uda Konosuke (One Piece, Lovely Complex), Writer Yamada Takashi (Onegai my Melody, Shion no Ou, Yumeiro Patisserie) and composer James Shimoji (Redline). Cast includes Kobayashi Yuu (no one does amped-up like Yuu-san), Kenn, Tanaka Rie, Koyama Rikiya and Kuroko no Basuke and Chihayafuru’s own Yoshimasa Hosoya. In short, this is not a generic kiddie series – it’s a really well-made sports adventure for all ages.

 

Preview

April 15, 2012 at 12:43 am
17 comments »
  • April 15, 2012 at 12:50 amFT5Havok

    I can’t wait to see the “Sendo” in this series. ^^

  • April 15, 2012 at 1:18 amTeru

    I was really skeptical when it comes to anime series like this considering the ultimate basketball series Slam Dunk really lives up to its name. But then I gave this one a try, it kinda intrigued me so I resorted into reading the manga (up to the recent release) few days ago.

    I guess the pace is a little bit off, since the characters (members of Team Seirin) didn’t really have that strong foundation.
    I started enjoying it from ch 50+ onwards. But yeah, they’re focused on the whole Generation of Miracle thing. (;∂ ‸ ∂)

  • April 15, 2012 at 1:18 amSaangi

    Can’t wait to see Enzo’s face when he figures out why Aida-chan made them do this ritual.

    On the side note, I can’t wait to see their game with Kise animated.

  • April 15, 2012 at 1:24 amPtolemaios00

    Totally did not remember Kise was a model…

  • April 15, 2012 at 1:34 amDa5id

    Pervert female coach is better than pervert male coach, isn’t it?

    I can definitely see why this is a Jump title. Kuroko’s theme of being a “shadow” supporting Aida definitely lays the groundwork for a good amount of character bonding and development between them and those around them. I’m also especially looking forward to seeing the rest of the GoM players. They’re almost built up like legendary warriors, given the way they’re talked about in the first episode.

    Kind of a shame they’re condensing it to 12 episodes, but it’s a great start so far.

    • April 15, 2012 at 1:36 amDa5id

      FUCK I SAID AIDA

      I MEANT KAGAMI

    • April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am00Joker

      Its going to be 45 according to Chinese forums. This obviously won’t be 12 episodes considering what they’ve shown in 2 episodes.

      • April 15, 2012 at 2:54 pmDa5id

        Hey, I’m just going by what the Spring Preview said.

      • April 17, 2012 at 5:17 pmMelina

        I wonder where Chinese forums got that info?

        So far, there are only 9 DVDs/BDs of this anime in Amazon which consists of 26 episode, including Episode 22.5 that is still unknown it is a recap or special episode only for DVDs/BDs.

  • April 15, 2012 at 2:23 amSinan Çevik

    This stating goals thing felt a bit silly and felt like wasting the first half of the episode. Maybe the reason might make it up for me, as someone mentioned above. I’m pretty hopeful with the setup here. Looking forward to the first animated match.

  • April 15, 2012 at 3:34 amazeriraz

    Yeah this series is not a slow starter – both in the manga and this anime. Next episode should be good, wonder how well the animated match will be done.

  • April 15, 2012 at 7:59 ambelatkuro

    Ooh, first match already even if it’s practice match. I liked it when Kise imitated Kagami’s move and there was a shadow of Kagami following him. Real nice. There was some QUALITY at some parts in this episode though, most notably the faces of the people in the background but overall it’s animated nicely.
    Can’t wait for the actual match.

    The lack of comments in this entry leaves me in despair D:

  • April 15, 2012 at 8:18 amIntricateRadiance

    How in the world did I not realize Aida’s dad was voiced by Shinichiro Miki? I’m in love with that man’s voice. Geez.
    And on reading your little thing about Ginga e Kickoff.. I’m really glad Yoshimasa Hosoya is getting more roles. He’s easily become one of my favourite seiyuus.
    I quite enjoyed this episode. Sports shounen are never usually my thing, but I’m really liking Kuroko no Basuke. Maybe I’ll check out more in the future.

  • April 15, 2012 at 10:42 amKunagisa

    My first impression was that HITAGI AND KAIKI FINALLY BECAME FATHER AND DAUGHTER WWWWWWWWWWWWW. Second impression was that through fujoshi glasses this episode was full of CONFESSIONS on so many different levels that they probably died from happiness. Kuroko’s “previous husband” is so cute~~ AND THAT ENDING CARDDDDD, Junpei and Teppei true CP!!!!!!!!!

    Ok crazy streaming commentaries aside. This has POTENTIAL to be a year long show (http://www.shonenjump.com/j/anime/ it’s grouped together with all the long series). Hope you’re in for the long haul GE~~ Also waiting another 3-4 weeks for a new Ginga e Kickoff episode is suffering.

    • April 15, 2012 at 8:36 pmhao-sama

      why is there no medaka box on that link? not that i’m complaining.

    • April 17, 2012 at 3:21 pmAlset

      Well… If you think than the “previous husband” is Kise, the yaoi googles are going to explode when the “true ex” appears xDDDD

      And I’m loving how they are adapting the manga ^^ It’s great, and Kuroko lovable~

      And it’s with the long-runnings?! That sounds so good *_* And I think the manga is “near” to end (being left three matches with the Generation of Miracles for achieving the objetive if all is going like I expect), so I’m dreaming with a very faithful and long anime!!!

  • April 16, 2012 at 9:54 amaaa

    This is more like “fanservice for girls” than a Shounen Sports Anime. The Bromance meter is exploding…I wonder how many guys actually watches this. The basketball material in here is not very professional either….I mean, They did not even mention their HEIGHTS upon character introduction!??