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Kuroko no Basuke – 21

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「始めるわよ」 (Hajimeru wa yo)
“Let’s Get Started”

A beach episode, Kuroko no Basuke style! But wait for the kicker – this one is actually relevant to plot.

Episodes like these in KuroBasu are solid proof of the show’s merits; it plays directly to its greatest strength – the eclectic mix of characters – and it doesn’t rely on clichéd crutches to tell their story. Make no mistake; the plot of the show is nothing spectacular. If anything, it’s a classic set-up for sports shounen and there is little in Kuroko no Basuke that defies the genre’s norms in terms of story. But in a universe full of anime with extremely generic plots, how is it possible to differentiate one cardboard cutout from the other? Reimagining a genre is certainly one option, but a more emphatic way for a series to distinguish itself is by having a cast of characters the audience can remember and care about. This show in particular has done that exceedingly well, and focuses the viewer’s attention strictly on them – what this results is in natural drama that builds itself off the characters rather than artificial drama that results from the use of histrionics or some exaggerated circumstance.

Of course, this training camp is the furthest thing from “dramatic”. It’s comedy all around, with a sharper and more cohesive delivery reminiscent of the earlier episodes when the mood was light and enthusiastic. Someone pointed out the awkward laughs from a couple episodes ago might have been due to the obstacle Seirin was facing as a team, so this lighter turn should mark the return of the energized Seirin, just in time for the last stretch. Shuutoku’s inclusion was a nice surprise, although it does come with a dash of convenient contrivance. But if that contrivance brings about the advent of Midorima and his rubber duck, so be it. This is probably as lively as he’s ever going to get, and his rapport with Takao is among the best in the series, after Kagami and Kuroko, and Hyuuga and Riko. The Shuutoku point guard is the perfect foil to the shooter’s stoic, straight man routine, although it’s difficult to tell just which one of them is the straight man when Midorima’s obsession with horoscope gets added into the equation.

Most of the comedy in the episode came from Riko though, who really shone in more ways than one, as a girl who can’t cook worth a damn and as a coach with an impressive intuition; in many aspects she is like a supporting actresses who is amazing, but hard to take notice of since their role is integrated so much into the periphery of things, and because of the solid strength of the main cast (think Inception, where everybody was good). But this episode gave her some well-deserved limelight and cemented in the reason why she’s Seirin’s coach – she knows what her team needs and although she might not have Momoi’s analytical skills, Riko possesses a strength that is much her own, one that compliments her team. And that’s what’s more important; Seirin is a team that wins together and loses together. Teamwork is almost like a reflex to them, an intuition rather than motions that are taught. As their coach, Riko is the only one able to cultivate it to its maximum potential, just like how Hyuuga is a better fit to be captain than Kiyoshi. These are shoes only they can fill. The two of them are highly compatible with each other, and not just in a romantic sense. As partners they are two halves of one whole; they help create the Seirin brand – without either of them it’s difficult, maybe even impossible, to recreate the same team.

Speaking of Hyuuga, what a gentleman he is! He’s certainly not typically considerate, but he is sensible when it counts. It’s impossible to call Riko’s abomination “food” but voicing that is not an option – despite her clear lack of skill, she still put in a considerable amount of effort preparing the dish, and it would have been unfair to her not to acknowledge that at the very least. Hyuuga’s and Kiyoshi’s valiant sacrifices and eloquent words truly make them men amongst men, and if Kuroko no Basuke were a romance show, this would have been one convincing love triangle.

Perhaps it’s Hyuuga’s subtle sensibility and reliability that make him a better candidate to be captain. As wise and omniscient as Kiyoshi is, he doesn’t possess the same kind of seriousness as Hyuuga does, and on some levels, I think Kiyoshi lacks the gravitas and leadership skills necessary to lead a team properly. Part of it stems from the image he projects of himself – everyone perceives him to be somewhat of a birdbrain. A very capable birdbrain, but a birdbrain nonetheless. But a bigger part of it is that this is how Kiyoshi wants to be seen. He’s certainly shrewd enough to lead a team, but that’s not the role he wants; his style is more to step in and give a push when needed, rather than constantly being in the forefront and asserting authority. His personality is too laidback to keep Seirin in the running for championship games, and the fact Kiyoshi is well aware of this is what makes him such a well-written character. On the surface, he seems to be the perfect candidate for captain – not that Hyuuga isn’t doing a good job, but because Kiyoshi seems like he’ll be able to do it just as well. The potential is certainly there for him, but his personality isn’t suited to bring out the best in Seirin, and he knows it.

I have to wonder though, how much of Riko’s atrocious cooking is actually “cooking” and not just her mixing random crushed vitamin supplements into the food. From the honey incident, it’s clear she can’t cook, but without the extra additions, surely her dishes will become edible even without Kagami’s supervision?

In any case, next week seems to wrap up Seirin’s training and includes the prelude to the Aomine vs. Kise match. I think it’s been two whole episodes since Kise’s been gone, so it’ll be good to have him back for some actual plot-related appearance. Besides the obvious adrenaline rush KuroBasu does so well with its match-centric episodes, the Touou vs. Kaijou game will also be a good test of the show’s ability to keep the tension and drama just as high when the focus shifts away from Seirin, and hence, Kuroko and Kagami.

Random Corner:

  • Hyuuga Junpei: grade-S boyfriend material. Kagami gets massive points for being able to cook.
  • That rubber duck. Don’t most people ditch tub toys when they’re ten?
  • Last time water was involved, there were boobs. So naturally, since this episode involved beaches and sweaty boys, I thought there would be abs. And just when I was about to complain about the inequality in fanservice… Kagami nearly goes full-frontal. WELL OKAY THEN. Show: 1, Mochi: 0. I’m sorry I doubted you KuroBasu. Never again. You’re all for equality.
  • Aw. Looks like Kise managed to get on Kuroko’s team after all.
  • Hyuuga x Riko x Kiyoshi confirmed?

Important Note: I’m relocating to another freezer, so even though I’ll try my best to be timely, please do note that my posts might be delayed a few days, or possibly even a week!

Full-length images: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32.

 

ED2.7 Sequence

Kuroko no Basuke   ED2.7   01

ED2: 「カタルリズム」 (Kataru Rizumu) by (OLDCODEX)

Preview

Kuroko no Basuke   21   Preview 01 Kuroko no Basuke   21   Preview 02 Kuroko no Basuke   21   Preview 03

End Card

Kuroko no Basuke   21   End Card
August 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm
29 comments »
  • August 28, 2012 at 10:57 pmgrey

    TWO WHOLE EPISODES WITHOUT KISE /screams
    at least we got him at the ed sequence haha. these producers just KNOW. also kuroko is so adorable with that striped shirt. ok i’ll stop now. anyway, another great post mochi!

    i can’t wait for the touou vs kaijou match. this series ends at episode 25 right? i hope there’s at least 2.5-ish episodes adapting this arc. seems like we’ll get the .5 of that in the next episode. i believe the arc is 10 chapters long, so i think it’s pretty do-able if the next 2 are completely based on that arc. i’d say it’s one of my favourite (and best) arcs and the fangirls will love it.

    • August 29, 2012 at 7:54 pmBakaMochi

      Thanks – and I know! They know what sells haha.

      And yeah, the series ends at 25 eps :( I’m gonna be sad when I have no more KuroBasu to look forward to on Saturdays…..

      • August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pmgrey

        gosh, don’t remind me. it’ll be a good time for you to start reading the manga though!

  • August 28, 2012 at 11:12 pmIntricateRadiance

    That end card. Is adorable.
    Man, do I adore Hyuuga. So, so much. This episode wins for best facial expressions, though.

    Kise, my beautiful blonde haired bishie, I’ve missed you. And Kasamatsu.

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:00 amzleihsh

      Love Kise, when the image of Kise on Kuroko’s team appears, for some reason I can not stop laughing…..oh Kise, finally. LOL~

      I’m pretty sure that rubber duck is his “lucky item” of the day.
      Oh God, Riko, you look like you just kill someone w/ that knife. XD

      • August 29, 2012 at 7:56 pmBakaMochi

        Kasamatsu and Imayoshi – indirect reunion of Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune! XD Don’t they play the same positions (point guard), too?

        I wonder what Riko was cooking though o__O That blood spatter looks so horrendous LOL

      • August 30, 2012 at 1:31 amnaixil

        OMG! i totally didn’t realize the Sanada-Date reference until you pointed it out!

        if only Imayoshi would start sprouting random english. XD

      • August 31, 2012 at 8:31 amzleihsh

        @BakaMochi
        I think that red substance on the knife may be ketchup…………..well, let’s just hope it is ketchup. ^_^

  • August 28, 2012 at 11:25 pmJenanime4eva

    With this episode, I now wholeheartedly ship Hyuuga/Riko :D. What a gentleman he was with her cooking :).

    Almost full-frontal Kagami…*fans herself* XD.

    I didn’t think Kuroko could get even more moe, but that ridiculously cute bedhead of his made me want to hug him like a teddy bear :D.

    • August 28, 2012 at 11:48 pmnaixil

      Kuroko bedhead was so so cute! how he so calmly acknowledge the presence of Shin-chan and Takao was also funny. XD

      • August 29, 2012 at 8:02 amzleihsh

        I know right? Especially when Takao said about this inn is so old “you may actually see a ghost”. And right after that sees Kuroko and Bakagami
        reactions: O_0!! X_x?! XoX and ‘_’

        Oh man I LOL so hard!!

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:03 pmBakaMochi

      I think we can safely assume he’s the fittest guy on the team LOL That poor old man… he must’ve been so surprised XD

  • August 28, 2012 at 11:45 pmnaixil

    too much love for this episode. i haven’t enjoyed a bench episode so much for a long time.

    last thing, i totally agree with you on Riko, Mochi. without Riko, i can’t say we have Seirin Basketball Club. too bad, as the female in a sports series, she will always be eclipsed by the males. at least she’s not there just as an eye-candy character. =)

    Random Corner:

    Hyuuga Junpei: grade-S boyfriend material. Kagami gets massive points for being able to cook.

    Junpei, you’ll be perfect for Riko. anyone wants to see a Bakagami VS Mitobe cook-off?

    That rubber duck. Don’t most people ditch tub toys when they’re ten?

    this is Shin-chan we’re talking about. he can have whatever he wants in the tub. talking to lion fountain scene was hilarious too, didn’t realize he was that short-sighted.

    Last time water was involved, there were boobs. So naturally, since this episode involved beaches and sweaty boys, I thought there would be abs. And just when I was about to complain about the inequality in fanservice… Kagami nearly goes full-frontal. WELL OKAY THEN. Show: 1, Mochi: 0. I’m sorry I doubted you KuroBasu. Never again. You’re all for equality.

    abs reserves for next episode. give me (Junpei) abs!

    Aw. Looks like Kise managed to get on Kuroko’s team after all.

    seriously, how attached IS Kise to Kuroko. XD

    Hyuuga x Riko x Kiyoshi confirmed?

    *waves Junpei X Riko flag* the end card seeks to draw out the Kiyoshi X Riko-shippers though.

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:03 amzleihsh

      According to Wiki, Kise is “obsessed” w/ Kuroko.

      • August 29, 2012 at 8:06 pmBakaMochi

        No kidding… He looks waaayyyy too happy on Kurokocchi’s team LOL

        Riko is probably one of the most underappreciated characters in the series… but what can you do with such a strong cast? At least she gets people who acknowledge her abilities though!

      • August 30, 2012 at 1:51 amnaixil

        obsessed is the word for Kise. what joy the fujoshis and doujin circles must be having right now.

  • August 29, 2012 at 12:02 amhaizaraa

    http://randomc.net/image/Kuroko%20no%20Basuke/Kuroko%20no%20Basuke%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    I suppose the rubber duckie must have been Midorimacchi’s lucky item for the day so he just HAD to bring it with him XD
    Thank goodness for Kise appearing in the insert card, I’ve missed him ;v;

  • August 29, 2012 at 1:19 ammainavidesu

    Love all those fanservice!

    A sports anime can’t be complete without a beach episode! (^O^)

    I pity Kagami for running that much however I couldn’t stop laughing when that door open and he shops up with only a towel covering that part! XD

    P.S. I was worried that your review was late Mochi-san, but as always great review. (^_^)

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:09 pmBakaMochi

      Requisite Manservice, brought to you by Bakagami Taiga, Seirin’s “ace” in more ways than one. Huzzah.

      LOL Imagine my surprise when I finished my post but found no site to post it too XD I’m so happy the site is back up! XD

  • August 29, 2012 at 2:32 amrochichan

    This episode was the most enjoyable for me! And, oh my gosh, so much Riko/Hyuuga appreciation! <3 But what I enjoyed most was the Kagami fanservie~ ( – u -)

    Seeing as we have have a few episodes left, and assuming they'll put the Kaijou vs. Touou match in the series, how are they going to finalize the series? Right now, I'm just really worried about the finale haha;;

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:14 pmBakaMochi

      You and me both! I don’t think the Touou vs. Kaijou match will take up the remaining 4 episodes, so we’ll see. Saturdays in fall are gonna suck… *sigh*

  • August 29, 2012 at 4:27 ambelatkuro

    Yup, beach episode. Pretty much a treat for the girls, with some Kagami abs to boot(knew Mochi would love that).
    That’s okay, I got Riko strippi- wait, what? Y U NO BIKINI RIKO щ(゚Д゚щ). Oh well, I love slender girls too.
    Though is it me or is the thumbnail for pic17 showing Riko’s arms halfway up and covering her face but the actual picture has her not yet taking it off?

    And I think you pretty much covered everything so I’m just gonna point out something again. Think about what Kuroko did or attempted to do in that practice match with Shutoku and what Midorima said in the bath afterwards.
    And next week is pretty much one of my most anticipated parts. Kise vs Aomine. GoM vs GoM. Kuroko and Kagami are always the ones facing the GoM so this one is gonna be good. Imagine Kise copying Aomine’s crazy moves. Should be fun.

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:07 amzleihsh

      In the manga omake, Riko “stripped” too much and everyone goes 0/////0. She got soooo embarrassed she beat them up and order them to forget, thus Kuroko Bask END w/no one alive.
      LOL ~

    • August 29, 2012 at 8:24 pmBakaMochi

      Ninja fixed >____> Juuuuuust your imagination~

      Lol… Onegai Kantoku! Vol. 2 coming right up!

      I don’t see the match ending well for Kaijou, so in some ways I’m dreading it, but at the same time it’s probably the arc I’m looking most forward too, haha.

      Bakagami manservice to save the day! Just when I thought this beach episode will pass by without any abs…

  • August 29, 2012 at 4:42 amoutcast

    lucky item: duck

  • August 29, 2012 at 9:47 amNoSicko

    Three words for this episode: Funny-ness and Awesomeness!

  • August 30, 2012 at 8:40 amRadoS

    Top gun flashback playing with the boys. Riko is gr8 :D

  • August 30, 2012 at 12:42 pmRasen

    I’m loving the directorial turn the series is taking. Early on, the anime seemed to want to forgo the humor and deformed faces of the manga, but now they seem more willing to go back to the source material. I think it makes for a less stiff presentation.