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Kuroko no Basuke – 23

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Kuroko no Basuke   23   31 Kuroko no Basuke   23   32 Kuroko no Basuke   23   33
Kuroko no Basuke   23   34 Kuroko no Basuke   23   35 Kuroko no Basuke   23   36

「大人じゃねーよ!」 (Otona Janei yo!)
“I’m Not Mature!”

Wow. This episode. Aided by some stellar animation and a great soundtrack, the intensity of the epic match between Kise and Aomine brings is simply, off the charts. And that cliffhanger. These producers know how to draw in their audience hook, line, and sinker. It’s pretty obvious what’s coming, but the sheer anticipation and excitement the knowledge incites in the viewers is just something else entirely. That determination on Kise’s face was amazing, and props to Kimura Ryohei for the fantastic performance this episode – it was simply incredible how he portrayed Kise’s dejected boredom, then the fiery revival of his youth when he finally finds something to chase. Production I.G. obviously put their top animation team on the job since not only were the complicated movements of the match depicted with such fluidity, the close-ups were just stellar. You can see the change in Kise towards the end, and shots like these drive the emotions across the screen. For such an expressive and dynamic character like Kise, not only does it require the seiyuu to give an impressive performance, but it also requires a hefty effort from the animation team to give life to his thoughts and emotions to maximize the impact he has on the viewers. I don’t know what kind of effect the corresponding chapters has on manga readers, but let me just say: the directing of this episode is just. So. Perfect.

I’m a huge fan of smooth transitions, and although I haven’t really mentioned it before, I’ll do so now since the way Kuroko no Basuke handles some of their scene transitions is simple, yet effective. It’s a technique that is used fairly often, but not often enough – take for example, the first flashback. The shift from the past to the present; the frames are very similar, but that’s just the beauty of it. There’s a similarity between the two time frames that connect the scenes together and it’s one of the best ways to portray a time change. I think they did a similar thing a while back with Aomine, which I really liked. This is a minute detail to be sure, but it’s attention to little things like these that really show the audience the care the producers take in ensuring the utmost quality to flow and presentation of an episode.

Now that technical accolades are out of the way, let’s get to the real star of this week: Kise Ryouta. Kise, Kise, Kise. Even amongst such a great cast of characters, he would hands down be my favorite of them all, and this episode just forever cemented a place for him – and the series as a whole – a place in my all-time favorites. There’s something so straightforward yet complicated about him, and his earnest actions can only be compared to a dog given a bone to chew on. Kise approaches the match with all the ferocity of an enthusiastic puppy, because that’s the way his mind runs; he has his one desire and goal, and that’s all he sees. He’s not mature enough to play the match with a bigger goal in mind – some might even consider it selfish and even foolish that he’s playing with such a self-centric goal. But passion isn’t dictated by reason and Kise is the type to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can’t govern his emotions, which leads to completely instinctual actions – this is Kise’s basketball: dedicated and one hundred percent youthful passion. Something he can devote himself to. Something that drives him to do his best. Basketball, for Kise, is as much a method for self-discovery as it is something that brings him one step closer to those he admires. The way he plays is what defines him, and his actions on the court, whether he realizes it or not, are giving clearer outlines to who he is. But I think that’s a discussion best saved for next episode, as it looks like the definitive moment for Kise establishing his identity on his own is coming then. It’ll be a glorious moment, and I can’t wait to see it since I feel it’ll tie everything about his character together in the satisfactory way only KuroBasu can manage.

What this episode truly highlights however, is the difference between Kise and Aomine. Compared to the heartfelt way Kise plays, Aomine almost seems like the villain playing so nonchalantly without much care. So convinced of his own strength, it’s almost heartbreaking to watch how aloof Aomine is because it’s utterly clear how much Kise idolizes him. I’m sure there are a thousand ways to spin a romantic implication out of their interactions, but to me, Kuroko no Basuke has always been a study on friendship and self-discovery. What’s important to take account with them is not what Kise feels towards Aomine, but what Aomine represents. To Kise, Aomine symbolizes his youth – the afterimage of something amazing, the halcyon days of passion and fun and challenge he couldn’t find his own. The Aomine Kise saw on that fateful day was someone who enjoyed life, who seemed completely free and at ease as he dribbled a ball around and dunked a basket. It’s a kind of all-consuming enthusiasm the Kaijou player has never seen before, and the effect it has on him is quite profound. Of course, the reason this episode is so heartbreaking is because the Aomine Kise admired is no longer there. The person Kise looked up to was someone who loved basketball and played it with ardor. But he just isn’t there anymore, which lends a somewhat tragic air to Kise’s motivations. What he longed for was a chance to prove himself to the Aominecchi that inspired him to play basketball; the opponent he’s playing against now is just a shadow of his idol.

I suppose this episode wouldn’t really be complete without giving Imayoshi and Kasamatsu a mention – Imayoshi, in particular. He probably ranks somewhere within my top five because attractive character designs aside, there’s a dual quality to his personality that’s quite intriguing. I wouldn’t call him duplicitous, but he exudes a steely sort of confidence underneath that friendly smile that makes for some interesting characterization. It’s hard to call him an asshole because he’s so polite, but the straightforward way he explains his superiority is no doubt infuriating. That is what gives him authority as a captain though – Imayoshi might not seem like it, but he’s pretty convinced of his own capabilities; it’s this self-assuredness that keeps his team in line. No one can argue against a captain who is that confident. This sort of indirect oppression runs directly counter to Kasamatsu’s captainship. Whereas Imayoshi occupies a level all to his own in the Touou team hierarchy, in Kaijou, Kasamatsu is very much a presence felt by everyone on the team – his style is a direct approach, utilizing his unwavering motivation to become a leader for them rather than simply claiming the spot. What it all comes down to is how the two players view themselves and their team: Imayoshi very much sees himself as a captain and victor, but he also considers himself in a utilitarian manner, and this applies to his team as well. To him, his team – while being tools to achieving victory – is an extension of himself, which is how he can place so much confidence in them. In the end, it’s not that he believes in them specifically, but more that he believes in his own abilities to steer them. On the other hand, Kasamatsu doesn’t consider himself a captain; he’s a player, first and foremost. To him, the label of a captain is just that – a label. It doesn’t change the way he approaches the matches, and it doesn’t alter the seriousness with which he plays. The most important thing to Kasamatsu is taking his team to the championships; he doesn’t necessarily have to be the captain, but he steps into that role because it’s what his team needs.

Phew. That was quite the essay! But with such an impressive episode, it’d be unfair to do any less. Now all that’s left is the long wait until next Saturday – it’s going to be a long six days…

Random Corner:

  • Lol. This shot. It just… I don’t even – lol Production I.G. Trying to boost sales?
  • This is no doubt a happy episode for fangirls all around.
  • I don’t know what the logic for this match-up is, but it sure is funny.
  • Unlimited Capping Works 2.Whatever: Ahomine Is An Asshole Edition. I lost count of how many full-lengths he ruined with his three heads and four arms.

Full-length images: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30, 31, 35.

 

ED2.9 Sequence

Kuroko no Basuke   ED2.9   01

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

Preview

Kuroko no Basuke   23   Preview 01 Kuroko no Basuke   23   Preview 02 Kuroko no Basuke   23   Preview 03

End Card

Kuroko no Basuke   23   End Card
September 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm
37 comments »
  • September 9, 2012 at 10:50 pmnaixil

    even with how Aomine may seem aloof now, you can still see how his eyes lit up in the face of a strong opponent (ie. Kise), so you know that Aomine is still in love with basketball.

    in fact, i reckon Kise is probably the closest to Aomine in terms of personality. because of Kise’s ability to master every sport so easily, it’s always gets to the point where he gets bored of it because there’s nobody to “light that fire in him” (Kise’s own words). and after all the one-on-one matches with Aomine, he realize there’s this person that will forever be there to make it interesting for him to continue playing basketball. if Kise hadn’t met Aomine in basketball, and went into a regular basketball team, maybe he wouldn’t have continued on playing basketball as passionately as he does now.

    PS. so many pretty golden-hair screencaps. especially love the one where his eyes glowed golden.

    • September 10, 2012 at 2:09 pmBakaMochi

      You’re completely right about them similar… Although I think kise is a lot more forthcoming about his emotions.that’s what makes him so endearing though haha.

      I guess I always find KuroBasu a little melancholy because of how much characters like Aomine have changed since their middle school days. And there’s also just the sheer effort kise is pouring into the match even though its highly unlikely he’ll win QQ

  • September 9, 2012 at 10:52 pmIntricateRadiance

    First off, I loved this episode. Kise, Kasamatsu, Aomine (still as the bad-ass asshole he is) were amazing to watch. I don’t know why I always end up loving the minor/not main characters the most, but I do. Hyuuga and Kasamatsu especially.
    Secondly, does anyone know when the OSTs will be released? I really like the background music.

    I’m excited for what Kise has to bring to this match. That cliffhanger, geez.

    • September 10, 2012 at 2:11 pmBakaMochi

      The side characters in this show are just pure masterpieces! So well written :3

      And I have no idea when the OST is gonna be released… I want that one track they always play before important matches XP

    • September 11, 2012 at 12:22 amLuvintulips

      The OST is going to be released on the 26th of September.

      • September 11, 2012 at 8:30 amIntricateRadiance

        Thank you! =3

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:05 pmKira526

    I promised myself I was going to wait to watch this episode to avoid the inevitable cliffhanger! I only lasted one day ^^;; I’ve never commented before but I’m happy to start here. I’m usually not one to show interest in sports anime but this show keeps me on the edge of my seat with every episode.

    What I love best about this show (as Mochi pointed out) is that although it’s centered around basketball, what it really comes down to is the personal growth of these amazing characters. I love watching them build all these relationships while coming to terms with who they are/who they can become. It’s even inspired me to watch real basketball! Quite a feat.

    This episode had my heart racing almost the whole time! Kise is hands down one of my favorite characters due to his endless enthusiasm and determination. I thought I couldn’t handle Kuroko’s face off with Aomine but this match has taken it to a new level. So before I end up writing an entire book, I’ll end this random post by saying how impressed I was with this episode (and this show overall). Don’t know how I’m going to wait until next Saturday!

    • September 10, 2012 at 2:16 pmBakaMochi

      Hey! I’m glad you decided to comment :) hopefully you’ll do so more often from now on? I love heating what the readers think for episodes, especially ones like these haha.

      Glad kise us your favorite too lol He’s such a great character with a depth that isn’t immediately apparent. And he’s gorgeous LOL

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:06 pmteelaelmes

    I just lost it when aomine called Imayashi a haraguro megane and he felt insulted even if it was 100% truth I had to replay the scene several times XD

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:23 amzleihsh

      Me too!!
      I LOL -ed on that part. XDDD

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:23 pmbelatkuro

    This episode was great on all levels. From the match to the flashbacks.
    Aomine keeps repeating that the only one to defeat him is himself. If Kise copies him like mentioned in the preview, then it’s like fighting with himself. Should be interesting. There is something about this copying that I think will be discussed next episode so look forward to it.
    Great post once again. Now what will they do for the final episode with this match being 2 episodes? Must resist checking the manga for now…
    Good news is that we’re gonna get an OVA in the eighth volume of the BD. It’s about Kuroko and his time with the GoM. Should be great. I want a season 2 though.

    And it looks like the grouping of Kagami and Aomine is confirmed with the 3rd group shown in the ED sequence. Should be amusing to see their faces. Who’s their third member then?
    I…can’t imagine Aomine having three heads and 4 arms though. Care to show a screenshot of that? :P

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:16 amRandoms

      Assuming there aren’t any other people there, I think the last team is Aomine, Kagami, and Takao. I think the picture at the end of episode 19 (the one with Teppei and Aomine arriving) shows everyone. Takao is slumped over his bike in the background.

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:39 amAltritter

      At the current pace, this match cannot end in the next episode. It covered three chapters and about four pages of a fourth, and there’s about six chapters remaining.

      • September 10, 2012 at 2:23 pmBakaMochi

        @belatkuro: Oohh i’m so looking forward to that one line from the preview <3 As for the OVA I read somewhere there were extra OVAs included with each volume of the BD/DVD? Dunno how true that is though but I've been trying and failing to verify it lol QQ

        @Randoms: Yeah I think it's Takao… In which case it'll be really hilarious lol If he thought Midorima was a handful imagine Kagami and Aomine on one team

        @Altritter: Huh… really? If that's the case it'd be interesting to see how the series ends O: As much as I love this arc Kuroko and Kagami aren't really party of it so I dunno how appropriate it'd be to end with this :S

      • September 10, 2012 at 8:05 pmAltritter

        (This is a reply to Bakamochi, not myself)

        Yeah, it’s kind of odd pacing. But I can’t really see them rushing through it all in one episode so we’ll have to see how it goes. One interesting thing is that the chapter after the end of the game is where #2 gets introduced… but that’s already been done in the anime. So they can probably use a few minutes at the end to add in some anime-original scenes and make it end with a Kuroko/Kagami brofist or something (Or maybe a group brofist with all of Seirin, that’d be fantastic)

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:32 pmBen

    Actually there was a pretty big dip in animation quality, especially compared to s some of the other episodes. Lots of animation shortcuts were used. Still a great episode though.

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:26 amzleihsh

      They better not shortcut anything in the next ep. The copies Kise make are the cherry on top of the cream. I will be very disappointed if they cut that part(s) out too much.

      • September 12, 2012 at 1:24 amKusano

        Stellar animation? Far from it. If I want close up stills, there’s already the manga. I also hope they spend more effort next episode because Kise unleashing his skill to it’s fullest potential is easily one of my favourite moments in the series.

    • September 10, 2012 at 10:01 amender650

      I agree that this episode didn’t have the best animation of the series, but I wouldn’t say it was a big drop. As for the episode- it was really great.

    • September 10, 2012 at 6:33 pmBakaMochi

      Hmm yeah… I did notice a bit of recycled scenes, but the close-up shots were just amazing this episode, and whatever was animated, was animated decently. The quality of animation in KnB has generally been pretty high though, so even if the quality drops, it’s not that bad XP

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:34 pmhasyl

    I read that they annouced that there’s going to be a OVA, about Kuroko’s past times with the GoM can’t wait for it:D

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:07 amrazzler

      oh yay!!!hopefully it’s the one where they play dance dance revolution!hahaha

      • September 10, 2012 at 10:10 amzleihsh

        Oh yea, the DDR in the Novel, poor Kuroko, for what he is………..XD

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:27 amzleihsh

      Oh Wow, Really!! I hope it will be about the content in the LN, because it is just sooooo funny XDDDD.

    • September 10, 2012 at 6:35 pmBakaMochi

      Lol. I ordered the LN’s despite the fact I probably can’t understand half of it. OH WELL GOOD TIME TO LEARN MOON RUNES!

      There were rumors they’d be adapting the gag extra chapters, I think. Stuff like the midterms they skipped makes for really good OVA material, too.

  • September 10, 2012 at 12:21 ammistress_kisara

    Really awesome episode! So intense! And I really like Kise’s smile on that end card I love seeing a happy Kise! :P

    • September 10, 2012 at 7:30 amzleihsh

      Ahhhh~ I love those smiles, it is like they are 10 yrs younger. Such a happy moment, it really peck your curiosity on what really happen during the break up of Kuroko during his Middle School years…….

  • September 10, 2012 at 1:14 amrandom viewer

    I liked how it was pointed out that Kise’s style of basketball is not copying other player’s moves, but is a continual-learning approach to self-actualization. This episode is great in that it flipped Kise’s character around from my initial impression of him when he had his match with Kuroko. But I hate to see Kise lose to anyone but Kuroko, you know, so I’ll cheer for him against Aomine. Although the chances of winning aren’t high for Kise, I know he’ll give Aomine a much harder time than Kuroko.

    • September 10, 2012 at 6:38 pmBakaMochi

      Mmhmm. Just copying is one thing, but digesting the move to make it into your own is slightly different. It’s a pretty good reflection of Kise’s character :3 I don’t think he’ll win either, but I can hope, right?! Q__Q

  • September 10, 2012 at 6:05 amJenanime4eva

    Bring on season 2 of Kuroko! :)

  • September 10, 2012 at 10:11 amAltritter

    Actually, that shot you mentioned is in the manga as well, although it’s a bit more clear there that Aomine is hitting the ball away from him: http://i.imgur.com/VjufW.jpg

    • September 10, 2012 at 6:40 pmBakaMochi

      Oh no, no, I pointed that particular shot out because of the uh… fujoshi nature of it. I think it’s a bit of a running joke about the fandom, haha.

  • September 10, 2012 at 12:09 pmBlasto!

    Amazing review for an amazing episode <3

    • September 11, 2012 at 5:11 pmBakaMochi

      Thanks a lot! :D

  • September 10, 2012 at 1:32 pmgrey

    They put so much more emphasis on the flashback in the anime than the manga! I’d say that’s a really good call for the director, it goes so much more depth to Kise that i honestly didn’t find until his ~ revelation in the next episode.

    Can I also just say that I LOVE teikou’s uniforms. Both for sports and school. I love that Tiffany’s light blue and cream white palette going on.

    • September 11, 2012 at 5:15 pmBakaMochi

      Mmhmm! Not that the current school uniforms are bad, but Teikou’s uniform really compliments the GoM members :3

      I think it’s pretty easy to write Kise off as a dumb blonde, but there is depth! XDDD

  • September 10, 2012 at 10:50 pmkingofconquerors

    Amazing episode….the drum tune that played out when Kise pulled the upset a.k.a.stopping Aomine was awesome!!! Can’t wait to get my hands on the soundtrack!!!