「勝てねェぐらいがちょうどいい」 (kate ne e guraigachoudoi)
“It’s Better if I Can’t Win”

Given the abundance of wealth in every genre, it’s no surprise that sports shounen would be well-served this season too.

The most important event of this episode was the first real action throw-down of the series (or perhaps Kagami actually using the slang “Dasai” for one of the few times I’ve heard in anime). But for me the most interesting moment was this little exchange between Kuroko and Kise, innocuous though it was, because it was really the first time I’ve seen Kuroko show any real emotional reaction in this series. His irritated “Could you please stop being so sarcastic?” was the most interesting line of dialogue in the first three episodes as far as I’m concerned.

So far, what’s got me in the “like” category for Kuroko no Basuke is this relative lack of character development. It seems to do the sports side of the equation pretty well, although there’s too much emphasis on dunks and not enough on shooting and defense. My favorite sports shounen are the ones that use the sports as a device to really get inside the characters, and while there’s plenty of time for that to happen here, the anime (faithfully to the manga) spends most of the early material on the basketball side of the story. I suspect that may change as we see the layers of impassiveness peeled away like an onion (Kagami is too transparent to be a likely candidate for lots of deep, development) and if Kise is the least arrogant of the Generation of Miracles, it seems very likely that the others will be the device to piss him off more.

In terms of the practice match, we have a pretty classic Shounen Jump setup. Kaijo Private High School is big and rich, complete with a fat coach (Yasumoto Hiroki) who’s astonished to find Seirin is coached by a schoolgirl. They haven’t even bothered to stop practicing on the main court, reasoning that the game will provide so little challenge that the guys who aren’t playing (that includes Kise) need to get their work in. Kagami puts an end to that pretty quickly by going all Daryl Dawkins on their beat-up side-court hoop, and the game is moved to the main floor – with Kise in the lineup this time. Kaijo’s captain is Kasamatsu Yukio (Souchiro Houshi – lots of big names in supporting roles here) who seems more than a little jealous of Kise’s status with the fans (especially the girls) and the game pretty quickly evolves into a one-on-one battle between Kagami and Kise on the physical side, with Kuroko using his misdirection to wreak havoc on the opposition. But the physical differences between the teams are obvious, especially to Aida, and Kuroko’s mystical ability to be invisible seems to slowly wear off as the opponent gets used to his tricks – and as his own body wears down.

It’s pretty easy to see where this is going – Kuroko is Kise’s potential Achilles heel, as he’s the only one whose “fragment” the master mimic can’t use his Adam Blade-type ability to copy, since he can’t see it. But Kuroko’s weaknesses are showing too, and it seems likely Kaijo will win out in the end – providing Seirin with a measuring stick for how far they have to go. What I want to see (aside from more focus on Kuroko as a person) is some breakouts from the rest of the Seirin team, either on or off the floor – thus far they’ve been basically extras, both as players and characters. With the quality of the cast assembled, I’m hopeful the next few weeks will give them a chance to show their stuff – and Ono Kenshin, too.




  1. Yeah, this show has been making me want to go back to playing basketball again. To me that’s when a sports show is successful.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this show. Quite entertaining so far.

    1. Yeah but Slam Dunk > most sports manga. It’s almost not fair to compare them in my opinion.

      That and Kuroko’s Basketball has a completely different feel towards basketball and the characters than Slam Dunk treated its story.

    2. Is this gonna be brought up every single time? How about judging the show itself on its own rather than comparing it to another show? I’d rather hear complaints and arguments about the happenings in the episode rather than comments about it being an inferior and a copycat show.
      Sure it’s not gonna be as good as SD but it has its merits and faults and should be judged by those instead of saying that it’s shit because SD does it better.

  2. I gave this show a shot, since I’m a big NBA fan and I used to watch Slam Dunk when I was a little, the key is when I was little.
    #1 All Taiga does is slam dunk, and only compare his strength and height to those of other players, seriously how dense and superficial can this guy get…
    #2 Kuroko is just … instead of trying to be the best, he wants to be the shadow of the best player… Maybe I’m not giving him much of a chance since he is an atypical heroine.
    #3 The whole “phantom” idea is just dumb on and off the court. If he has an average build, how can he sneak up on people. Also if he is so called phantom, why are people guarding him on the court and leaving his teammates wide open.

    I feel like if I didn’t watch so much basketball, I would enjoy this series a bit more.

    1. Well, KnB’s not actually realistic so don’t watch it for the realism. I mean, the very idea of a ‘phantom’ player is hilarious in real life- it just doesn’t work- but this is an anime so anything goes, as usual~~~

      Having read a bit of the manga, the games do get much more exciting later on (Kise vs GoM Ace-kun was, anyway) but this really will degenerate into your typical shounen jump series. If you’re looking for great basketball matches, either watch the real thing or go look-up Slam Dunk.

      1. Well, yeah, obviously there’s no one in real life who could be on a popular sports team and have such little presence that no one knows about him. He obviously played in games, otherwise he wouldn’t be famous.

    2. In a sense, KnB is alot more similar to prince of tennis than it is to Slam Dunk, players all have these ridiculous skills which couldn’t be pulled off in real life. If you watch and judge KnB as a manga which is supposed to be a realistic story about basketball, you aren’t going to enjoy it.

    3. I used to play “phantom-style” basketball. Although minus the hax passes he makes. When I played, I was the skinniest guy in my team, yet even the best player in my team (and other teams) hated my guts because I could sneak up on them and steal the ball. I had great stamina too, but I was as good as nothing in hot weather. it kinda makes me wonder how many prop players would be as good as obsolete under the same conditions.
      I think Kuroko will become more than a shadow and there is where I think the real potential of the anime lies. He knows the strength of his ex members and that is likely to push his boundaries, as well as his unlikely partner wanting him in the spotlight with him.
      Anyway, I’m loving the anime, and yes, I am a former SD fan too (still love it ;] )

      Phantom B
  3. As a reader of the manga, I have to say I’m glad that IG is sticking to the source material. That being said, if it IS sticking to the source, the character development is going to take a while. More of the team does get fleshed out quite well, but this is MUCH later on in the manga. Kuroko and Kagami get the most character development in the early stages (and more importantly, the Generation of Miracles actually gets some of the best development through their interactions with Kuroko). So unless we get a multi-cour or a change in anime to manga material, it could be a bit of a slow start.

    That being said, the story is quite magnetic once it gets going.

    1. Dasai doesn’t mean lame in this context. It’s an ending to the sentence when using polite forms. In Japanese there are a lot of homonyms that you have to be careful of when speaking and listening.

      These differences are clearer in writing because you can see the specific kanji.

      The reason why he sounds so weird is because they’re trying to show that he’s completely unused to speaking politely so he stutters and gets conjugations wrong in keigo. The reason why is because he’s used to a stricter hierarchy and unwavering respect for those above him on the team pecking order. Plus he’s asking for a favor in his mind.

      Hope that clears it up a little.

      1. Thanks this did. I just didnt know why he used kudasai instead of dasai. Thanks for clearing it up, so it was because his character, lol. I got confused when the impression said slang. Now i know why he used it suddenly, it seems he has greater respect for the coach and the team now perhaps.

  4. Don’t worry the manga is so far already its in the WC (Winter Cup) tournament so the anime will have a long way to go. (^__^)

    Though I heard episode 23 will be a preview of the matches etc. (Source Japanese forum)

    My apology for the spoiler! :))

  5. I haven’t ever watched nor read a sports series before, but this anime really sucked me in! So exciting. I’m excited to see the rest of the Generation of Miracles players. Thanks for covering it!


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