「お前のバスケ」 (Omae no Basuke)
Sometimes when it comes to sports shounen, weird is good.
While I’m still not 100% sold on the character side of Kuroko no Basuke yet, what’s becoming clearer as we progress is that this is a series with a decidedly weird sense of humor. In a genre where one of the biggest potential pitfalls in blandness, that’s a good thing – not enough to carry a series, maybe, but a good start at separating it from the pack a little. And of course, Kuroko is at the center of that weirdness. I haven’t decided yet if he works as a main character, but there’s no denying he’s an odd duck.
I’ve been trying to think what series KnB reminds me of, and it finally struck me this week – Over Drive. Mind you the MCs could hardly be more different, but there’s a certain shared fondness for unusual line delivery and odd, random sidebars that seem unrelated to anything that’s come before. Where Over Drive’s Mikoto was earnest and enthusiastic to the point of absurdity, it’s Kuroko’s intentionally bland façade that drives much of the absurdity here. I’ve yet to figure out just whether he’s trolling his teammates (and us) or not – take his “check out these guns” comment to Kise and Kagami as they scolded him for almost getting beaten up. Is that Kurko’s idea of deadpan humor – or is that just Kuroko being totally literal? I have no idea yet, which is sort of novel with a male lead after five episodes of a series.
In terms of on-court action, after official review Kagami’s alley-oop dunk beat the buzzer, and the Seirin win over Kaijo stands (unrealistic though it may be). I found myself wondering if Kise’s “For the first time ever, I lost” comment was meant to be taken literally – Hayakawa’s scolding indicated he certainly didn’t think so, but I suppose it’s possible that the GoM was so dominant that Kise never lost a game from middle school onward. He certainly took it hard enough, breaking down in tears after the match – and his conversation with Midorima didn’t improve his mood much. We get just a teaser about the GoM’s “best shooter” – he’s left-handed, blood type B, tapes his fingers, and respects Kuroko’s game but doesn’t get along with blood type A people like Kuroko. His school is apparently the one Seirin will have to go through for Kise to get his chance for revenge at the inter-high tournament.
The rest of the ep was more or less dedicated to some random but amusing nonsense – the Seirin team members trying to finish giant steaks to avoid having to pay for them (Kagami to the rescue), pickup basketball with bullies, (including this clever moment), wrestling submission holds by Riko. If these detours told us anything, it’s that Kuroko has a well-developed sense of justice (which ties in neatly with his expressed dismay with individualistic basketball) and that he left the GoM on bad terms with the coach. It was interesting to see he and Kise play together (I’m thinking we may see that again) and to ponder Kise’s warning that Kagami, once his talents have matured, will place himself above his teammates and become a different person. History says he’s probably right, but this is shounen manga so I suspect Kagami and Kuroko are stuck together for the duration.
Sorry, Fujoshi – no shounen-ai end card for you this week. Just shounen – no “ai”!