「ふざけた奴ばっかりだ」 (Fuzaketa Yatsu Bakkari da)
“You’re All Ridiculous”
Bar the doors, people – it’s witchcraft! There isn’t much else you could call Aomine’s crazy skills, and coupled with some fine animation from Production I.G. (at the expense of some of the far-away shots, go figure), Aomine Daiki has truly succeeded in marking himself as an otherworldly presence of some sort on the basketball court.
His seemingly limitless maneuverability requires some serious suspension of disbelief, even more than Midorima and his 100% accuracy – Aomine is the one who tests this boundary between fiction and reality the most. The sheer lack of logic is something that comes hand-in-hand with the genre, and although it’s never really bothered me to check rationality and real-life logic at the door, I am interested in seeing how Seirin will dig themselves out of this one, and how the show itself will manage to top a player like Aomine, if they ever do.
The Generation of Miracles members shown so far are all incredible players, but they’ve each had a serious weakness: Kise can copy anything, but his physique has to be better than his opponents for it to work, and imitation can only go so far; Midorima may make all of his shots, but this takes time and immense concentration – it’s good, but a tad impractical in the sense he loses a lot of his mobility. Aomine’s style, on the other hand, is rooted in his movement, which is more fundamental and harder to stop since it requires a much higher ability to adapt to a myriad of different situations. I suppose it’s worsened by the fact his style originates from street ball which – and do correct me if I’m wrong – differs greatly from traditional basketball taught by coaches and in school; a really lame comparison would be classical music vs. jazz music – each genre places emphasis on vastly different things and require different approaches to understanding them. Same applies to the predicament here, where traditional players like Hyuuga can’t counter against non-traditional players like Aomine since they’ve never been exposed to street style before. It makes sense even for someone like Kagami to be floored, since seeing something is different from actually encountering it first-hand – if he was taught the traditional way of basketball, that’s what his body and mind is used to. He may be able to recognize Aomine’s movements, but since he has never experienced it – or has had very limited experience – there’s simply no way he would know how to go about countering it.
To be honest, that’s a much better conflict than putting Aomine on a pedestal and calling him the “Next Boy Genius”. A conflict stemming from different playing styles might seem trite and even boring, but on some levels it’s a much more complex and layered one than slapping a label on somebody and trying to build a believable plot point around that single title. There’s a certain expectation that draws from the audience, which more than half the time a series cannot fulfill properly. KuroBasu is playing it pretty close here, as Aomine’s ability has been played up like the latest gossip in tabloid magazines. He’s certainly a very good player, but his skills have to be firmly grounded in something – I’m perfectly fine with abandoning my logic, as long as the show is putting in effort to create a universe where everything that happens within it is believable. His street style probably isn’t everything that makes Aomine the ace he is, but it offers a much more plausible and rational explanation for his skills than simply being made to believe he’s good. It’s less of a copout, and makes Seirin’s struggles against him much more believable and realistic within the context of the show, and that’s ultimately the most important part. A series forsaking real life logic is OK, as long as it’s trying to ensure that an event makes sense within its own universe. And although Aomine’s sheer genius is starting to test the limits of believability even in KuroBasu’s world, if his greatness becomes firmly grounded in the style of his play rather than his boundless potential/infamous reputation, the show should prevent itself from escaping into the stratosphere.
In that vein, I’m starting to understand why Seirin places so much value in Kagami – various characters have made comments on his insane jumping abilities, and frequently brought up his nationality as a consequence. I don’t claim to be an expert in the physique of Japanese men or how basketball is played internationally, but the fact Kagami learned how to play b-ball in the States probably has a lot bigger influence in his “invincibility” than I initially thought. He plays the American way, and even though he’s Japanese, his skills stem from a different origin, hence why he seems to stand out so much. I’m not really sure how much of Bakagami’s jumping skill is inherent to him – I’d wager fifty percent is innate, given good ol’ Dad’s surprise way back when, but the other half probably comes from being cultivated through experiences playing with others who were equal to or better than him in terms of physique and had similar styles… because let’s face it, it’s not that uncommon to find giants over 180cm in America.
So in the end, it’s not that Kagami is necessarily better than any of the opponents he’s faced – it’s more about the type of style he has, and the environment he played in. He’s definitely a great player, but I wonder if things will have the same result if he was playing in an American high-school team as opposed to a Japanese one. The heights are going to be vastly different for one thing… Actually, briefly glancing at all the “genius” players in the show, they all share one commonality: their height. It’s unusually tall for the average Japanese high-school player (most of Seirin’s players are under 180 cm; Kagami is 190 cm), so it’s a simple, but entirely possible, explanation for their abilities.
Terminology of the Day:
- Isolation: A strategy where one player goes man-to-man with another player on the opposing team while the rest of the team with the ball keeps the opponents away in order to let the ball-handler try and score (Google)
- Has anyone else listened to the character singles? Because Kagami’s B-side… wow. What. Mind was blown.
- Poor Takao! Only Midorima can look that boss in a cart like that. Only him.
- Looks like Momoi and Riko have more in common than they thought…
- And Kise continues to be relevant.
ED2.3: 「カタルリズム」 (Kataru Rizumu) by OLDCODEX