「嫌だ!!」 (Dame da!!)
Does it make me a masochist or a sadist if I enjoyed the pain inflicted on the Seirin members in this conclusion to the Touou vs. Seirin match? KuroBasu brings out the best of its emotional manipulation skills – well, perhaps “manipulations” isn’t quite the correct word. The show has never been about directing the viewers to feel a certain way, but rather aiming to portray the highs and lows of the characters as they are, in the heat of the moment.
And really, this episode captured the adrenaline rush of the match very well; the depiction of Seirin’s dismay at their utter powerlessness was palpable, and every jab Aomine threw at Kuroko was cringe-worthy, and him catching the Ignite Pass? Ouch. Ouch on so many levels. I thought it would happen, but that moment still caught me off-guard – it’s a symbolic moment, and it brings back to mind the concept of the past vs. the present. Aomine represents the largest and clearest part of Kuroko’s time in Teikou, at least that’s what can be deduced from what is shown so far. As his past light, Aomine and Kuroko shared a partnership that required a great degree of coordination, trust, and teamwork, not unlike his current relationship with Kagami now – essentially, I assume we’re seeing the Aomine and Kuroko team running parallel to the Kagami and Kuroko team as they play in matches or bond over burgers. This is why it’s a double whammy to see the Touou ace bash Kuroko’s beliefs – he was once a part of it, and if Kagami is any indication, Aomine and Kuroko were an amazing pair. Magical, even.
It really is an interesting phenomenon, the dichotomy between Kagami and Aomine. They seem like polar opposites, but when all is said and done, is there anything that really differentiates them? The two of them are certainly their own characters, and no one would call them “the same”, but just how similar are they? It may seem like a mundane, or even an overly philosophical question to ask, but understanding Kagami and Aomine is the key to understanding Kuroko, the main character. He’s largely been defined by the characters around him so far, and they all represent a slightly different facet of Kuroko. But the people that reflect his true character the most are his two respective “lights”, unsurprisingly. It’s trite, but to understand the shadow, one must first understand the light.
If Touou thrashing Seirin didn’t have the viewers on the edge of their seats, then their unrelenting will certainly would have done the trick – it was admirable to see them not give up, even though a loss was completely obvious. It really was painful to see them lose, especially the lazy montage Production I.G. resorted to showed a very, very one-sided match. But sometimes, that fighting spirit is far more impressive than the pride of the victors. It takes a lot of guts to lose, but it takes even more to lose with heads held high as Seirin did. Anyone who has ever played the losing side in sports can probably agree – it takes more effort and teamwork to continue a losing battle than to win one. The moment the players realize they cannot win is a defining one – it’s despairing to acknowledge their best efforts will only take them this far, that they’ve reached their limits and cannot go any further. But in the heat of that moment, do you give up? Or do you continue to play? It’s much easier to give up, but continuing to play with as much grit as the Seirin players did at least honors all the blood, sweat, and tears poured into practice, and players can walk away knowing that they did their best, no what ifs, ands or buts. No one can say they didn’t give their all, and each and every member of Seirin really pulled their weight this match. The fact they lost doesn’t change, nor will that awful feeling. But they have the respect of the viewers, and perhaps even their opponents. Most importantly however, they kept the respect they have for themselves.
Unfortunately, with Seirin losing this match, I’m not sure where the show is headed next. Personally, I’m itching to see the Kise vs. Aomine match, which is probably part of the Inter-High, assuming Kaijou made the cut (I don’t think it was ever specified either way in the show? Correct me if I’m wrong though!) – not only will it be interesting to see whether or not Kise can copy Aomine’s moves, but they also have an interesting dynamic that should bring some nail-biting tension to the court. As of next episode though, that mysterious guy plastered all over the OP/ED seems to finally be making an appearance, so there’s that to look forward to for now!
- Why so lazy, Production I.G.? I liked the idea of the montage, with Rimfire playing in the background – it really reinforced Seirin’s undying will, but what was up with all the recycled footages? This goes for some of the in-episode sequences as well, particularly some of Aomine’s movements. Some shots also just looked plain lazy, which is kind of surprising since the production values on KuroBasu have been quite good so far – and it’s obvious from the DVD/BD sales they have the budget, so I’m a little confused as to where this faltering animation quality is coming from (and it’s not just KuroBasu).
Don’t tell me they blew their best teams on that Guilty Crown OVA!
ED2: 「カタルリズム」 (Kataru Rizumu) by OLDCODEX