(Reaper): Hello! I’m back! So let’s finish this.
*Reaper plays project*
(Nitsuj): Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Well guys this is it, we’re in the final part of Kuroko’s Basketball. Let’s see what happens.
Opening and Ending Theme
Now for the second part of the anime we actually get two openings. The first opening is “Zero” by Kensho Ono which covers the Teikou arc. The song is alright. Nothing special but at the same time nothing that I would consider bad. I do however wish Kensho was sing a little louder. I’ll just chalk it up to him staying in character. The second opening is “Memories” by Granrodeo (you know, with all the openings these guys did for the anime, I’m surprise they weren’t official characters). Once again the song gets me hyped but at the same time there’s a bit of sadness in it as we know we’re about to reach the end of the series. We’re excited but at the same time sad and this song captures that incredibly well. We get 2 endings this time as well. The first is “Ambivalence” by Screen Mode and out of all the endings this was by far my favorite. The song is beautiful, that’s the only word I can use to describe it. It’s peaceful and sad at the same time. I’m so used to hearing Screen Mode’s fast-paced songs that I forgot they can play slow songs as well. The final ending is “Lantana” by Oldcodex. Out of all the endings this is probably the most slow-paced of the bunch. It doesn’t carry the hype over from the episode it’s very relaxed and soothing. The game is over, the final buzzer has gone off and it’s time to line up and shake the other team’s hand thanking them for a great game (or bow to each other if you’re in Japan).
The story of Kuroko’s past with the Generation of Miracles begins in episode 13 and goes to episode 16. Kuroko got in to basketball when he was in 5th grade after watching it on TV. Since there were no basketball clubs where he lived he had to learn the game on his own. Luckily, he met his friend Shige who also liked basketball and taught Kuroko how to play. At the end of 5th grade Shige moved away but they both made a promise to join their middle school basketball team and face off against each other. Spring came around and Kuroko went to Teiko middle school where he joined the team but only as a third string while the Generation of Miracles (minus Kise because he didn’t join the team yet) were first strings. The team managed to win nationals where Akashi says they had one too many close calls (which is unacceptable for him, https://youtu.be/07So_lJQyqw). He says they need a strong sixth man, someone who can change the momentum of the game (a guy who can turn into a ghost and make incredible passes). Kuroko and Aomine become friends and practice with each other where Akashi takes an interest in Kuroko and helps him develop his phantom-like style of play (scene here: https://youtu.be/WbHGk_78ORk, and thus the shadow was born). Three months pass and Kuroko displays his skills in a scrimmage totally mastering his phantom like play. Because of this he got moved up to the first strings and gets his chance to start in a game where it could have gone better (scene here: https://youtu.be/Yzm_MH4mcIE). He does get a chance to go back into the game but because he’s so nervous his passes are off and he keeps turning the ball over. He gets another chance in an afternoon game where thanks to some advice from Akashi he corrects his style and it works out for him (scene here: https://youtu.be/4NSEQkCzndw). He officially becomes the sixth man of the first strings and Kise joins the team where he replaces Shogo during their second year. As the team starts to come together Aomine slowly begins waking up to his true potential (which leads to the whole I’m bored because I have no one who can beat me mess). Teiko goes to nationals where they win and unfortunately Shige didn’t get a chance to play against Kuroko because his team lost. After nationals the team began to rapidly grow strength and ability wise (they’re awakening to their true form) and the coach reluctantly allows Aomine to skip practice as long as he comes to the games which he agrees to do making him fall further into despair and question his love for basketball (give it two years man, you’ll find a worthy opponent). Kuroko tries to bring him back but has no luck (scene here: https://youtu.be/oVeah7t93zw). Once Atsushi finds out about Aomine’s situation he demands the same thing and openly defines Akashi calling him weak (oh you dun messed up now Atsushi. Get ready to be humbled). Akashi challenges Atsushi to a game where if Atsushi wins he’ll be allowed to skip practice. At first Atsushi dominates Akashi shocking everyone in the process. With his defeat eminent and not wanting to accept it, Akashi awakens to his emperor eye as well as his second personality (who is straight up crazy). Akashi dominates Atsushi and wins the game however he allows Atsushi to skip practice, in fact, he allows everyone from the Generation of Miracles to skip practice as long as they win (so Atsushi was the cause for Teiko’s selfish basketball) meaning they’re sacrificing team play for the sake of winning (scene here: https://youtu.be/IapOp53tKyU). At this point the coach had lost full control of the team and was basically just Akashi’s puppet (or bitch. Not much of a difference really). Teiko continued to dominate and win all their games never letting anyone come close to beating them but the team didn’t feel like a team (they may be wearing the same jerseys but in the end it’s just 5 really great players playing selfish basketball). Teiko’s next game is against Shige’s school which has Kuroko excited but before the game he gets a serious head injury and can’t play so he begs Akashi to have the team play their best (and you just sealed Shige’s fate Kuroko). Teiko goes out there and not only dominates Shige’s team but they literally toy with them. Throughout the whole game Shige’s team only scored 9 points and got two extra points thanks to Atsushi who tipped the ball back in on the wrong basket. The final score was 111-11 Teiko (good God, that is just domination). Once Kuroko sees this he is devastated at what his team has become (monsters with no souls) and decides to quit basketball. When he goes to visit Shige’s school he finds out from one of Shige’s friends that he transferred and is quitting basketball as well. Shige’s friend encourages Kuroko not to quit either saying that Shige believes Kuroko can save the Generation of Miracles and remind them what basketball is all about. At their graduation ceremony they all agreed to become rivals with each other and face off in high school to decide which of them was the best (when the game becomes too easy it’s best to make it hard yourself).
Episode 17 serves as the set up for the final game between Seirin and Rakuzen (there can only be one. And they got a little carried away with this final game. They actually gave them their own opening and a new ending. Was this final game really deserving of its own opening and ending. I mean, there’s no doubt it’s going to be great but don’t you think this was a little bit. . .excessive?). Before the game we get to see all the teammates of Seirin have some touching moments with each other and their families who are all coming to cheer for them (actually yeah that’s another thing I’ve been wondering, why haven’t their parents or anybody from the school come to cheer for them? I mean they’ve literally beaten four of the best teams in the country who were the favorites to win and are now playing in the finals to decide the best team in the country and nobody from their school or family came to cheer them on until now? Thanks for the faith everyone). We also get to see almost all the characters in the manga appear who are all coming out to watch the big game. Before the big game we get the bronze medal game between Kaijo and Shutoku where Kise doesn’t play because of overexerting himself in the Seirin game so this game is Shutoku’s win (which is a real shame because I would have loved to see Kise go up against Midorima. Actually, there are a lot of match-ups I would have loved to see). The game begins where Taiga starts off on all cylinders by doing a meteor jam on Akashi (bet you didn’t see this coming?) and entering the Zone.
Episodes 18-25 and OVA
It’s the final game for the last episodes (and it is a game for the ages). Riko makes a smart move and subs Kuroko out so Taiga can focus on offence while the others focus on defense. Taiga goes on an unstoppable rampage getting Seirin up by 9 points (he’s being reckless going into the Zone this early in the game but against a team like this it’s totally worth it). Akashi steps up to face him (under normal circumstances Akashi would have gotten crushed by Taiga. You have a point guard guarding a power forward. Now Akashi may be an amazing player but even a novice would call this set up stupid) where Taiga defines the emperor eye and passes Akashi but misses his shot which Akashi said he predicted he would missed and allowed him to get by (bullshit. I saw that look, you totally got lucky. Scene here: https://youtu.be/dzFyThD3vsI). They manage to stop Rakuzen at the other end and Taiga comes out of the Zone willingly realizing he doesn’t have to do it all alone. Kuroko comes back in but something is seriously off, everyone from the audience to the players feel his presence. Because of Kuroko learning how to shoot, drive by people, and score a game winning buzzer beater his lack of presence has disappeared. Everyone sees him now and can’t ignore him (he’s slowly been destroying his one major trump card. The shadow has taken on a life of its own and has stepped into the light). At the end of the first quarter the score is tied 21-21 and Kuroko comes out of the game until they can figure out how to resurge him. The second quarter starts with Akashi releasing the new phantom sixth man. Just like Kuroko this guy can use misdirection and he’s like a ghost (scene here: https://youtu.be/rrfIRuy4riE, this scenario can be interrupted in 1 of 3 ways. One, Akashi is being an asshole and saying that he could have replaced Kuroko with anyone. Two, Akashi found the phantom sixth man so valuable and important that he knew he had to create another one in high school in order to throw everyone off. Three, he knew in his heart that somewhere down the road he would be playing against Kuroko and decided to create counter measures to ensure his victory over him). During the second quarter things look bad for Seirin. Rakuzen players overwhelm them and win all their battles against Seirin players. The highlights of this quarter is seeing the 1st years get a chance to play but they lose stamina playing in that intense atmosphere and we get to see Akashi dunk (which is pretty impressive for a guy his height). At the end of the second quarter it’s 62-37 Rakuzen. Despite the rough second quarter, Seirin still has spirit (don’t quit, don’t quit) and Akashi is determined to destroy it by taking out Hyuga and Taiga. The pretty boy shooting guard of Rakuzen named Reo manages to get Hyuga his third foul and after arguing with the ref he picks up his fourth foul and he’s forced to sit down. Just when everyone becomes disheartened Kuroko stands up and shouts saying he wants to win (yeah me too! Don’t let these guys come in and crush you) and he re-enters the game where he allows Mayuzumi to get a few shots in and drive pass him which works in Kuroko’s favor as he regains his lack of presence again and makes plays for Taiga and Kiyoshi. Not wanting to let his efforts go to waste Taiga re-enters the Zone and keeps Akashi at bay and Kuroko puts Mayzumi in his place by showing him who the real shadow is (you may be a phantom Mayuzumi, but you’re not even close to becoming a shadow like Kuroko). After screwing up Mayuzumi expects to be taken out but Akashi decides to keep him in to gather everyone’s line of sight and distract them (in other words, Akashi is just using him as a tool to get passes through and doesn’t expect anything from Mayuzumi). We get a showdown between Izuki and Hayama an expert at dribbling and has a fanged tooth (so naturally he has animal instincts. Thems the rules of anime). It takes him a few times but Izuki manages to stop Hayama by leading him into a trap and even forces Hayama to turn the ball over bringing Seirin within 16 points (Akashi’s face is priceless in this scene. He’s like “Imma kill this fucker”). Hayama saves himself by standing down and retaliating (smart move, because I’m sure Akashi was about to grab him by the neck and choke him out in front of everyone). We also get a showdown between Koganei and Reo where even though Koganei doesn’t stop him he manages to throw Reo off his game because he can’t read him and this in turn helps out Hyuga who figures out how to beat Reo’s shooting (scene here: https://youtu.be/_y5Lj0KXFVQ). With the start of the fourth quarter Seirin is still down by double digits and Hyuga has rejoined the game (this is a risky move) and stops Reo. Reo’s shots have no difference in form until right before he jumps but their center of gravity is different. For heaven he fades away, he jumps forward on earth, and for void he just jumps straight-up (just see through the jump and you can stop him). Hyuga stops Reo twice and scores a three on the second time down (get some Hyuga). Akashi also has problems with Taiga who extends his area of defense while in Zone mode and won’t let Akashi get pass him. Akashi finally has enough and decides to stop relying on his teammates and abandons them allowing him to enter the Zone (and if you thought Akashi was dangerous before, you ain’t seen nothing yet). Once Akashi enters the Zone he doesn’t just break ankles he makes the players kneel before him (scene here: https://youtu.be/Ohly1Ge8-Y8, holy hell! Get the stretcher out there right now). Seirin decides to put their faith in Taiga to stop Akashi but according to Aomine in order for him to beat Akashi he needs to open the second door of the Zone (basically super saiyan 2) but it’s guarded by a gatekeeper (no maggots allowed you maggot). With Akashi in the Zone he is pretty much unstoppable that not even Taiga can stop him but when Kuroko joins the fray the tide turns in Seirin’s favor and Taiga dunks over Akashi (scene here: https://youtu.be/Ww0ZBy0n3v0, kneel bitch). With this big play Akashi falls out of the Zone and his heart is in disarray because for the first time in his life he senses that there’s a possibility that he can lose (and that scares him). Akashi continues to make turnover after turnover and Seirin cuts their lead into a one possession game with about 5 minutes to go. Akashi argues with his other half in his mind where the other half says to give up and with the way he’s playing it’s looking that way. The coach of Rakuzen calls a time out and is about to sub out Akashi (you have other players?) until Mayuzami gets in his face and asks him who he is? This leads to a trip down memory lane where we find out that Akashi got into basketball thanks to his mom and from a young age he was taught to win always. Even after his mom passed away (from the plot-device flu. It’s a real thing) Akashi continued to play basketball in honor of her and his dad allowed it as long as he won. While he didn’t show it Akashi really did value his time at Teiko and enjoyed playing basketball with Kuroko and the others. But once the mindset of the team became winning is everything and everyone started waking up to their true potential, Akashi was afraid that they would all leave him behind. Not wanting this he chose to awaken to his other side and make them all subservient to him so they could win and stay together. This resulted in the other Akashi being born (the one who throws scissors and makes people kneel before him) but even he eventually started playing just for victory and nothing else. After this trip down memory lane the two Akashis merge together (or switch spots I’m not entirely sure myself) and he returns to his true self. With the old Akashi back Rakuzen begins playing as a team (Akashi asking for help? Is the world ending?). Akashi re-enters the Zone but only for support which allows his teammates to enter the Zone as well (well technically not. It’s an imperfect zone but because all the players were very talented players from middle school second to the Generation of Miracles, they’re able to enter this imitation of the Zone). With them all in the Zone the only one who can take them on is Taiga but not even he can take on 5 people and he’s reached his limits in the Zone. With the members of Seirin reaching their limits and the score 103-96 with only 2 minutes remaining it seems like Rakuzen has all but won the game until Shige shows up and cheers for Kuroko which inspires everyone in the audience to cheer for Seirin (scene here: https://youtu.be/XCg-9IoG8jY). With this Seirin gets back in the game and Taiga finally unlocks the gate to the true Zone which all this time was being guarded by Kuroko and what’s on the other side you ask, Seirin’s basketball team (meh, it’s better than No Man’s Sky ending. Scene here: https://youtu.be/nAzWh4kTCns). With only 40 seconds left to play Taiga scores a three (who knew he had it in him) and Seirin manages to get a steal and Hyuga gets fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and the basket counts making the score 105-104 Rakuzen with only 4 seconds left (scene here: https://youtu.be/irjr_S9w428). Hyuga misses the foul shot on purpose, Kiyoshi gets the rebound (vice claaaaaaaaaw~), and passes it to Kuroko. Akashi thinks Kuroko is going to score but he’s actually passing it to Taiga who slams that ball in giving Seirin the win (scene here: https://youtu.be/QXuQ8T57nTc). A few days after the championship victory and Kiyoshi gets set to leave for America where he’ll get surgery done on his knee. The 2nd years see him off while the first years don’t because Kiyoshi didn’t ask for a send off (but if you know life. No means yes and yes means maybe). We get to see all major teams begin practicing for next year and we end with a shot of Kuroko’s locker where he has a picture of Seirin’s team and a picture with the members of the Generation of Miracles.
Now I was going to talk about the OVAs and specials as there’s a lot of them but there’s really not that much talk about. Most of them are just fillers, a few extra scenes with the characters, and recaps of the past seasons so there’s really not that much to talk about. However, the last OVA is worth watching and talking about because of how enjoyable it is. The OVA takes place after the last episode. It’s Kuroko’s birthday (the only time of the year when all eyes are on him) and everyone goes out of their way to give Kuroko the best birthday possible. Momoi arranges for the Generation of Miracles to get together and play some streetball where she knitted him a scarf and receives a key chain for Midorima since it’s his lucky item of the day. They all play a few games of streetball where even Momoi gets a chance to play with them (which I liked. Just like Kuroko, she also suffered in middle school. She watched all friends drift apart and couldn’t do anything but watch from the sidelines. She didn’t care about winning, she just wanted to support her friends to the best of her abilities and when they went their separate ways instead of going with the boy she liked, she instead chose to go with Aomine because without her she knew he would completely fall apart. She sacrificed being with the boy she liked in order to help out her best friend. That’s, very noble and something I think a lot of people wouldn’t do). After the streetball the group heads over to Taiga’s house where the Seiren team and a few others are there to eat and celebrate Kuroko’s birthday. It’s a very touching OVA as it’s great to see the Generation of Miracles moving on from what happened in middle school and become friends again while still being rivals and Kuroko gets to enjoy his birthday with his friends from the past and his current friends.
(Reaper): What, that’s it? Where’s the final thoughts? I guess he didn’t get that far yet. Well if I had to give my final thoughts I would say this was a spectacular anime. Even though I don’t play basketball I really did enjoy watching every minute of this anime. It was exciting, emotional, and fun. I love how each team had their own playing style. When you think one team has the advantage, the other team shows up with a different style of play and new moves that catch you complete off guard and provides you with great match-ups the likes of which you’ve never seen before.
As far as characters go, they’re all great as well. While the character development is lacking I really didn’t mind because they were all already great characters, they just forgot what they liked about basketball and needed someone to remind them what basketball was all about. I like the dynamic between Kuroko and Taiga and how much they trust and respect each other. Let’s be honest, when separate these two aren’t that good but when they’re together they form an amazing duo that I doubt anyone can hope to top. I also like how the other Generation of Miracles aren’t what they seem like. For example, Kise comes off as a guy who doesn’t take things seriously but really, he’s the most serious player of the bunch. Aomine comes across as someone who’s indifferent to everyone around him but he’s the guy who’s always looking out for others and cares about them deeply. Midorima acts distant but in truth he trusts his teammates more than anything. Atsuhsi says he hates basketball but he probably loves it more than anyone from the Generation of Miracles and Akashi acts like a guy who uses people for his own benefits when really he’s the nicest one of the bunch. The other character all have their personalities as well and each one is different from the other with their interactions off each other being great and enjoyable.
As far as the basketball games go, you’re not gonna find any basketball games more exciting than these. Each game was a joy to watch. I love how we don’t have any dumb fouls and it’s easy to follow for guys who aren’t familiar with basketball. While a lot of people were complaining about the skills of the players being supernatural. Keep in mind it’s not supernatural, it’s just enhanced skills and abilities. All the stuff they do can be done in real life just not to the extent as displayed in the show.
If I had to name my complaints it all comes down to the fact that there are a lot of match ups we wanted to see but unfortunately will never get a chance to see them. There was also that questionable relationship with Hyuga and Riko. It’s obvious that Hyuga likes Riko and was planning on confessing to her after the game. I wanted to know what becomes of that. Do they get together or does Hyuga get turned down? To be fair this wasn’t a main focus of the show but still I would of liked to see how that story ends.
The animation is nice. When it wants to be silly it can look silly and when it’s time for the basketball games the animation doesn’t disappoint. It looks great and everything moves fluently. You feel like the games are unfolding before your eyes and the camera work is great. Music is enjoyable all the way through. It keeps the hype going and gives you that feeling of suspense and uncertainty when it needs to be.
It was to give a final score to Kuroko’s Basketball it would be a 9/10 with a must watch stamp of approval. If you’re a fan of basketball or know someone who loves basketball show them this anime and if you’re new to basketball or just looking for a good sports anime to watch than also think this anime is worth checking out. I now see why my master highly recommends this anime. It’s great and was definitely one of Shonen Jump’s best series. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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