Kuroko’s Basketball Ep. 2: Beating a dead horse

Ah hell, this show is amusing enough (even in its own badness) to keep me tuning in for now. Will I finally watch a sports anime from start to finish?!

The Good

• The ratio of good basketball to bad basketball in any given episode is probably so small that it’s practically negligible. Still, I can’t help but appreciate the corniness from time to time (this is why I like to watch Japanese live dramas, where the bad acting magnifies everything a hundredfold). For instance, when the characters stand up in front of everybody and make some heartfelt speech about their steely determination, I roll my eyes… but in a good way! Anyway, the coach drags the first years onto the roof. If they truly want to join the team, they must make a promise to the rest of the student body. And if they fail to meet that promise, they’ll have to confess to the girl they love. I thought the first years come up with some amusing stuff to say.

• I don’t think any of the characters are annoying yet. That’s pretty uncommon, I think.

The Bad

• I feel like the anime’s already run out jokes. If you thought Kuroko’s bizarre lack of presence was funny last week, it will apparently be funny forever. Watch as Kuroko’s friends freak the hell out every single time Kuroko’s onscreen:

And again (the screen cap below is from same scene as the screen cap above, so yes, Kuroko’s Basketball sees no shame in reusing the same joke within seconds of its previous iteration):

And again:

And again:

Stop. You guys are killing me. No, really, stop.

• A member from the Generation of Miracles (on the other hand, this will never stop sounding lame) shows up to a team practice just to recruit Kuroko. Naturally, Taiga challenges him only to get his ass served on a silver platter. The heroes in sports anime always have to be underdogs. That’s just a rule of law. After all, underdogs always win championships. Y’know, like the Yankees, the Lakers, the Steelers, the Yomiuri Giants… hm.

• Anyway, each member of the Generation of Miracles is apparently stronger than the last. I don’t really know how this works, but I guess anime’s gotta anime. Taiga wants to challenge them all, of course. And it totally has to be one-by-one. Apparently, none of the five awesome players ever felt like teaming up with each other despite playing a team game. Even though, we’ve been told, that they’re each totally obsessed with winning. Makes sense.

Since the anime is so obviously derivative at this point, I would just love it if Kuroko’s Basketball was willing to poke fun at itself. For example, let’s have an opponent who can change forms in the middle of a basketball game. Also make it so that there’s only twenty seconds left in the game. Oh yeah, this part will have to last five episodes. And finally, the good guys have to win the game or Namek will explode.

• I love how they make a big deal out of Ryota’s ability to replicate Taiga’s dunk off of a simple spin move. If the guys in the Generation of Miracles are that awesome at basketball, does anyone really think that this is the first time Ryota’s ever seen a spin move? But since this is anime, we obviously have to treat basketball like it’s Dragon Ball Z: “Sugoi~, he can copy any move!!! Watch out, Goku Kagami!”

The Ugly

• Oh God, the animation. Why did their torsos suddenly widen? What’s with their arms? In 2009, Production I.G. was responsible for something as technically impressive as Eden of the East. You may not have enjoyed the characters or the anime’s plot, but you couldn’t deny that the anime was competently animated. Nearly three years later, the same studio is churning out this and Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan, both of which are full of lazy, unsightly animation. What happened?

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10 thoughts on “Kuroko’s Basketball Ep. 2: Beating a dead horse

  1. alsozara

    I lol’d hard. Particularly at those pictures.

    Sports anime have never captured my interest, I must admit. It just seems the sort of topic that live-action would be better geared to deal with. I suppose that’s not reason enough though, after all, there are plenty of straight drama anime that don’t play to the strengths of the medium but I’m still glad exist. Genshiken, for lack of a better example off the top of my head. Excepting Satou’s delusions, there’s really no aspect of Welcome to the NHK that couldn’t theoretically have been handled just as well in live-action, and I fucking love that series.

    It’s probably more that sports anime present a bit of a dilemna to my viewer sensibilities. Turning a sports show into a fight shounen is obviously stupid, but I’m not really knowledgeable or interested enough in most sports to appreciate or enjoy a series that actually did any sport justice.

    That said, if they ever create a hardcore fencing anime that does the sport justice then I will gladly eat that up.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’s probably more that sports anime present a bit of a dilemna to my viewer sensibilities. Turning a sports show into a fight shounen is obviously stupid, but I’m not really knowledgeable or interested enough in most sports to appreciate or enjoy a series that actually did any sport justice.

      I saw a documentary about how hard Japanese youths had to work for baseball. Not only that, how it affected the whole family. It was a really good documentary and I really wish there was sports drama that resembled it. Just to commit yourself and your body to a team–to the pursuit of athletic excellence–is drama enough by itself. Nobody has to know anything about baseball to understand the documentary, because human determination is an experience that should translate to all demographic. As a result, you don’t really have to invent artificial drama through silly shounen conventions.

      Of course, not every sports drama has to be like this. I don’t mind a silly sports drama in the same ilk as Kuroko’s Basketball. It’s just too bad that this seems to be the only type of sports drama available. Well, there have been more cerebral baseball shows, but I have other reasons to dislike them…. Anyway, I just take the piss out of Kuroko’s Basketball because I don’t want to be writing super serious posts about, say, the metaphor of music every single time I post.

      Reply
  2. appropriant

    Man, I would have recommended you Slam Dunk! if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a 250+ chapter manga and a 100 episode anime handled by Toei Animation. In the 90′s.

    Despite that, I declare that it will most likely do basketball the justice you’re looking for. You just have to, uh, devote quite a bit of time you might not have into it.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Seconding the Slam Dunk recommendation; it has (IMO) a much better cast and humour, and the art is especially good given how Takehiko Inoue’s style really developed over the course of the series. It might not have the realistic sports drama you’re looking for but it’s one of the most enjoyable sports series out there.

    You seem to have watched a little of the anime, but it’s really inferior to the manga. Give it another shot!

    Reply
  4. A Day Without Me

    Stop talking about the cheese, it might make me actually watch an episode, and heaven forbid I ever bother watching any shounen.

    Reply

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