Kurokos Basketball is on its face a completely ordinary sports anime. It doesnt necessarily look great and in fact a lot of the action shots in this show are pretty rough. The character designs are not the cleanest and while the matches are melodramatic and extremely anime this is still very much a show about ordinary basketball. Because of this at first glance this seems like a completely nonessential entry in an already saturated genre. But what makes Kurokos Basketball shine is exactly that. It isnt about anything but basketball. At all. The vast majority of the show takes place on the court and while the matches are sometimes a bit strange looking if anything that only further brings out just how much this show tries to do with them. Count how many ambitious stylish or perspectivewarping shots are in every single episode from Aomines frenetic street ball to Kagamis superhuman jumps and Kurokos stealth tactics and see if you can come out of the experience not feeling like this show has not yet achieved its full potential. Theres even some sakuga used sparingly but to great effect. Theres a lot here to appreciate and it helps that the blood pumping music and crisp sound design kept me glued to the screen the entire time. The matches also move along at a generally quick pace with constant shifts in the balance of power new tactics evolving to counter the existing ones and in general all the tricks youd expect from an expertly written sports anime. I have to say I find it incredibly refreshing that we barely get any backstories or family lives of any of the characters or really any information about them thats not related to basketball in some way. Shows like Hajime no Ippo take the opposite route ensuring that you are rooting for both sides because there are stakes outside the match for each participant. And while that approach is perfectly valid I really enjoy that Kuroko instead opts to center each game around the relationships between the players and occasionally the coach as well as each individual players relationship with basketball itself. Only in an anime like this can you have larger than life characters like the Miracle Generation or Kagami who really only seem to care about basketball who are only interested in becoming better players and who are really only capable of understanding each other on the court. Characters like Kisei or Aomine elevate basketball to an existential question while for players like Kagami or Midorimiya its just something they cant help doing as if its a biological necessity. None of them ever doubt their dedication to the game. At times this show reminded me of a ronin film except the characters here fight over who can ball harder rather than for honor though honestly the two are treated quite similarly. If the motto of most shonen anime is I become stronger in order to protect others Kurokos Basket says rather: I become stronger in order to become stronger. Basketball is a closed loop that none of these characters can escape from not that theyd want to anyway. Because this show doesnt waste its time on lengthy backstories have you noticed there is no character here who is playing to impress their siblings a love interest in the audience or in order to please an overbearing parent? Its awesome right? it is quickly able to build up a large cast of interesting and everevolving characters and by the end of this first season were able to have thrilling showdowns between teams that dont even include our main characters at all and these are some of the best parts of the show even. Whats better theres no hard power scaling here. While we generally understand the Miracle Generation is at the top with Aomine above the rest and Kuroko and Kagami are just a tier below any of these characters and a handful of others can feasibly block shoot past outmaneuver or psychologically intimidate any of the others given the right circumstances. What were left with by the end of this first season is an entire universe of basketball demigods superhuman balling machines who dont care about anything but surpassing themselves and each other. And personally I think thats pretty much all you need.
80 /100
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