Kuroko no Basuke, known as The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays in English, is a sports anime based off the Kuroko no Basuke manga written by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. It is appropriate for all ages, as the characters in the show range from high school freshmen to highschool seniors.
The anime follows a unique format, which allows it to stand out in a vast sea of sports anime. Instead of following a physically strong and powerful player, it focuses on Tetsuya Kuroko. At first glance, Kuroko seems incredibly weak. He is short, has no presence, and his technical basketball skills are practically non-existent.
But the way the anime opens lets us know that Kuroko is not an ordinary person. “The Teiko Middle School basketball club. An incredibly strong team with one hundred members and three consecutive championship wins. Amongst their brilliant record, the generation of five prodigies was known as the ‘Generation of Miracles.’ However, there was a strange rumor concerning the Generation of Miracles. Despite being relatively unknown and lacking a game record, there was one more member recognized by the five prodigies. A phantom sixth man.”
Kuroko’s lack of presence ends up being his greatest strength. He combines it with misdirection in order to confuse people into believing he’s vanished into thin air. And while he can’t shoot or dribble, he excels at making passes. He rarely touches the ball for more than a few seconds at a time, which allows him to create openings for his teammates to score.
When Kuroko meets Kagami Taiga, that’s where the plot-line really takes off. Because Kagami is the typical strong, powerful player that most sports anime center around. I started watching this anime because stories that have the “background characters” as the central focus have always fascinated me.
Kagami has returned to Japan from America, but he doesn't expect Japanese basketball to amount to much. Then he learns about the Generation of Miracles and decides that he wants to beat them. When he announces that to Kuroko, the expert passer decides that he will do what he can to make sure Kagami can beat them.
Some of the battles against the prodigies end up being ones where Kuroko and Kagami come out the victors. And some of the battles are ones they lose. But there is always an adequate amount of growth after a loss before a win occurs, which is another reason I find this series so fascinating. Very few anime pace themselves as well as Kuroko no Basuke does.
This is a great anime that explores the controversy of victory by pitting Kuroko and Kagami—who believe that winning is only satisfying when it is done with their team—against the Generation of Miracles, who believe that the only thing that matters is victory, no matter what the cost.
I watched this anime on CrunchyRoll, where I pay for their premium services.