Guest Author - Kelly Greene
The ninth episode of the second season of Kuroko no Basuke is where the preliminary game between Seirin High School and Kirisaki Dai Ichi High School play out. Whichever team wins will be the one that advances to the Winter Cup. Both Aomine and Kise are in the crowd, watching the game. And it is an important game for Seirin.
Because it was Hanimaya Makoto, a member of the Kirisaki Dai Ichi Basketball Team, that injured Kiyoshi Teppei during the championship league game they played against Seirin the previous year. For Seirin, is it is a revenge match of the highest order.
Kuroko gets the ball at the start of the game and uses the Vanishing Drive to break past the offense and passes it to Kiyoshi, who scores a basket with an alley-oop. All of the members of the Kirisaki Dai Ichi team—Hanimaya excluded—confirm quickly that the team they are playing against consists of a roster of good players.
Hanimaya’s response to this is, “I don’t care if they’re prodigies or geniuses. Break them, and they’re all just trash.”
It becomes apparent that the style Kirisaki Dai Ichi plays is one that utilizes “invisible” fouls, where they foul the members of the opposing team in such a way that the referee cannot see them. The freshmen on Seirin’s bench notice from Kirisaki Dai Ichi’s game record that every team that has ever played against them has had their star players injured or taken out of the game early.
After a foul that Kiyoshi prevents, Hanimaya warns the center to stay out of his way. In response, Kiyoshi tells him that he doesn’t mind if he’s the only one getting hurt, but he won’t tolerate Hanimaya hurting the rest of the Seirin Basketball team.
Kagami gets fouled and starts to hit the player responsible, when Kuroko grabs his ankle and knocks him to the floor. Kuroko lectures Kagami for letting his anger control him and tells him that they need to win with their basketball, not with their fists. During the time out that results from this, Kiyoshi decides that he will handle the inside himself, even though that is the area where the play is the roughest. He tells Riko that if she subs him out now, he’ll hate her for the rest of his life.
Kiyoshi, somehow, is managing to hold the inside down, despite numerous “invisible” fouls that have left bruises all over his body. Hyuuga attempts to make a 3-pointer, and misses, and then Kagami tries to take a shot, and also misses. Kiyoshi calms them down by saying, “We should play our own way,” but it angers Hanimaya, who snaps his fingers to signal a team member to do permanent damage to Kiyoshi.
The team member signaled knocks Kiyoshi down and slams his elbow into Kiyoshi’s face. While Hanimaya is telling Hyuuga that it was just an accident, Kiyoshi is getting back on his feet. Facing Hanimaya directly, he tells the Kirisaki Dai Ichi player that the reason he came back to Seirin was to be their shield.
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