Title: Kuroko no Basket Genres: Comedy, School, Shounen, Sports Author: Tadoshi, Fujimaku Artist: Tadoshi, Fujimaku Publication: Shounen Jump (Weekly) Start Date: Dec 8, 2008 End Date: Ongoing Number of chapters at review: 122 Number of chapters read by reviewer: 122
There are bad basketball players, and there are good basketball players. Then there are very good players and then there come experts. A level above experts are geniuses. And between geniuses, once every decade, a person is born, who is considered a miracle. Now imagine a basketball team, which consist not out of one, but out of six of these miracles. A whole “generation of miracles”. But such a team existed only in the past, when they all went to the same middle school. Every one of them has joined a different high school now, meaning that from friends and comrades they have become rivals and enemies.
One of these miracles is Kuroku Tetsuya, a young boy with no visible physical aspects which would justify his name as one from the generation of miracles. But that’s only outside the basketball court. When he steps on the court he shows his true colors. Together with his fellow comrade from the basketball club Kagami Taiga, these two made a vow to each other to become Japan’s No.1 basketball players together with the rest of their team and defeat the “generation of miracles”!
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Tadoshi’s art is somewhat special. Throughout the whole chapter the art maintains a stable level of “mediocrity”, in other words, there’s nothing special about it. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It’s pretty much standard. BUT! Occasionally, when the story requires it… the art explodes! It becomes beautiful, breath-taking, astonishing, it absorbs your all and everything. But like I said, it’s only occasionally, the rest of the time the art is nothing special and that’s why I gave this section only a 7.
Kuroko no Basket being a sports manga, it features a lot of “humans”, a lot of bodies in various different positions, camera angles and that kind of stuff. Tadoshi’s specialty does not lie in detailed drawings of the body. Instead, he makes them “alive”. With the help of intriguing camera angles and a lot of speed lines, you can almost see the characters literally jump, run and pass the ball around on top of the pages.
Kuroko no Basket’s plot is the standard plot of a sports manga, which follows the logical plot line of a team playing, training, winning, training, losing, training even harder, winning, losing, training, you know the rest. A review has to be biased anyway, so I’ll give this section a 7 because for me the aspect of originality and innovational ideas for a plot are the most important thing in a story and unfortunately Kuroko no Basket does not feature many of those. Don’t get me wrong. This manga has a stable and constantly moving plot, with one big plot line, but for a plot-twist lover like me, this just ain’t my cup of interest.
You think Bleach has an overfilled cast? You’re wrong. Kuroko no Basket has. For starters, every team has at least 5 starters, who play on the field from the very beginning. Then there are substitutes on the bench and also a respective coach. One team easily needs at least 10 unique characters, who differ in both character design as well as their inner attributes. That aside, not only have they to be unique, but also easy to remember. Also, every character needs at least some small amount of character development, meaning he has to change bit to bit every chapter. And that’s only one team. Over the course of a tournament our heroes meet at least 5 of them and every character has to meet the above conditions.
That’s why Tadoshi plays a little trick. Every team (aside from our heroes) can be shortly summarized with two main players. Two out of five, feature indeed everything mentioned above, but the rest of the team is pretty much fodder. And last but not least, this is a sports manga. It has a fast-running, ping-pong type of pace where the characters literally run over the pages and where we as a reader care about a lot of things, but definitely not a characters inner emotional conflicts and worries. Kuroko no Basket is not a storage for philosophical types of characters like Light or Akiyama. Instead it includes lots of Tensai Sakuragi kind of steteotypes.
Kuroko no Basket’s themes can be described as “team play”. Both in the literal and figurative meaning of the word. The literal part obviously goes for the actual basketball playing. One head is good. Two heads are better. The same thing applies for sports as well. Change heads for arms and two for ten and you get a basic concept of what happens on the court. Next comes the figurative meaning. This time it’s about what happens outside the court. Everyone who plays on the basketball team has a strong relationship between each other. Their different character lay-ups make Kuroko no Basket especially enjoyable to read. It gives it a little special “touch” to the otherwise strictly sports based story.
No matter how you look at it, a sports manga about basketball is not the epitome of originality. Additionally, it also a shounen what makes it even more predictable. Actually, I’m kind of clueless what to write in this section. There are no super-ultra-unimaginable plot twists to the story and neither does the story goes to any original sub-plots. It focuses on one story showing the progress of our heroes. Kuroko no Basket is not something you read to get inspiration for new ideas. You read it to simply to enjoy the story and the art.
This manga is not great. It’s good. It’s not that type of manga that sells volumes in 7 digits numbers, but it still has its fair amount of a fan base. Being a shounen sports manga the plot becomes predictable to no end, but that rule applies only to the end result of a match. What will happen in the four quarters during the match is something inexplicable. I guarantee that several times you will literally go “BADASS!!!” while reading the various matches. Also, those little “filler chapters” after a match or a training session, which are usually filled with comedy purpose serve as a nice little extra and will occasionally summon a smile on your face, if not even make you straight out laugh.