Manga of the Month: Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball (黒子のバスケ) by Tadatoshi Fujimaki

narutaki_icon_4040_round Kuroko’s vision of basketball is pretty simple: create ultimate teamwork to defeat teams reliant on star players. Kuroko experienced the later during his middle school years as he played the mysterious 6th man on his team nicknamed The Generation of Miracles. Kuroko observed the crumbling of his former team before each of them moved on to rival high schools.

Now Kuroko has joined Seirin’s still fledgling basketball club with some talented 2nd years and a unique coach. There he meets the returned from America Taiga whose potential is palpable spurning Kuroko to make him a bold promise to “make you the best in Japan.” They vow to confront the Generation of Miracles as they make their way to nationals.

Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s version of basketball sometimes borders on magic, much like the escalation of shonen battle manga. And that is also reflected in the detailed artwork of the sports scenes. His character Kuroko adds a very unique take on sport as well.

At first, I didn’t know what to expect of a quiet, mild character like Kuroko. He is a fare-cry from the stoic or hot-blooded character you’d imagine in the lead role. On the basketball court, he plays a nearly invisible player whose strength lies in passing the ball. Still Kuroko is a genius-type, but he is such a genius that many times only the other geniuses can tell how good he is. That being said, at the beginning of the story he can barely make a layup or any other play beyond passing or stealing the ball.

Kuroko’s desire to create a team that works in perfect unison means he puts a lot of focus on the improvement of others, which mirrors his ability on the court to divert attention from himself. In most instances, he doesn’t seem concerned about himself at all which is shocking. But there is no doubt as the series goes on that this beautiful ideal of Kuroko’s makes him shine brightly.

The rapport between the Seirin members is exactly what Kuroko is looking for in a team and exactly what I want as a reader. I’ve never found myself more interested in basketball!

~ kate

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