A classic sports anime series is hitting Netflix this month. Kuroko no Basket, also known as Kuroko’s Basketball, arrives on the streaming platform on January 15, and you should definitely consider adding it to your watch list. Whether you've never seen or heard of Kuroko's Basketball before, or you're an existing fan that needs a refresher on the series, let’s take a look at what you need to know before you start your basketball binge watch.
Kuroko’s Basketball: Origin & Synopsis
Kuroko’s Basketball was written and illustrated by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. The series received serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump from 2008-14 and was adapted into a 75-episode anime series by Production I.G from 2012-15. It was previously licensed by Crunchyroll and now Netflix. Alongside the anime series, there are two anime films, Kuroko’s Basketball: Winter Cup Compilation (2016) and Kuroko’s Basketball The Movie: Last Game (2017). Tadatoshi Fujimaki also produced a sequel to the series entitled Kuroko’s Basketball: Extra Game (2014-16).
The series opens with an epic tale about five basketball players known as the “Generation of Miracles,” who dominated every other team. After graduating from middle school, the five basketball stars went to different high schools that had top basketball teams. But though people only knew of five star players in the Generation of Miracles, there was a sixth star member of the team -- a quiet teenager named Tetsuya Kuroko.
Now a high school student, Kuroko attends Seirin High School, which has a little-known basketball team. Kuroko, Taiga Kagami, and the other Seirin High basketball members plan to make their school the number one team in Japan while also taking on the Generation of Miracles players in the process.
Kuroko's Basketball's All-Star Players
The main two protagonists of Kuroko's Basketball are the first-year Seirin High students, Tetsuya Kuroko and Taiga Kagami. Tetsuya Kuroko is the “sixth man” on the Generation of Miracles team and is known for his incredible passing abilities and misdirection skills. He’s quiet and blends-in the crowd rather than stand out, which he uses as an advantage while on the court. Taiga Kagami is a gifted basketball player and plays the power forward position at Seirin. He’s known for his jumping ability and can easily match up to the Generation of Miracles players with his great offensive and defensive skills.
As for the supporting cast, you should take note of a few other Seirin High basketball players. Junpei Hyuga is the team captain and “clutch shooter,” and Teppei Kiyoshi plays the center position. He’s the heart and soul of the team. After suffering a possible career-ending knee injury, he opted to rehab his knee in the hope of playing basketball once again with his team.
The last set of key characters are all the members of the Generation of Miracles. They are the individuals that Seirin High has to compete against to win it all. The team consists of Ryota Kise, Shintaro Midorima, Daiki Aomine, Atsushi Murasakibara and Seijuro Akashi. All these players have high basketball IQs and “superhuman” basketball abilities, making them near-impossible to defeat on the court.
Why You Should Watch Kuroko's Basketball
If you haven’t seen Kuroko’s Basketball, you are definitely in for an exciting and action-packed sports series. The manga and anime did an excellent job in conveying suspenseful in-game moments; characters are drawn with intense facial expressions as they desperately want to win, and as viewers, we can't help but cheer them on as if we are also part of the crowd.
It should be noted, though, that this series has drawn some criticism for its unrealistic portrayal of basketball. It's true that the Generation of Miracles players have some godly basketball skills; however, one could argue that these skills aren’t as far-fetched as they sound since we do see some ridiculous ball-handling skills from actual NBA players. If we were to draw comparisons, Shintaro Midorima, a shooting guard who can shoot a three anywhere on the court, is analogous to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Another thing Kuroko's Basketball has going for it is that Tetsuya Kuroko isn’t like most shonen sports anime protagonists. Rather than being the All-Star player on the team, Kuroko prefers to be in the shadow, helping his teammates become better players. He has this incredible misdirection ability that means opponents can't keep their eyes on him to defend since he’s always moving with or without the ball. He also has a brotherly friendship with his teammate, Kagami, on and off the court.
Aside from Kuroko and Kagami’s friendship, this series also has some great, classic rivalries. In every episode, we see Seirin High’s basketball team members trying to improve their game to take on the Generation of Miracles, who are introduced gradually as the team progresses.
So, while you are waiting for the latest Slam Dunk movie to arrive, you should check out or rewatch Kuroko’s Basketball. After all, you can never have too much basketball in your life.