This is a follow up to my first article in this series. So much of Kuroko no Basuke happens through the incredibly animated action, but there are also plenty of great moments that take place out-of-play. Again, these moments are in no particular order except for the final moment in this list. Top 10 lists of actual basketball plays are in the works, although they might end up being split up into different categories (dribbles, passes, dunks etc.).
Anyway, on with the list!
#10: Akashi forces Kagami below his line of site
[References: Chapter 178, Episode 55]
I think part of what makes this moment so amazing is that it takes place in the middle of the Winter Cup semi-final between Shutoku and Rakuzan, during the half time intermission. As Rakuzan head off the court to take a breather, Seirin head on to warm up for their match against Kaijo.
Anyone else would be far too focussed on the game at hand, but the young Rakuzan captain has no problem with diverting his attention to put Kagami in his place.
Whereas Akashi’s attempt to stab Kagami before the Winter Cup could be seen as a display of his inclination towards extreme behaviour, this could be seen as an example of his sheer dominating aura;
Effortlessly, he forces Kagami to the ground, seemingly through will rather than strength, making this fact crystal clear; Kagami Taiga is not yet Akashi Seijuro’s equal.
I love how you see Kagami slowly being lowered to the ground by Akashi in the anime, as he’s powerless to do anything about it. This really serves to show just how absolute Akashi is both as a basketball player and a person; those who he does not see as equals are simply brushed aside by the miracle.
The power he holds over others is monstrous and solidifies why he was unchallenged for the captaincy role at Rakuzan.
#9: Kuroko becomes Seirin’s Kuroko Tetsuya
[References: Chapter 57, Episode 20]
Early on in the series it is often hammered home that Kuroko is not like the other members of the Generation of Miracles. That, although he was an intricate part of their team, he lacks the arrogance and selfishness that his teammates grew to possess.
However, After the devastating loss against Aomine and Touou, Kuroko eventually realises that he does carry some of this selfishness. He admits that, although he obviously likes being at Seirin, he was using Kagami as a way to hit back at his ex-teammates for everything he endured at middle school.
The stronger his old teammates became, the less they trusted and relied on Kuroko. He wanted them to acknowledge his style and Kagami was the perfect light to suit his style of play. It didn’t have to be Kagami, he was simply in the right place at the opportune time.
As Aomine proposes, much later in the series, perhaps it was fate which brought the seven of them together to Japan, in the same school year.
He decides that he no longer wants to hang on to thinking of himself as Teiko’s Kuroko Tetsuya, but to embrace his future at Seirin. By abandoning his rigid style of play consisting only of passing, Kuroko decides to create his own style to grow in strength alongside the rest of his teammates.
It’s not Kuroko who was different to the Generation of Miracles, but Kagami; the one whose belief in Kuroko never faltered once he saw the true extent of his abilities and effort. Both Kuroko and Kagami resolve to become stronger individually in order to be even stronger when working together.
Kuroko has subtracted the selfishness from his reasons for wanting to defeat the rest of the Generation of Miracles, instead choosing to inject it into his own personal style; Kuroko’s basketball.
#8: Kuroko asks Aomine to help him learn how to shoot
[References: Chapter 142 & 145, Episode 44 & 45]
After their reconciliation, both as ex-teammates and as friends at the end of Serin and Touou’s Winter Cup showdown, Kuroko and Aomine meet the very next day where Kuroko audaciously asks Aomine to teach him how to shoot.
Aomine is comically hurt that Kuroko would drag him out so soon after beating him, but ultimately pleased that Kuroko came to him instead of Kagami. What’s important is that, once Kuroko thanks him for his tutoring later in the series, Aomine finally realises just how much he owes Kuroko.
His drive to play basketball is restored; the fire in his heart once again lit. Aomine realises that Kuroko didn’t just want to beat him to prove his style of basketball was viable, he wanted to save him from despair by giving him a genuine challenge and something to fight for.
The two were inseparable in middle school and, although they now walk different paths, Aomine now acknowledges how much of the good in his life is because of Kuroko. The least he can do is help him become stronger as a player.
This event also serves to help Kuroko further develop his own style of basketball, the style which Akashi fixed him to in middle school. One thing that Aomine has always shown to admire is Kuroko’s tenacity and unwillingness to give up, which he displays through his willingness to learn and enhance his playstyle.
#7: The Teiko basketball club first string get ice cream with Kise for the first time
[Reference: Episode 22.5 OVA]
This moment, although it doesn’t have much significance in the plot of the series, shows the Teiko basketball club at their most relaxed and at the peak of their friendship.
After Kise is promoted to the first string, he is invited to get ice cream with the rest of the team. What you realise in this moment is that, although Kise was always a popular pretty boy, the other members of the Generation of Miracles really weren’t that popular outside of their own circle.
In fact, they’re all pretty weird in their own ways when you think about it; from Midorima’s Oha Asa horoscope obsession to Kuroko’s tendency to disappear. Coupled with their genius-like talent, it’s easy so see why other students may have had trouble relating to the GoM.
It’s possible to think that, without each other, they all might have been quite lonely.
Again, the question of fate bringing them all together arises again. It’s important to remember that they’re just school kids, not even in high school at this point, and I think this scene does a great job of showing that they were still able to mess around and have fun.
The scene also ends up being pretty funny, as they work together to stop a man who has stolen a woman’s purse. Midorima shoots Murasakibara’s maibo sweets in order to stop the robber and he’s not too happy about it…
It’s moments like this that make it so easy for me to imagine them all singing ‘Regal Generation’ after a game together, a song that I’d love to see featured in the Extra Game movie (wink wink, nudge nudge).
#6: The origin of Hyuuga’s Clutch Time
[References: Chapter 28, Episode 11]
Alright, so this one of kind of a play and kind of isn’t. It isn’t in an actual game, at least. Just as things are looking desolate for Seirin in their game against Shutoku we get a flashback to Hyuuga and Riko training.
Because Hyuuga wants to up his shooting accuracy, Riko deduces that the best way to do this would be to make sure that Hyuuga is under pressure with every shot that he takes. A slight running joke throughout the series is Hyuuga’s hobby of collecting Japanese military general figures.
So, Riko decides that for every shot Hyuuga misses, she will break a different figure. Cue a humourous montage of precious figures being broken as Hyuuga becomes more and more clutch.
Although it’s no Zone reveal, the reveal and explanation of Hyuuga’s Clutch Time is a poignant moment for Seirin and a great display of his leadership style.
#5: Midorima thinks he has a good disguise
[References: Chapter 43, Episode 16]
One thing I noticed, when reading both my past Top 10 list and this one, is that I hadn’t really included any funny moments.
Make no mistake, there are plenty of hilarious moments in KnB, but this one in particular really illustrates just how innocent the interactions between the Generation of Miracles can be. Midorima, being his usual stubborn tsundere self, wants to watch the Inter-High match between Seirin and Touou, but doesn’t want to give the impression that he cares.
So, he tells his teammates that he doesn’t want to watch the game and crafts a disguise.
Unfortunately, his disguise is, well… awful. Kise instantly sees through it, unsurprisingly, and Midorima is so incredibly shocked that his disguise has failed. The fact that Midorima genuinely thought he had everyone fooled just goes to show how odd and quirky the Generation of Miracles are.
#4: Aomine punches Haizaki
[References: Chapter 173, Episode 53]
Although physical violence is something that is often used in Kuroko no Basuke and other sports series’ for comedic value, it isn’t often used in a serious manner. I think you can count on one hand the number of serious punches that are thrown in the entirety of KnB, but only one of them isn’t used during an emotionally-charged moment between two character we are supposed to sympathise with.
After being overwhelmed by Kise’s Perfect Copy, Haizaki waits outside the arena for revenge. Aomine sees this coming and also leaves the arena prematurely, leaving his team behind.
As Aomine tells Haizaki during their confrontation, he has been beat by Kise and Kaijo fairly; trying to fight them will not solve anything.
He understands just how much the semi-final means to both Kuroko, Kise and all their teammates; how hard they have fought for this chance. Haizaki seeks to undo all of that purely out of selfishness and reckless disregard.
The audience is fully encouraged to think, “awwwww yeah, knock him the f*** out, Aomine!”, which really makes this scene a fun one to watch rather than the emotional tension that is felt, for example, when Kuroko and Kagami exchange punches during their first game against Midorima and Shutoku.
Aomine was fully prepared to fight to not only make sure that Kaijo and Seirin’s match could take place with both teams at full-strength, but to protect two of his closest friends from middle school.
A far-cry from the cold and distant Aomine that we’re introduced to at the beginning of the series, he does this knowing that Haizaki wouldn’t dare tell anyone that Aomine Daiki put him down in one punch…
It’s such an incredibly bad-ass thing to do, followed by Aomine hilariously having absolutely no idea what to do next and awkwardly walking off, saying;
“Let’s see… Now what should I do…? Well… Guess it’ll work out, somehow”
This moment also seems to have a positive effect on Haizaki, as he chooses not to throw away his basketball shoes as he did at Teiko, after being told to quit the team by Akashi. Momoi also speculates the same at a later time; that, deep down, Haizaki wanted to be stopped before his emotions took over and he did something rash.
#3: Aomine tells Hanamiya that he will lose against Seirin
[References: Chapter 103, Episode 35]
Hanamiya is, really, the only completely irredeemable character in the whole series. Even Haizaki shows possible signs of a change of heart. Hanamiya, on the other hand, just loves to injure people for shits and giggles; not for popularity, not for girls, not even for victory.
With Seirin battered, bruised and caught in Kirisaki Daiichi’s spider web, Hanamiya is in high spirits when he heads to the bathroom during the half time intermission and meets Aomine Daiki.
Hanamiya simply can’t believe what he’s hearing when Aomine tells him that he has no chance of winning, purely because he has made Kuroko angry.
Has Aomine ever seen Kuroko angry? We have no idea, but the amount of respect he has for his ex-teammate is still very telling. Bear in mind that this occurs before Kuroko and Kagami beat Aomine at the Winter Cup, which makes Aomine’s unwavering belief in Kuroko even more surprising.
This is just another moment which shows the mutual respect between the members of Teiko’s basketball club, especially how highly Aomine regards Kuroko. Even if he thinks Kuroko’s style is ineffective against him, he knows how devastating it can be against anyone else.
[Mental note to give angry Kuroko his own entry in the next list]
Even though Hanamiya thinks he done a good thing by making Kuroko angry, he has no idea what he has unleashed upon his team. Hell hath no fury like a phantom sixth-man scorned…
#2: Kise’s “I love this team” moment in the Winter Cup semi-final
[References: Chapter 195, Episode 62]
As I proposed in my last list, when Kise was looking for a high school he wanted a genuine team where he felt a sense of belonging; a notion that eventually fell apart in Teiko.
Throughout the series we see his love for his teammates at Kaijo grow and, much like Kuroko, he drops his past and fully commits to being Kise Ryouta; the first-year ace of Kaijo. As the Winter Cup semi-final reaches its climax and both him and Kuroko return to the court, Kise expresses his desire to give everything for his team.
I’m not sure what it is about this moment, but there’s something about how Kise’s face is framed in the manga panel which makes me prefer it to the anime’s adaptation. I think the manga does a better job of capturing his sincerity in this moment.
Although it’s built up across the series, including the short flashback of Kise joining Kaijo’s basketball club just beforehand, this single moment really is the emotional pay-off to Kise’s entire character arc.
#1 Momoi joins the Generation of Miracles in a game of streetball on Kuroko’s birthday
[Reference: Episode 75.5 OVA]
This OVA, in its entirety, is exactly how I wanted the original series to end once I had finished the manga. The episode takes place shortly after the Winter Cup and details the events which occur on Kuroko’s birthday. I could probably write a Top 10 moments list, just from this episode alone.
One scene in particular, when all of the Generation of Miracles gather for a game of streetball on Kuroko’s Birthday is just so incredibly fulfilling.
To see everyone being so nice to each other, Akashi and Midorima admiring one another’s play, Aomine saying hi to Akashi (Oreshi) for the first time since middle school, Kuroko and Aomine fist-bumping again… It’s just such an emotional payoff that I think the series desperately needed for the Generation of Miracles.
We spent the entire series watching Kuroko slowly reconcile with his ex-teammates and restoring their love for basketball, so it was nothing short of touching to see them all having fun together. As they play a series of 3-on-3 games, Momoi acts as the audience surrogate; we see through her eyes as everything she and Kuroko lost at Teiko is restored.
Even the more introverted members of the GoM, the ones that resisted at first, still turned up (*cough* Midorima and Murasakibara *cough*), because how could they not? They owe so much to Kuroko, his kind heart and his unconditional forgiveness. Whether they had to make a short journey from within Tokyo, or the long, southern trek from Akita; they all found their way to help celebrate the phantom sixth-man’s birthday.
Just like Momoi, we’re broken from our reverie as the stray ball rolls over to her. The scene, which is beautifully set to the final OP of the series (‘Memories’ by Granrodeo) as well as the OP from the Teiko arc (‘Zero’ by Kensho Ono), emotionally crescendos as she is invited to join her former teammates in the games. The entire Teiko first string, from their second year onwards, is finally whole again.
For me, this whole scene feels like the big emotional payoff for the friendship-side of Kuroko no Basuke and was my one major criticism of the end of the original series. To see them all together, enjoying Kuroko’s birthday was so heartwarming and, frankly, all I wanted from a final episode.
There you have it, another ten of my favourite out-of-play moments from Kuroko no Basuke. I’m going to be honest, I could probably write another ten. There are a few things I noticed when writing this piece; a lot of Aomine love in this one, a distinct lack of Murasakibara and very little non-GoM characters in general. I might write an article, at some point, that focuses on some of the support characters in the series.