Kuroko

Anime Binge-Watch Recommendation: Get Ready to Shoot the Winning Shot With Kuroko’s Basketball Season 2 on Netflix

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Hello there, fellow anime enthusiasts, and welcome to another episode of, “All of Bri’s sports have to be anime or Mario-themed.” This time, we’re getting off the bench and going back into the game with the second season of Kuroko’s Basketball on Netflix!

Surprisingly, I entered into the Kuroko’s Basketball chat fairly late. I binge-watched the first season by accident back when it hit Netflix at the beginning of the year and immediately fell in love with the Seirin High Basketball Team, however, the anime series has been around for years (it premiered in 2012 with the manga starting back in 2008). In fact, you can technically watch the entire thing over on Crunchyroll, which I did after finishing season 1 because I couldn’t wait until after halftime to see what happened to my basketball boys.

That being said, even if I’ve finished this series in its entirety, I really enjoy the dub for this anime and the release of season 2 is a nice excuse to revisit the underdog sports story I watched this winter. It’s also kinda heartwarming to see the dub voice actors geeking out so much about joining the cast, especially the ones who’d been fans of the series since it first aired almost a decade ago.

That’s not an understatement, the second season feels much more intense than the first. There’s a definite shift in tone, coupled with stunning visuals and a new vibe with the soundtrack that constantly screams, quote, “SHIT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!” I already loved the first season of Kuroko, but this one? This is the season that cemented the series as a fave sports anime for me.

 

Synopsis

Poster for Kuroko

Dim the lights, everyone, because walking onto the court is the Teiko Junior High School Basketball Team! Teiko, back in their heyday, had three perfect seasons in a row thanks to five exceptional players known as the Generation of Miracles.

However.

There was another player who all of them respected, a phantom 6th member of the team who remained in the shadows, feeling more like a rumor, or a legend.

Fast-forward to high school where an up-and-coming power player, Taiga Kagami, comes to Seirin High School and meets a super-ordinary, vanilla milkshake drinking boy name Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to discover that despite Kuroko challenging him to a game, Kuroko isn’t any good at basketball! In fact, he’s so plain that he’s impossible to see! However, Kuroko’s plainness is his greatest asset. It allows him to pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, making it look like he disappears in the blink of an eye.

Yeah, Kuroko is that 6th player from the Generation of Miracles!

Kuroko makes a pact with Kagami to defeat the other members of Generation of Miracles, who are all playing basketball at other schools. Turns out the Generation players have gotten a bit too cocky for their own good, so Kuroko, alongside Kagami and the rest of Seirin, are gonna show them THEIR style of basketball.

Recap of Season 1

Kuroko's milkshake

The first season introduces us to Seirin High School, an underdog team that’s determined to win the upcoming Inter-High tournament. The team scores itself two phenomenal players: Taiga Kagami and Tetsuya Kuroko. Kuroko is actually pretty sub-par in basketball, but there’s one thing that he’s spectacularly good at – passing the ball. Due to his unimpressive demeanor, no one notices him on the court, and Kuroko has come to use that to his advantage.

The team is constantly having to prove themselves, especially to the players of the former Generation of Miracles. The boys go up against a couple of them throughout the season (Kise, Midorima, and Aomine) and while they make a great effort, they end up losing the tournament when they go up against Aomine.

While it is a crushing blow, the team decides to not let things end there. After watching Aomine and Kise face each other at the Inter-High, it strengthens the team’s resolve to return for the Winter Cup and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Why you should watch

Seirin

In general, Kuroko’s Basketball is a fun watch with some genuinely heartfelt moments and relatable messages throughout. As always when it comes to sports anime, it’s not necessarily the sport that gets me going (but I DO like basketball), it’s the plot and the characters. The sport ends up being a storytelling vehicle for a whole lot more than half-court shots and getting in the zone (though these moments look REAL cool).

There are a variety of reasons why everyone’s playing basketball, but Kuroko’s whole point is that they do it because they like it, and that’s clearly something that his old team has forgotten. It’s interesting because Teiko was an extremely good basketball team, but their victories left members of the team feeling unsatisfied – which is explored more in the second season.

There is an argument to be made about a team consisting of good individuals, but the lack of real teamwork in a team sport made it all feel hollow. At the same time, how do you go about playing as a team if your opponents stop trying to put up a good fight and label you a monster because you got too good at the game? Characters from Teiko who, initially, sounded full of themselves, actually start to sound really sad and alone in season 2.

Aomine

Talent doesn’t mean anything if you don’t like what you do.

On the flip side, Kuroko loving basketball isn’t enough to make him good at it. Technically, he’s not really good at it at all, at least, not in the traditional sense. Kuroko’s only good at one thing (passing) and he’s good at it in a sort of “anime prodigy” level, but once you figure out the trick, that’s it for him.

So Kuroko and Seirin have to get creative, which is definitely demonstrated in the second season. Kuroko’s developing more moves and lasting a lot longer in games this time around. The difference between Seirin and Teiko is that Seirin is actually including Kuroko in more ways than “pass to the ace player.” He actually does MORE than pass because he’s using his skills differently, and really, it feels like he’s being included more on the court.

He’s not just a secret weapon to call on, he’s a full member of the team.

This season, more so than the first one, really feels more like a team effort. That’s not to say that the first one didn’t feel like that, but after dealing with that loss from before, Seirin REALLY feels like they’re out to prove something. I’m constantly impressed with this series because it could’ve easily left things up to Kagami and Kuroko (ESPECIALLY Kagami as he becomes more of a threat), but it’s not just about them.

Kiyoshi

There are episodes dedicated to other characters besides our main two and we get to see how important the Winter Cup is for everyone. We get to find out more about the team captain (Hyuga) and how he, and the team, initially came together. We especially get to find out more about Kiyoshi, the Iron Heart who’s playing in his last tournament.

Season 2 also gives us more of Kagami’s backstory, something we hadn’t gotten much of in season 1.

Kid Kagami

We learn about his history with the game and how he came to love it thanks to a new character, Himuro, and his past coach, Alexandra. While she does fall into the “flirts with absolutely everyone” trope (as her voice actress points out in that tweet I shared), it was a nice surprise to see that Kagami’s teacher used to play for the WNBA.

As a fan of the fact that Seirin is coached by a girl who, most definitely, knows her shit (Riko), I was happy to see that Kagami, with his massive amount of potential, was previously coached by a woman. Riko continues to show that she’s vital to the team, helping them with training, helping them strategize so they can continue to win, and even making tough decisions on who gets to play and who has to sit out.

She’s keeping the boys in line like the absolute queen that she is.

Riko running

All of these plot threads are told in some truly brilliant animation when the teams hit the court. The moves the characters pull off got a major upgrade, looking like something out of a life and death battle you’d see in a shonen anime.

Like.

Kuroko is straight-up shooting energy blasts with his passes.

This footwork is unbelievable.

And this is just a behemoth of a final boss.

The music got an upgrade, too, sounding a lot more dramatic than it did in the first season. It fits with the sudden burst of symbolism we get hit with, like Kagami “coming through the locked door” that holds the Generation of Miracles, and the intense description of what it means for players to enter The Zone. It’s absolutely over-the-top, but part of me feels like this is a good representation of what athletes probably feel like when they play ball. Since games in this series take a couple of episodes and you get to see what the players are thinking, it drives home the fact of how much energy these boys put into this game. We feel the excitement of victory, the ache of defeat, and the exhaustion of playing such a demanding sport.

Of course, no sports anime is complete without shipping, and trust me, there are a LOT of top-tier ships to choose from. I stand by my thesis of this anime being a Scott Pilgrim analogy where Kagami just keeps having to face off against Kuroko’s “evil” exes, the Generation of Miracles ranging from “childhood friend who encouraged Kuroko to play when he nearly gave up,” to, “guy who will stab you, like, seriously, stay away from him.” And that’s just from the Generation of Miracles – assuming you wanna pair one of them with Kuroko as Kagami does have chemistry with a couple of them since he’s the new hotness on the court. Don’t get me started on Seirin or the teams that the former Generation of Miracles moved on to, and just… yeah, you need a flow chart to keep up.

Kuroko tired

You can watch the second season of Kuroko’s Basketball over on Netflix – dubbed and subbed.

(Image: Tadatoshi Fujimaki)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)