The focus on actual basketball in this series is very important to me. What else is important? Pacing and that is why this series is so great. Don’t spend too much time showing off a bunch of unimportant teams. Give us the strong ones with key characters and blow by the others. That is what they gave us in this episode and it worked out well. We just want to see the fight against Yosen.
The preliminaries for the Winter Cup are finally here. Things are heating up because you can’t be dropping games at this point and everyone knows it. Also, there is nothing but strong teams left and that means we have ourselves a high pressure situation. We can’t all be in the special bracket. Seirin has their first matchup of the tournament ready and it was supposed to be a tough one for them. The other team has a star at the center position which was Seirin’s weakest spot. Mitobe can only do so much and he was still not as tall as Kagami. Well, all of that changed when Kiyoshi came back. His natural abilities make it so that he is very difficult to guard. The height advantage is key enough, but it is the large hands and passing instincts that are really important. Kiyoshi is a center that can pass like a point guard. Jaokim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has a little bit of that in him. Seirin ended up winning their game easily and Kuroko didn’t even get to show off yet. They didn’t really need him though. Kuroko could have been benched in that game because Seirin has found balance. The stress on injuries being key in this series is a nice touch.
Current Opinion of the Show:
This was really good for the series in many ways. It gave us a nice look into what we can expect from Seirin moving forward. They have three key members that move the ball extremely well now and ball movement is key to a great team. Good teams have isolation play and great teams share the ball. They also stressed two very important elements of real basketball. The first is the importance of interior play. When you can rebound and protect the hoop, good things happen. That is why quality centers are in such high demand in the NBA. Shooters feel confident because their misses will be recovered and defenders can feel at ease knowing that someone is there to stop drives. You don’t want to fuck up like that, but it is nice to have a safety net. The next thing is injuries playing a key role in a team’s success. Would Seirin have won the last tournament with Kiyoshi at center? Probably not because Kagami was not ready to take on Aomine. However, things would have been at least a little different. You can’t simply replace important players and that is why injuries suck. Not only is a team crippled, but the player obviously wants to be on the court. This series can be too realistic at times.
The only thing left to do is be excited for the actual matches. The showdown with Yosen is approaching quickly and that means we will be able to see an actual match. I need Production I.G to show off their deep pockets with this one. The difference in animation quality between the first and second seasons of this series is quite significant and I am really looking forward to this match. Also, Kuroko needs to show off that new drive of his. It is supposed to be his declaration of war against Aomine, but it also means something even more important. It is going to show the Generation of Miracles that being a phantom passer isn’t the only thing that Kuroko is aiming to do. This may be a phantom technique, but it shows that Kuroko is trying to expand his game. If he adds a shot to his repertoire, then we are going to see a fairly complete player pretty soon. I know that he is fairly complacent, but Aomine can’t sit on a roof while Seirin plays Yosen. This is going to be big time. I guess the only other thing I care about is my favorite ship in the series. Riko and Hyuuga are a fairly interesting pair that I would like to see more from. Having said that, there isn’t a lot of leftover time in the series to focus on stuff like that.