Things start going downhill fast for Seirin in this episode of Kuroko no Basket.
Hanamiya’s horrible attitude and underhanded tactics begin to really anger Kuroko, for obvious reasons. What’s interesting is that, since Kuroko is so reserved, it isn’t as easy to notice that he’s angry as it is with, say, Kagami, for instance. And when his teammates do notice that he’s angry, it actually startles them a bit.
And according to Aomine, Kuroko’s anger is exactly why Seirin will win this game. The exchange between Aomine and Hanamiya is really interesting. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I found Aomine to be a gigantic jerk in the first season of Kuroko no Basket. In this episode especially, though, he displays quite a few redeeming qualities, especially his respect for Kuroko. But more on that later.
Hanamiya’s many personality flaws notwithstanding, he’s apparently a genius, which is pretty impressive. On top of that, he has an eidetic memory when it comes to games, so he analyzes his opponents’ movements to figure out how to stop them. It would be nice if he employed that tactic more than encouraging his team to literally beat up their opponents. Unfortunately, since he actually enjoys watching people suffer, it doesn’t seem like he’ll change tactics anytime soon.
But even a genius is no match for Kuroko’s misdirection and keen sense of place. He comes back into the game and breaks up the normal attack plan by intercepting Hanamiya’s steals, which in itself is a pretty radical concept. This is only possible with an intense level of trust from the rest of his team, as Aomine points out, because no one on Seirin knows for sure when Kuroko will pass, or who he will pass to. They simply need to trust that Kuroko will get there in time to prevent Hanamiya from stealing.
Aomine’s discussion of trusting Kuroko is really telling. All of his commentary on this game, both to his own team and to Hanamiya, shows just how much he respects Kuroko, even though he’ll probably never say so aloud. Given that Aomine and Kuroko were light and shadow at Teiko, it’s important to realize that Aomine does respect Kuroko. In other words, he isn’t just focused on himself all the time; he understands that Kuroko is a really special team player, regardless of his individual ability.
And Riko finally decides to take Kiyoshi out of the game. Hopefully the next episode will have the team worrying less about Kiyoshi and focusing more on winning, now.