The Seirin versus Touou game gets even more intense in the latest couple of episodes of Kuroko no Basket! So much for my assumption that this would be a quick game.
Kuroko’s Ignite Pass Kai gets past Aomine, which is a huge morale boost for Seirin High. The physics behind the pass is explained, as well: Kuroko spins the ball like a bullet so it has more penetrative ability, which makes it nearly impossible to stop. What’s most important about this whole move is that Aomine is completely shocked by the fact that he can’t stop it.
This episode shows how much the members of Seirin are maturing individually. For example, Kagami passes rather than taking Aomine one-on-one because he realizes he can’t win against him. This is a huge personal step, as in the past he would have run in headstrong anyway.
Kagami isn’t the only one showing maturity during this game, either. Hyuuga stands strong as the captain of the team, despite the fact that Touou is keeping Seirin on the ropes. When their inside game isn’t working, he confidently takes it on himself to draw the defense to the outside through a game of three-pointers.
Seirin’s morale takes a nosedive, though, when it’s revealed that the members of Touou understand how his Vanishing Drive works: he ducks in diagonally after misdirecting his opponent’s attention to Kagami. Because they all know how this move works, they can counter it, especially Aomine with his incredible skill with basketball. When he then mocks Kuroko for his inability to beat him, Kuroko loses it and is taken out of the game for the remainder of the half.
Watching Kuroko cry is perhaps one of the most heart-wrenching things about Kuroko no Basket thus far.
Kuroko’s breakdown leads to Kagami’s awakening. As Riko points out, Kagami shifts from saved (by Kuroko) to savior and thus unleashes his true ability, all out of the desire to bolster Kuroko’s confidence so he can come back into the game later. It’s no longer about beating Aomine for him, but about saving Kuroko. With this realization, he begins to play more like Aomine, even adopting the same kind of relaxed stance as his rival.
During halftime, Kagami talks to Kuroko about why they want to win. I love these exchanges between the two of them, because they’re usually fairly short, don’t involve anything that, on the surface anyway, is incredibly profound, and yet they are always very moving, at least for Kagami and Kuroko. You can definitely see the chemistry between these two as partners during these kinds of exchanges.
And in the second half, Kuroko is back on the court. He’s a wild card at this point because he doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve anymore, and can only play with the weapons already at his disposal. Of course, with all the training Seirin’s been doing, all of them can catch regular Ignite Passes now, which is perhaps a new twist for Touou to try to deal with.
With the amount of time this game is taking up, I’m not convinced that we’ll get to see the whole Winter Cup in this season of Kuroko no Basket unless Seirin ends up losing again. And that, I’m sure, is something none of us want to see.