May Contain Spoilers
I’m having so much fun with Haikyu!! that I decided to give another sports manga a go. Thank to Viz, I was off to the races with Vol 1 & 2 of Kuroko’s Basketball. The series is being published in omnibus form, featuring two volumes per book. I read this digitally, through the Viz app on my Kindle Fire, and the presentation was crisp, clear, and a complete joy to consume.
Much like volleyball, I am not a basketball fan. My sporting tastes go more towards football and hockey (yo, I’m from Detroit, so hockey is in my blood). Despite my apathy for the sport, I enjoyed Kuroko. A good sports manga is more about the players than the game, and Kuroko’s Basketball was no exception. Taiga Kagami and Tetsuya Kuroko are the main protagonists, and I liked both of them very much. Kuroko is, by nature, a quiet guy who fades into the background. It’s his special skill. Blending in to the woodwork. Kagami, by contract, is big and bold, and he makes a splash wherever he goes. I’m not sure which I like better, but for this volume, I think Kagami takes the lead.
Kuroko played basketball in middle school. He was the phantom sixth player on the legendary team from Teiko. The other five players were known as “The Miracle Generation,” and these prodigies were all standouts. While the five made the record books and were featured in sports publications, Kuroko faded into obscurity. All of the miracle players went off to different high profile high schools, except for Kuroko. He decided to go to the newly established Seirin High School. With only a year of history, the basketball team consists of only 2nd years – until the recruiting season brings in promising first years.
Along with Kuroko is Kagami, a 6’3” monster who went to school previously in America. Kagami and Kuroko strike up a friendship, and after hearing Kagami vow to beat “The Miracle Generation,” Kuroko promises to help him with his goal.
That’s the nuts and bolts of the series. Kuroko’s superpower on the basketball court is being invisible. He is bland and unassuming, and makes no impression on anyone. At. All. People don’t even notice he’s standing there and think he’s popped into existence from thin air when he says something. On the court he makes amazing plays because he is like a stealthy ninja of b-ball. At first I thought this “power” was ridiculous, but the author won me over by the end of the volume.
As the Seirin team marches through the qualifiers for the Inter High tournament, we learn more about the other players on the team, as well as their opponents. Paired with the character interactions, the art is visually appealing, showcasing both expressive characters and intense action on the court.
Grade: 3.75 stars
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
Tetsuya Kuroko doesn’t stand out much. In fact, he’s so plain that people hardly ever notice when he’s around. Though he’s just as unremarkable on the basketball court, that’s where his plainness gives him an unexpected edge—one that lets him execute awesome moves without others noticing!
When incoming first-year Taiga Kagami joins the Seirin High basketball team, he meets Tetsuya Kuroko, a mysterious boy who’s plain beyond words. But Kagami’s in for the shock of his life when he learns that the practically invisible Kuroko was once a member of “the Miracle Generation”—the undefeated legendary team—and he wants Kagami’s help taking down each of his old teammates!