Manga Review: Kuroko’s Basketball Omnibus 5 V 9 & 10 by Tadatoshi Fujimaki @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

After the Seiren players watch a nail-biter between To-oh and Kaijo during the Inter-High quarterfinals, we get back to delving into what makes the Seiren players tick. Kuroko finds an abandoned dog in the park, and promptly adopts him. While the rest of the team is overcome with puppy love, Kagami demands that he take it back. Who knew big, bad Kagami is afraid of fluffy little dogs?

As a fan of puppers, I enjoyed Kagami’s reluctant overtures with the dog. Every sports team worth it’s salt needs a mascot, so I hope the dog remains a fixture in the series. After the canine drama, the first years and Kiyoshi head over to a street tournament, where Kagami is reunited with a childhood friend. I really enjoyed getting to know more about why he started playing basketball, and what drives him to excel. Since he is a gloomy, hulking guy, it was unsurprising that he was a gloomy kid who had trouble making friends when his parents relocated the family to the US. Now Kagami’s buddy is a worthy rival, and I’m looking forward to seeing who wins the basketball duel they are having.

And, before you know it, it’s time for the Winter Cup qualifiers! This is do or die time for Seiren. They’ll be matched up against some bitter enemies, and they have to win in order to advance to the finals. No excuses! It’s time to put everything on the line and win, win, win!

Even though I am not a huge basketball fan, the story and art have kept me hooked. Seirin meets up with Shutoku, and the rivalry between the teams heats up. Midorima has matured just a little, tiny bit, just enough to realize that teamwork is required every now and again. Rather than risking another loss to Seirin, he’s swallowed his immense ego and grudgingly resorts to passing to his teammates. He’ll do anything to win, even belittle himself in front of Seirin. Seirin is flabbergasted by the change in Midorima, and worse, they don’t know how to combat his new playing style. Things are looking really, really grim at the close of the volume.

One of the things I like best about this series is that Kuroko not only pushes his own teammates to be better athletes, he also pushes his opponents to do the same. Both Kuroko and Kagami love the sport, and they don’t want to play against weak opponents. They want to play against the strongest players they can find, because a win isn’t as meaningful unless they have to go all out to achieve it. I love their attitude, and how this gives them an edge against gifted players who aren’t as dedicated to the game as they are.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

Seirin High’s greatest basketball superstar was the one no one literally saw coming—the invisible Kuroko!
When incoming first-year student 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!
It’s the Inter-High quarterfinals! Kaijo’s Kise is challenging To-Oh’s Aomine, and he’s finally managed to copy Aomine’s playing style. And with four fouls already, Aomine’s not looking so hot. Meanwhile, the Winter Cup qualifiers are coming up soon! The top schools from the Inter-High qualifiers are vying for the final spots, and with a revived Kiyoshi on their side, Seirin is like a whole new team!