“Let’s have fun. This is our final play.” -Kiyoshi Teppei
I haven’t been this pumped for a sports anime finale since Prince of Tennis and even then, a tennis match just doesn’t have quite as high of an adrenaline rush as a basketball game does.
The success of sports anime really rests on two important factors: 1) the portrayal of the sport as something genuinely exciting and aesthetically appealing to watch; 2) perhaps even more importantly, the development of the characters themselves. Fortunately for us, Kuroko no Basket easily excels about both, though any fan will rave more about the characters than anything else. Unlike most sports anime that unabashedly shower the protagonist with every shonen power up and ability needed for them to totally overtake the game, Kuroko (both the series and the titular character) never strays from its message of teamwork. Basketball is truly a team sport and Kuroko could not have made this more plainly than in the breath-taking match-up of Seirin vs Rakuzan at the Winter Cup finals.
Though Kuroko is not certainly a perfect anime, its ending was all sorts of feel-good. You know that Seirin’s going to win, but you know Rakuzan’s going to make to fight for the last point down to the last second. Of course, there’s ample amounts of screaming, swearing, and sweating to be done throughout the process but you’d have to be a soulless guy not to react to this moment when Kuroko plays his final hand and one-ups Akashi, the guy who has never known the taste of defeat.
Score for the blue guy. Against the elite Rakuzan, Seirin’s only and best bet of winning (Super-Saiyan power moves aside) was extremely perfect teamwork. Perfect teamwork demands unequivocal trust in your teammates and an insanely honed sense of intuition to anticipate and respond to their moves before they even make them. Hey, that sounds like
telepathy, insanely perfect teamwork. Although our power light-and-shadow-duo are the ones who make the last shot, their victory rests on the combined efforts of all of the entire team–both on and off the court.