Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kuroko's Basketball 2: "I Believe"

I doubt that people will get more excited about the Super Bowl today than I got about Kuroko's Basketball last night. The title of the episode, "I Believe," turned out to be fitting as I struggled to believe my favorite basketball team would win. 

Most of the time, Twitter is sufficient for my reactions to singe episodes of anime. Last night, after I watched Kuroko's Basketball, Twitter wasn't enough for me. I had too much to say. I thought about posting my thoughts here, but chose Tumblr instead, since I thought an episodic post would be out of sync with recent posts. 

But since when am I worried about continuity in writing style? I've posted rambles, Naruto Shippuden fangirling, reviews, poems, and deeper editorials, all on this same blog. I like the mix, and I shouldn't restrain myself now.

So here. Here's what I wrote on Tumblr last night. I think it's proof of how good Kuroko's Basketball is. It's amazing - a basketball game can get me more worked up than a life-and-death battle.

Spoiler Warning for Kuroko's Basketball 2, episode 17.

I admit it: I lost hope during the second half of this week's Kuroko's Basketball. Aomine entered the Zone, and as much as I wanted to believe in Seirin, my heart was already dropping.

I tucked my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around them. Maybe by hanging onto my knees, I was telling the Seirin team to hang on, too. Maybe the suspense was simply making me tense. Maybe I was comforting myself in advance, preparing for the loss I didn't want to believe would come.

This is the kind of tension I had when Naruto fought Pain two years ago, or when a certain character's life hung by a thread in Clannad After Story.

It's just a game, though, isn't it? I mean, yeah, if Kuroko and the gang lose, they'll be disappointed, but they'll be okay, right?

But it's not just a game. It's Kiyoshi's last chance to play in a high school tournament. It's the first time Aomine has been truly challenged in... forever, probably. And I get the sense that if they can't beat Aomine and his team now, then maybe they never will. My heart is tangled with this game. I know their hearts are in it even more.

So I didn't want to give up.

When Kagami asked to go one-on-one with Aomine, I began to have a spark of hope. Maybe Kagami can break a wall within him in these last few minutes. Maybe.

I hugged my knees and watched.

Stop thinking so much! I thought. Just play. Just get into the game!

Could he do it?

Maybe he wasn't ready after all.

Then, something snapped into place. It wasn't an audible snap, but it was there. Kagami's thoughts accumulated, not to a distracting mess, but to a point of action that broke beyond the thoughts.

I felt it. Then he moved.

The lightning flashed in his eyes.

My breath caught. I didn't breath normally for at least a full minute, I'm sure. I let go of my knees, then hugged them close again.

He's joined Aomine in the Zone.

They might actually have a chance in these last few minutes.

They might.

The episode ended like that. Of course it did. The person in charge of episode pacing just cut it off there, leaving us hanging. I can imagine them as a dark figure laughing manically in some dimly lit studio.

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