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Kuroko no Basuke is not a Fujoshi Series

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Guys I’m serious.

I’m a big fan of Kuroko no Basuke, but by this point, I feel that it’s been dismissed as nothing more than fujoshi eye candy by the mainstream fandom and that’s really disappointing for me to see. But fanbase is no determinant of the content at all, and anyone who would say KuroBasu is a BL series with a straight face has probably not even watched the anime. It’s just a regular shonen anime, people.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m personally really happy that KuroBasu gained the fanbase that it did. The female fans pretty much single-handedly saved the manga from being cancelled, and I think these fans have greater insight into the story’s subtleties than I do. The character designs alone are not what won them over – it’s the surprising depth and maturity in the characters themselves, and female fans who like shonen anime tend to like that genre because of the macho aspects.

Most of all, I think KuroBasu filled a market niche that’s been present since the Prince of Tennis manga stopped being serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump. Kuroko no Basuke is more of a new Prince of Tennis than the actual New Prince of Tennis. I’ve always liked the sheer audacity of Prince of Tennis, often in spite of itself, but Kuroko no Basuke took the essential formula that made PoT such a huge commercial hit and polished it in almost every possible aspect. KuroBasu’s popularity took me by surprise too, but on retrospect, I feel as if the fandom needed this series to happen.

Yes, but why do you like KuroBasu, Froggy?

Good question. Both seasons are currently rated a 10 on my MAL, just so you know, and yes, I actually like this series better than Infinite Stratos, High School DxD, etc. You might think of me as an ecchi blogger who only watches anime for the cute girls, but HA, I am most certainly not that shallow.

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Kuroko no Basuke is just a really fun show. The actual animation of the basketball scenes are surprisingly subpar, but this is really made up for in spades with the fistpumping soundtrack. Nakanishi Ryosuke composed the OST, and while he’s fairly obscure as far as anime composers go, I’ve also immensely enjoyed his work on Hataraku Maou-sama! and High School DxD. The hard rock and occasionally techno soundtrack fit the atmosphere of KuroBasu to a T, and it does a great job fuelling the action with a sense of intensity that the animation and dialogue sometimes lack.

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I’m also pretty taken in by some of the larger themes of the story and how the character interactions all slot in so neatly into that bigger picture. The idea of talented people losing sight of what had initially driven them works on multiple levels. It’s not just something that happens to the series’ antagonists – it affects everyone in some way or another. Doing something just for the sake of doing it doesn’t just destroy you on the inside, it brings out the worst in everyone around you – and this is why the Generation of Miracles is also considered a team of monsters. The GoM members are some of the quirkiest and most likable characters in the series, but the story never lets you forget that their philosophy is deeply and fundamentally wrong.

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Kuroko himself is a really enigmatic and inscrutable character, especially as far as shonen lead characters go. I think pretty much anyone who’s ever felt they were only good for passing in a team sport will find a lot to like in Kuroko’s character. His blue hair and DBZ-tier attacks stretch his credibility as a character, but I find his actual personality to be humble, unassuming and altogether nondescript. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s so seemingly hard to notice that leads me to pay extra attention to him. His character strikes me as a fascinating dichotomy: it’s a shonen anime’s only half-successful attempt to portray a supporting character type as a lead protagonist, but the result is somehow still so single-mindedly unique and compelling that I can’t help but find Kuroko to be utterly endearing.

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tldr; Kuroko no Basuke is not a fujoshi series. I watch it for the basketball.

Momoi's_instant_love

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Posted on October 14, 2013, in Anime Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. buddy, you just made my day XD
    nice momoi screencaps there (^^)
    I also watch kurobasu for the plot, seriously, not for my fangirling material *cross my heart*

  2. I watched the first season by I found it kind of meh. I guess I just couldn’t take the sport seriously since they play the game like alien NBA players or something and when they turned the drama up to 11 I couldn’t stomach some parts. It didn’t make me feel the intensity of the sport like Hikaru No Go or Chihayafuru did for Go and Karuta :-x I did like Kuroko as MC, he was pretty unique and very endearing for a shonen lead, but the others didn’t really leave an impression on me. Still better than PoT though, I agree it’s a far more polished work. I should give the second season a try soon, I feel like I need to give it a second shot :-/

    • Hmm, that’s a shame to hear, but it’s nice that you gave the series a chance in the first place. I personally love Hikaru no Go and Chihayafuru, but I think they set out to achieve different things than KuroBasu. Perhaps you are tired of the shonen genre and you seek more nuance in your storytelling? I can’t say the second season feels at all different from the first, although there haven’t been any matches so far.

      • I saw them as series with great focus on their characters, so that would be my main benchmark for comparison between these series. Or maybe I just wanted more homoerotic undertones. Gah, I’m such a confused fujoshi

  3. As I read this, my eyes started to lose their previous shiny luster. I was so distracted by Momoi’s beauty that I forgot the point of the post and dismissed whatever you were talking about.

    trololol~

  4. For some reason from the title of this entry I expected you to be very disrespectful towards fujoshi but to my pleasant surprise you weren’t like that at all, quite the contrary in fact.
    Kuroko no Basuke was actually the anime that made me reconsider avoiding the sports genre simply because of my disinterest in watching or playing real sports. I think the fact that the characters had “basketball superpowers” and the series had such over-the-top drama gave me something to be interested in that a basketball anime with completely realistic game-play just wouldn’t be able to give.
    A connection I noticed in another sports anime that has a large female viewership was that the main character from Free has a noticeably similar personality to Kuroko, a personality that I wasn’t really seeing in sports anime protagonists before. Since both these shows were successful, maybe a trend will start in these types of anime to have this kind of protagonist? Though on the other hand maybe I’m looking too far into a coincidence.

    • Yes, I’ve been hearing from quite a few fans that KuroBasu is accessible to people who otherwise wouldn’t check out sports anime. I think you’re right in saying the appeal wouldn’t be the same if it was realistic.

      Interesting thought about Haruka and Kuroko having similar personalities! Now that you mention it, they do have some similar traits. I’m not sure if all protags will go in that direction, but I have been noticing a general shift away from the “hot-blooded newbie” type of character that used to populate sports anime in the ’90s. If you ever have time, why not check out Slam Dunk and see for yourself how much times have changed?

  5. I see Kuroko no Basket as some unholy child of sports and fighting shounen but with the surprisingly good characterization that the mangaka may have picked up from admiring his predecessors. The anime is barely scratching the surface of what I find so great about Kuroko no Basket but I agree that this series’ writing has some underlying maturity to it.

    • The anime is a pretty faithful adaptation to the manga as far as I can see, so does the story just get that good later on? I’m looking forward to seeing the anime get to the good stuff!

  6. I really can be that shallow.(or more like I just skip anything with sports by default at this point.) But now you are showing me images of some cute pink haired girl and I am curious to learn more…

    • You’ll probably be disappointed. She only appears in, like, three episodes, haha. But if you like shonen anime, the show is easy to get into and doesn’t have the slow pace one normally associates with sports anime.

  7. I haven’t watch Kuroko no Basuke yet (but I watched Ro-Kyu-Bu, wonder what does that make me as), but this post does give another new reason to watch it already^^ It’s been in my backlog for a while now. I chose not to watch Kuroko no Basuke S2 until I had actually finished the previous season.

  8. I dislike it when I write something that is quickly wiped after innocently left clicking.

    Anyway, if KnB were a fujoshi show, then by that cliche geek logic, ALL sports shows, both real and fictional, centering on male sports teams are full of both ambiguous and legit gay men.

    The reason I don’t watch KnB is because it looks like another sports anime with nothing that sets it apart from other sports anime. Either that or it doesn’t look different from Slam Dunk to me. Whatever. I’ll probably give it a go whenever I feel like it. Just so you know, RKB didn’t interest me either.

    Lastly, who’s the Moka ripoff girl?

    • That’s Momoi. She doesn’t appear that often but imo she is waaaaaaay better than Moka.

      (And what? No love for Loliball from you??? I have to say I prefer Fujoshiball myself.)

      • Wasn’t interested in loliball. I dunno why exactly. I know the show isn’t lolicon, I just can’t find the groove to pick it up.

        I guess Momoi must be cooler than both regular and Super Moka for you to favor her.more.

  9. As a fujoshi, I totally agree with you :) Although the hot guys are a bonus and total yaoi bait, I really watch it for the intense basketball, character depth, humour etc. It’s a really awesome anime that shouldn’t be brushed off just because we fangirls like it too, everyone can enjoy it! I didn’t even LIKE sports anime before this, brushing it off as something that only boys would like because I was never a big fan of sports in general. Thank you KuroBasu for showing me how awesome they can be <3

    • I’m really glad to hear that you enjoy the series so much! I’ve always liked sports anime, but I had no interest in basketball until I picked this anime up. This is definitely a very accessible series once you actually get around to watching it.

  10. Fujoshi unfortunately tends to the easiest find yaoi pairings in sport series. I can’t think of any series which would have a sport theme, and doesn’t have any pairing consisting of two male characters with great popularity. Of course I’m not happy of this fact. I’m yaoi fan myself, but I rather enjoy sport series, because of competition, action or/and also of characters. As for KnB, I read it the most for Kuroko ( you wrote great description of him btw. couldn’t find better words for him :P ) and for the plot twists, ( for basketball too, but I enjoy more watching it, instead of reading, it’s hard to imagine all these fast moves XD ). And yay for finding Momoi fan! ( I’m also surprised that many people here gave positive comments about her ) It’s shame that she is often hated, maybe by yaoi fans, who gets jealous that she can destroy their OTP..? I ship her with Kuroko, how about you? I noticed that Momoi x Aomine pairing has a high popularity. I’d like to Kuroko to get attention at least from her ( since he rarely gets even noticed and it would compensate it XD ). Also lol when I checked your MAL I guess that it was destiny for you to like her, since you have only pink haired characters in your favs.

    • Oh, yeah. I ship Aomine x Momoi, kind of. I find their interaction very compelling, although I’m not sure I’d go far enough in wanting them to hook up. The same applies for Kuroko x Momoi, though to a lesser extent, since their dynamic is more straightforward. And nice observation – I do have a soft spot for pink-haired characters l-lol, especially if their hair is long and flowing. As soon as I saw Momoi, I was a goner.

  11. Ike, Yoshihiro from what I’m reading at MAL does the music for S2 and its been pretty bland so far compared to the first season which the cool music made half the show for me.

  12. How come I only saw this post now? I couldn’t agree with you more on this: “I’ve always liked the sheer audacity of Prince of Tennis, often in spite of itself, but Kuroko no Basuke took the essential formula that made PoT such a huge commercial hit and polished it in almost every possible aspect.” I think that people dismissing KuroBasu just because it seemed to be a fujoshi series are missing out a lot, especially on the depth of the characters. Kiyoshi is a better Tezuka, the GoM is a better Rikkai, Kagami is a better Ryoma. The issues the characters face is not simply about winning and losing, but growth.

  13. There is a lot of depth to KuroBasu and it’s a great series. But there are a lot of gay feels in this series as well. I am a fujoushi, so I love my BL but I wouldn’t reduce it to just the BL. There is so much more to this series, but there ARE A LOT OF GAY FEELS! LOTS of shounen-ai touches in it. I think that it is an easily enjoyable series even if you don’t like BL! And if you like BL, then even better.

  14. The art style in the anime ruined it bc it more or less resembled a lighthearted anime than a sport themed anime which i think puts it into the “gay anime/fujoshi anime” despite it being a shonen manga/anime. I mean if you look at Yowamushi Pedal it feels and looks more of a sports themed anime than KnB if you haven’t watched both and just saw some pics. The art style is really different. As i saw KnB first in anime and checked that it was in Jump i was surprised that this kind of art style passed in jump. So i checked the manga out and saw that the art style is different and a lot rougher. Well the manga is not gay and story is certainly not but when i look at it animated it looks really gay for me. It was overly “bishonified” :> imo but still i would not hate on this.

    • You bring up a really good point, actually. The anime’s art is very girly, and the promotional art has a crazy BL vibe. I think the Kurobasu anime was marketed almost purely at fujoshi, while the manga is for mainstream audiences. The content, of course, is identical, but it’s amazing how an adaptation can dramatically change how a work is perceived.

  15. I feel your pain.

    Even though I am a fujoshi, I have never watched this(but watched some funny scenes), I am sure Kuroko No Basuke has no actual BL in it, but probably is sports/friendship/slice-of-life/comedy anime, I assume. All of the BL they are seeing is fan-made.

    As much as I would like every anime I am watching to be BL, if it isn’t, I hate it when people mislabel it as such. Even with anime that I like to ship male characters together in, I get frustrated if someone jumps to the conclusion that it’s officially yaoi, and then they spread it around like a virus and cause good anime to become far less popular than it deserves to be.

    It’s kind of like how people(mostly guys) automatically assume Free! and any otome/reverse harem anime is yaoi.
    It’s so annoying to have to deal with a bunch of guys who refuse to watch an anime I suggest to them because they think it’s “gay”, and then they expect me to like anime that actually has straight-up yuri/moe-loli/ecchi/harem when they know I hate that.

    Sadly, a lot of (straight male)otaku will see any anime with a cast of bishounen or huge yaoi fandom(fanfics, fanart, doujin, etc) as BL and skip it and call it gay without even reading a summary of it.

    I feel that some male otaku are just so selfish and spoiled when it comes to anime, that if they see anime that is pleasing for females(which is REALLY RARE compared to male-oriented anime), they rage like spoiled bratty kids who witness a poor kid getting a custom-made gift.
    To them, having every anime be filled with male-pleasing fanservice for them(ex: an all-girl cast) is a “right”, rather than a privilege.

    It happened when Free! was announced. Male otaku everywhere, just raging like crazy, and taking their anger out on women with anti-fujoshi hate speech.
    It really shows how misogynistic men can be after being drowned in anime with nothing but female characters.
    If one of those guys actually took the time to watch it, they would have found out that there are actually girl characters(though mostly supporting), and that there is absolutely no homosexuality going on at all. The reason they’re topless and have muscles is because they’re freaking swimmers in an time where full-body swimsuits are outdated/rare. They rarely even touch each other. Women in an average anime touch each other far more, and with more intimacy.
    It’s sad, but I do see guys complaining about them being topless, and it makes absolutely no sense. It is like… females don’t even complain about women in anime wearing swimsuits, so why do men have to complain about males in a swim club wearing swimsuits? They don’t wear them all the time.

    One of my friends who previously hated on it actually watched it, and he actually found himself loving it, despite not being a fan of female-oriented anime.

    I am just glad there are some male anime fans who aren’t this kind of crazy/irrational/homophobic, and are willing to try anime that they might like regardless of what others say about it.

    • How male otaku tend to perceive female otaku (and just females in general, by extension) is an issue I feel very strongly about, so I’m glad my post resonated with you. I think this attitude you highlight is reflective of the male otaku’s awkward, insecure perception of his own sexuality. Many of my close friends refuse to touch anything with a whiff of BL about it because “it’s gay”. As if broadening your horizons and watching something out of your comfort zone once in a while will somehow turn you into a homosexual.

      I’ve actually tried to make it a point to get more into the female side of fandom. I’m deeply invested into male otaku culture (I like ecchi/yuri/harems, etc.), but I don’t want to hold myself according to double standards. If I have waifus I may as well have husbandos while I’m at it, you know? ;D

      • Yeah, I have always noticed that there are many guy who are so insecure about trying things, while girls don’t seem to have a problem against watching a little bit of shoujo ai or bishoujo anime. I guess it is more of a societal thing though, since it isn’t limited to anime.

        Does the female side of the fandom not annoy you? I am always so paranoid talking to male anime fans because I feel like they hate fujoshi tendencies.
        There’s also lot of fujoshi themselves who voice annoyance at their own fandom, so I feel like I always have to be extra careful not to piss off people lol.

        I’m also kind of curious, are there particular anime guys you like most? XD
        I usually do not like anime females, but when I do, they are often the ones with laid-back, lazy, calm, or nerdy personalities with a soft soothing voice(like Kana Hanazawa’s Karuta voice), or a boyish voice. I especially love tomboys like Kino, or females who are not lady-like at all but funny or a troll like Guu.

        It’s really great to know you’re open-minded about it, though. Really is rare to see guys willing to try and see things in the female’s perspective, and it’s really nice for once.
        I just warn you that there’s few “intelligent” anime in the shoujo/BL genres.

        I do definitely recommend No. 6 which isn’t labeled as BL, but has a subtle shounen-ai(platonic?) element. I thought it was a very unique relationship for anime to portray. Is it what they call a bromance?
        The upcoming Dramatical Murder, if it is as good as the game, will probably be the yaoi anime with the most story depth… but it most likely will remove the yaoi scenes, and we’re even not sure if they will cover the entire game or just half of it(the trailer doesn’t show any scenes from the later half)… XD; I think if you liked anime like Durarara and No. 6, you’d like it, because it is sort of psychological/thriller in an urban(sorta scifi) setting.

        I actually did used to like harem anime when I was still kind of new to anime, but I was young at the time and didn’t really have …womanly issues back then or know about the existence of anything fujoshi-related…
        Actually I only remember of Love Hina, but I liked it enough to even buy the DVD and a figurine of Shinobu lol. Most of the others I watched were fairly innocent/tasteful like Key animation.
        There are some harems that can be good I admit. I remember the anime “Koichoco” was actually good, if you took out the romance with the main female character(she alone annoyed me so much).
        I guess I generalize about them and avoid them now because of some mentally scarring/stressful stuff. >.<
        Like I know for sure I will never want to watch something like Photo Kano for probably-obvious reasons. @_@
        But if they made an anime of something like Katawa Shoujo, I would probably try it.

  16. i hope it was a reverse harem <3 cuz they have one girl and many boys,im not fujoshi,i just like a pure love between girls and boys .

  1. Pingback: Valuing Teamwork and Fair Play in Kuroko no Basuke 2 | Anime Monographia

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