The past has laid the foundations for this new match against Kirisaki.
What They Say:
The Winter Cup preliminary final between Seirin and Kirisaki begins. Hyuga and the rest of Seirin are excited to face their old rivals. Kuroko immediately begins using his Vanishing Drive upon the start of the game. While Seirin appears to have control of the game, the Kirisaki players continue playing rough out of sight of the referees.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Taking the time to dip into the past was something of a surprise with the series for me since it seemed like the show was mostly forward looking with what it does. But giving us the early time within the Seirin team after things had been off for awhile, bringing a no-name school into the game and trying to achieve something with Teppei and Hyuga, it’s good to see those early origins and some of the first encounters with the Generation of Miracles. And it made clear the limited time that some of the characters have to achieve something before graduation and moving on with their adult lives, having to put something like this behind them. Striving and achieving before going into the work world isn’t something that a lot of series cover, but bringing some of that into events here helped to make the older characters on the team a bit more accessible and purposeful.
While we get a few touches of this in the prologue here to remind us where we came, the episode is more focused in the present, which is certainly welcome. As much as I like the background on characters that have not been explored much in the series so far, I want to see the forward progress back in action here. And the action in the present is all training and practice for what’s to come next in the tournament and that means getting things going there. While they’re getting a few visitors along the way, the practice side dominates early on and there’s some good moments here, especially now that we know more about characters like Teppei and there’s a bit of attention given to how he’s handling the younger players in the lead-up to the game against Kirisaki, which we now know has a lot more importance for him. It’s a good reflective moment in a way before things get serious, especially as Kuroko has no intent on letting their chance slip by them to get to the Winter Cup.
The game has a good flow about it as it moves forward, though there are some dirty tricks being employed by some of those on the Kirisaki team where they’re doing their best to smartly hurt their opponents, which in turn can drive some people like Kagami to violence, which of course can get him kicked out and throw the dynamic of the game of. It’s amusing to see how the dynamic with Kuroko works when it comes to this since Kuroko views himself as a kind of guardian for the rawness that is Kagami, even if it does involve him causing Kagami some pain. The chewing out by Kuroko is great but his manager also gets in a few good words as well. Though there’s the expectation that it’s going to be about the two big name players here considering the importance of the match, its good to see that since there is a Kirisaki connection, Teppei and Hyuga are the ones that really do step up overall and that Teppei makes some of the smart observations that can put them back on track. It goes only so far here, but seeing the tensions that exist and the kind of rallying that comes about definitely makes for an engaging match since we get to see just what kind of team Seirin has become.
Bringing the show back into the present and giving us a new match against Kirisaki brings full circle what had happened for Teppei back when he got the team going before Kuroko, Kagami and others showed up. It’s a good bit of past material that was done in a shorter form than it could have been and was more character focused than game focused, but that makes the game here all the more meaningful. Not just for Teppei and the others but for the Seirin players as a whole since there’s some ugly history between the two teams. And we do see that come out here in a big way as there are some less than sportsmanlike moves at play and a good effort to anger the Seirin players so they lash out and get completely thrown off their game, if not thrown out entirely. Kirisaki doesn’t endear themselves to the viewer in the slightest and there’s not a ton of depth to them but they bring something very different to the table than we’ve seen with other teams.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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