The game tightens up as it moves into the final minutes.
What They Say:
Their spot in the Winter Cup secured, Seirin rests and recovers at a hot springs inn, where they run into Touou Academy, who just finished a practice game in the area. While they initially thought it a coincidence, Imayoshi confesses they came to greet them.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the dynamic of the match started to turn more in Seirin’s favor in the previous episode, it didn’t take long for things to move in the other direction. Especially with the way that Kirisaki players aren’t exactly the most sportsmanlike and that caused fro some real heartache along the way since it pushed Kiyoshi out of the game, making it so that the other players will take on really helping him achieve his dream. That’s a hard but needed moment that Riko had to put him through and difficult for the rest of the team as well, but it came down to it being the right thing for the team. Psychologically, even with them all on the same page, it’s hard to really move forward from there. While it invigorates them to do it for Kiyoshi, there’s also the knowledge that the man who got them all there from the beginning isn’t on the floor.
The team certainly knows how to play together and seeing them starting to hit their stride better, but still struggling, makes it a good kind of turnaround in a way. Instead of just pushing Kiyoshi out and then racking up point after point, it’s still a struggle for them and Hyuga in particular isn’t able to do what he needs to do with scoring, some of which stems from all the damage so many of them took in the game so far while protecting Kiyoshi. So when things do start to turn around, because they must, it works well to see how it all comes to light. Kuroko is a big part of it, but it was done so quietly, especially when framed against the spiderweb visual that Kirasaki had employed to fend off Seirin, that it works really well and it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum and enthusiasm that Seirin generates.
The more the game goes on, the more impressive it is as we see those watching in the stands that will face one the victor eventually sees exactly what’s going on as it goes down to the final seconds, making it a true nailbiter of a game. And what makes it more exciting is that we do see how the Kirasaki players are getting more and more frantic as they can feel the energy changing in the game eve at this absolutely last minute and their chance for victory slipping away from their grasp. While you can’t sympathize with them because of how they’ve played, you can certainly empathize with their feelings and how hard it’s taking them down. The match has some really good moments here, including how Hanamiya handles it, and seeing that come to light makes for some very good material, especially with Kiyoshi at the end of it all and his sportsmanlike ways.
Kuroko’s Basketball finally brings us to the end of the game against Kirasaki and it used it well overall. Some of the time was spent to bring light to Kiyoshi and Hyuga as well as some quality material for Riko in how this team really got off the ground and what its impetus was. There’s a lot to like with that since we got some good character material that we hadn’t got for quite some time. Mixing all of that in with some great basketball moments and seeing Kuroko and Kagami working together even more and finding some better seamless ways of working on the court just added to it all. Though Kiyoshi was a focus, this arc felt more like a real team arc than anything else in the end and sets up more of what’s to come as the really tough opponents are on the way.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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