Kuroko’s Basketball continues its tale of training, talent and tournaments as Seirin commences its fourth game of the Winter Cup. The stakes are high and the prize is well worth the fight, yet there are plenty of more personal reasons that Seirin needs to take home the win. Not only do Kuroko and Kagami have to take on yet another member of the Miracle Generation, there’s also a familiar face from Kagami’s past who has come to call him out. It's the perfect time to settle an old score!
Standing tall over Yosen’s team is the colossal Mitsushi Murasakibara, an athletic monster with a crazy wingspan who lacks motivation. And he’s on the same team as Tatsuya Himuro, Kagami’s best friend from the US. You know that ring that Kagami always wears around his neck? It’s a memento from when he and Himuro were as close as brothers. But that was in the past—now they’re on opposite sides of the court, and Himuro’s feelings, at least, are now far from brotherly!
This match, in particular, brings out a central theme in Kuroko’s Basketball—the conflict between innate talent and hard-earned skill. What is each worth? How much of both do you need to truly shine? Because in this volume, Murasakibara, Himuro and Kagami all flesh this out in different ways.
Murasakibara’s a giant: standing at six-foot-FIVE with inborn basketball talent to match. He’s convinced that talent’s all that matters and approaches playing basketball with almost disgust.
Contrast this with Kagami. Despite having plenty of talent, he still puts in a ton of hard work. Kagami took a while until he could finally call himself a team player, and he's been recently training with Aomine. Hard work helped breach the gap between him and the Miracle Generation.
Then there’s Himuro, who compensates for his average physical skills by extreme training, creating his own deceptive style that rivals Kuroko's. Yet despite his bond with Kagami, he's willing to throw their friendship away forever because he felt offended that Kagami took it easy on him. That’s a pretty fragile view of his own worth!
Seirin’s game with Yosen is huge, swallowing up the entire volume. While there are breaks here and there to flesh out a team’s strategy or to add in a quick flashback, this book’s a nonstop war between these two powerhouses with the tide turning back and forth. The art-style and panel layout emphasizes motion especially well here, making the story’s 369 pages go by in a flash!
Kuroko's Basketball Vol. 9 by Tadatoshi Fujimaki is available here.
by Chris Turner
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