Here we are with another week of the Import Report. This week we’ll be looking into the miracle sports series of this generation, Kuroko’s Basketball! However, before that, we’d like to remind you that this is a bi-monthly column which will be looking into anything from Japan that deserves (or at least people think deserve) to be localized outside of Japan. At the end of the article, I’ll give the series a rank based on its chances of localization. The rankings will go from zero to three:
- 0: No chances
- 1: Slight chances
- 2: Moderate chances
- 3: Extremely likely
What is Kuroko’s Basketball?
In the past, Teiko Middle School was the strongest ever because of its acquisition of the strongest players that come once every few decades. These players would be known as the Generation of Miracles, and were composed of five players. However, there is one player who hid in the shadows of these five players and is known as the Phantom Sixth Man. Years later, Kuroko Tetsuya, the rumored Phantom Sixth Man, enters the Seirin High School Basketball team along with Kagami Taiga, a student returning from America with potential to rival that of the Generation of Miracles. Both players join the team with the intention of defeating all of the Generation of Miracles and becoming the number one team in all of Japan.
The series debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2008 and is currently ongoing. The series received multiple adaptations, two video games, a novel, audio CDs, and an anime. The anime was produced by Production I.G. and premiered in September 2012. The second season aired in October 2013 and is currently ongoing for the Winter 2013 anime season.
Localization Rank: 2
Kuroko’s Basketball is an extremely popular series in Japan. You might have seen a few of the characters from this series reaching the top 10 anime husband polls, the multitude of yaoi doujins, or you might’ve heard of the famous death threats the author received. The series is pretty good along shonen standards. Sure, some parts may seem pretty unbelievable and reach Prince of Tennis absurdity levels, but it doesn’t make it less any entertaining. The only thing that might be a problem is that sports series haven’t been so prominent lately. Sports definitely thrived in the past, especially when we had series like the Prince of Tennis, Eyeshield 21, and Slam Dunk being published. The anime has been doing considerably well lately, but very few sport anime series have even finished while being localized. I have some hopes that VIZ would be able to add Kuroko’s Basketball to their Shonen Jump Alpha lineup, since they have acknowledged the series a few times in the past.
In my opinion, I think there’s a serious lack of sport series outside of Japan. There can definitely be a resurgence of the genre with series like Yowamushi Pedal and Haikyuu, but Kuroko’s Basketball definitely has the potential to lead the rebirth of the sports anime.