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Teikou Middle School Basketball Club. A super strong school with more than 100 club members, boasting several successive championship wins. But even within that glorious history, there is still a team that can without fail be called the "strongest" — a generation of five players with talents that you would see once every ten years called the "Generation of Miracles." But there was a strange rumor that there was still one person the five geniuses acknowledged as superior...
—Kuroko no Basuke 1st Quarter.
Kuroko no Basuke (The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays or Kuroko no Basket) is a sports manga by Fujimaki Tadatoshi which chronicles the high school adventures of Kuroko Tetsuya who, despite having been a regular player on the famed Generation of Miracles team, cannot dribble, fails at shooting, has low stamina, and often goes completely unnoticed while on the basketball court. Needless to say, when Kagami Taiga, the other protagonist of the story who has come back bored from American basketball standards, plays Kuroko, he easily wins. With that effortless victory, he advises the other to stop playing basketball forever, noting that talent and skill are more important than passion at times.
Kuroko, in response, demonstrates to Kagami — and the rest of the Seirin High basketball team — that his unique talent from the Generation of Miracles is his ability to quickly relay passes based on his lack of presence on the court. He makes it onto the Seirin regulars as a result and gains an ounce of Kagami's respect in the process. Kuroko's goal in his high school years is to defeat all the members of the Generation of Miracles, using his limited presence (as a Shadow) to help Kagami (as a Light) achieve greatness.
Of course, the Generation of Miracles (who have all gone their separate ways after middle school) do not take Kuroko and Kagami's challenge seriously — in fact, they do not take Seirin seriously, as its basketball club is only a year old and its team used to be comprised entirely of freshmen. Along the way in the manga, Kuroko and Kagami meet — and subsequently defeat (or are defeated by) — other members of the Generation of Miracles who, on a whole, have grown apathetic towards the sport as they believe themselves to be too good for defeat. Kuroko no Basuke is a good example of the shonen genre, especially for sports, in that there are extended training montages, ridiculous skills on-and-off-court, and a decent mix of humor, friendship, action, and drama. The romance, on that note, is minimal at best, and generally played for laughs.
Tropes associated with Kuroko no Basuke:
- A-Cup Angst: Poor Aida in a one-piece, especially when Momoi introduces herself in a stylish bikini...
- The Ace: All of the Generation of Miracles, but especially Aomine.
- Action Girl: Aida Riko, a second-year student at Seirin who is the coach of the boys' basketball team and managed to lead the team of first-year to regionals.
- All for Nothing: The first Seirin versus Touou match.
- Ambiguously Brown: Aomine — this is lampshaded by Kise during one of his flashbacks
- Apologises a Lot: Sakurai. When he gets serious though...
- Awesome but Impractical There's less of this than in other sports manga but given that it's about basketball and the crazy shots and passes the teams use to out-do each other, some of it is inevitable.
- Awesome McCoolname: Papa Mbaye Siki.
- Backstory: TONS. TONS. TONS. For pretty much every main character, from Kuroko to Kagami to Kise to Midorima to Aomine to Kiyoshi to Hyuuga to Aida to Momoi to... you get the point.
- Subverted in Kuroko's case actually. The few details we know about his time in Teikou comes from the backstories of other people, and the story behind his quitting the Teikou basketball team after they won their 3rd national championship hasn't been revealed yet.
- Basketball Copying: Kise. It eventually turns out that he just has extremely good visual comprehension skills.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Hyuuga and Aida most notably (he's the only guy she hits for staring, blushing, and drooling at Momoi's ample cleavage)
- When they are planning the basketball team's training camp, the other guys on the team secretly followed them and complained.
Seirin: Don't plan for the camp with such a lovey-dovey air!!!!
- Big Breasts, Big Deal: Momoi is somewhere between Type 3 (indifference) and Type 4 (vanity)
- Bishonen: Being a shounen sports manga, naturally the series runs with this. However, particular mention goes to Kise, who is acknowledged as one In-Universe — he even works as a model!
- Bland-Name Product: The burger joint where Kagami and Kuroko often hang out at
- Cast of Snowflakes: A great amount of detail is put into the spectators at the matches.
- Catch Phrase: One of their opponents, Hanamiya: "There's no way I'd say that, dumbass."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Kiyoshi, Murasakibara.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: And to what a degree! All the members of the Generation of Miracles have a color as part of their names and — with the exception of Kuroko and his blue hair (Kuro = black) — their names all match the color of their hair (and eyes). Aomine (Ao = blue) has blue hair, Midorima (Midori = green) has green hair, Momoi (Momo = peach/pink) has pink hair, Murasakibara (Murasaki = purple) has purple hair, Akashi (Aka = red) has red hair, and Kise (Ki = yellow) has yellow hair.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Generation of Miracles as a team versus pretty much anyone. After they split up, a GOM player versus pretty much any team without another GOM player is also this. Aomine, who doesn't usually bother with showing up on time to matches, actually came on time for his match against Kise.
- The Touou versus Seirin match (around chapter 40?) definitely counts as Touou's ace (Aomine) managed to win by practically double the points despite showing up at the halftime mark.
- Curtains Match the Window: All seven members of the Generation of Miracles team, including the manager Satsuki Momoi. They practically form a rainbow when they stand together.
- Kagami has this too.
- Cute Shotaro Boy: Sakurai Ryou of Touou, especially with his big eyes, girly face, and constant "I'm so so so sorry!!!" attitude
- Deadpan Snarker: Kuroko, definitely.
- The Faceless: Akashi. He's always shown from the back or the neck down. Even when he's face-to-face with the main characters, he has a Face Framed in Shadow. When his face is finally revealed at the end of chapter 113, it's pretty scary, complete with Hellish Pupils.
- Fan Service: Plenty, especially during the Hot Springs Episode.
- Five-Man Band: Naturally played with a ton as basketball games comprise of five active players.
- Generation of Miracles
- The Hero — Debatable, but most likely the captain, Akashi, as identified by his Chessmaster status and red hair.
- The Lancer — Aomine.
- The Big Guy — Murasakibara who manages to tower over all the other Generation of Miracles members — including Aomine and Kise.
- The Smart Guy — Midorima wears glasses, gets good grades because of his absurdly lucky pencil, and is shown to strategize often. Momoi has shades of this, given her skills at data analysis.
- The Chick — Kise, noted to be the weakest member of the Generation of Miracles or Momoi, the actual Chick
- Sixth Ranger — Kuroko, as Teikou's "Phantom Sixth Man".
- Seirin High
- The Hero — Kagami
- The Lancer — Hyuuga
- The Big Guy — Mitobe, who has yet to say a single word
- The Smart Guy — Izuki
- The Chick — Koganei
- Team Mom / Cool Big Sis — Aida, overlapping with The Chick.
- Team Dad — Kiyoshi, overlapping with The Lancer.
- Sixth Ranger — Kuroko. Despite being the protagonist, he's this because he can't play full matches, due to how his ability of misdirection can't work for the full 40 minutes.
- Touou High
- Generation of Miracles
- Foil: Kuroko, a short, physically weak specialist player and a stoic Deadpan Snarker; and Kagami, a tall, naturally talented power player and a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Kuroko to Kagami in chapter 32.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Kagami. He gets somewhat better.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: If the characters aren't interpreted with Ho Yay Goggles on, then they're probably this.
- Kagami and Himuro pre-series.
- Kasamatsu and Kise. (Especially with their bickering.)
- Hot-Blooded: Seeing as it's a sports manga, lots of characters qualify as this, but especially Kagami.
- Hot Springs Episode: the training session between Touou and Seirin which culminated with Momoi and Aida pressed chest-to-chest
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes/chapters are called Quarters, the anime episode titles are taken from the episodes' dialogue.
- Keet: Kise.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Well, there's the original 7 from Teikou and 7 from Seirin (not to mention Kiyoshi), and then the various teams and teammates that get a ton of development time. There are 4 from Kaijou, 4 from Touou, 3 from Shuutoku, and that's not even counting the random opponents that Seirin fights really hard against and wins...only to appear as spectators (with dialogue!) some 50-odd chapters later — still wanting a rematch!
- Ms. Fanservice: Momoi generally, especially with her F-cup breasts (as analyzed by a very jealous Aida Riko) and bikini/bath/shower scenes.
- Alex, the woman who taught Kagami basketball in America, enjoys walking around naked or in her underwear, greets everyone by kissing them on the mouth (including Riko), and has by far the biggest bust in the series.
- The Nicknamer: Riko's dad. Kise may count to a lesser extent, as he adds "cchi" to the end of the names of people he's acknowledged, whether they want him to or not.
- Only Sane Man: A duty which, sadly, falls upon Midorima more often than not, especially with Kise's antics and Kuroko's apathy towards said antics.
- It's getting hilarious when this duty in Seirin team falls upon Izuki of all people. Especially noted in hot spring chapter when Seirin boys tried to peek on woman's bath. That he pointed out that his and Kuroko's skill is not for peeking.
- Pungeon Master: Izuki.
- The Rival: It's a basketball manga so this pops up pretty often. The Generation of Miracles are all rivals to each other now that they've separated into different schools, the Crownless Generals were the rivals for the Generation of Miracles, and Kagami aims to defeat all five members of the Generation of Miracles.
- Crosses a little into Unknown Rival territory for Kagami since the Generation of Miracles didn't know he existed initially. The situation's changing now, though.
- Running Gag: Kuroko seemingly appearing out of nowhere, only to reveal that he's been there the whole time.
- Invoked by Kuroko at one point. At a team gathering, he claims he's been there the whole time, when that time, he actually was late.
- And hilariously inverted later on. Kagami goes to talk to Kuroko when he's concentrating on practicing by himself. When Kuroko notices him, he says, "Please don't sneak up on me like that. I'll get angry.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Kuroko and Momoi, especially in her introduction scene
- Say My Name: Midorima is a common offender, particularly in the first Seirin vs. Shuutoku match.
- Aomine and Kise exchange this trope constantly during the match between their teams. Quickly reaches Narm levels, especially with Kise, who is executing this trope while calling Aomine "Aominecchi".
- Serial Escalation: There are plenty of examples — the amount of time Kagami manages to stay in the air, many of Aomine's shots (notably the one against the backboard), and, of course, Kuroko's ability to stay below the radar despite the fact that he has blue hair in a world where the vast majority of other people have normal hair colors.
- Might be Fridge Brilliance? Opponents of the Generation of Miracles Team probably got blinded by all the different hair colors they have to bother noticing another guy with oddly colored hair.
- Serious Business: Of course, basketball.
- Shrinking Violet: Sakurai is a Rare Male Example.
- The Smurfette Principle: Momoi with the Generation of Miracles with Akashi joking about how unfair it was that Aomine got the only girl and later Touou High. Aida with Seirin High. Somewhat justified as it's a shonen manga about boy's basketball.
- Spock Speak: Kuroko speaks pretty formally for a teenage boy.
- Stealth Hi Bye: People never notice when Kuroko enters the room, until when he says something.
- The Stoic: Kuroko.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Lampshaded and Played for Laughs in the chapter 107 bloopers omake, where Kuroko misses the ball because of the speech he's making.
- Team Dad: Kiyoshi is occasionally this for the Seirin team, with definite overtones of Papa Wolf.
- Team Pet: In the 74th Quarter, Kuroko picks up an adorable black puppy that Aida immediately falls in love with and the rest of the team decides to name Tetsuya #2 because the dog's eyes (and expression or lack thereof) look just like Kuroko's.
- Team Spirit: A running theme throughout the series. It's especially important to Kuroko.
- Theme Naming: For Seirin and the Generation of Miracles.
- Seirin (in order starting from Sunday): Hyuuga(日), Izuki(月), Kagami(火), Mitobe(水), Kiyoshi(木), Koganei(金), and Tsuchida(土).
- Those Three Guys: Furihata, Kawahara, and Fukuda — the other three Seirin freshman besides Kuroko and Kagami.
- Weak but Skilled: Kuroko. He doesn't have the talent or the build for basketball, but because of his highly refined and practiced skill at misdirection, he was able to achieve the status of the "Phantom Sixth Player" of the legendary Generation of Miracles, and is respected by the rest for his skill of misdirection.
- When It All Began: Not a direct example, but throughout the series, other members of the Generation of Miracles constantly ask Kuroko why he left after they won the third championship at Teikou, a backstory which has yet to be revealed, except being implied in conversation.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Pretty much all of the Generation of Miracles (and Kagami!) but most notably Kuroko, who has this weird mix between teal and light blue and somehow still manages to blend into the background.