Sports anime are appealing via their realistic depictions of a sport using dramatic tropes (visually) and organic growth in their characters. Throughout his three seasons and OVAs, Kuroko no Basket showed us that it was not to settle for just being about that one sport, and that, anyway, it was not made for that.
Will it then come back for the fourth season of supernatural basketball?
What happened so far in Kuroko No Basket
The Teiko Junior High basketball team was known to be invincible: the ridiculously talented “Generation of Miracles”. Unknownst to most people, the team actually had a sixth player called “The Phantom Sixth Man” who was undetectable and capable to pass the ball and assist his teammates in an optimum manner. However, after graduating middle school, the members of the Generation of Miracles all go their separate way, choosing to go to different high schools, all with powerful basketball teams.
Present-day: the sixth player, Tetsuya Kuroko, is now a freshman at Seirin High looking to enroll in the basketball team. There, he encounters Taiga Kagami, a brash and short-tempered player who spent most of middle school in the US. Only, his braggadocio is backed by a stupendous amount of raw talent that Kuroko is set on nurturing by partnering with the fiery redhead. With their new teammates, Kuroko and Kagami are well decided to take on the five star players of the Generation of Miracles one by one, and bring Seirin to the number one spot.
What is going on with Production I.g.?
Kuroko no Basket ran for 75 episodes in total, divided between 3 seasons consisting of 25 episodes each. S1 aired from April 2012 to September 2012, S2 ran from October 2013 to March 2014 and S3 ran from January 2015 to June 2015. The show is directed by Shunsuke Tada, written by Noburo Takagi, with a score composed by Ryosuke Nakashi / R.O.N. / Alpha Eastman (season 1) and Yoshihiro Ike (seasons 2 & 3).
Watching Kuroko no Basket, you will quickly notice that it is not a sports anime at its core. Basketball does take a lot of space and is everything the story is centered around. However, the anime is more DBZ with a ball than modern Slam Dunk. Definitely. The latter will give you a more realistic view of the sport and better characterization. Now, that does not mean that KnB has nothing to offer. It just got compared to DBZ, and that should tell you how shounen it is.
Basketball might be the focus, but no one said it was supposed to be played typically. Players use technical terms from time to time but never explain what it is about. They are using those moves, but you will not know what’s what if you are not acquainted with basketball jargon. Yet, getting through matches is easy because technicality is not polished, superhuman basketball abilities and magical auras are. Listen, there is no other way to describe it: basic passes looking like ninja moves, martial arts on the court, Akashi’s look making you drop the ball, players intercepting a pass when they were literally on the other side of the court, among other things.
And THE ZONE: the ultimate move, only achievable by the best of the best (we already know who they are though). When players reach Basketball-Nirvana and are enlightened to the virtuous ways of the Ball and its secrets. When players only leave a colored trail behind them as someone in the audience remarks “They’re so fast I can’t even see them!”. The anime is action-packed through and through. Some people might find that those supernatural abilities cheapen the plot and the scenes, but it is actually balanced enough. Regular players do not suck, per se. They actually play pretty usually with some like Teppei or Junpei who are a bit more talented, but still not enough to reach the God-level of Kagami and the Generation of Miracles, which means that after giving a taste of the enemy’s strength, the story will allow average players to shine a bit before leaving the court to Kuroko, Taiga and the end-of-level boss.
Matches follow the narrative template: beginning (the bad guys show how it is done and the good guys are struggling), middle-conflict (the good guys start giving their rivals a good run for their money), and ending (the bad guys use all their potential, forcing the heroes to push themselves further to win).
The characters in KnB are like the story: simple and easy to follow. It is easy to recognize them based on their personality, however those are not really that developed. The audience will see more nuances in the most important characters. In contrast, the supporting cast is either used when needed because someone should say something here (read: comic relief, exposition, or being in awe) or given a bit of a personality. After all, their supporting role is more substantial (Junpei being the captain, Riko being the coach, or Satsuki being in love with Kuroko and being the owner of the local big breasts).
Kuroko is not that typical a protagonist though: he is not typically overpowered as his fantastic skills can only be used in a team, cannot score any points, has no fundamental physical attributes and an average stamina. His lack of charisma and presence are part of its nature as he is near invisible in everyday life, too, prompting gags throughout the series involving him appearing at the most random moments. It is such a big part of his identity that when Kuroko fights to be acknowledged by one specific player, he ends up being unable to support his team as usual since he is making it a point to be seen by his enemy. Kagami is the perfect foil for Kuroko as his loud personality contrasts nicely with our protagonist’s quietness.
All the important characters have a bit of a backstory, but nothing groundbreaking or requiring the audience to be too emotionally invested. And here we find KnB’s biggest flaw: its characters lack the emotional journey we see in sports anime like Haikyuu, Run With the Wind or Free. Rather than focus on the teams as a whole and how they elevate each other to new heights through the different members, KnB gives limited space to real teamwork and gives more agency to Kuroko, Taiga and the five members of the Generation of Miracles. At the end of the day, what matters is to get stronger to defeat someone specific and not to get better to be able to carry yourself and your team in an effort to complete each other.
In Haikyuu, Hinata is the protagonist, but the whole team is scrutinized and humanized. It is also used for different groups, so well that the fandom is known for cheering for everyone equally. Nonetheless, the cast in KnB works well together, and it efficiently serves the comedy bits.
The animation is pretty solid, with some minor hiccups here and there with badly drawn models and messed up faces (a rare occurrence though). The action scenes are not always that fluid -except for Aomine, but that is more than necessary considering his abilities- but quick and nervous editing, slow-mo during particularly good moves, dynamic angles, and close-ups make up for that. The character design is faithful to the manga (even better) and the facial expressions are really polished. The only weird point is that a lot of those high schoolers look like college students/adults with their big frame and height. It is only one of the reasons behind the success of the franchise with female viewers: Odagiri effect and reverse harem magic.
What do we know about Kuroko No Basket Season 4 so far?
There is nothing more to add as the show has officially ended. The whole manga has been covered and even the bonus volumes have been adapted into a movie. For Kuroko no Basket, the cycle is complete.
What are fans saying about Kuroko No Basket Season 4?
There is no talk about season 4 at all in the fandom. And for good reason: the old heads know that the anime and the manga ended on a conclusive note and that the mangaka is done with Kuroko no Basket. The newcomers might be curious about that, but they can quickly find the answer to that question when scouring the Internet. However, the fandom is still really active as is observed on the subreddit and on Twitter. The anime scored above average scores on IMDB, MAL and Anilist for all its seasons.
Will there be Kuroko No Basket Season 4?
The manga started in December 2008 and ended in September 2014 after 30 volumes. It is written and illustrated by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. A sequel titled Kuroko no Basket: Extra Game started in December 2014 and ended in March 2016 after 2 volumes. As of November 2020, Kuroko no Basket has over 31 million copies in circulation. In 2013, the title was #3 on the Best Selling Manga list and its individual volumes would often end up in the top 10 of the weekly list for the best selling manga. A series of light novels focusing on each member of the Generation of Miracles started publication in March 2011 and ended in May 2014 after 5 volumes. It was written by Sawako Hiyabarashi and illustrated by Fujimaki himself. The light novel also had pretty decent sales numbers.
The anime received 3 OVAs between 2012 and 201, full of bonus material, not needed to understand the story. Three compilation movies were released in 2016 (September, October, December) and another one adapting Extra Game in March 2017. The three seasons have been released on DVD and Blu-ray, but have not been licensed in North America. However, you can find boxsets with English subtitles on Amazon. Kuroko no Basket has been known to fare pretty well on the Blu-ray/DVD sale weekly in Japans. Being the big franchise, KnB has a lot of merchandise to enjoy: acrylic stand, badges, plastic folders, wristwatches, plushies, towels, etc. You can also add the different stage plays, the drama CD, character songs,s and video games to those. When looking at the popularity of the title over the last 12 months on Google Trends, we can see that not only is it enjoying a lot of success internationally, but it also continuously generates search queries to stay on the radar. That might also be since Netflix only recently finished dubbing the series.
When will Kuroko No Basket Season 4 be released?
No date available.
What can we expect in Season 4 of Kuroko No Basket?
As said before, Kuroko no Basket has reached the end of the line. The mangaka even had the time to finish another manga (Robot x LaserBeam) after KnB. The franchise is still attracting newcomers and will be remembered as one of the biggest successes in contemporary sports anime with its fandom still going strong.
Netflix acquired the rights for dubbing and the series can be found in English on the streaming service.