Shingeki no AoKise
Now that I think about it, I wonder if the reason for why Fujimaki changed Kuroko’s hair colour from black to light blue was because he’d come up with Nijimura’s character and really didn’t want to make his hair rainbow coloured (because how would that even work). So then he decided on black because black = all colours mixed together, but then he didn’t want both Nijimura and Kuroko to have the same hair colour and the deadline was approaching so he went “Oh screw it, he’s a main character we can be unreasonable with hair colours let’s make it light blue!”
You know what I’m liking about this arc of Kuroko no Basuke? The emphasis on how much difference physical endurance makes. The MiraGen have amazing skills right from the get-go, but they’re still twelve/thirteen years old and just plain aren’t physically developed enough to play through two games in a day. So, one, I like the realism of that.
What I like even more, though, is the perspective this gives to Kuroko’s “weakness”. Akashi says flat out that Kuroko’s skills and reactions are good; it’s his endurance that’s seriously sub-par, below that of even his age-mates.
Kuroko’s endurance is improving, though. We’ve had this marked really viscerally twice already: at the start of his third-string training, that level is enough to have him throwing up. (Brief aside: that’s usually what happens when you over-do an aerobic activity, not a purely muscular activity, and actually it can happen really fast.) He keeps working and improves his endurance, though, and by the time of his test he can keep up with third-string, and implicitly with second-string, just fine. When he moves to first, though, he’s throwing up again. We know, though, that he gets past that eventually, so first-string isn’t his ultimate limit either.
Now, by the start of canon year, he can only sustain the concentration required for misdirection on top of the physical effort required to keep up with the MiraGen for about fourteen minutes. (Anyone else think about what that fourteen minute figure means? What it means that both Kuroko and Kise know it so well and assume it’s a hard limit? It can only have been the limit of Kuroko’s endurance in combination with the MiraGen’s level of play, and neither of them seem to make that connection. The MiraGen have become Kuroko’s measure for standard play, the level he assumes in the back of his head that everyone will have, the measure that he has to meet and surpass to be satisfied. Kuroko never accepts his limitations, or anyone else’s, as a weakness, which is both a blind spot for him and kind of awe-inspiring.) At any rate, we know that he’s still having trouble with endurance at the start of canon year, still having to build it slowly, far more slowly than most of the other players, including the ones with considerably less actual skill.
And yet, what the current arc really emphasizes, when you think about it, is that Kuroko has been building it. He can play for longer, now, than he could at the start of the year. He’s still moving forward.
Kuroko has not yet hit the wall in his development as a player. (Possibly because his response to what most people would consider the wall is to start climbing.) This arc is showing us his rate of progress, and by that measure we can see pretty clearly: Kuroko is still getting stronger.
Kise Ryouta in Q210