Kuroko no Basuke is the Generation of Miracles… at Building Atmospheres

[HorribleSubs] Kuroko's Basketball 3 - 74 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.41_[2015.06.26_06.12.56]

I thought of this on season 1, and by season 3, I just had to mention this-Kuroko no Basuke is a psychological expert in manipulating viewers’ immersion and building atmospheres.

[HorribleSubs] Kuroko's Basketball 3 - 72 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.50_[2015.06.26_05.31.05]

All the powah! All the powah!

Admittedly, Kuroko no Basuke’s basketball matches had been getting crazier and crazier. We had seen the scenes evolved from “basketball players with special talents” to “basketball players with legit superpowers”. To it’s defense however, the Zone is actually a parallel to real life sport psychology. Even so, the anime executes this element like some supernatural thing, so I’ll just continue calling them “superpowers”, even if there are clearly people defending this otherwise.

It then begets the question though. Despite all the over-the-top “superpowers”, how the heck am I still getting all immersed and excited by their basketball matches every single time? The answer is actually pretty simple-music.

Let’s look at the scene above for example. The scene was actually from season 1, but I think it perfectly entails what I’m trying to say (it might be a good idea if you watched the above video just once before reading on). The dubstep beats help you gets engaged into the audience’s commentaries, it is however, steady and static, and fits nicely since these were conversations, not the actual basketball scenes. At the 0:24 mark, when the opposing team got the ball, the music shifts it’s compositions. Electric guitars are used here, and when Takao got the ball and was dribbling towards the court with high speed, a lengthy guitar riff becomes apparent, perfectly expressing the ominous feelings. When the ball was passed to Midorima, a high-note was audibly played from the guitar when he shoots. This is during the 0:37 mark, and once he shoots, the entire music composition shifted again.

After the ball entered the hoop, you can hear some sort of electric synthesizers/keyboard in the background, playing a specific rhythm with a steady beat. As we were experiencing the fallout, the music suddenly becomes calmer, unlike the menacing tune before. Kuroko had something up his sleeves, however, and quietly told Kagami to run to the other side of the court. When Kuroko got the ball, the smooth addition of kick drums during 1:02 is flawless, you get the feeling shit are about to get real, as we look forward to see just what Kuroko is up to.

At the 1:12 mark, Kuruko used a move that would later be known as the “Cyclone Pass”, a pass from one side of the court directly to the other far side. The music changes once more, and while electric guitars are used again to bolster excitement, this time, the tune is of course, hopeful, unlike before, signifying that the main characters’ team is still successfully fighting back, partially ending this segment as Kagami dunked the ball. “Partially” because in order to retain the same atmosphere of excitement just a little longer, the same music remained during the audience’s reactions, at least until 1:34, when the music shifts again, this time to an electronic rock track, where Kuroko and Midorima had a brief staredown, not without changing the music’s composition again at 1:41, which was pretty much the same track, but just with everything removed except for the drum beats-the perfect way to mellow itself out towards the end of the episode.

[HorribleSubs] Kuroko's Basketball 2 - 43 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.27_[2015.06.26_04.39.37]

That ended up longer than I thought, but I think you get what I mean now. Musically-wise, Kuroko no Basuke’s was carefully produced and mixed during the basketball scenes, perfectly fitting what viewers of said scenes ought to be feeling at the time-whether or not to be anxious, nervous, thrilling or excited-it’s all meticulously crafted. As you can see from above, there are rapid shifts in moods, and as a result, different tracks to suit those moods; in just a duration of 2 minutes. While that scene was particularly memorable for me in terms of sound production values, Kuroko no Basuke had maintain it’s music quality similarly to that throughout the whole three seasons.

[HorribleSubs] Kuroko's Basketball 3 - 74 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.01_[2015.06.26_06.09.27]

While Kuroko no Basuke had seen different usage in music genres so far which consists of electronic, rock and even orchestrated pieces, it had never dampen their ability to build atmospheres. As a result, despite being so over-the-top, the anime still has a knack in getting me into the matches.

Indeed, there is a reason why I always feel all hot and bothered watching all these muscular high school boys playing with balls (no sexual innuendo here, yup). If this were some generic shounen, I wouldn’t had been as immersed. The big difference is Kuroko no Basuke’s background music, and how they used it in building atmospheres.

All the p... oh wait!

All the p… oh wait

Kuroko no Basuke is a master manipulator. Depending on the momentum, it shifts it’s mood and music swiftly during the basketball matches with meticulous timing. It’s like I’m watching a wrestling promo/video package for the entirety of the matches. It’s truly an expert in manipulating viewers’ emotions for the matches. At the very least, Kuroko no Basuke played me like a damn fiddle.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

7 thoughts on “Kuroko no Basuke is the Generation of Miracles… at Building Atmospheres

  1. Was good. But I kinda hate all this zone bullshit tbh.. The atmosphere is the same as Slam Dunk, just that they have to make it has some weird crazy superhuman powers in it. I still liked it, but wish it could have been more realistic.

    • I honestly can’t even remember much of Slam Dunk tbh, but I’m sure they don’t use “superpowers”, lol :p It has it’s charm, I actually like S1’s the best. I feel the balance between realism and superpowers are balanced the best there. S2 is where all the Zone bullshit started, as you said, lol. At least the music very effectively pulls me in though.

    • Hmm. I was really tempted to reply to this comment.

      Firstly, Slam Dunk has a different “atmosphere” or style from Kuroko no Basket. They are simply different from each other. Slam Dunk, as much as I remember, was more of the realistic aka let’s-get-this-thing-constantly-grounded-on-reality-without-superpowers anime. On the other hand, obviously, Kuroko no Basket has the type of setup which could easily welcome such superhuman abilities. The premise itself, which always talked of the Generation of Miracles and how these middle schoolers were far from being the average or normal players, was inviting a different type of curiosity–of a way to “pry into the mysteries surrounding the whole cast” in the said anime.

      Slam Dunk, whilst waving its realistic image, had some parts which were far from, well, realistic. Those moments especially stood out during basketball matches. Apparently, basketball players always had to do some talking while playing. (Or how spectators can throw 1-minute commentary within a 1-second attempt to shoot the ball in the hoop) Now, that doesn’t happen much in real life basketball matches. But that is a very minor thing to be very bothered about. Slam Dunk makes up for this with teenage angst, drama, and comedy–that don’t seem to be very alien in real life.

      So if you were expecting realistic basketball anime, maybe you were putting such expectations on the wrong show.

      • It’s good that you are comparing and making all this long comments, I appreciate it. In a sense of atmosphere I was talking about what happened in every match, the intensity and everything is basically the same, how can a basketball match be that different anyway. The mystery of each Slam Dunk characters other than Shohoku has the same vibe as well. They just added the superpower stuff. I just don’t like the zone stuff, other than that I’m ok with the other superpowers, like the vanishing drive, Emperor’s Eye and other related power. I think you’re just misinterpreting my comments in a bad way. There is no need to, because there is nothing bad about the show. Like I’ve said I only dislike the zone. And that’s just it.

        • I see. Thank you for making it clear.

          I may as well add how differently paced the two shows are. Slam Dunk basketball matches were soooo slow compared to the fast paced pass-and-shoot in Kuroko no Basket which may be compared to intense action scenes.

  2. Pingback: Why I Like Kuroko no Basuke? | World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko

  3. Pingback: My Reactions Towards The Generation of Miracle’s Abilities | Getting up Early

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