Get Involved

I’m watching Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket on VRV / Crunchyroll. I have a Haikyuu void and wanted to watch a sports anime that was uplifting. I attempted to watch Battery on Amazon Prime, but then I started getting the vibe that was not going the direction I was hoping. I may give it another chance down the road. So far Kuroko’s Basketball is exactly what I was looking for.

Tetsuya Kuroko, one of the esteemed members of the Generation of Miracles (a group of elite players from Teiko Junior High) is now attending Seirin High. He was on a team that always won, but he’s looking for something more. In this aspect, he reminds me of Haiji Kiyose from Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru. Kiyose was looking for the an answer essentially to the question, “what is running?” I think Kuroko is looking for what is basketball. In episode five, of season one, Kuroko has a conversation with his former teammate, who was also a member of the Generation of Miracles, Ryouta Kise. Kuroko thinks there’s more to basketball than just winning, and he wants to find out what that is.

Kise really wanted Kuroko to attend the same high school as him, so they could continue playing together. Kise views Kuroko as a friend and enjoys being around him, and sees him as a valuable teammate. So he was disappointed that Kuroko rejected him. It reminded me of Haikyuu’s Ushijima telling Oikawa, “you should’ve come to Shiratorizawa” (with slightly less intensity).

He must have abs of steel with balance like that.

At Seirin High School, Kuroko meets an impressive player named Taiga Kagami. Together, they’re a fearsome duo on the basketball court. Kuroko, with his seemingly lack of presence, and Kagami with his impressive build and abilities, help Seirin win their first practice match against Kaijou High (Kise’s school). Initially people are dismissive of Kuroko, until they see him in action. He is the linchpin for Seirin’s basketball team. His stealthy maneuvers, and misdirection, contribute to the effectiveness of their plays.

One phenomenal skill Kuroko has is being aware of his surroundings and reading people and their intentions. It might seem trivial, because in sports often athleticism prevails, but it is vital. It helps him play as an instrumental member of the Seirin team (especially since he is considered weak in other aspects). This ability is also helpful in day-to-day life. Being aware of his surroundings, means he noticed what was happening behind him on the basketball court, and ran over to help before Kise and Kagami even noticed. Demonstrating his strength of character and integrity, Kuroko ran over to intervene on behalf of the bullied students without hesitation.

It’s one thing to notice an injustice, but it takes a certain level of strength, character, and integrity to stand up against it (especially if you’re alone). The students didn’t ask for his help, but I’m sure they appreciated Kuroko’s intervention. In real life, cases of bullies and injustice, may call for action that isn’t direct. But sometimes direct is the right approach.

I’m glad there are still guys like that these days, especially in real life. We need them more now than ever.

Just in time, Kagami and Kise show up to help. Despite being opponents during the practice game, Kise and Kagami join forces to support Kuroko when he stands up to the bullies. The trio take on the entire group of bullies, and emerge victorious. The students are in awe.

After their stand against the bullies, Kagami lectures Kuroko about being aware of the consequences of one’s actions and safety. Kuroko’s response provokes Kagami’s ire, but Kise chuckles and commends Kuroko for being amazing. I have to agree with him. Not a lot of people would get involved to help others, especially strangers, but Kuroko did without hesitation.

Seeing how happy Kise is after their brief game against the bullies, shows how much he enjoys playing with Kuroko. Plus he admires the strength of character he has, and who Kuroko is as a person.

I’m enjoying Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket. Hopefully the rest of the series will be just as enjoyable. Give it a shot and see see what you think.

Peaceful

“Reset” by Taichi Mukai, the beautiful sunset, and Haiji Kiyose’s dog, all contribute to this being one of the most peaceful end credits I’ve seen. A commenter on the video link below pointed out the snow scene was a metaphor for Kiyose’s injury and bouncing back. This anime has a lot of beautiful artwork. Check out Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind on VRV / Crunchyroll or on DVD (Sentai).

Ahmaud Arbery

Upon reflection of how peaceful this scene is, and how Haiji Kiyose is enjoying his run, I thought of Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud did not get to enjoy his run, or the fullness of his life, due to the ignorance, racism, and bigotry of others. He, and many other people, do not get the privilege of enjoying a peaceful run. Or a peaceful life. Simply thinking, “Well, I’m not racist” is not enough. For people with integrity and character, turning a blind eye is not okay. Have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations with your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, and communities. Challenge old ways of doing things if they’re born of ignorance and hate. If you feel your words don’t carry weight, or your words are unable to reach them, inspire others with your actions. How you treat other people. How you respect others who may be different than you. Contribute to a cause or volunteer with an organization that will uplift and unify communities. Shine your light. Share love with the world. Your inner circle, I hope, is full of loving people who truly embody and radiate positive energy and support. I pray people will open their hearts. And I’m not perfect. No one is perfect. But we can do better. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

On other platforms I’ve spoken about #blacklivesmatter, but inspired by Scott’s post on https://mechanicalanimereviews.com/ I feel it’s pertinent to share that here as well. When black lives matter, then the statement all lives matter will hopefully, finally, be true. Everyone should be free to live their lives, and enjoy all of the freedom we are supposed to have as Americans, without concern that they’ll be targeted due to the racism and bigotry of others. And running without fear should be one of those freedoms.

#irunwithmaud #runwithmaud #blacklivesmatter

Is Running Great?

Is running great? Several years ago my very supportive friends Ken and Jose encouraged me to run. With their help and support, plus those of my other friends like Linda and Matt, I trained for and completed my first 5k. Later I did the Army Ten Miler and two half-marathons. After getting sidelined with a fracture (learn from me, don’t let a small dog with a big bark distract you, lose your footing, and then tumble down a hill and have a very disgraceful landing), running didn’t feel the same, like my mechanics felt off. I should point out, that the doctor first told me it was a sprain, and later I saw a specialist who told me it was actually a fracture. More recently I started walking/jogging in bootcamp classes and I continued during quarantine trying to get outside for fresh air. I’m starting all over, in terms of getting my body acclimated, but it does remind me of the parts of running I enjoyed. I liked feeling accomplished after I hit a distance I wanted to cover, or when I could run straight for longer periods of time. I enjoyed feeling light on my feet. And shockingly, thankfully, my legs and muscles responded really well to running, and I lost weight. Watching Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run With the Wind, reminded me of those pleasant memories. The memories of running when it was great.

I’m watching Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind on VRV / Crunchyroll. The DVD is also available from Sentai.

Akihiro Hirata tells Yukihiko Iwakura, that running has helped him prioritize his health. Hirata noticed he was short of breath while running so he quit smoking, and to keep his hands busy he has been creating wire figures.

What makes someone a runner? Is it enough to just enjoy it? Do you have to always be training for the next event or goal? Maybe running is different things to different people. Haiji Kiyose leaves an impression upon Kakeru Kurahara, that running is something that all people can participate in, and enjoy. It isn’t reserved solely for the elite.

Now that the group is adjusting to their two-a-day training, they look forward to learning even more, and taking their training to the next level. Some are more excited than others. I didn’t expect him to run with a notebook, but I guess Takashi Sugiyama came prepared.

If you like sports anime, or are curious how running is portrayed in anime, you might want to check out Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind. I’m only a few episodes in, but so far I’m enjoying it!