Last Game Is Pure Fan Service And I Don’t Care
When I fell down the anime rabbit hole last year, I started with Yuri on Ice because of Admin Angel, and then I went to Free! and Haikyuu because someone I follow on Tumblr is a fan. Once I was done with those, I remembered that Tara had done a recommendation post for Kuroko’s Basketball, so that was the next show I checked out. Now here I am, sobbing over the end of Kuroko no Basket: Last Game like a loser, because these stupid basketball boys are making me cry.
Last Game came out in theaters in Japan in March, and I’ve been waiting for the home video release so that the fansubbers could do their thing. Finally, I can watch my stupid basketball boys play again. And I don’t even like basketball!
Based on Extra Game, the short sequel to the original manga, Last Game begins with a streetball match between a mishmash of familiar characters from Seirin’s opponents (including Kasamatsu) and an American team that are supposedly teenagers but look like they’re 30. Seriously, there is no way those guys were teenagers. The American team, Jabberwock, are arrogant and amazingly talented, and they wipe the floor with the Japanese team, Strky. When Kasamatsu approaches Nash to shake hands after the game, Nash insults all Japanese basketball players and spits on Kasamatsu. Kagetora steps in and challenges Jabberwock to a revenge match in a week, then wastes no time assembling the Generation of Miracles to answer the challenge.
This is fan service at its best. We got to see the Generation of Miracles in action briefly during the Teiko arc in the third season, but now we have a mature, fully realized GoM banding together to prove that Japanese basketball isn’t the embarrassment that Nash said it was. With a few substitutions (like Hyuga and Takao, who never see court time), they prepare to do battle with the best that America has to offer.
Honestly, I loved Last Game. I thought it was odd to have substitutes that never got used (I figured Takao and Hyuga could have been useful in a couple spots), and I kept wondering why Kise wasn’t able to imitate the other team’s moves, but it was great seeing everyone back together – and not just the GoM. I do, of course, have a soft spot for all of them, even Murasakibara. My heart broke during the Teiko arc when they all stopped being friends, so I loved getting the chance to see them play together now that they’ve all learned the importance of teamwork. I especially enjoy the relationship between Kagami and Aomine, but the banter between Aomine and Kise was also spectacular.
As this is a movie and not a season, there isn’t much character development, but what there is focuses mainly on Kagami and, surprisingly, Akashi. Akashi’s arc is…a little weird, but then it was weird in the series as well. I wasn’t able to watch the fansub right away, so I was spoiled for the ending (which made me cry, damn these stupid basketball boys), but after having seen the whole movie, it is pretty heavily implied at the beginning what is going to happen at the end.
If you enjoyed Kuroko’s Basketball, odds are good that you’ll enjoy Last Game as well. There are differences from the manga, including the ending, and that caused some irritation in fans. But it’s still solid fan service, featuring all of the good of the series and very little of the drama (personal drama, at least, there’s still plenty of basketball drama). It’s just the boys playing basketball and trading wisecracks and I loved every fan servicy second of it.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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