When I first watched this anime, I always wondered why the title is Kuroko no Basket instead of Kagami no Basket or any other character names in the anime. This is because Kagami is always in the spotlight. He’s the character that is improving and evolving every single match whereas Kuroko is just there to either relay information about the Generation of Miracles or to enhance Kagami’s ability even more. Kuroko really doesn’t look like the main character in the anime. So I find it quite weird for the title to be his name instead of the more prominent and influenced Kagami.
I got the answer now though. The answer is this anime really is about Kuroko. The overarching plot is about him improving and realizing his flaws ever so slowly that it took almost two seasons before he basically fully develops. All the other characters, while having their own arcs, are not as important as Kuroko’s arc.
The story starts with Kuroko wanting to defeat his former teammates, the notorious Generation of Miracles, the all time best highschool basketball players in Japan. These players are so good, they abandon teamwork because they can pretty much carry the team all by themselves. They are very powerful in Basketball but arrogant at the same time. Kuroko wants to defeat them with his new team to prove that teamwork is the best strategy to win. In fact to him, teamwork is the only strategy to win, regardless of the individual strength. That is actually his first flaw.
Kuroko has always been a team player. With his unfathomable passing and misdirection abilities, he is the best supporting player for his team. However, he is only good at passing and not good in anything else. He can’t dribble and he can’t shoot so he relies heavily on his ability to pass insanely fast and his invisible misdirection ability to help his team. His only playstyle is to support his teammates and enhance their plays. He never plays by himself. That is his second flaw.
He limits himself by convincing himself that he is only good with this kind of playstyle. He doesn’t have the desire to learn how to dribble or shoot because to him, his current skill is enough to defeat the Generation of Miracles. Riko, the coach of his team is also not very good at coaching because she accepts Kuroko’s inability to do anything other than passing as his limit without actually finding ways to work past that. She instead thinks of ways to work around Kuroko’s weakness.
Kuroko’s ideal teamwork strategy works for a short while. After all, he does manage to defeat both Kise and Midorima, two of the Generation of Miracles so his teamwork strategy must be effective right? Well, that’s when Aomine appears and proves him otherwise. His first match with Aomine is the biggest turning point for his character. In the middle of the match, Aomine makes a very impactful remark to him. Aomine said he is very disappointed with Kuroko because he doesn’t improve one bit since they last met. This shows that all this while, Kuroko only trusts his teammates and his teamwork strategy that he abandons even improving himself as a basketball player. Clearly what he did backfires him. Aomine destroys his team single handedly despite his team having the best teamwork they could ever have.
Kuroko lost. His ideal effective strategy is completely shattered. He is now unsure of his own belief and what he is supposed to do.
After the match, Kagami says “we can’t win just by working together”. Kuroko thinks Kagami said it with the intention to part ways, just like the Generation of Miracles. However, he then realizes that it’s not the case. Kagami simply implies that it’s not enough for them to defeat someone as strong as Aomine just by working together. They need to strengthen their individual skills and COMBINE it with teamwork to win. After the realization, Kuroko is no longer abide by his former belief of only teamwork. He now believes in both individual skills and teamwork.
Kuroko is now determined to improve himself as an individual player as well as a team. He creates his dribbling skill, the Vanishing Drive and he also asks Aomine to teach him how to shoot. He tries his best to be the best version of himself as an individual player and combines his newly learned skills with his already great teamplay. Only after this development can he and his team defeat all the other Generation of Miracles.
We can conclude that Kuroko no Basket is really about Kuroko first and foremost. His arc may be slow and he may not shine as bright as many other characters in the series but he is definitely the focus of this story. That is why the title of the anime is ‘Kuroko no Basuke’.