Kuroko no Basuke: The Encounter Review


This past Saturday, I had the privilege to attend the Kuroko no Basuke stage play in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine Theater. Kuroko no Basuke: The Encounter was certainly a wild ride! This is probably the most faithful manga to stage adaptation I’ve seen, with almost nothing changed from the first 50-ish chapters (or the first 75% of the first anime season). The play covers from the beginning of the story through the first Seirin Vs Touou match, so there is sadly no Aomine vs Kise match. Let’s take a look at some of the main points!

They Use a Real Ball…Sometimes

This is the first sports anime to stage I’ve seen where a great deal of the action is done with an actual ball. Yes, in Haikyuu Stage they use a ball, but in KnB they were throwing it, dribbling, passing, and actually doing ball maneuvers, for lack of a better phrase. While this did help to contribute to some elements of realism, it was also fairly distracting at some points. It was obvious that they had to slow down a lot of the action and do it very carefully. The other thing this did was force them to use hoops that were around 6.5-7 feet tall to make the constant dunking possible, which makes it look like they’re all playing on courts meant for children.

Then as the show progressed, they started using the actual balls less and less, until Aomine was just pantomiming a ball the whole time. It does make you wonder why they bothered in the first place. Sorry to focus on it so much, but it really was kind of distracting.

The Actors’ Voices are On Point

It’s no secret that I think Kuroba Mario and Onuma Shota are two of the most attractive humans currently living. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the actors not just looked, but sounded like their counterparts from the anime. In particular, Asato Yuya as Kagami Taiga sounded almost exactly like Ono Yuuki, and Yamada James Takeshi as Takao was startlingly close to the sounds of Suzuki Tatsuhisa.

The Pacing is Sort of Strange

If you know the anime, the show is mostly the first season, until the Touou Vs Kaijou match. The first act was everything leading up to the Touou match, and the second was just the Touou match. While that’s awesome for anyone waiting around to see Onuma Shota being ridiculously attractive as Aomine, it’s sort of startling how quickly the first half moves; the Kaijou and Shuutoku matches are a bit rushed, and they don’t even touch on any of the others.

There are So Many Stairs

There were eight flights of stairs to get up to my seat. It didn’t really affect how I felt about the show, but I do feel like it’s worth mentioning.

One Comment

  1. Stephanie
    April 28, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I was actually at the performance at the same day in the same section at the 6 p.m. show! (Those stairs were killer.) I did appreciate they actually tried to use a ball even though it was really only in the beginning. I found the dance sequences during the games to be the most distracting element of the show in general. The use of the rotating hoop and multiple balls to show Kuroko’s passes was clever. I agree with you on the pacing–I was surprised when the intermission came up because it had been moving so fast, but it felt like the last match dragged on (of course the fact that my Japanese comprehension is poor and most of the heartfelt, non-action moments occurred during the last half may have had something to do with it). I’ve never seen a sports stage play/musical before and it definitely makes me want to see more.

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