Image source: シネマトゥデイ on YouTube
The new anime movie Kuroko’s Basketball: The Last Game is a great bit of sports action inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem The Jabberwocky.
The sequel to the Kuroko’s Basketball anime series, The Last Game, sees our heroes Taiga Kagami and Tetsuya Kuroko partner with the five members of the “Generation of Miracles” to defeat the American street basketball team Jabberwock.
If the name “Jabberwock” sounds familiar to you, it’s a reference to Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky. This is one of the best parts of The Last Game because the name Jabberwock was a surprisingly good fit for the opposing team in the movie. Consider, Lewis Carroll’s poem tells the tale of a boy slaying the creature: the Jabberwock. In The Last Game, naming the opposing team the Jabberwock’s subtly tells the audience this is a “creature” that needs to be slain.
Yet, the naming conventions go one step further in The Last Game. Like the name Jabberwock, the team made up of the heroes and the “Generation of Mircacles,” “Vorpal Sword” is also a reference to the same poem by Lewis Carroll. With these two references in hand, watching The Last Game is like seeing the battle in The Jabberwocky play out. Literature is all about borrowing the best ideas from other people’s works and adding your own spice to it and the best ideas are always universal. So, by re-adapting the ideas and vernacular of Lewis Carroll’s poem, the movie is made interesting on a literary level.
However, where The Last Game truly shines is in the treatment of the team members of Jabberwock. They aren’t just bad, they are the baddest of the bad—especially the team captain, Nash Gold Jr., and star player Jason Silver. One scene that emphasizes this comes right in the opening act. Nash Gold Jr. not only insults Japanese basketball players, but also says along the lines, “You don’t let monkeys Sumo wrestle. So, you monkeys should stop playing basketball.” It’s the perfect way to make sure the audience vehemently despises these characters. Frankly, this is a good writing technique for antagonists because what we really want to watch is the hero’s triumph over them.
But, triumphing isn’t just enough for The Last Game. The victory has to be won through the most outlandish and action packed way. And the movie delivers this throughout the viewing experience by dedicating one or two scenes to each of the two protagonists and the remaining five members of the “Generation of Miracles.” Seven characters to showcase may seem like a lot at first, but it actually doesn’t take much to put the individual talents of the characters on display.
To make things even more exciting, there were even instances when two members of the “Generation of Miracles” performed combination plays together. As overpowered as this may seem to fans of Kuroko’s Basketball, in all honesty it really kept the blood pumping. In fact, had the combination plays not been in The Last Game, a handful of the scenes would feel too vanilla.
Kuroko’s Basketball: The Last Game is what you’d expect from a movie that grabs shonen manga and anime tropes by the horns and embraces them to their full extent: villainous villains, talents no human could possibly copy, and just plain fun. And then you have the little nod to Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky to give the story just bit of literary depth. Go watch The Last Game. Take in the ninety minutes of fun and come out feeling that you, too, have won a hard-fought victory.
Image source: アニメ黒子のバスケ on Twitter
Kuroko’s Basketball: The Last Game premiered in Japan on March 18, 2017. No international release date has been announced.
The Kuroko’s Basketball anime series is available on Crunchyroll.