Script Review: [HorribleSubs] Kuroko’s Basketball – 01

I’m not a huge fan of sports (I really hate them, actually), but there’s something about the two protagonists and their basketball adventures, something whimsical, that makes the show really fun to watch. Spoilers: The basketball game was definitely the highlight of the episode.

The future of anime isn’t so bleak after all!

r/a/ge level: 0/100. Is anyone even watching this show? Like Kuroko, I’m sure it has zero presence.

Honorifics, Eastern/spoken name order, and no opening/ending lyrics.

“Have you ever played chess?”

This is relatively minor, but like most untranslated Japanese terms, I wonder how many would-be anime fans are missing out on some dialogue, despite it being unnecessary to understanding the overarching plot. As little as there are of those kinds of viewers, I would still dislike alienating any part of the them if I could help it. “Japanese chess” or even regular “chess” would be an appropriate localization. It would at least mean something to the aforementioned viewers. I doubt it’ll happen in this anime, but if they ever saw the people in the chess club playing shogi, they could infer it was a strategy game similar to chess from the board layout and pieces.

Still, with the original, uses the verb “play,” so anyone would should at least figure out it’s a game.

“How would you like to join the basketball club?”

“How’d” is used more often as a contraction for “how did” than “how would,” so I would really recommend keeping them separate in this line. I appreciate how Crunchyroll is trying to add contractions to shorten lines, make them more readable, and sound natural, but they should really read the line over and hear how it sounds. In this case, it’s not natural at all.

This is a contraction I’d like to see more in subtitles featuring students or casual environments because it can improve the flow of a line in a really subtle way. It’s two syllables as opposed to three (“going to”), and it gives a natural feel to the dialogue. “Gonna” is short for “going to,” which many people say without thinking. Other similar contractions should be regularly used in natural dialogue in an informal setting or when appropriate. When used properly, it can really aid to the characterization.

“Sorry, but this is just a comic book.”

“That’s still a book!”

Okay, this isn’t in the same league as shogi or wakame, so I’ll let it slide. It’s also in the dictionary, and someone watching anime should realistically know what manga is, what with it being a complement and all.

If someone wanted to localize manga, though, I wouldn’t be against it because I hate the Japanese language and want to destroy it at every opportunity. But seriously, there is a valid argument for translating it as comic or comic book. In Japan, manga is their version of a comic book. They don’t think of it as manga over there. It’s just a comic (book). And like shogi, saying comic book in a Japanese to English translation carries some ambiguity, but it really would be the one to one translation. When someone says “comic” or “chess” in a Japanese setting, it should obvious or likely that they are referring to their Japanese equivalent, if available. Otherwise, there’s usually some visual cue, context, or an explanation like in this example.

As much as I hate basketball, there’s no way I could hate this game. It was awesome from the get-go. Gene Starwind starts the game with a crazy dunk that catches everyone off guard. The music’s pumping, eventually phasing out everything but the bass to make way for everyone’s internal monologue. It immediately picks back up when they’re all sucked into the game again. The game reminded me of the first race in Redline—fast-paced, high energy, and a good amount of development (okay, maybe only Kuroko’s Basketball had any development). Kuroko’s character is really fleshed out here, and the mystery behind him is revealed.

I’m not sure what else there is to say but that the animation, music, and dialogue really came together for this game.

What I liked:

There’s a lot of talking in this show, but it’s all pretty casual and low-key, nothing heavy. Crunchyroll handles everything very well. The characters talk like regular high schoolers and change their tone when appropriate. Gene Starwind in particular will swear occasionally or call people bastards, which really fits how he’s portrayed in the show. It’s appropriate compared to what Crunchyroll did in Nyaruko. They usually keep things safe, but I have high hopes for them (and the show) after seeing this episode.

+ Great dialogue

What I didn’t like:

There’s really not much hate in this release. I’m sure the series is easy enough for this particular Crunchyroll translator. Except for that one contraction problem, nothing jumped out at me during the release.

– That one contraction

– Minor punctuation problems, but I’ve long since stopped caring about correcting them

Overall Grade: 5 players per team… out of 5.

This entry was posted by brainchild.

One thought on “Script Review: [HorribleSubs] Kuroko’s Basketball – 01

  1. As a native American English speaker I have to disagree with you on saying using “how’d” as a contraction for “how would” is uncommon and unnatural sounding. I and many other native American English speakers I know use that “how’d” in place of “how would” on a DAILY basis.

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