Ro-Kyu-Bu SS!

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Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS continues the tale of Subaru, Tomoka, Airi, Hinata, Saki, and Maho as they continue their journey as a mini-basketball team. They go through a number of small adventures on their own, such as a match featuring Subaru, Tomoka, and Airi against Ryuuichi, the ace of the team that Subaru had lost against in the semi-finals when he was in middle school. And of course, it also has more slice of life related adventures such as Subaru, Aoi, Natsuhi, and the mini-basketball team going on a field trip, where things end up proceeding similar to the first training camp of the first season.

However, what makes this season different is the introduction of a new core team. Subaru’s dad ends up coming back for a bit, and ends up bringing one of his friends daughters to stay in Japan. This girl, Mimi, instantly challenges Tomoka to a match, and ends up losing. Unwilling to admit defeat, she composes her own team of all fifth graders to go against Tomoka’s team of sixth graders once more. This team is composed of Mimi, of course as the ace; Masami, a girl that like Saki is part of a family that runs a food shop, and has a very strong rivalry with Saki; Tsubaki and Hiragii, Natsuhi’s little sisters who have a strong rivalry with Maho; and Kagetsu, Hinata’s little sister. They all come together to go against the sixth grade team, and they lose. At this point Aoi becomes their coach, they train, and go against them again with a new wild boar strategy that works much better, but still results in them losing.

At this point the two teams begin to merge, but those of them that had joined only to beat out members of the other team (TsubaHii and Masami) begin to lose motivation. At this point a girl from Suzuritani named Rena, ends up provoking them in a multitude of ways. They end up burning to beat her, and join with the sixth graders as a proper team to go against her and Suzuritani in the first and last official tournament the sixth graders will ever enter. Rena is very skilled, but a very bad team player, which Subaru exploits in order to shut her down. Still, things don’t go as well as hoped, and Keishin is knocked out of the tournament. While life must go on and the sixth graders graduate to middle school and Subaru  goes back to playing for his own now unsuspended team, the bonds they made still shine strong, and they decide they will continue to be together through the connection that is basketball.

***

This season was almost exactly what I wanted of a second season. I wanted them to take part in an official tournament but didn’t quite understand how as they didn’t have enough players, and this arc developed another five players and developed how they ended up joining together with the main team. All of them were interesting in their own right, especially Manami, and as a group. Subaru actually got his moment to shine in actually playing and was awesome. Rena was as good a ‘villain’ as could be expected, even though the ‘no teamwork’ thing is pretty cliche, and the development of character was also predictable. All the other characters were great too. All of them. Everyone on the sixth and fifth grade team. And Aoi. And Banri. And Natsuhi. Hell, even Uehara got to shine at the end as the vice president.  The relationship development proceeded essentially perfectly, both through what was shown in playing basketball, and the slice of life moments that were a good change of pace. The plot felt a lot more serious this time around, and things were more intense, but it still kept its light hearted feel overall. It was cute most of the time, and got its epic moments. Using the OP themes for some of these was a great touch. Basketball still doesn’t make sense to me and I was flabbergasted in how they actually lost that last match. Still, the parts after that were great, where it showed how strong their bonds were, and the romantic relationship between Subaru and Tomoko actually properly came into being. Though Tomoko never got to say why she started basketball, which was a bit disappointing. It doesn’t have as much of an impact if she doesn’t realize its him and he doesn’t realize it either even if the viewer does. It would have been another nice little link between them. But she was cute as a little kid so its nice way to end it I suppose.

Solid show that improved upon everything from the first season and brought the series to a satisfying end.

9/10

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