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|“||I am a supporting actor, a shadow. But a shadow will become darker if the light is stronger and it will make the white of the light stand out. As the shadow of the main actor, I will make you, the light, the number one in Japan.||”|
—Tetsuya Kuroko, to Taiga Kagami
Tetsuya Kuroko (黒子 テツヤ Kuroko Tetsuya) is the main protagonist of the manga, Kuroko no Basuke. He was the Phantom Sixth Player of the Generation of Miracles at Teikō Junior High who specialises in misdirection and passes. He now plays as a regular with Seirin with the goal of bringing the team and Taiga Kagami to the top of Japan.
Kuroko has a fragile outlook and a very small build for a basketball player which is why he is usually seen passing. He has light blue hair that he styles to his left. His eyes are blue, and he has a blank gaze. His skin is fairly pale. He wears the white, black, and red Seirin jersey with the number 11. He also sometimes wears black sweatbands. His basketball shoes are white with a blue streak. He wore no. 15 jersey when he was in junior high. He also wears it in practices. He also wore the no. 8 jersey as a recruit, and no. 16 when he was still a 3rd stringer.
When out of training or matches, he wears his school uniform: the standard Japanese gakuran. The top piece of a gakuran is black, long-sleeved and has a standing collar which buttons from the bottom up to his chin. It has blue trimming on the sleeves and vertically in the middle. He also wears regular black pants. It has been noted that his bed-head is especially atrocious.
Kuroko has a deadpan and straight forward personality. He is very hard working and always tries to satisfy the needs of the team above his own. He has no presence and is quite unnoticeable, a trait that goes well with his misdirection. He has also displayed much respect towards fellow passionate basketball players and thinks that while senpais have to have pride, kōhais need to have respect. Despite his initial kind personality, Kuroko gets extremely furious at dirty play, such as when his teammates were threatened and injured by foul methods in the Kirisaki Daīchi game. His aura changes so drastically, that even Kagami gets scared when he sees him like that. When Kuroko gets angry, it gets very hard to beat him, as he is filled up with fighting spirit. When the situation worsens, he seems to turn talkative.
He has metaphorically referred to himself as a "shadow". He means that he is playing for someone else, and that he becomes stronger when the "light" is stronger. The "light" would be the player he supports during a basketball game. During his Junior High school basketball career, his "light" was Aomine, and now it is Kagami.
Outside the court, despite his unnoticeable personality, Kuroko is very gentlemanly when dealing with women. Amongst his friends, Kagami, Aomine and Kise are really shocked to see how easily Kuroko can cheer up Momoi and even knows what to do on a date. Kuroko also lectures Kagami that he should deal with women more delicately.
Overall, he is a very calm, rational person, but it is shown that he also has his silly moments. In one omake he says that he can also become noticeable and does so by pulling his jacket over his head, making people automatically see him and laugh. There are times where he uses his misdirection ability to run away, and also a time where he was late for a game but pretended to have been there from the start  (until Kagami pointed out the sweat on his brow, indicating that he was actually late and had run all the way to school). While initially antisocial towards his teammates, he gradually warms up and starts to openly express himself more. It has been shown that he has a soft spot for cute animals, like kittens and dogs (Tetsuya #2).
In 5th grade, Kuroko saw a basketball match on tv, got interested in it and started playing basketball on a nearby court, since there weren't any teams he could join. There, he befriended a neighborhood boy, who was later revealed to be Shigehiro Ogiwara, taught him basketball. When they split up, they promised that they would meet again in Junior High.
The first day of Junior High, in April, Kuroko is walking in the crowd, with few people noticing him, as usual. He seems determined to join the basketball club. At the gym, Kuroko is surprised to see so many people trying out for the club and he is told that Teikō's basketball team is famous. Sanada, the coach, explains the club's system, with the first to third strings. Kuroko is aiming for first string but is perplexed when he is divided into the third string, because of his weak overall abilities.
Kuroko kept training hard on the club and even stayed late after practices. Because of his weak presence, he wasn't noticed by those who came to watch and the sounds of basketball in the gym were credited to a ghost. This lasted until Daiki Aomine came to watch and Kuroko introduced himself. They quickly became friends, even though Aomine was in the first string and a regular. They practiced together and gained respect for another, with Aomine wanting to play with him on the same court one day.
Even after training hard, he still wasn't able to reach neither the second nor the first strings and was told by the coach to quit the team since he was one of the members who got the lowest scores, but it is still his decision to stay or not. Walking during the night, he remembered the words that Aomine said to him, but he said to himself that he no longer knows what to do from now on.
When Kuroko went to say Aomine that he wanted to quit the basketball team one day, Aomine motivated him to stay, saying that he admires Kuroko's love of basketball. The players of the first string then enter, Akashi, Midorima and Murasakibara (Kise wasn't part of the team yet). While Murasakibara didn't pay much attention to Kuroko, Akashi noticed his lack of presence and said that Kuroko might hide an ability completely different from theirs. Kuroko was eventually given a chance and in one match, he was seen to be completely adaptable with Aomine in terms of passing. It was then that he first discovered and developed his misdirection and invisible pass.
He became the trump card player of the team that later would be called the Generation of Miracles. In his second year, he became the personal instructor of Kise, who still was a rookie. At first, Kise was very reluctant on having Kuroko as his instructor, but they became friends when they both had to help with a match of the second string. While playing, he had the number 15. In Teikō, he also first met Momoi. She became amazed by Kuroko's play style and by later giving her free ice-cream, she instantly fell in love with him.
Also in his second year, he witnessed Aomine's awakening. While the rest of the Generation of Miracles were still above average, Aomine's growth progressed aggressively. As a consequence, Aomine towered high above anyone else and couldn't find a decent rival. He became too good for his own good and started slacking off. It was then that Kuroko tried to motivate Aomine in still trying his best, as it isn't fun at all when the opponent is holding back. Aomine agreed, but quickly discovered that he destroyed everyone's morale when he started playing serious. He approached Kuroko and told him that he gives up in trying to find a rival, that he is his only rival. He also denied Kuroko's fist bump, the signature move that marked their friendship.
In his third year, Kuroko began to see the unpromising changes of the Generation of Miracles and couldn't do anything but bear with it. In the finals, when he was unable to play, he lost the chance to play against Ogiwara, his childhood friend. Not wanting his friend to be looked down by Teikō, he tells Akashi to not go easy which Akashi replies that they will show Teikō's true strength. However, this were proven too much as he realized that his friend is mercilessly toyed by Teikō and he lost his will to play basketball and even started hating it. When he goes to see Ogiwara in his school, Meikō, Mochida, the captain of the Meikō team told him that Ogiwara transferred. Kuroko hears that Ogiwara was frightened by the cold eyes of each of the Generation of Miracles, Ogiwara also realized that even though Kuroko also has those eyes, there is still warmth in it. After that, Mochida gave Kuroko Ogiwara's black wristband and motivates him to not give up on basketball. Kuroko is refueled by Ogiwara's faith in him and decides to continue playing basketball. His objective is to make the Generation Of Miracles recognize his basketball by defeating them one by one. And that is why he entered Seirin.
Kuroko appears on his first day in Seirin High. He walks through the mass of people who are being pursued by the clubs to join their club, but Kuroko isn't spoken to, because he makes himself invisible. He searches for the school's basketball club and fills in an application form, without Riko noticing him. Koganei sees the paper later and Riko is surprised that she didn't notice a player who was on the same team as the Generation of Miracles.
Later, on the first training, Riko uses her scanning ability on everyone on the team. She didn't see Kuroko and wonders where he is, while the rest of the team haven't seen him either. Riko decides that he's not here and shouts that they'll begin the training without him. However, Kuroko was standing in front of her and he tells her that he's right here. Riko and all the others are shocked to see him standing there, because they haven't noticed him at all. Riko orders him to take of his shirt so that she can see his stats again, but concludes that he's fairly weak compared to the rest of the team.
Later, after training, Kagami goes to a fast-food restaurant, orders a lot of burgers and has a seat at a random table. Coincidentally, Kuroko is sitting at the same table. He notices Kagami's amount of food and comments that he is still growing. Kagami didn't notice Kuroko yet and is surprised to see him. Kagami asks what he is doing and Kuroko replies that he has simply been watching people. Kagami tells him to come with him for a bit.
They arrive at a small basketball court and Kagami asks what Kuroko is hiding. He tells Kuroko that he played basketball in America and that Japan is much weaker than America. He goes on by saying that he plays basketball for the thrill and that he has heard about the Generation of Miracles. He explains to Kuroko that he can smell his opponent's scent to discern how strong they are. He says that Kuroko should smell weak, but he can't smell anything. It's like Kuroko is odorless. He passes Kuroko the ball and challenges him to a match, to see how Kuroko is like for himself. Kuroko says that he has been planning on playing a one-on-one as well. He takes off his jacket and throws it to the side.
They begin playing one-on-one. The match is quickly decided, as Kuroko is so weak in comparison to Kagami. Kuroko tries to shoot, but misses or gets blocked, fumbles the ball and is much slower then Kagami. Kagami thinks by himself that Kuroko's movements are that of an amateur. He yells at Kuroko, saying that he's overestimating himself when he thinks he can win like that. Kuroko denies, saying that Kagami is obviously the stronger one. Kuroko says that he just wanted to see Kagami's strength. Kagami prepares to leave, while telling Kuroko that he's weak and that he should just stop playing basketball. Kuroko replies that he's different from Kagami and mysteriously says that he's a shadow.
The next day, the Seirin freshmen play against the second years in a practice match. While Kagami is hogging all the points, Kuroko is again proven to be weak and gets the ball stolen multiple times. When the second years get serious and build up a 16 point lead, Kagami gets angry, only for Kuroko to calm him down. Riko thinks by herself that she has totally forgot about Kuroko even being there. The game restarts and Kuroko asks the ball from Fukuda. Fukuda passes the ball and Kuroko immediately redirects the ball to Furihata, who was under the basket and scores a simple lay-up.
Kuroko goes on with his invisible passes, leading to the freshmen scoring a lot and coming back into the game. The other Seirin players amaze themselves over Kuroko's ability and Riko is able to analyze it. Kuroko gains Kagami's attention and somewhat respect and the mini-game is almost over. The first-years were still one point behind and when Kuroko steals a second-years ball, he drives to the basket, makes a lay-up... But misses. All of sudden, an angered Kagami appears behind Kuroko and he dunks the ball in, marking their first victory.
That evening, Kuroko and Kagami meet again at the Maji Burger, with Kagami getting annoyed because they encounter each other yet again. Kagami gives Kuroko one of his burgers, telling him he acknowledges him. Moving out of the restaurant, Kagami asks Kuroko how strong the Generation actually is. Kuroko replies that when Kagami would go up against them now, he would be instantly killed. He says that they have all gone to different schools and that one of these will be standing at the top. Kagami shouts his resolve, defeating the Generation of Miracles and Kuroko says that's unlikely. Yet, Kuroko says he found his resolve as well. He says that he will make Kagami the strongest of Japan, to be his supporting shadow.
The next day, Kuroko asks Riko if he can become an actual member of the club and then play in matches. Just like Kagami, who went to ask the same thing some moments later, Kuroko gets an application form and an invite for the rooftop test. Kuroko meets with Kagami not soon after, when they are both looking at Seirin's newspaper article form last year. Invisible as usual, Kuroko scares Kagami. Kagami threatens Kuroko to death if he ever does that again. Kagami recalled Kuroko's former teammates went to veteran school and yet Kuroko went to a new school like Seirin. When Kagami is about to ask him about it, Kuroko disappears again.
That Monday, Kuroko and the other freshmen go to the roof, where they are awaited by Riko. She tells them that they have to be ready for the Nationals in order to join and that they have to shout their name, class and resolve in front of the entire student body below. Kagami does so without any problems. Kuroko moves towards the railing and brings out a megaphone, because he finds it difficult to speak to such a large group without electronic aid. Just when he is about the speak, the club is busted by a teacher and Kuroko can't fulfil the assignment.
That evening, Kuroko sees Kagami again at Maji Burger. He tells him that it's a problem that he hasn't met the requirements yet to join the team, since the rooftop's guarded since then. Kagami says that he'll be able to join the team anyway. Kagami moves on by asking why exactly he went to Seirin when the other Generation of Miracles joined elite schools. Kuroko tells him the extreme winning philosophy of Teikō and that that was the end of teamwork. He tells Kagami that he was moved by his and the entire Seirin team's motives and resolutions and concludes by saying that he's only playing basketball in order to make him and the team the best in Japan. Kagami leaves by saying that it'll really happen. Between then and the next morning, Kuroko wrote "I will make you the number one in Japan" with chalk on the school's courtyard, for everyone to see. With this, he officially joins the Seirin basketball team.
Seirin vs Kaijō
One of the next trainings, Riko announces a practice match against Kaijō High and says that they have one of the Generation of Miracles, this being Ryōta Kise. When Kise enters the scene, they greet each other and say they haven't seen each other in a while. Kise says that he went to Seirin because he remembered that it was the school Kuroko joined. He claims that he and Kuroko got along in Junior High school, but Kuroko denies. When the other players are amazed by Kise's history as one of the Generation of Miracles, Kise again identifies with Kuroko as the weakest of the bunch, being picked on, but Kuroko denies yet again. Kise is challenged by Kagami and when Kise shows his copy of Kagami's earlier move, Kuroko explains his ability further. He is perplexed to see Kise's growth, even going as far as saying that he's a totally different person. Out of the blue, Kise asks Kuroko to join his team, but Kuroko bluntly refuses. He says that he has already vowed to defeat the Generation of Miracles, but Kise isn't taking him serious. Kuroko presses the fact that he is very serious.
The day of the match, Kaijō seems to underestimate Seirin High since they're only using half a court. The other half is for the other members who won't be playing to continue their practice, since Kaijō's coach, Coach Takeuchi, assume they won't learn anything from the game. Everyone in Seirin is pissed off, although Kuroko masks it. Coach Takeuchi also won't let Kise play since he thinks its already unfair for Seirin playing their regulars. Kise asks Seirin to agitate the coach for him to let him play, also agitating them that if they can't let him in the game, they certainly won't beat "The Generation of Miracles". To this, Kuroko says to Kise that he should warm up since it won't long for him to be in the game. At the start of the game, Kagami breaks the goal after a steal from Kuroko and Kuroko asks Coach Takeuchi to use the full court.
It's only been three minutes after the start of the game but everyone is fired up, resulting in a high-paced play and takes a toll on Kuroko's weak body. When Riko calls a time-out, Kuroko tells the team about his technique's weakness. He won't be able to use Misdirection after 40 minutes. The more he uses it, the more their opponents get used to it and its effect gradually decreases. Riko is enraged the Kuroko didn't say something that important sooner while putting him in a headlock. He apologizes saying that they didn't ask so he didn't tell.
After the time-out, Kaijō puts an 8-point gap between Seirin. But during the second half, Kuroko coordinates with Kagami, passing the ball between the two of them. In defense, Kuroko suddenly faces Kise. Short on speed, Kuroko is easily passed by Kise but when he is stalled by Kagami, Kuroko lunges backwards and taps Kise's ball, stealing it. Later, Kise tries to shoot over Kuroko, but is blocked by Kagami. Then, Kise accidentally hit Kuroko in the head, resulting in an injury. Kise is stunned by what happened, and could only stare at Kuroko's face. With Kuroko resting, the original Seirin team show their skills. Even though he is injured, Kuroko manages to convince Riko to let him play sometime during the third quarter.
With Kuroko back in the game at his full Misdirection level, Seirin manages to close in on Kaijō with a tie. However, Kise powers up again, gets around Kuroko's steal and scores points for Kaijō. The struggle for points begins again and with mere seconds remaining, Kagami blocks Kasamatsu's shot and goes for a fast-break with Kuroko. They are awaited by Kise under the basket. Kagami passes to Kuroko and he throws it up for the alley-oop, winning the match.
After the game, since they have no money and the team wanted to go eat something as a celebration, Riko takes them all to a restaurant that serves 4kg steak for free which has to be finished in 30 minutes or else they'll pay 10,000 yen each if they fail, the Steak Bomber. Everyone except Kuroko and Kagami thought that this is too much, though it seems that Kuroko is just expressionless as always since he is the first one to give up while Kagami saved them all from paying by eating all of the member's half-eaten steaks.
While everyone was still inside, Kuroko went out and met Kise. They both go to a playground to talk, leaving behind the team. They talk about Midorima, who is also a member of the "Generation of Miracles", with Kise saying that he went to see the practice match. But what Kise wanted to talk about was why Kuroko disappeared during last year's middle school championship game. To which Kuroko answers that he doesn't know either, but what he does know is that he hated basketball during that time and that he highly respects Kagami's attitude towards basketball. Kise doesn't get it and says that someday, when Kagami reaches the level of the "Generation of Miracles", he will drift apart from the team. When Kagami finds them he argues with Kise. They then notice that Kuroko is protecting some highschoolers from some thugs in a basketball court and the three proceed to annihilate the thugs in a 5 on 3 game.
Return of Kiyoshi
Kuroko first meets Kiyoshi while training in the gym. He shoots, misses and Kiyoshi picks up his ball. He tells Kuroko that he has seen that all he can do is pass, but that he likes that style of playing and that he just lacks experience. Kuroko asks who he is and Kiyoshi gives his name and offers him candy, to which Kuroko declines. He further introduces himself as the founder of the Seirin High School basketball club. He spells out his name in separate kanji's, but Kuroko reacts bluntly and uninterested.
As Kuroko asks what he is doing here, Kiyoshi explains that he will be discharged from the hospital in a week and that he came to take a look. He then saw a worried Kuroko and says to Kuroko that he has expectations from him and that he's interesting. He explains why basketball has different positions and says that the sixth player is a specialist. He continues by saying that he has never seen such an extreme specialist as Kuroko, but that the only thing Kuroko has accomplished so far is intimidation. He asks the ball from Kuroko and takes a shot himself, while saying that the only one who decides his limit is Kuroko himself. He concludes that Kuroko should have more faith in his abilities and leaves after that.
Summer Training Camp
Riko's father Kagetora brings the Seirin team on a beach, along with all the necessary equipment needed for training. As soon as the team arrives, they start their training on sand. This training will help the them to improve the skills of each individual player, something which they need the most at this time. As each of them gets stronger individually, they will eventually combine their strength for team play thus making it stronger. As the team is divided into two separate teams, Kuroko tries to bounce pass the ball from the sand, but fails. Later on when everyone moves into the gym, they realise just how easier it is for them to move, this being the result of the sand training.
Night falls and Seirin is stretching in a room. Kuroko is helping Kagami stretch but when Kagami notices that Kuroko is dozing off he questions him what's on his mind, and if it is about his new style. Kuroko replies saying that he is concerned for not having any ideas as of yet. The next day, as Kagami is brushing his teeth he is surprised as Kuroko suddenly appears next to him brushing his teeth as well. As Kagami notices Kuroko's bed hair, Midorima and Takao are walking the corridors past Kuroko and Kagami. The two turn around and notice Kuroko and Kagami standing there. Kagami yells at Midorima asking him what they are doing here, and Kuroko gives them a polite greeting. Takao then tells them that it is Shūtoku's tradition of coming to the same training camp to train every year. The four are interrupted by Riko who had blood on her and was holding a kitchen knife.
Shūtoku High and Seirin are holding a practice match. Riko tells Kagami to go run and buy drinks for everyone, with the latter disagreeing at first but then heads out. As the match starts, Kuroko has a 1-on-1 with Midorima. Kuroko soon has the ball stolen by Takao who then passes to Midorima to score the basket.
Midorima then tells Kuroko that he has come to make some ridiculous plays with Kuroko disagreeing and telling Midorima that he just wants to become stronger. Midorima tells him that he does not know how Kuroko feels after losing to Aomine, and tells him that they already know his limits. Midorima then tells Kuroko that a man who cannot play by himself, cannot improve by himself, giving Kuroko a secret hint to improving himself. Later on in the bath, Midorima and Takao discuss on how Kuroko could improve and conclude that if there is a way for him to overcome his weakness, he will show terrifying improvement.
The two teams have another practice match which ended with the score of 82 - 91, for Shūtoku. After the match Riko has prepared some ice. It is to help their bodies with the fatigue. At night Kagami has been doing some jumping training with Riko, meanwhile Kuroko comes outside looking for Kagami when he sees Takao. Takao then tells Kuroko to duck his head hiding him from Kagami and Midorima who came to tell Kagami something. Kuroko and Takao are hiding behind the bush with Takao holding his laugh and Kuroko observing the two. After Kagami and Midorima finished their 1-on-1 battle, Midorima comes and sees Kuroko and Takao, knowing the two were there. He tells Takao they are going and then tells Kuroko not to disappoint him at the Winter Cup preliminaries.
After, Kuroko and Kagami go together for a run. Kagami tells Kuroko the reason he thinks he lost against Midorima, being that he can only shoot dunks. Kuroko remembers the advice Hyūga and Midorima have told him, and suddenly stops running. He then tells Kagami that he may be able to beat the Generation of Miracles in an areal battle, but he may not beat them on the ground. He then tells Kagami that he has found a way to make the most of Kagami and the rest of the team by mastering his own drive in addition to his passes. Saying that this way he will surpass the Generation of Miracles. Meanwhile, Takao was questioning why Midorima helped their opponents so much, saying that this way they will get stronger. Midorima replied with saying that that is what he is wishing for.
Seirin is departing from the training camp, but instead of going home, Riko suggests that they will go and spectate a quarterfinal match between Kaijō High and Tōō Academy. The group then heads off to watch the match of the Inter-High. The team is on a bus and Kuroko tells Kagami the message Midorima has left for him, "I only taught him a lesson because he's so stupid" and also "Don't lose until I beat you". The team finally arrives and Kagami asks Kuroko who he thinks will win, with Kuroko replying that he doesn't know. he tells Kagami that Aomine was the one who inspired Kise to play basketball, but when they battled 1-on-1, Kise never won.
As the match starts, Kuroko and the rest of Seirin are spectating the match. The first quarter ends with the score of 18 - 13 for Kaijō. Riko comments on how Kaijō completely dominated the first quarter and Kagami adds that Aomine is holding back. Kuroko denies saying that right now Kise is beating him. Kiyoshi interrupts asking everyone how they beat Kaijō, with Kagami replying that they did it with spirit. Kuroko then tells them that even though he said that Aomine is trying, he tends to get stronger as the game goes on. As the game goes on, Kagami notices that Kuroko is focus on watching the game. Later on, Kuroko notices that Kise has given up on looking up to Aomine and tells everyone that he is trying to copy Aomine's style of play.
The second quarter ends and Kuroko meets Kise outside while taking Tetsuya #2 for some fresh air. Kise then asks him why he is here with Kuroko replying that he was training nearby an came to watch the match. Kise then asks Kuroko that between him and Aomine, who does he think will win. Kuroko pauses but then replies that he doesn't know, much to Kise's surprise. He tells him that as long as he doesn't give up, anything can happen, and tells him that he thinks that neither Kise nor Aomine would give up. Telling Kise that it wouldn't be strange if either of them won. Hearing this, Kise tells Kuroko that he will do his best, but Kuroko tells him that he was sure he would say "I'll definitely win!". Kise then tells Kuroko that in middle school it was natural for them to win, but now that he doesn't know, it is better.
The match continues and Kise and Aomine go toe to toe. Kise makes a free throw rising the score to 51 - 60, still with Tōō Academy leading. As Kise was about to dunk, Aomine stops him leaving Kagami and Kuroko surprised as the ball falls to the audience. Finally the last quarter begins and Aomine is marking Kise. As he marks Kise, Aomine notices the eyes Kise has and tells himself that as long as he has those eyes, there's no telling what will happen. As long as he has eyes similar to Kuroko. Aomine and Kise continue to battle when finally the ring bells, ending the match with the score of 98 - 110 for Tōō Academy. As the match ends Seirin leaves. While leaving Kagami notices a large player walking by. When Kuroko sees the person, he tells Kagami that he forgot to greet an old acquaintance.
Kuroko arrives at Seirin's training a little late and announces that he brought a dog in a box. He tells them that he found the dog in the park of Seirin High School and couldn't bear leaving it, so he took it to practice. Meanwhile, the dog has crawled up Kuroko's head and shaking his tail. Izuki looks at the dog more closely and asks if the dog reminds them of someone and later they realise that the dog resembles Kuroko a lot, so Koga decides to call him Tetsuya #2.
When Kagami confesses his fear for dogs, Kuroko chases him with Tetsuya #2 on purpose. The club later votes to keep the dog, with only Kagami opposing. Kuroko sadly asks Kagami if he wants to abandon the doggie a second time. Riko tells Kuroko that it'll be difficult to keep him, but Kuroko proposes that if he can get Kagami to like Tetsuya #2, that they will keep him. Riko accepts and Kuroko takes Tetsuya #2 along with Seirin's jogging. Back in the gym, Seirin starts training and when Kuroko makes a successful invisible pass, Tetsuya #2 barks and seems happy. Kuroko plays further with Tetsuya #2, only annoying Kagami.
Eventually, Tetsuya #2 poops into Kagami's sneakers and an enraged Kagami washes them outside. Kuroko approaches him and asks him why he doesn't simply accept Tetsuya #2. He tries to convince Kagami that #2 is a good dog and that he could just try to pet him. They are disturbed by Kawahara, who calls Kuroko inside. Kuroko leaves #2 with Kagami and they reconcile.
When Furihata and the other first years suggest going to the Street Basketball 5 on 5 tournament, Kuroko along with Kagami and Kiyoshi go with them, with Riko's permission. Once they arrive they meet their old enemies, Seihō High. The third years told Seirin that since they lost they will not be able to participate in the Winter Cup so this is the only opportunity for them to play together once more as a team. As the group watch lunch together, the five players from Seihō High are soon announced onto the court and leave the Seirin five. Seirin stays behind but they soon catch up to see Seihō beaten by one single player. That player was Himuro, Kagami's brother from the states. As Kagami and Himuro reunite, Kagami tells Kuroko and the rest his past with Himuro. As Kuroko hears the story, he tells Kagami that it is his fault, and tells him that he shouldn't have went easy on Himuro in the past, since no one wants their opponents to go easy on them in the game they love.
Seeing Kuroko, Himuro asks him who he is and Kuroko introduces himself to him. After hearing Kuroko's name, Himuro tells Kagami that he has found an interesting partner. Surprised Kagami asks Himuro how he knew of Kuroko, when Himuro told him that an interesting player on his team told him about Kuroko. Soon after Kagami and Himuro decide to play their decisive fiftieth match to decide who is the strongest, with their brotherhood on the line. As soon as the tip-off starts and the ball is thrown into the air, a candy bar appears on top of the ball. Murasakibara appears stopping the match telling Himuro that they are not allowed to play outside of school as it is the school's rule.
Murasakibara then sees Kuroko and pats him on the head, much to Kuroko's annoyance. Later on, the latter continue with the match, however, they are soon stopped by heavy rain and are forced to leave. Just before Murasakibara left, he pats Kuroko's head once more, when Kuroko shoves the hand off and asks Murasakibara if he still finds basketball boring. Angered Murasakibara tells him that if he asks him this again, he will crush him even though it's Kuroko. Murasakibara and Himuro leave promising to meet again at the Winter Cup. Soon after, Kuroko gets a text message from Riko telling them to return to the gym.
When Kuroko arrives at the gym with the rest, he is greeted by crying Momoi who jumps on him, hugging him. Kuroko soon asks what the problem is, with Momoi saying that Aomine hates her. Momoi then sits on a chair surrounded by the Seirin members while Kuroko brings her a drink. Momoi is then questioned about the results of the Inter-High and the reason Aomine, Murasakibara and Akashi did not participate in the finals. She tells them that due to his injury Aomine was not able to participate, and that since Akashi told Murasakibara not to play he did not participate. Then when asked about Akashi, she told everyone that he simply said "It would be boring". Meaning that victory would be attained for sure if he played. After their discussion, Kuroko decides to walk Momoi back home. The two then walk together leaving the gym.
As Momoi and Kuroko walk, Momoi notices Kuroko playing with the ball in his hands and tells him that it is unusual for him. Kuroko then suggests making a detour in order for him to show her something. The two arrive at the basketball court, when Kuroko tell her that he will show her his new move. This way she would not come back to Aomine empty handed. Momoi asks if it is fine, with Kuroko replying that he doesn't intend to hide the technique before they face Tōō Academy. Kuroko then goes on to show Momoi his new Vanishing Drive. Seeing this new technique, Momoi was shocked realising that when he perfects this, it could become a lethal weapon. As the two continue to walk, Momoi parts with Kuroko telling him that she hopes that everyone will be able to play together again.
Winter Cup preliminaries
The Winter Cup preliminaries started and Seirin was to go up against Josei High in order to qualify for the final league. Before the match started, the Josei players recognised Kiyoshi as one of the Uncrowned Kings making them uneasy about the match. This made Kuroko feel at ease now with Kiyoshi on the court with Seirin. Later on in the match, Kagami jumped too high hitting the hoop and making him fall. Luckily it was the interval time, and Kuroko dragged the collapsed Kagami off the court with the rest of the team. As the match resumed, Kagami was impatient. Seeing him Kuroko pulled his wristband and told him that the Tōō Academy players were among the audience, surely to tell Aomine the results of the match. This however had the opposite effect on Kagami and made him even more motivated to play.
As Kagami shot the decisive dunk, allowing Seirin to win the match, Kuroko helped him stand back up. Seirin had won the match, qualifying to the Final league. Meanwhile, Shūtoku having also won their match, qualifying to the Final league as well. Later on, Kuroko asked Kagami if he would make some time for him, to help him with his new drive. The rest of the Seirin team went home, while Kagami and Kuroko went on a street court in order to help Kuroko with his drive, Kagami went with him a 1-on-1 battle. As they began, Kuroko used his newest technique, the Vanishing Drive and managed to pass Kagami, shocking him. However, the drive was incomplete resulting in Kuroko leaving the ball behind. Holding the ball, Kagami noticed just how much it is worn out and was shocked to find out that this was Kuroko's sixth one.
Seirin's first opponent in the Final league was Senshinkan High. A match they have won with the score of 78 – 61. The Senshinkan players were surprised to see Seirin's overwhelming improvement since their last match. Meanwhile, on the court right beside Seirin's, Shūtoku had their match against Kirisaki Daīchi High's first year players who were not regulars on the team. Having won both their games, it was time for Seirin to face off against their next opponent, Shūtoku.
The match between Shūtoku High and Seirin is about to commence. The tension between the two teams is high, but the Seirin players believe in their victory. Kuroko, however, told them otherwise. Telling them that Shūtoku is set out for revenge and that it won't be easy. As both teams enter the court and the match was about to commence, Takao approached Kuroko to tell him that Midorima has no time for him, as he has completely accepted Kagami as his rival. The rest of the team feeling the same way. Hearing this, Kuroko told him that's good to hear and that this is the all more reason Seirin cannot lose. Just before the tip-off commences, Kuroko approaches Kagami and tells him that he leaves Midorima to him. Kagami replies saying that he planned that all along.
The match commences and Seirin gets the tip-off, Izuki has the ball but not for long as Takao steals it. He then passes it on to Kimura, who then attempts to pass it to Ōtsubo. He was however intercepted by Kuroko who stole the ball back. Unfortunately, Midorima got the ball and attempted to shoot. He however, was stopped by Kagami, resulting in the ball going out of bounds. Midorima and Kagami continue their match of stamina. To see who will run out of gas first, as Midorima keeps on shooting and Kagami jumping to stop him. Takao marks Kuroko using his hawk eye. When Midorima was made to miss by Kagami, Kuroko got off Takao's mark and got under the basket to use his Cyclone Pass to throw the ball to the other side of the court. Izuki caught the ball and scored the basket for Seirin. Later on in the game, Seirin was surprised to see Midorima using teamwork against them, something he did not before. Now that he is cooperating with his teammates, it would be much harder for Seirin to stop him.
As Seirin regroups and thinks of their next course of action, they decide to bench Kuroko. Kuroko is benched and Mitobe takes his place. As Kuroko sits on the bench, he tells the rest of his benched team members that he is not worried, and that he believes in everyone. The match goes to Shūtoku's favour, and everyone notices the changes in Modirima. Takao notices that it is true and that the reason Midorima changed is because of Kuroko. Meanwhile on the sidelines, Momoi and Kise spectate the match having noticed the changes in Midorima as well. Momoi tells Kise that both him and Modorima have changed. Kise then tells her that it is not them who changed, but they were rather made to change by Kuroko. He tells Momoi than when you play against him, you get the feeing that teamwork is not a sign of weakness but rather strength. As Shūtoku is leading and the match is in their favour, Kise tells Momoi that Shūtoku would win if it were not for Kuroko. The Phantom 6th Man of the Generation of Miracles would not stand still. On Seirin's bench, Kuroko tells Riko that he is ready to use his new drive and the member change is announced.
The Shūtoku players are surprised that Kuroko would come now in the game but Midorima tells them otherwise, that Kuroko would not be coming back without something up his sleeve. The game resumes and Kuroko is marked by Takao again. Kuroko makes him move and gets rid of Takao's mark by using a screen with Kagami. Kuroko gets the ball and faces off against Midorima, using his new Vanishing Drive to pass him. Kuroko passes Midorima and passes the ball to Kiyoshi who then made the basket.
The Shūtoku players were surprised to see Kuroko's new drive. Kuroko gets the ball again from Izuki and dribbles to the basket. Takao goes on to stop him but as well as Midorima he was passed by the Vanishing Drive. Kuroko then passes the ball to Hyūga who then made a three-pointer. Shūtoku got the ball back, only for it to be stolen by Kuroko again. He passes the ball to Hyūga, who then scores another three-pointer. Now the score is tied. Since Kuroko has come back to the game, Seirin has managed to score up 8 points. Kuroko turns to Midorima and tells him that now they are back where they started, Midorima replying with "interesting".
The final quarter begins and Izuki passes the ball to Hyūga. Wanting to intercept their pass is Miyaji, who was however stopped by Kuroko who escaped Takao's mark. Kuroko passes the ball to Kagami who then scores a dunk. The game continues as Izuki loses the ball which is about to go off-bounds, resulting in Shūtoku's ball. Kuroko however, manages to catch the ball. As Takao tries to stop him, Kuroko uses his Vanishing Drive again and passes Takao, passing the ball to Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi attempts to shoot but is stopped by Midorima who made a foul, resulting in Kiyoshi getting two free throws.
Kiyoshi makes his first throw tying the score between the two teams. His second throw didn't go in and resulted in a rebound battle. Kagami got the rebound and attempted to score the basket, Midorima went on to stop him as the two battle for the ball. The sound signalising the end of the match has ringed, as Midorima and Kagami let go of the ball, they see that the score is tied, resulting in the match being a tie. Since the Winter Cup final league is trying to keep the games short, there is no overtime. As the game ends, the players decide that they will settle everything at the Winter Cup later. Both teams leave the court and the audience gives them a big applause for the wonderful game they have played.
Seirin notices Tetsuya #2 is missing so everyone goes to look for him. Kuroko finds him with Midorima, Kise and Momoi who faints when she sees Kuroko. Midorima tells Kuroko that they will play again at the Winter Cup and then leaves. Kise takes the collapsed Momoi and leaves as well. Later on as they walk home, Kagami asks Hyūga what is wrong with Kiyoshi, having overheard their conversation earlier. Hyūga then tells Kagami and Kuroko about the team's past and the time the Seirin club was made.
Seirin's third match of the Final League was about to commence, their next opponent, Kirisaki Daīchi High, the team that has injured Kiyoshi in the past. During the warm-up, both Kuroko and Kagami have their resolve conveyed to the opponent team, telling them they won't lose. Hanamiya recognises the two as Seirin's first year duo and tells them to be careful, hoping that nothing serious will happen during the match. As the tip-off commences, Izuki gets the ball and passes it to Hyūga who then passes it to Kuroko who uses his Vanishing Drive to pass Yamazaki. After passing Yamazaki, Kuroko passes the ball to Kiyoshi who scores a dunk. Giving Seirin a start advantage. Seeing the Vanishing Drive for the first time that Momoi has described, Aomine was surprised while spectating the match. The match continues and Kirisaki Daīchi uses their rough style of play to score baskets. Kiyoshi stopping most of the injuries falling on the Seirin players. Kagami having reached his limit, attempts to punch Hara, but he is stopped by Kuroko who grabs him by his feet and makes him fall. Kuroko then tells him that the thing they should be doing for their seniors is not brawl, but win using basketball. Kagami agrees and apologises to everyone.
The game continues and Kiyoshi is getting more and more injured. Despite this he wishes to stay on the court to protect Seirin, this being the reason he came back. As the second quarter ends, Kuroko asks Hanamiya if he truly enjoys playing basketball the way he is. Hanamiya answers by telling him that he doesn't but there is no other way to beat other powerful schools. Hanamiya then rolls out his tongue telling Kuroko that he does enjoy seeing other suffer and that it's enjoyable to break the dreams and hopes of others. Kuroko and the rest of the Seirin members left to their locker room where they were enraged by Hanamiya's statement. Kagami notices that Kuroko was angry, something he didn't see before. Meanwhile in the bathroom, Aomine tells Hanamiya that he will lose because he made Kuroko angry.
The game continues and Kuroko uses his Vanishing Drive again. This time both Hara and Yamazaki try to stop him, but failed. Kuroko passes them and passes the ball to Kagami who then dunks over Kuroko. Kuroko is subbed out and Koganei takes his place. Later on when Hanamiya uses his Spider's Web to prevent Seirin from scoring, Kuroko is subbed back in with an idea of how to break free of the Spider's Web. With Kuroko back in the game, Izuki makes a pass which is about to be stolen by Hanamiya.
Kuroko however, changes the course of the pass resulting in Hanamiya not stealing the ball. Seirin finally scored their first point since Kuroko left the court. On the sidelines, Aomine comments that the Seirin players know where Kuroko is going to pass because they trust him. It's time-out and Riko wants to sub-out Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi refuses but Kuroko tells him that Kiyoshi is like an older brother protecting them and that he wishes for him to protect them in the future. Finally after convincing Kiyoshi to rest, the Seirin team heads out to finish the match.
The match continues and Izuki passes the ball to Kuroko who prevents Kirisaki Daīchi from stealing the ball, and passes it further on to Hyūga who shoots but misses. Later, Kuroko passes the ball again to Hyūga who finally manages to score the basket. On the sidelines, Imayoshi comments that with Kuroko and Hyūga, Seirin has finally fully broken Hanamiya's Spider Web. As the match goes to Seirin's favour, the Kirisaki Daīchi players note that it was Kuroko who changed the course of the play. It was all because of the Phantom 6th man of the Generation of Miracles. Frustrated Hanamiya uses a screen to get rid of his mark and faces Kuroko in a 1-on-1 battle. He tells Kuroko that it is all his fault they are losing, as he tries to injure Kuroko. Kuroko invades and Hanamiya goes past him. Hanamiya goes on to score the basket using his Floater shot.
As the basket goes in, he tells Seirin that he doesn't need to use dirty tricks in order to win. Angered Kuroko tell him to stop screwing around as he prepares to launch an Ignite Pass. As Kuroko passes the ball, he tells Hanamiya not get in the way of their basketball using his style, and that he chose to play because he believed the basketball of the Generation of Miracles was wrong. Kuroko then launches the Ignite Pass which Kagami catches and scores the basket. As the game continues, Seirin kept on scoring baskets until the final bell was rung signalising the end of the match. Seirin had won with the score of 76 - 70, qualifying to the Winter Cup. Meanwhile, Shūtoku having also won their match qualify to the Winter Cup as well.
The match had ended and the Seirin members were in their locker room. Kiyoshi tells everyone that this year's Winter Cup is special because all of the Teikō Junior High's geniuses including the Phantom 6th man will be participating. Meanwhile, Kuroko was playing on a street court outside of the building. Kagami comes and asks him if he is excited. Kuroko replying that he doesn't know but that his hands are shivering and that he cannot stand still. Kagami then tells him that that is what it means trembling with excitement. The two then have a 1-on-1 battle until they are interrupted by Hyūga and the other Seirin members. The team is ready to go to the Winter Cup.
Winter Training Camp
On the last day of the Winter Camp, Kuroko overhears a conversation between Kiyoshi and Hyūga. Kiyoshi tells Hyūga that the Winter Cup will be his final tournament and that they will have to be number 1 this year already. Kuroko decides that he will throw away their chances for the future in order to win this year's Winter Cup.
The training camp is supervised by Riko's father, Kagetora, who was used to be a national player. He tried to train and enhance every player individual skills, but told Riko that he gives up on Kuroko, said that even he had never met such an extreme outline special sportman in his life, but already gave him some suggestions. It is known later that it is for Kuroko to develop his shooting for when he has the space after he passes his opponent with his Vanishing Drive.
Kuroko joins Seirin at the opening ceremony of the Winter Cup. When the ceremony was finished, Kuroko receives a text message on his cellphone. He tells Riko that he has to go, he has been summoned. He tells the team he is going to see his former captain, the former captain of the Generation of Miracles, Akashi. Riko sends Furihata along.
Kuroko meets up with his former teammates and while Aomine makes fun of him at having a chaperone, Kuroko greets them. They talk casually to each other but Furihata could feel the air is heavy, and recalled in spite of being former teammates, Kuroko and the Generation of Miracle members are rivals now in court. Akashi arrives shortly after and greets them all. He demands that Furihata leaves because he wants to speak with his comrades. Kagami finally arrives and like Furihata, Kuroko is surprised and happy to see him. Akashi attacks Kagami with Midorima's scissors and Kuroko is seen shocked like everyone else. Akashi leaves again and says to the rest that it seems they haven't forgotten their oath they made last year. He departs by saying that the next time they will meet, will be in battle.
Seirin's first match of the Winter Cup is about to begin and Kuroko fetches Kagami from the locker room. Kuroko looks worried, but Kagami sets him at ease, saying that he isn't thinking about Akashi, but about Aomine. When the match begins, Kuroko approaches Aomine. Recalling his past experiences with Aomine, from their last match, to their friendship and his promise with Momoi, he declares to Aomine that they will definitely win this time. Aomine agrees to settle it for good. Both teams line up and the match commences.
Seirin gets the ball at the tip off, but it gets stolen by Tōō's pressure defense. Sakurai passes to Aomine, who does an alley-oop and scores the first point. Following Riko's orders given before the match, Seirin quickly passes to Kuroko, who pulls up for his Ignite Pass Kai, intending to pass to Kiyoshi. Facing Aomine, Kuroko doesn't even activate his Misdirection on him, showing confidence in the strength of his new pass. He puts much power in his legs, rotates his arm and hits the ball with the palm of his hand, also spinning. The ball spirals besides Aomine, knocking his hand away, and eventually reaches Kiyoshi, who receives the ball with effort. Kiyoshi, after facing Wakamatsu, passes to Kagami and he dunks the ball.
In the audience, the Generation of Miracles amaze themselves over Kuroko's new pass. Aomine approaches him and says that he has gotten a bit more interesting. Kuroko responds that if Aomine thought they would be the same as before, then he would be dissapointed.
Back to the game, Imayoshi gives a high pass to Susa. Kuroko is guarding him but can't do anything because Susa is much bigger than Kuroko and because of the high pass, he also can't use his misdirection and steal it.
The match goes on with Hyūga's Barrier Jumper versus Sakurai's quick-release shot. Sakurai scores another three-pointer with the time of the first quarter running out. Kuroko ends up with the ball and shows his Invisible Drive for the first time in the Winter Cup. He is able to break through Susa's defense, but encounters Wakamatsu at the basket. He passes outside to Hyūga and he scores another three-pointer. Seirin goes out of the first quarter with a tie on the scoreboard.
During the pause, Kuroko tells Riko that he will do the Vanishing Drive one more time. Riko agrees and resumes that it's better if they use it now. Meanwhile at Tōō's side, Momoi figures out the system of the Vanishing Drive and tells the team to keep Kagami and Kuroko apart. The match restarts and Kagami screens out Susa and Kuroko runs free. He gets the ball and faces Aomine. They have a conversation how they both have a mutual understanding of basketball. Kuroko and Kagami do the Vanishing Drive together and Kuroko seemingly passes Aomine. But Aomine suddenly turns around and cuts Kuroko off, defeating his last resort move. He was able to do that by closing his eyes and trusting on his feeling to follow Kuroko. He steals Kuroko's ball and dunks. He approaches Kuroko and says that he can't defeat him, putting Kuroko even more in despair.
In hopelessness, Kuroko tries to defeat Aomine by launching his new Ignite Pass Kai right off the get-go. He fires the ball, but is stopped by Aomine. Aomine tells Kuroko that his effort is futile and over dribbles him. He scores and Tōō takes the lead. At a time-out called by Riko, she subs him out for Koga. He refuses Furihata's taping and stays alone with his grief. While thinking about his history with Aomine, he clenches his fist and is frustrated because he can't beat him. As Seirin is about to go back to the game, Kagami goes to Kuroko and motivates him by saying that everyone believes that he'll come back and defeat Aomine. He tells Kuroko that his effort wasn't futile at all.
While Kuroko was on the bench defeated, Kagami became the one who had to help Kuroko and unleashed his nearly full potential. His true power came out and he was able to fight with Aomine on the same level. Eventually, half time is reached with Tōō's two point lead. In the half time break, Kuroko went outside to get some fresh air and was joined by Kagami, who brought him a jacket. He asks Kagami if he enjoys basketball and tells him his past in Teikō Junior High, how he befriended a totally different Aomine than in the present. He concludes that he wants to see Aomine play basketball with a smile again. Kagami says that they'll do that by playing as hard as they can and win the match.
During half-time, in the locker room, Kuroko tells the team his plan. This is to make his misdirection run out in order for him to use his Misdirection Overflow. He explains that by making the opponents' glances focus at him, the other players will have the chance to use Kuroko's Vanishing Drive.
They go back inside and enter the court for the second half. Kuroko is back in. Tōō starts with the offense and Aomine ends up with the ball. He drives past Kagami, but is forcefully stopped by Kuroko, who predicted his path and was able to make Aomine bump into him, making an offensive foul. He says that while Aomine knows him well in terms of basketball, the opposite is also true. He is helped up back on his feet by Kagami. In Seirin's offense, Kuroko gets the ball, but passes through to Kagami. It seems that Kuroko got back in to help Kagami's defense with his experience, but he gets the ball back from Kiyoshi and suddenly fires his Ignite Pass to Hyūga. Hyūga scores a three-pointer and gets Seirin the lead. He later complains about the pass being way too hard.
When Seirin is back in offense, everyone is shocked to find out that Imayoshi is now guarding Kuroko. Kuroko tries to get to the ball by using his usual misdirection, but for some reason it doesn't work and Kuroko is unable to shake off Imayoshi's defense. It was then revealed that Momoi discovered the trick behind Kuroko's misdirection, that his position is revealed by the eyefield of the passer. They made it so that Imayoshi switched with Susa and is now rendering Kuroko disabled. The ball is eventually passed to Kuroko, but Imayoshi manages to steal the ball.
The match progresses and Kuroko still can't manage to shake off Imayoshi. He has been trying to change Seirin's patterns by passing all over the place (like during the match with Kirisaki Daīchi), but Imayoshi reads his every move and seals him completely. After a few minutes, Susa changes back to guard Kuroko. This means that Kuroko's misdirection has worn off and that everyone can see him clearly now. Now that Kuroko's abilities are suppressed, Seirin seems hopeless in the match.
Imayoshi tries to convince Seirin to give this match up and hope for next time, but Kuroko and the entire Seirin team disagree. They become fired up again and regain their fighting spirit to win now. It is around that moment that Kuroko's misdirection has completely run out and that his sudden appearance as the tenth man on court begins to dawn. Kuroko activates his Misdirection Overflow, actually amplifies his presence and makes it able for Izuki to use the Vanishing Drive. Izuki scores.
On Seirin's next offense, Kuroko does it again and Hyūga does the Vanishing Drive and makes the lay-up. Kuroko's explanation during half-time is seen and his technique is explained by Riko. But Misdirection Overflow also has two downsides, as clarified by Midorima. The first is the limited time of the technique and the second is throwing away every chance of winning against Tōō in the future. Kuroko fully realizes this, but puts winning here, for the team and for Kiyoshi over winning in the future. Seirin gains the ball yet again and even Aomine can be passed by Kagami's Vanishing Drive by Kuroko's Misdirection Overflow. Seirin's chances have turned.
In the time-out between the third and the last quarter, Kuroko seems drained. After Aomine gets his passion back and begins scoring, Kuroko agrees with Kagami and Kiyoshi to triple-team Aomine. Aomine still passes Kagami and Kiyoshi and when he's about to be blocked by Kagami, he falls and throws the ball to the ring in the fall. But before he can shoot, he is distracted, even for a moment, by Kuroko's Misdirection Overflow. This leads to the ball bouncing of the rim and missing. It turns out that Kuroko's new skill was specially designed for stopping Aomine's shots like this.
Seirin manages to hold on and uses a heavy zone press to steal the ball at the inbound. Kuroko swings it to Hyūga, who gets fouled on the three point line and scores his free throws. As Aomine stands at three point line, he cracks open the gates of the Zone and thanks Kuroko for finding him a competent opponent. Aomine now dominates the match and after Kagami declares he will take on Aomine, Kuroko's Misdirection Overflow starts to run out. Imayoshi nearly taps the ball out of bounds but Kuroko is able to save it by throwing it to Hyūga, leading to a basket by Kiyoshi. Kuroko tells Aomine that he believes in Kagami. Not soon after, Kagami enters the Zone as well and battles it out with Aomine, leaving Kuroko perplexed.
1 minute left and Tōō is still up by five. Kagami and Aomine continue to clash without the scoreboard advancing until Kagami gains the upper hand and brings his team within 1 point. Aomine takes back a basket and during Seirin's offense, Kiyoshi manages to score with an and-one. Opting to purposely miss the free-throw and make the rebound for the definite win, Kiyoshi misses the free-throw, but a roaring Aomine slaps the ball out of Kagami's hands towards the the other side of the court. However, Kuroko had anticipated just that and makes it to the ball first and sends it directly back to Kagami. Squeezing out their last ounce of strength, Kagami overcomes Aomine, makes the dunk and brings Seirin victory.
Kuroko, unable to stand on his own, is helped by Kagami and stands face to face with Aomine. Aomine admits his defeat and Kuroko asks for a fist bump, something Aomine reluctantly accepts.
Prior to the second round of the Winter Cup, Kuroko is seen asking Aomine if he can help Kuroko learn how to shoot. It's revealed that that's what Riko's father counseled him on - his inability to make shots. When Aomine and Kuroko go off to find a court, Kuroko demonstrates a shot right off the bat, missing, and after that Aomine tells Kuroko that he felt more emotions in their match than he had in a long time. He then agrees to teach him.
In Seirin's second match, their opponent is Nakamiya South High. Riko tells them that their playing style is the opposite of Seirin's which is much slower. Seirin's starters for this match are shown to be Hyūga, Izuki, Kiyoshi, Mitobe, and Tsuchida, opting to rest their first-year duo. Kuroko watches on the bench as his team struggles to find their rhythm, but manages an upset with the help of Hyūga and Riko and wins the match with a 4-point difference.
Seirin's opponent in Round 3 is Kogōmo North High. Kuroko and Kagami were benched for the first three quarters again and the team held the advantage for all three quarters, only allowing Kogōmo North to grasp the lead at the end of the third quarter. During the final quarter, though, Kuroko and Kagami were sent in, turning the tide and leading Seirin to victory over Kogōmo North with a final score of 87-82.
Before Seirin's fourth game, Riko is seen talking on her phone. She tells the rest of the team that the favorites, Kaijō, Shūtoku, and Rakuzan, also won their third matches, and that Seirin's next opponent is Yōsen High. The team heads to Kagami's house, where they will watch films of Yōsen's games. They are astounded by what they see. Yōsen completely dominates their opponents, with their impenetrable defense. The team opposing Yōsen couldn't even score once, the score of that game totaling up to 0 - 81.
Later that night, Kuroko is shown practicing with Aomine. Aomine says that with 70% accuracy, Kuroko might even be able to do something in a match. Momoi bursts in to hug Kuroko, and Aomine promptly tells her to leave if she's just going to be annoying. Kuroko thanks Aomine, but Aomine says that the only reason he helped was because seeing Kuroko so weak was grating on his nerves. He adds that Murasakibara is strong, and even he has trouble beating him. After that, he bids Kuroko farewell, adding that the next time they meet, they'll be enemies, and then he and Satsuki leave.
In the morning, the Seirin team enters the court after a spirited "Let's go!" from Hyūga. Yōsen enters as well, and Seirin notes that their prescence is almost overwhelming, what with their amazingly tall players. Yōsen's Murasakibara says that he remembers Kiyoshi, and promises to crush him. Kagami and Himuro also speak to each other, Kagami saying that Seirin will win and Himuro telling him to play with all he's got. Kuroko meanwhile remembers what Aomine told him after they parted, and that is "Don't you dare lose, Tetsu".
When the match starts, it appears that Yōsen has control of the ball first. Fukui shoots, Izuki failing to block his shot, but it misses bouncing off the rim. Seirin goes for the rebound, but Yōsen's height gives them an advantage, and one of their players makes a basket, the first in the game. Seirin gets the ball after that, and Kuroko performs a cyclone pass, the ball going around Okamura to Izuki, but as Izuki turns, he is blocked by Murasakibara. Soon, he's being triple-teamed, but he passes the ball off to Hyūga, who goes for a three-pointer. His ball is blocked by Okamura. As it falls, Murasakibara takes the ball.
This sort of play continues. When there are only fifteen seconds left in the first quarter, Yōsen has scored 18 points, and Seirin is left in the dust with none at all. The first quarter ends without Seirin scoring a single point. Riko explains Yōsen's formations during the break, and Kuroko interrupts to propose an idea. The idea is not revealed at this time, as we are shown Aomine and Momoi arriving at the game and seeing the score, stunned.
The second quarter starts off with Seirin in control of the ball, but Izuki is quickly cornered by the Yōsen defense. He passes the ball to Kiyoshi, who attempts to run past Murasakibara; as he jumps, Murasakibara reaches up to block without jumping. Kiyoshi then passes to Kagami mid-jump, but as Kagami tries to dunk, Murasakibara jumps and blocks Kagami's ball by putting a hand on it. Kagami hurriedly throws the ball to Kuroko, who is waiting on the ground behind them. It is revealed here that Kuroko's idea was for himself to make a shot. Both Murasakibara and Izuki are surprised by this, both of them thinking that Kuroko is incapable of shooting. Everyone on both teams is shocked by Kuroko's unorthodox shooting posture as he readies himself.
Murasakibara jumps in front of Kuroko as he starts to shoot, but to no avail; Kuroko uses his right hand to push the ball up and creates an effect similar to the Vanishing Drive, except that this time, the ball disappears, this is called the Phantom Shot. He ends up scoring Seirin's first two points with this basket.
Murasakibara expresses his disbelief that Kuroko would be the one to make the first points against Yōsen; there is a flashback to when Aomine was teaching Kuroko. He helps Kuroko by telling him to hit the ball with the palm of his hand when shooting instead of flicking his wrist. After this, Yōsen begins to counterattack. Kagami is forced off his mark, Fukui, by Okamura. Okamura passed the ball, and he dodges around Kagami, shooting the ball and making it. He comments that he didn't even notice Kagami, since Kagami's so light.
Kuroko gets the ball after this, and as he makes his way down the court, he dodges around Fukui with his Vanishing Drive. As he takes up position to attempt a Phantom Shot, Liu and Murasakibara jump in front of him. Kuroko passes the ball to Hyūga quickly, and Hyūga shoots a three-pointer, bringing Seirin's score up to 5. Okamura makes a shot, and after that, Kiyoshi reminds Kagami of some points they came up with during the break. Soon after, Izuki makes a shot, adding three points to Seirin's score. The total score is now 22 - 8, with Seirin narrowing the gap slowly.
Okamura has the ball again, and is in position under the hoop. Kagami, after thinking, takes into account what Kiyoshi told him, and crouches down behind Okamura, springing up higher than before to block his shot. Both Seirin and Yōsen go after a rebound soon after, and Liu gets the ball for a moment before Kiyoshi jumps up and steals it. Seirin runs down the court, but the goal is being guarded by Murasakibara. Hyūga readies himself for a shot, but Murasakibara jumps up, so he passes it through Murasakibara's legs to Kuroko. Kuroko shoots his Phantom Shot quickly, by passing Murasakibara's defenses.
With this, the second quarter ends. The score is 17-29, with Yōsen still winning, but not by as much. During the ten-minute break, Araki tells the Yōsen team about how Kuroko will be benched for a while in the third quarter, since Overflow won't work on Yōsen. Riko is telling the Seirin team the same thing, and says that this is because Overflow only works on outside shooters, while Yōsen has mostly inside players. Riko continues by saying that offense has to attack without Kuroko. She finishes up, saying that Kagami must beat Himuro, and that Kiyoshi has to beat Murasakibara. At the end of the break, Kuroko fist-bumps both Kagami and Kiyoshi, and the two go off, saying, "Leave it to us!".
Kiyoshi hits his limit and collapses on the court. He's pulled back up by Murasakibara, who taunts him about having fun playing basketball; then, Kiyoshi is hurriedly switched out with Kuroko, who vows to beat Murasakibara for Kiyoshi. Murasakibara counters by saying that he'll push back, even if it's Kuroko.
There's a flashback of Kuroko and Murasakibara when they were in Teikō, with Aomine saying that they have different views about basketball. Kuroko, he says, loves the game but lacks the talent, and Murasakibara despises the game but wins with raw talent. This repeats itself now, and Murasakibara claims that it makes him sick to listen to the idea that players without talent can win. Kuroko gets the ball and goes in with his Vanishing Drive, making his way past everyone but Murasakibara. He gets in position for a Phantom Shot, which Murasakibara tries to block, assuming that even though it's invisible, it still takes the course of a regular ball. But it's actually a pass intended for Kagami, who's jumped up behind Murasakibara. Kagami dunks the ball.
With Yōsen on the offense, Kuroko is now marking Murasakibara. When Murasakibara receives the ball, he turns to shoot, but forgets that Kuroko is there; he gets a foul for charging. Now, the score is 43-34. Immediately following this, Hyūga makes a three-pointer, raising Seirin's score to 37.
Seirin takes up an all-coat man-to-man defensive formation with Liu holding the ball. Yōsen tries to break through with speed, but the marks of Seirin players change with the shifts of Yōsen. This style utilizes Kuroko's ability to steal. After stealing one such play, Kuroko once more makes a Phantom Shot.
Fukui has the ball, and dribbles through the court without passing. Kuroko hits the ball out of his hand, and Izuki catches it. He shoots and makes the shot, but the referee says that it doesn't count. With this, the third quarter ends, with the score at 47-43. Yōsen is still in the lead, but Seirin is catching up. During the break, Kagami requests that if Yōsen breaks through the all-coat defense, he's the center. Riko agrees to this. Right before the game starts back up, Kuroko says that the team should huddle, which they do. This seems to unite Seirin even more.
Murasakibara says to Kuroko once they're back on the court that he'll push everyone back; Kuroko replies that Seirin isn't that weak. Fukui starts off with the ball, and he dribbles a few steps before alley-ooping it to Murasakibara. Kagami jumps up behind him to try to stop him, but Murasakibara dunks the ball in backwards. After this, Kuroko makes another Phantom Shot, but Aomine thinks that things have gone too smoothly with Kuroko's shots, what with their accuracy only being 60-70%, Kuroko could miss at any moment.
Okamura has the ball soon after, and he passes it to Himuro. All of the Yōsen players move up, despite the man-to-man defense being played by Seirin. Himuro and Kagami go one-on-one, with Kagami trying to stop him. Himuro fakes and ducks around Kagami, but Murasakibara yells at him to stop. Kuroko almost steals the ball, and Himuro is only saved by Murasakibara's warning. Himuro still has the ball, and Fukui tells him to pass it; instead, while Kagami is distracted by Fukui, Himuro ducks past him and shoots, faking a Mirage Shot, which Kagami has figured out the trick to, and doing a simple shot instead.
Kuroko gets the ball, and attempts a Phantom Shot, but it fails for the first time in the game. Following this, Murasakibara and Himuro score a few times, and the score is shown here to be 58-49, with Yōsen pulling ahead once more. After Kagami shoots are blocked by Murasakibara, the ball goes out of bounds. As Kagami goes to fetch it, he's confronted by Kise, who taunts him from the sidelines and says that the Kagami he went up against in that practice match was scarier than this Kagami. Seirin calls a time-out.
As play resumes, Kuroko, Hyūga, and Izuki triple-team Himuro. Fukui, who has the ball, passes it to Liu, who jumps up to shoot. Kagami jumps up to block, but Liu makes a change of plans and passes the ball to Okamura, who catches it in spite of Mitobe, who is covering him. Okamura makes a dunk. Kagami jumps to block a dunk by Okamura. Due to his interference, the shot bounces off the backboard, but then Murasakibara jumps up and forces it in. Murasakibara goes for another dunk, but Kagami jumps higher than him and forces the ball out of Murasakibara's hands; Kuroko comments on how he always thinks that Kagami is the light of Seirin, as it is evidenced that Kagami is once more in the "Zone".
Kuroko gets the rebound and passes it to Kagami, who shoots a three-pointer seemingly without Murasakibara interfering. Fukui gets the ball after that, and Murasakibara yells for him to pass it. Fukui does so, and Murasakibara begins to perform his two-handed rotating dunk. But Kagami forces the ball out of his hands again, a phenomenon that leaves everyone in shock. Kagami blocks and scores with an incredible success rate. After that, Kuroko steals a pass, and throws it to Kagami. Kagami dribbles down the court, and fakes out Himuro successfully, only to be met by Murasakibara, who's in position. But Kagami jumps before Murasakibara and makes a lay-up. Yōsen calls for a time-out.
Murasakibara tries to get himself subbed out, but Himuro slaps him and berates him for not using his talents, whereas someone like Himuro himself doesn't have that special a talent to use. Murasakibara relents and says that he'll stay until the end. By now, Seirin is only six points behind Yōsen, with three minutes left on the clock. Himuro is once again triple-teamed, but Okamura prevents Hyūga and Izuki from going after him, and he fakes Kuroko out. Himuro and Kagami once again meet face-to-face. Himuro jumps for a Mirage Shot, and so does Kagami, but Himuro changes the course of his ball at the last moment and passes it to Murasakibara, who jumps up as well, seemingly about to dunk. However, due to them knowing about Kagami's extended air time, Murasakibara passes once more to Himuro, who is now on the ground. Himuro makes the shot.
With less than two minutes left, the score is 72-66. Seirin is still six points behind. Hyūga fumbles the ball, but Kuroko hits it into Fukui's hand, causing it to go out on Yōsen. With one minute left, Kiyoshi returns to the court. Soon after, Kagami makes a fadeaway, bringing Seirin up to 68 points.
There are four seconds left. Murasakibara runs down the court with the ball, but as he jumps, his knees almost give out. This gives Kuroko the time he needs to run in front of Murasakibara and hit the ball out of his hands. Seirin wins against Yōsen with a score of 73-72.
After their match, Kuroko gives Kagami his ring back and asks him on why he and Himuro can't be both brothers and rivals. Kagami then goes to find Himuro who was with Alex. When Kagami arrives, he sees them being attacked by Haizaki. After the confrontation was calmed down by Kise, Kagami returns and asks Kuroko about Haizaki. Seirin then spectate the Kaijō High vs Fukuda Sōgō Academy match. During the match, when Kise was overwhelmed by Haizaki, Kuroko calls out from the crowd to Kise, telling him he believes in him. Kise then awakens his Perfect Copy and beats Haizaki. It is decided that Kaijō would be Seirin's next opponent in the Semi-finals.
On the day of the Semi-finals, both Kagami and Kuroko's shoes are broken and they have to get new ones before their match. Kuroko found his shoes at first try, while Kagami couldn't find his size. Kuroko then decides to call Momoi for help. Later on, Kuroko and Kagami meet Momoi who came with Aomine. Momoi goes on to give Kagami Aomine's shoes but Aomine challenges Kagami to a 1-on-1 for the shoes. While Kagami and Aomine play, Momoi tells Kuroko about Haizaki and about Aomine punching him. Aomine and Kagami finish their 1-on-1 battle with Aomine winning. Despite losing, Aomine still gives Kagami his shoes, telling him that he can't make an excuse for losing due to not having proper shoes. After meeting Momoi and Aomine, Kuroko and Kagami meet up with their teammates and spectate the Rakuzan High vs Shūtoku High match.
During the interval of the Rakuzan vs Shūtoku match, Kuroko briefly encounters Akashi when his team prepares for a warm-up. Akashi greets Kuroko, seeing him for the first time since the opening ceremony. Kagami interrupts them by asking Akashi if he still remembers him with Akashi saying he does. Akashi then tells Kagami that his head is held too high and uses Ankle Break on him. Akashi then tells Kuroko that he should be prepared if he's planning to fight him, as he was the one who first discovered Kuroko's power. As the Rakuzan vs Shūtoku match resumes, Rakuzan emerges victorious and it is time for the Kaijō High vs Seirin High match of the Semi-finals.
During the warm-up, Kaijō gives Seirin a "greeting" with Kise using Kagami's high jump to throw a lane up. Kuroko and Kagami then show them the original, as the two teams have made their declaration of war. Just before the match starts, Kise approaches Kuroko and Kagami telling them that he won't lose this time. Kuroko tells Kise he feels the same way but also tells him that he really dislikes him, meaning it in a good way. Kuroko tells Kise that since their time in Teikō, even though it was one sided, he has always seen Kise as his rival. Kise was surprised and tells Kuroko that this is not just a compliment but that it also really sets him on fire.
The tip-off begins and Seirin gets the ball. Seirin members remember their plan Riko told them just before the match in which they have decided to attack with everything from the start. Kuroko gets the ball and uses his Vanishing Drive to pass Hayakawa. After passing Hayakawa, Kuroko scores using his Phantom Shot, taking the first two points for Seirin. However, Kise shoots the ball back, using Midorima's long range shot. Revealing that he is using Perfect Copy from the start.
Kuroko uses his Ignite Pass to pass the ball to Kiyoshi who then passes the ball further to Hyūga, who shoots the ball. However, Kise uses Murasakibara's block to stop the shot, stealing the ball. Kise attempts to shoot but is blocked by the Seirin members. He uses his Perfect Copy to evade both Kiyoshi and Kagami who went to block him. Kise uses Akashi's Ankle Break to make Kagami fall and make the basket. It's Seirin's counterattack as Hyūga uses his Barrier Jumper to pass the ball to Kuroko. Kuroko gets the ball and attempts to shoot his Phanotm Shot. However, Kise appears to block him. Kise uses Murasakibara's block and Akashi's Emperor Eye to block the shot. After shopping the shot, Kagami asks Kuroko if he is alright. Kuroko tells him that he's not and tells Kagami that Kise is so strong that he can't help but laugh.
Kise uses Aomine's formless shot to make the basket. After, he uses Akashi's Ankle Break on Kuroko and Midorima's long range shot to score again. Kise then uses Murasakibara's Thor Hammer to dunk the ball. Kise overwhelms Seirin with the current score of 15 - 2 for Kaijō. Kise tells Kagami and Kuroko he'll stop using Perfect Copy as it is too tiering copying the abilities of the Generation of Miracles, but tells them that he has completed his mission, now that Kaijō has the initiative. Seirin counterattacks and Kagami gets the ball. He prepares to shoot but misses. On the sidelines, Murasakibara comments on how Seirin is rushing too much to catch up in score and that this is making them play poor. On the bench, Riko decides for a member change, substituting Izuki for Furihata.
Furihata enters the court but due to the pressure his play is poor. Kasamatsu uses his chance to steal the ball from Furihata, which Kuroko steals back. Furihata gets the ball again and Kuroko tells him that everything will be alright, telling him he was also nervous in his debut match, by tripping and getting a nosebleed. Furihata passes the ball to Kagami who was about to go in a 1-on-1 battle against Kise. However, Furihata tells him to stop and Kagami passes the ball back to Furihata. Kaijō's coach notices that with the addition of Furihata, Seirin's atmosphere has changed. Furihata passes the ball to Kuroko who uses his Invisible Pass to pass the ball to Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi gets the ball and passes it to Hyūga who makes the basket, raising Seirin's points.
Kaijō counterattacks and Furihata tries to steal the ball from Kasamatsu. He fails but Kuroko attempts to steal the ball as well, failing as well, with Kasamatsu evading both of them. Kasamatsu shoots but misses, resulting in a rebound. Kiyoshi gets the rebound and passes it to Hyūga. Furihata uses a screen to get Kuroko off of his mark. When Moriyama was about to steal the ball, Kuroko appears passing the ball to Furihata. Furihata then scores the basket for Seirin.
Riko calls out for a substitution realising this is as far as Furihata can go. After the interval ends, Izuki is substituted back in and the game continues. Both teams keep scoring the basket, leading to the score of 25 - 17, with Kaijō still in the lead. Kise and Kagami face each other in 1-on-1 battles and keep blocking and scoring points. Suddenly Kaijō calls out for a substitution for Kise due to the injury to his leg. The match resumes, and Kagami passes the ball to Kuroko who attempts to shoot his Phantom Shot. Kuroko makes the basket, raising Seirin's score. After Kuroko scores, Kasamatsu tells his teammates that he has figured out the secret behind the Phantom Shot. Kaijō keep scoring points, resulting in the score of 34 - 27. On Seirin's bench Koganei asks Riko if this is the right time to substitute Kuroko out as his Misdirection will run out. Riko agrees but tells Koganei that they will keep him on the court a a little longer. If he runs out of Misidrection, they will have Misdirection Overflow to use.
Riko tells Mitobe to get ready for the substitution, while on the court, Kuroko gets the ball and attempts to shoot. Kasamatsu comes to block him, and when Kuroko shoots, Kasamatsu having figured out the secret behind the shot, stops it. Everyone is surprised as Seirin calls for a player substitution. Riko notes that this is the worst time for them to be substituting Kuroko, giving off the impression that they are doing so because he has lost. Kuroko apologises for his mistake and for disturbing the flow of the game. The benched members then ask him if he is in shock. Kuroko confirms but tells them that Seirin didn't lose yet because they have a reliable ace.
Kuroko is benched as his teammates take the lead in score from Kaijō, 62 - 77. On Kaijō's bench, Kise demands from his coach to let him in. When he went to asks for a substitution Kuroko appears asking for a substitution as well. Both Kise and Kuroko are substituted in for the last four minutes of the match. As the two of them enter the game, on the sidelines, Aomine comments that it's the climax. On the court, Kuroko tells Kagami that they won't know who has won until they hear the final buzzer. The match resumes and Kise uses his Perfect Copy to score. Kagami passes the ball to Kuroko who uses his Ignite Pass Kai to pass the ball to Kagami again. Kagami then attempts to dunk but is stopped by Kise. Kise copies Kuroko's Ignite Pass Kai to pass the ball to his teammate who scores. On the bench, Riko realises that Seirin cannot win without stopping the Perfect Copy.
Seirin calls for a time out as Riko tells the team that Kise's Perfect Copy time limit has increased. Kuroko interrupts her, saying that they don't need to stop Kise. Everyone agrees with Kuroko's plan and before the time out ends, Hyūga tells everyone that missing baskets is not allowed. The match resumes and Kagami has the ball stolen by Kise who uses Akashi's Emperor Eye. Kuroko catches the ball, stealing it back for Seirin. Kuroko passes the ball to Hyūga who attempts to shoot a 3 pointer but is blocked by Moriyama. Kobori wins the rebound battle and passes the ball to Kasamatsu. Kise receives the ball again but is then faced by Kuroko in a 1-on-1 battle. Kise passes Kuroko, knowing Kagami is behind Kuroko planning to steal the ball. After passing Kuroko, Kise is ready to face Kagami, when suddenly Kuroko along with Izuki who uses his Eagle Spear, try to steal the ball. Kise, however, evades passing the ball to Kasamatsu. Kasamatsu passes back to Kise who alley hoops the basket.
Kaijō slowly catches up to Seirin in points as Moriyama passes the ball to Kise, who then uses Kuroko's Phantom Shot against Kagami and scores. Kaijō scores and Seirin realise the support Kaijō is receiving from the audience and note that it is as if they are the bad guys. Hyūga attempts to shoot a 3 pointer but misses. Kuroko catches the ball but the referee stops him as the ball goes to Kaijō. After getting the ball, Kise goes for a dunk, however, Kagami stops him, failing him in the process. Kise gets a free throw. Kagami approaches Kise and tells him that he doesn't think Seirin are the bad guys. He tells Kise that this is Seirin's drama and that they are deciding the plot. During the tie out, both Hyūga and Kuroko make fun of Kagami's statement, along with everyone else in Seirin. Kuroko, however, tells Kagami that his words gave him an idea of breaking through the Perfect Copy.
Kuroko tells everyone that if they can predict Kise's next moves, then they have a chance of stopping the Perfect Copy. On the sidelines, Akashi comes to the same conclusion and tells his teammates that the last two minutes will be the most difficult play. On Seirin's bench, Kuroko tells his teammates that he will need to observe Kise but in the meantime they will have to resist him. Seirin do they cheer before they go back on the court, Kaijō notice Seirin's spirit coming back noting they will be stronger now. Kise makes his free shots, raising Kaijō's score to 72 - 77. After scoring, Kise faces Kagami and uses his Perfect Copy to block him. When Kagami loses the ball which was going off bounds, Hyūga jumps and throws the ball to his teammates, falling down. Kuroko asks him if he is alright but Hyūga tells him not to worry as there is something else he should focus on. Through both team's desperate efforts, the audience started to cheer for both teams.
Kise scores the basket, resulting in Kaijō taking a lead in points, 78 - 77. On the sidelines, Akashi notes that the next attack will be Seirin's last chance and if Kuroko doesn't have a solution by then, it will be Seirin's defeat. Seirin calls for a time out as the familiar faces in the crowd note that this will be the last chance for one. Akashi tells his teammates that the result of the match will depend on Kuroko, while his teammates most likely think that Seirin will lose. Akashi agrees but only if Kuroko was not there, and tells them that his expectations might not be turned over. On the bench, Kuroko tells his teammates that he has seen a lot of Kise but tells them that it is still incomplete. Noting that the next action will be their last opportunity to see all of Kise. Kuroko then tells everyone his plan. Riko and everyone else is surprised as Riko notes that they will be taking a huge risk. Kiyoshi tells everyone to follow the plan.
The time out ends and Momoi along with Aomine notice the change in Seirin's fighting spirit. Seirin has the ball as they use their run and gun offence. Hyūga receives the ball from Kiyoshi but is then confronted by Kise. Kise comes to steal the ball but Kuroko suddenly appears, stealing the ball back. Kagami gets the ball and prepares to dunk when Kise comes to block him. Kagami still manages the dunk and raises Seirin's score to 78 - 79. It's Kaijō's counterattack when Kuroko approaches Kagami and tells him he has found a solution, following the plan they discusses during the time out. As Kise gets the ball, he is faced by Kuroko again in a 1-on-1 battle. As he faces Kuroko, Kise remembers his first impressions of Kuroko and how they have changed over time. He now gladly accepts Kuroko as his rival, this being the reason he must absolutely win.
Kise prepares to pass Kuroko but is suddenly surprised when Kuroko goes on for a steal. Kise copies Aomine to evade Kuroko but is then faced by Kagami. Kise uses Akashi's Ankle Break to make Kagami fall, Kagami, however, stands back up forcing Kise to use the Ankle Break twice. Kise is then faced by Hyūga and Kiyoshi, making him use Murasakibara's Thor Hammer. Kagami notes that everything has gone according to plan up until now, and that they have predicted everything Kise has done. Kise realises Seirin's intentions of leading him to that position, when suddenly Izuki uses his Eagle Spear to steal the ball from Kise. Kise steals the ball back and passes it to Kasamatsu who then makes the shot. Everyone now believes that Kaijō has already won but Himuro still notices that Seirin has not given up.
Kiyoshi grabs the ball and passes it to Kagami who runs to the basket. Akashi realises that this is Seirin's last attack and notes that even though Kuroko cannot defeat Kise, he has not given up on the match. Kagami is faced by Kise who suddenly appears before him. Kagami goes on to shoot a Meteor Jam but Kise jumps as well to block him. While shooting, Kagami realises that his shot will miss, when suddenly Kuroko appears behind him telling him to pass. Both Kagami and Kise are surprised, noting that it is already too late to stop the shot as it is already leaving Kagami's hand. Kagam throws the ball on the basket, bouncing off and falling to Kuroko. Kuroko receives the ball and shoots with his Phantom Shot. Kuroko makes the shot when the final buzzer is heard, resulting in Seirin winning the match.
Seirin wins the match and Kise approaches Kuroko to congratulate him on his win. Kuroko then tells him that even though he has won the match, he was not able to stop him. Kise then tells Kuroko that they will battle again next year. On the sidelines, Rakuzan leaves knowing that their opponent in the finals will be Seirin.
Kuroko tells his new teammates about his past. From the time his basketball passion started to the time he spent with the Generation of Miracles in Teikō. After hearing Kuroko's story everyone knew that their next opponent, Rakuzan, would not be easy to beat. With Akashi and three of five Uncrowned Kings, it would be near impossible to win. However, Seirin musters up the courage and everyone decides that showing Seirin's true strength is enough to win the match. After everyone leaves Kagami's apartment where they listened to Kuroko's story, Hyūga tells Kiyoshi that it's unusual for Kuroko to talk this much as he is alway silent. Up until now he wasn't fully considered a part of the Seirin team, but now that he has opened up to them he is.
On the day of the finals, just before the match, Kuroko is in Seirin's gym preparing for the finals match which will determine the winner of the Winter Cup. He remembers everything that has happened thus far since he joined Seirin. He then tells himself that he will vent all those feeling on Akashi. Kuroko then leaves leaving Tetsuya #2 behind where Alex will pick him up later.
During the warm-up, Kuroko was practicing with the rest of his teammates. Until his ball rolls up to Akashi who then throws it back to Kuroko. Akashi asks him if he has found the answer to his question which is "What is Victory?". Kuroko confirms and Akashi replies by telling him to show him his basketball. Kuroko then tells him that it will not be his basketball he will be showing, but Seirin's basketball. Akashi accepts Kuroko's challenge as the warming up ends.
The finals match is beginning and all of the players are announced onto the court. When Kuroko is announced in the starter line-up, the familiar faces in the crowd comment on how Kuroko received many cheers from the spectators. They also comment on how Kuroko has become a great player. Finally when all of the starter members line up and bow, the match commences. The tip-off starts and Kagami gets it resulting in Seirin's ball. Kagami passes the ball to Izuki who then passes it to Kuroko. Kuroko uses his Ignite Pass Kai to pass the ball further to Hyūga. Hyūga didn't catch the ball as Kuroko used too much force in his pass. Hyūga fumbled and got the ball. When he attempts to score the basket he is stopped by Mibuchi who then tells him that if he wouldn't have fumbled he would have made the shot. Rakuzan gets the ball and Nebuya attempts to score the basket when he is stopped by Kagami. It's Seirin's ball again and Kiyoshi passes the ball to Kagami who is marked by Akashi. Kagami then remembers the story of Kuroko's past and tells himself that it's not only Kuroko's fault. He then musters up his determination and uses his Meteor Jam to score on top of Akashi, entering the Zone.
Kagami keeps scoring baskets after baskets, the score now being 4 - 0 for Seirin. Kuroko along with everyone else is surprised by this. On the bench, Riko decides that instead of stopping Kagami, they will go along with it. She then decides to substitute Kuroko out for Mitobe. Mitobe being better in defence. Kuroko was disappointed, even though he went on the court with full fighting spirit. Koganei tells Kuroko that he shouldn't worry and tells him that the audience wants to see more of him. Riko agrees and tells Kuroko to preserve his strength. Kuroko agrees and watches as the play continues.
Akashi began marking Kagami, resulting in Rakuzan raising their points. With the score of 15 - 9, Riko decides to substitute in Kuroko, in oder to keep the gap in points. As the ball goes out of bounds, Kuroko enters the game again. The audience is excited to see Kuroko again, but Furihata notices that the Rakuzan players noticed Kuroko's presence and notices that the audience noticed his presence as well. He then wonders if Kuroko's lack of presence is fading. As the match resumes, Kagami has the ball but is marked by Hayama. He passes the ball to Kuroko who then uses his Ignite Pass to pass the ball to Hyūga who catches the ball and attempts a 3-pointer. He is however blocked by Mibuchi and misses the shot. It's Rakuzan's ball when Hyūga asks Mibuchi if he touched the ball, with Mibuchi replying that he did a little but that Hyūga should't worry about that.
It's Rakuzan's counterattack and Hayama uses his fast dribble to make the basket. Kuroko notices that something is wrong, but still keeps on playing. Furihata notices that since the start of the match, Kuroko was not able to cut away from any of the Rakuzan players. With everything he has observed, Furihata decides to tell Riko that something is wrong with Kuroko. Just when Furihata was going to tell Riko that something is wrong, on the court, the Rakuzan players have intercepted Kuroko's pass and have stolen the ball. Seirin and the familiar faces in the crowd were shocked as Kuroko's passes have been broken. Hyūga asks Mibuchi what they did, with Mibuchi replying that they just simply saw the ball and went to steal it.
Akashi approaches Kuroko and tells him that back in middle school he told Kuroko to focus on the variation of his passes and not letting him master shooting or dribbling. If he were to learn how to dribble and shoot, Kuroko would lose his ability to hide his presence. Akashi then tells him that Vanishing Drive along with Phantom Shot are flashy techniques and that there would be no way they wouldn't stand out. Adding the buzzer beater at the end of Seirin's match against Kaijō in the Winter Cup. Akashi tells Kuroko that he will never be able to become a shadow again, and tells him that it's an act of folly that's unbearable to watch. He then tells Kuroko that he is no longer the Phantom Sixth man but a merely an average player with no value whatsoever. Akashi leaves by saying that he is disappointed in Kuroko.
On the sidelines, Aomine realises why Akashi did not teach Kuroko how to shoot. The uneasy feeling he had when he was teaching Kuroko how to shoot has proven to be right. As the match continues, Kuroko is guarded by Rakuzan's number 5, unable to shake him off. Akashi steals the ball from Izuki which goes off bounds, resulting in Seirin's ball. Seirin has a player substitution and Kuroko comes out of the game. The familiar faces in the audience comment that it is the best thing to do right now as Kuroko won't be of any use anymore. Riko tells Kuroko to sit next to her and tells him not to give up, as he will be going back in the game soon. Kuroko is surprised, but Riko tells him that she will give him 3 minutes of the 1st Quarter, telling him that it's for the sake of victory.
On the court, Tsuchida updates the rest of the players with Riko's plan, and that is that there's absolutely no way they will win without Kuroko and that is why they will take on the challenge of continuing with Kuroko's poor plays. Telling them that Kuroko, Riko and everyone else will plan for Kuroko's rebirth or search for a hint for it. The players on the court are motivated, as it is finally time for them to repay Kuroko for saving them all this time. Hyūga tells them that they are not repaying him, but that teammates should naturally look out for each other. The game continues and the score evens up 15 - 15, with both teams tied. Seirin calls for a player substitution and Kurok is substituted back in. Riko apologises to Kuroko for sending him on the court in his state, but Kuroko thanks her. The audience and the Rakuzan players were surprised to see Kuroko come back into the game.
Kuroko has the ball and he attempts to use his Vanishing Drive. However, the Vanishing Drive didn't work and Kuroko didn't get rid of his mark. Kuroko continues on to the hoop and now attempts to use his Phantom Shot to score the basket. The Phantom Shot was blacked as well and Rakuzan steals the ball. Hayama attempts to score the basket but is stopped by Kagami, however, Mibuchi manages to save the ball and scores for Rakuzan. The familiar faces in the crowd comment on how Kuroko is leaving such a high hole, but still Seirin is managing to keep up the score. The first quarter ends with the score of 21 - 21.
Before the start of the second quarter, Riko decides to substitute Kuroko out again. Realizing they won't find a solution in just three minutes, they will have to gather intel and watch the video recordings to gather more information. Kuroko agrees and Furihata gives him a towel, noticing Kuroko's shaking in frustration. Kagami tells Kuroko to cheer up, telling him that they will definitely need his passes if they want to win. Even though he is completely helpless they somehow made it through the first quarter, telling Kuroko to leave it to him. Kuroko then tells him that he understands what he is trying to say, but tells him that he should be more tactful in the way he phrases it. Kuroko gathers up the courage and tells everyone that he will definitely come back to the court, in order to win. Everyone is content with Kuroko's answer and tell him that there is still a chance for them to succeed in the second quarter. They mention Rakuzan's number 5 and how there is nothing remarkable about him, having Mitobe mark him would be no problem.
The interval ends and the game continues. Kuroko is suddenly surprised when he notices that Rakuzan's number 5 disappears and use Misdirection. Akashi names Mayuzumi the new model of the Phantom Sixth man and tells everyone that he is better than the old model; Kuroko. During the game Mayuzumi notices that Kuroko is observing him to find any clues in order to revive his Misdirection. When Furihata comes back from marking Akashi, back onto the bench, he tells Kuroko just how frustrated he feels due to his weakness and tells him that he strives to become stronger. Kuroko agrees and tells him that he is the same.
Rakuzan overwhelms Seirin, with the current score of 37 - 62. On the sidelines, Murasakibara comments that even if Kuroko were to come back into the game, it would already be too late as the difference in points is too wide. He continues on to say that a miracle won't happen. As the second quarter ends, the audience comments that Rakuzan has completely crushed Seirin's will due to their difference in strength and due to the large difference in points. During the interval, Hyūga tries to get the team's spirit up. They decide on their tactics and their next move, and also note that Kuroko did not come up with a solution yet so they will have to continue on without him. As the interval ends, Kuroko fist bumps Kagami and tells him that he is counting on him. Kagami tells him not to worry and leave it to him.
Seirin grows even more desperate as the point difference is not shrinking. Due to Mibuchi's technique, Hyūga receives a technical foul, resulting in a interval. The audience comments on how Seirin's ray of hope has vanished and that they are completely crushed. On the bench, Kuroko remembers how Kagami told him that they have been friends this whole time and remembers just how glad he is to be playing basketball. Kuroko then remembers Ogiwara's parting words, where he told Kuroko that he could not move a limb under the frozen gazes of the Generation of Miracles, but believes that one day Kuroko would surely face them and melt that ice. Kuroko starts to cry and tells everyone that he won't accept this.
Everyone, was surprised when Kuroko told them that even if it was pointless, he wanted to become number one in Japan with everyone. Everyone then starts questioning him if he has come up with an idea. Kuroko tells them that he doesn't know yet but turns to Riko and asks her to let him onto the court yet again. The Generation of Miracles were all surprised when they saw Kuroko coming back to the court. The Rakuzan members remark that even though Kuroko came back to the court, there's not anything he can do to change the score. Akashi approaches Kuroko and asks him of his plan. Telling him that it's hard to believe that he still thinks he has a chance of victory. He then questions him how long he will stay so optimistic. Kuroko then tells him that it's not the way he is thinking of it, and tells him that he is fighting because he wants to win. No matter what the result end up being, until the very end, he won't run away. Akashi then tells him that he has inane determination.
The game continues as Seirin remember Kuroko's words during the interval. He told them that he has nothing that can cure him of his condition but tells them that he has an idea. Kuroko uses a screen to get Mibuchi off Izuki's mark. Izuki then passes to Koganei who makes the basket. Mibuchi notes that Kuroko's screen was effective but that he didn't do anything remarkable yet. During Rakuzan's counterattack Mayuzumi gets the ball and faces Kuroko on a 1-on-1 battle. Mayuzumi easily passes Kuroko and attempts to shoots the basket, but is however stopped by Kagami. Seirin steals the ball and the current score is 44 - 65, with Rakuzan still in the lead.
Again it's Rakuzan's counterattack and Mayuzumi has the ball again, as he faces Kuroko again on a 1-on-1 battle. On the sidelines, Takao wonders if Kuroko is doing this on purpose while the Rakuzan members wonder if this is a combination play between Kuroko and Kagami. Mayuzumi passes Kuroko again and heads towards the basket. The audience notice that no one is going to guard Mayuzumi, even Kiyoshi who had the opportunity. Mayuzumi makes the shot, scoring for Rakuzan. On the sidelines, Imayoshi notes that Seirin is letting Mayuzumi shoot as he is the weakest member of Rakuzan and has low probability of making the shot. Realizing this, Mayuzumi is angered that Seirin is underestimating him. Deciding that from now on he will go all out. He passes Kuroko again and scores the basket. Mayuzumi approaches Kuroko and tells him that the old model of the Sixth Man has no way of stopping the new and improved model, and tells Kuroko that he has no chance of winning against him.
Seirin scores a basket and it's Rakuzan's counterattack. Kuroko approaches Mayuzumi and remembers what Takao told him long ago, about the rivalry of your own kin. Kuroko then tells Mayuzumi that he is sorry and that he does't intend on surrendering the title of the Phantom Sixth Man just yet. Just as Kuroko said that, Mayuzumi loses sight of him and Kuroko appears between Hayama and Nebuya, intercepting their pass. Akashi and the rest of the Rakuzan members were surprised at just how Kuroko has managed to disappear. Kuroko steals the ball resulting in Seirin's counterattack. Kuroko dribbles when Hayama goes to mark him. He was expecting Kuroko to use his Vanishing Drive but instead Kuroko passes the ball to Kagami who dunks. The audience cheers as Seirin is somehow able to hold on. The benched Seirin members also rejoice as they have finally scored. Kuroko and Kagami bump fists as it's finally time for their counterattack.
On the sidelines Takao asks Midorima if Kuroko's lack of presence has returned to which Midorima disagrees. On the court, Mayuzumi realises that Kuroko's lack of presence did not come back as he didn't use the vanishing Drive when he had the chance. Mayuzumi gets the ball again and faces Kuroko again. Mayuzumi then realises what Kuroko has been doing and asks him if he has been overwriting him. On the sidelines, Midorima tells Takao that Kuroko was simply making Mayuzumi stand out more than himself. If there is a brighter light, then the attention will be diverted onto the brighter light rather than on the smaller one. Kuroko was just making Mayuzumi the brighter light than he is. Midorima then concludes by saying that Mayuzumi has dug a grave for the new model of the Phantom Sixth man. Mayuzumi passes the ball to Hayama who attempts to shoot. However, due to the pass being too low, Hayama misses which results in a rebound battle which Kiyoshi wins. Seirin counterattacks as the Kaijō players note that Kuroko has been changing the patterns of his play in order to stay unpredictable to the Rakuzan players. The Rakuzan players being familiar with his passes, would make it more difficult to pass, thus Kuroko is changing his patterns. Murasakibara also comments that this won't be enough to beat Akashi.
As Akashi steals Seirin's ball, Kagami remembers Kuroko's determination and remarks on how amazing Kuroko is. Kagami then enters the Zone once again to face Akashi. As Kagami is marking Akashi, Akashi passes to Mayuzumi who gets Kuroko off of his mark and uses his Misdirection to pass the ball to Nebuya. Nebuya catches the ball and scores the basket. Mayuzumi notes that if he devotes himself completely to the shadows, he will be able to stop Kuroko overwriting him. Seirin scores during their attack, and now it is Rakuzan's counterattack. Mayuzumi gets the ball and faces Kuroko again. Mayuzumi remarks on how Kuroko is annoying and that even if his goal is to let Mayuzumi pass him, he acts as if he doesn't want to let him. Mayuzumi then tells himself that he won't play along in Kuroko's set up and starts to dribble due to the five second rule being already up. Mayuzumi dribbles and passes Kuroko attempting to shoot.
Mayuzumi questions himself on why he has passes Kuroko knowing full well that he shouldn't have. Kagami stops Mayuzumi's shot as Seirin counterattacks. On the sidelines, Murasakibara and Kise explain that the Phantom Sixth man needs an iron will and total control of their action, not acting on their natural reflexes. Kise then comments that Mayuzumi can do some things better than Kuroko, but there are some things in which he can never beat Kuroko. The things such as the career as the sixth man and the will to fight for the team. On the court Mayuzumi realises that Kuroko has completely overwritten him as Kuroko disappears and uses his Invisible Pass to pass the ball to Kiyoshi. On the sidelines Kise comments that Mayuzumi doesn't have the weight of determination from being in the shadows.
Kiyoshi dunks, raising Seirin's score, the current score being 52 - 71. On the sidelines, the familiar faces comment that Kagami is keeping the pressure on Akashi in defence and Kuroko is on the offence getting points. They note that now there is still hope for Seirin, with the power of light and shadow. Rakuzan calls for a time out and the Seirin members gather on the bench replenishing their strength, when Hyūga apologises to Kiyoshi for his careless play. Kiyoshi tells him that he shouldn't worry and thet they will need him to come back soon. The interval ends, and the match continues. Everyone was surprised when Mayuzumi came back to the court, due to losing his Misdirection. Akashi faces Kagami again when suddenly Akashi's pass disappears. Passing the ball to Mibuchi who then scores the basket. Kuroko notes that Mayuzumi didn't do anything and that Akashi is simply using him to divert Kagami's attention to him, in order to have successful passes. Kuroko notes that akashi is only using Mayuzumi as a tool to let passes through, this being Mayuzumi only current use.
Kuroko uses his Ignite Pass to pass the ball to Koganei who makes the basket. Rakuzan counterattacks when Akashi passes the ball to Nebuya who then dunks. The Seirin members note that the current treatment of Mayuzumi is heartless. Kagami shoots raising the score to 56 - 78 with Rakuzan still in the lead. Hayama has the ball and decides to use five fingers due to his annoyance with Izuki. Hayama passes Izuki with his speed dribble and scores. During Seirin's counterattack, Kuroko uses his pass to pass to Kiyoshi who scores the basket.
Izuki faces Hayama again, but is unable to stop him. This time Izuki tells his teammates that he will definitely stop Hayama. Izuki faces Hayama again, but Hayama passes him again. After passing Izuki, Hayama notices Kuroko trying to stop him, but invades Kuroko as well, when suddenly Kagami stops Hayama when he was attempting to shoot. Kuroko catches the ball and uses his Cyclone Pass to pass the ball to Koganei who passes to Izuki, who then passes to Kagami who dunks.
It's Rakuzan's counterattack and Hayama cannot pass the ball due to his teammates being guarded. He notices that Mayuzumi is free and passes to him. In his mind, Mayuzumi tells himself that Hayama is an idiot for passing to him and asks himself if he has forgotten who is marking him. Hayama realises his mistake when suddenly Kuroko intercepts the pass, stealing the ball and passing to Kagami who then scores. Seirin has managed to score consecutive points.
After his revival, Kuroko has only been passing the ball using his Invisible Pass, not using any of his techniques such as the Phantom Shot or the Vanishing Drive, since he now is fully aware of the risks for diminishing his weak presence if he uses any of them. The 3rd quarter ends with the score of 68 - 88, with a 20 points difference for Rakuzan. On the bench, Hyūga tells Kuroko and everyone else that he's coming back into the game. After the intermission ended, Kuroko encouraged Hyūga telling him that he is counting on him, since the 4th quarter will only last for 10 minutes. Hyūga replies that by saying it politely, Kuroko made him even more nervous. Seirin do their cheer before coming back on the court. Kuroko approaches Kagami who tells him that he is nearing his limit, but tells Kuroko that he will play as long as it takes since his opponent is Akashi. As the match resumes, Kuroko uses the Ignite Pass to pass the ball to Hyūga who then scores a 3-pointer.
Seirin manages to close the gap in points. However, when Akashi enters the Zone, Seirin is overwhelmed by him. Kuroko tries to defend the basket and jumps with Kiyoshi to block Akashi, however, the latter passed the two and scored. As Akashi continues to play in the Zone, Seirin is defenceless resulting in the score of 78 - 90 for Rakuzan. Seirin entrust their hopes to Kagami but Kuroko thought it was too big of a burden for him alone to bear. Kuroko suggests that himself and Kagami should team up to stop Akashi. Kagami is hesitant at first but then realised his mistakes from before and agreed to Kuroko's help. Hyūga puzzled as to how the two could take on Akashi, approaches Kuroko and questions him on his plan. Kuroko notes that the only difference between Kagami and Akashi is the Emperor Eye which he will try to make up for the lack.
During Seirin's counterattack Izuki passes the ball to Kuroko who, outside of Akashi's sphere of defence, passes the ball to Kiyoshi to score. Kiyoshi is however stopped by Akashi who steals the ball. During Rakuzan's counterattack, Kuroko and Kagami double team Akashi who is headed for the basket. Akashi passes Kagami easily using his Emperor Eye, however, he notices that Kuroko is moving faster than himself. It was revealed that Kuroko had awakened his own Emperor Eye which can only predict the movements of his teammates. Due to the strength of the bond and trust Seirin share, Kuroko's Emperor Eye is further ahead in predicting the future than Akashi's Emperor Eye. Kuroko steals the ball from Akashi, shocking everyone and passes the ball to Kagami.
Kagami recieves the ball and passes Hayama who went to block him easily. Out of frustration of having a turnover happen from him, Akashi catches up to Kagami quickly thinking he cannot possibly lose as he is absolute. Just as Akashi is about to use his own Emperor Eye to steal the ball back, Kuroko snaches the ball away from Kagami using his Quasi-Emperor Eye, preventing Akashi from stealing it. Kuroko and Kagami do an alley-oop but Akashi goes to guard Kagami again. Kagami manages to overwhelm Akashi and score the basket out of his will to win for his team. There is only a 10 point difference between the two teams as Seirin is slowly catching up, the score being 82 - 92. After the counterattack, Kuroko notices Kagami's fatigue and that he is nearing the end of his Zone. Kagami assures him that he can still hold on.
A time-out is called and Riko considers substituting Kagami out. Kagami denies saying they will lose the momentum if he would be taken off. Kagami stays in the game as the time-out ends. As the game continues, Rakuzan is showing very poor play, mainly Akashi whose mental state is in dismay due to the shock of his loss against Kuroko and Kagami. Akashi's poor play is reflected onto his teammates as well who cannot coordinate well without their point guard. Kiyoshi approaches Kuroko and asks him if he is worrying about Akashi, and if he is that he is making a mistake. Kuroko denies, since they do not have the lea sure for that. Seirin manages to score baskets in a row due to Rakuzan's poor play, which results to the score of 90 - 92, a one basket difference. Rakuzan calls for a time-out, in which the real Akashi re-awakens.
The game continues and Kuroko with Kagami continue their combo play. Kagami notices the change in Akashi as he tries to steal the ball but fails. Kuroko uses his Quasi-Emperor Eye to intercept Akashi, but the latter is not taken aback as Akashi tells Kuroko "It's been a while, hasn't it? Kuroko", indicating the switch in personalities. Akashi evades both Kuroko and Kagami as he passes the ball further to Mibuchi, who scores the basket. Both Kuroko and the rest of the Generation of Miracles have notices that the old Akashi has come back. Kuroko informs his teammates of this and tells them that he is far more formidable than before. The game continues but the difference in points is getting wider once again, 96 - 101. Seirin notice that the whole Rakuzan team has now entered the Zone due to Akashi's second ability.
Seirin manages to score some points but are overwhelmed by Rakuzan and Akashi. Hayama receives the ball and dribbles to Seirin's basket. He is confronted by Kagami who tries to block him. Not being able to advance further, Hayama passes the ball to Akashi who further passes it to Mayuzumi who does an alley-oop with Nebuya. Kuroko and Seirin notice that Kagami has finally run out of the Zone. Meanwhile, a mysterious person in the crowd mutters Kuroko's name.
On the bench, Riko notices Kagami's fatigue but has no means of making a time-out due to the current circumstances. Back on the court, both Hyūga and Kiyoshi are overwhelmed by Mibuchi and Nebuya who mark them, and overpower them. Rakuzan easily receives the ball as Hayama gets it. He dribbles past Izuki who tries to block him but fails. Hayama evades Izuki but is confronted by Kuroko and his Quasi-Emperor Eye. Kuroko tries to steal the ball but fouls instead due to his fatigue. The ball is still in Rakuzan's possession. Riko notices that it is not just Kagami, but the whole team which is fatigues, compared to Rakuzan who still have stamina reserves left. Riko loses hope of victory as there is nothing else left to do.
From the crowd, a person cheers on for Seirin and also calls out to Kuroko. Kuroko turns around and notices that the person is Ogiwara. Ogiwara turns to Mochida who also came to spectate with him and tells him to cheer on for Seirin as well. Ogiwara then takes out a basketball and shows it to Kuroko with a smile, indicating he has regained his passion for basketball. Seeing the sight, Kuroko cries but smiles as well. Following Ogiwara's example, Aomine stood up as well encouraging both Kuroko and Kagami not to give up. Kise follows, along with his teammates, as soon all of Seirin's past opponents cheer them on. Seirin is taken aback, realising they carry the hopes of the teams they have defeated as well. Kagami tells Kuroko that the cheering really does energise you, something to which Kuroko agrees. Seirin are prepared to face Rakuzan again as they have regained their spirits.
The game continues and Kagami is determined to open the 2nd door of the Zone. The familiar faces in the crowd note Kagami's intentions but question if he can really enter, as it is Seirin's last chance to win. On the court, Akashi notices a change in the Seirin players. There is no notable change in them but the immense pressure they are giving off. Akashi passes the ball to Hayama who receives it and tries to shoot. He is confronted by Kagami who tries to block him. Hayama notes that Kagami has entered the Zone once again. Knowing it could happen, Hayama predicted it and evades with a reverse layup but is blocked by Hyūga instead. Rakuzan is surprised by Seirin's tactics.
Akashi notices that Seirin is synchronizing their plays to match Kagami's and wonders how they are able to do that. On the sidelines, Aomine eventually realized what the real Zone is, something which Akashi realized as well. Aomine laughs in realization that there is no 'gatekeeper' before the second door, but actually Kuroko as the conduit who is standing there. Kagami finally opens Zone's second door from which all of his teammates emerge from. Kagami and Kuroko continue their coordination play but this time, along with the rest of the team, which is the Direct Drive Zone.
Kagami is in control of the ball but is faced by Nebuya and Hayama who tries to block him. Kiyoshi is without a mark but has no means of matching with Kagami's speed while he is in the Zone. Despite this, Kiyoshi decides to trust in his instincts and his bond with his team to synchronize his movements with Kagami and successfully perform an alley-oop. Seirin scored a basket, which surprises the entire Rakuzan team. As the audience cheer, Akashi realizes that thus is the true form of the Zone. On the sidelines, the Generation of Miracles all realize that they cannot win alone anymore. Meanwhile, Ogiwara compares the current Seirin with Teikō Junior High, them being a ruthless team which crushes their opponents with no mercy, leaving them in despair, while Seirin is a team which encourages people to love basketball even more.
On Rakuzan's counterattack, Mibuchi gets the ball but is guarded by Hyūga. Mibuchi fakes and advances further to the basket but is faced by Kagami now. With a warning from Akashi, Mibuchi evades and passes to Nebuya. However, Kuroko appears and intercepts the pass. Kagami receives the ball again and passes to Hyūga who goes for a shot but is stopped by Mayuzumi. Rakuzan gets the ball back and Akashi has the ball and uses his Ankle Break to make Kagami fall and score a basket for his team. Akashi claims that the victors will be Rakuzan as Seirin has only 41 seconds left, with a 7-point difference.
During Seirin's counterattack, Rakuzan is excerpting great pressure on them. Izuki has the ball but is unable to pass to Kagami due to him being double teamed by Hayama and Mayuzumi. Instead, Izuki passes to Kiyoshi who passes the ball further to Hyūga. Hyūga is marked by Mibuchi as he passes the ball to Kuroko who performs a lateral long pass to get the ball to Kagami who shoots and scores the basket. Seirin raised their points but the score still maintains in Rakuzan's favour, 101 - 105.
Imayoshi notices that everyone is getting fired up except for Izuki who remains calm. Izuki uses his Eagle Eye to steal the ball from Mibuchi and Nebuya. Seirin counterattacks again as they advance to the basket with only eight seconds left. Izuki wants to pass the ball to Kagami but is still double-teamed by Rakuzan players. Instead, Izuki passes to Hyūga who calls out for the ball. Hyūga receives the ball but is guarded by Mibuchi. Seeing as it is the only way to score in this situation Hyūga decides to copy Mibuchi's "Earth" shot and successfully score the three-pointer along with a foul from Mibuchi due to the shot's nature. Hyūga receives a free throw. Seirin trusts Kiyoshi with the rebound.
Everyone gets in the position for the free throw as Hyūga gets into position as well. Hyūga remembers everything which has led him to where he is now as he sheds tears for everything that has happened. Hyūga shoots as the ball misses and everyone goes for the rebound. Kiyoshi gets the rebound and the Rakuzan players wonder who he will pass the ball to. Mayuzumi notices that when he thought of who didn't go for the ball, he thought of Kuroko instantly. As Kuroko receives the ball. The Rakuzan players remark that Kuroko did not shoot during the match at all and realise that it was for this very moment. Akashi appears as he tries to block Kuroko from shooting. Akashi tells him that this is the end, but Kuroko tells him otherwise and adds that he is a shadow. Kuroko performs an alley-oop with Kagami as the latter dunks and the buzzer beater is heard. Seirin emerge as victors of the match.
Seirin cheer as they are announced as this year's champions of the Winter Cup. Meanwhile, the Rakuzan players are shocked of their defeat, as well as Akashi who finally realized what defeat is like. Akashi describes defeat as immense pain in the chest as he approaches Kuroko and extends his arm for a handshake. Tears are seen on Akashi's face as he congratulates Seirin and Kuroko on their victory. Kuroko and Akashi shake hands and agree to play with each other again in the future. The ceremony begins and Seirin are given their trophies, along with the Winter Cup. Seirin's opponents in the audience leave, preparing to train for the future.
A few weeks later, Seirin continue their practices for future matches so they are not left behind by the rest of the teams who are training as well. They noticed that Kuroko is missing and Kagami goes to get him in the locker room. Kagami finds Kuroko who apologizes for being late due to getting a photo from Momoi, which was taken on his birthday. The two join the rest of the team as the image in Kuroko's locker is shown with himself and the rest of the Generation of Miracles playing street ball. Kuroko has renewed his friendship with his past teammates, as he continues to train for future matches with them.
The Seirin basketball team is training in the gym when Riko informs them of Team Jabberwock, a USA streetball basketball team which was invited to Japan to play against a Japanese university team. Instead of joining the group for a break, Kuroko and Kagami continue to practice, which their teammates note is due to the team's Interhigh results. Riko dismisses the team to continue training while inviting one of them to watch the match with her, which will be Hyūga.
On the day of the match, Kuroko and Kagami watch the event thought TV, but when Team Strky - the Japanese university team, is defeated in a mocking way, Kuroko and Kagami as well as all of the basketball players in the region are angered by the mocking gameplay of Team Jabberwock. When Kagetora proposes a rematch, Team Jabberwock accept to face the new team in a month's time. Later on, Kagetora gathers the Generation of Miracles as well as Kuroko and Kagami and forms the revenge team, Team Vorpal Swords to defeat Team Jabberwock.
As Team Vorpal Swords prepare for their training, Momoi appears and embraces Kuroko. Kagetora introduces Momoi and Riko as the team's manager and assistant manager but also the team's substitutes which are Hyūga, Takao and Wakamatsu. After the introductions, the team begins their training. During practice, Riko notices how strong the team is but comments on their synchronisation which is poor.
The team takes a break to get briefed on Team Jabberwock's gameplay and style of play. Momoi informs them on Silver who has massive strength, speed and jumping power. She also informs them on Gold, who didn't reveal all of his capabilities yet. The team meeting ends with the team getting excited to face the strong opponents. Meanwhile, Kagetora excuses himself to go pay for Team Jabberwock's expenses. Kuroko spares one last look at the video before returning to practice.
After six days, the team's synchronisation has improved but its still not perfect. Riko, however, notes that as they don't have anymore time, the only thing left for them to do is to trust the team. Kagetora excuses himself again to go to the club where Team Jabberwock is. As Kagetora leaves, Kise and Kagami remember the time when they faced a group of bullies at a streetball court. When Aomine asks them where Kuroko is, the two notice that he is missing.
In the club, Gold questions Kagetora on why he had brought a kid with him, only for Kagetora to notice Kuroko when he introduces himself. Kuroko introduces himself as a member of the opponent team and starts questioning Gold on why "monkeys" cannot play basketball as it is for everyone, which he is then mocked for. Having heard enough, Gold stands up and kicks Kuroko to the ground and onto the table. After falling, Kuroko is pulled on his hair by Gold who threatens him for lecturing him. Gold quickly pulls back as a fist is aimed at him, which is Kagami and the Generation of Miracles arriving to help Kuroko.
Team Jabberwock realise that they are their opponents for the mach and start to mock them on how weak they are. Before Silver, Kagami and Aomine could start a fight, Akashi stops them and suggests battling it out on the court, to which Kuroko agrees. Team Vorpal Swords leave with the injured Kuroko, promising to defeat Team Jabberwock.
On the day of the match, the Generation of Miracles are chosen as the starters while Kuroko and Kagami are on the bench. The match begins with Aomine scoring the first points of the game. The first quarter ends up in the favour of Team Vorpal Swords, however, the team is still conscious of Jabberwock's strength. After the break and onto the second quarter, Silver begins to show his true skills, overwhelming both Aomine and Murasakibara.
After getting behind on points, Kagetora calls for a time-out and decides to member change Akashi and Midorima for Kuroko and Kagami in order to gain more strength to combat Silver. Murasakibara disagrees but after Akashi's persuasion, the giant agrees and the team goes back on the court. As the Jabberwock players notice Kuroko, they mock the team for giving up already as they placed a weak player on the team. The match resumes and with the team play of Kagami and Aomine, they manage to stop Silver and his advances. Murasakibara passes the ball to Kuroko, who is unnoticed by the Jabberwock players.
|“||This guy's strength is completely different from the rest of us. It belongs in a different world.||”|
Though Kuroko is fairly weak, his talents allow him to play a central role in any team. Possessing a superbly observant eye in addition to his ability to blend in invisibly to any environment, Kuroko can perform imperceptible passes and virtually unstoppable steals, getting the ball to and between his teammates faster than opponents can react. His near-invisibility makes him highly susceptible to on-court injuries however. Further, his talent is not effective indefinitely. If he is left in play too long, opponents grow used to his misdirection tactics; as such, he must be placed on the bench at varying points in any match to prevent this. Kuroko is incredibly important for Seirin having been called a trump card.
He mostly plays on the position of small forward based on defesive matchups and substitution strategies, but in recent chapters his stats list his position as a questionmark. This is because Kuroko is difficult to place in one of the five set basketball positions, his role in the team applies to none of those, but mostly as a pass-first point guard based on size and passing abilities.
Kuroko is naturally hard to notice so he developed a playing technique using that "invisibility". He simply behaves as if another player will get the ball and not him. Plus, he tries as much as possible to not showing emotions to reduce his already weak presence. He pushes the opponents to focus their attention to someone else and then steps in unexpectedly. When the opponent can't see him, it is much easier to steal the ball. Misdirection is a technique that fools the opponent's senses.
Kuroko uses his misdirection in function of his teammates. He must make eye-contact with the passer while doing his misdirection and so the eyefield of the other players becomes a "mirror" for Kuroko's position. This also marks the key to disabling Kuroko's misdirection. The player guarding him must simply stop looking at Kuroko, but look at the passer and derive Kuroko's position from him. So far, the only person capable of doing that is Imayoshi. Not only that but the new skills he has learned such as the "Vanishing Drive" and "Phantom Shot" has made his "lack of presence" wear out. This is simply because these skills require a hold to the ball and the crowd starts to notice him because of this. This is the main reason Akashi didn't teach him how to shoot.
Following from his misdirection, Kuroko uses himself as a relay for passes and redirects the ball to another player by just gently touching it. He receives the ball from another player and immediatly changes its course to a free player. This pass is very hard to predict and almost always leads to a basket.
The true form of this pass, according to Midorima, is a tap pass, which allows Kuroko to change direction of the ball without touching the ball for a long period. This is the only type of pass that works well with his misdirection because of minimum contact with the ball.
As an extension of his regular pass, Kuroko can also move the ball even quicker. He only does this if his imperceptible pass can be intercepted at some point. When he receives the ball, he punches it directly to a free player. This way, the force behind the pass will increase greatly and the ball will move much faster. This pass is also called the Acceleration Pass.
But because this pass is very powerful, only some players can catch it succesfully, in Junior High school only the Generation of Miracles were capable of receiving this pass. In Seirin, Kuroko only passes this way to Kagami and occasionally to Teppei Kiyoshi. After their harsh training in Summer, according to Aida Riko all second years now are capable to receive it however it's painful for them as Hyuga said. Teppei Kiyoshi also noted when the first time he received this pass in street basketball tournament he could catch it but not continuously.
Ignite Pass Kai
A new, upgraded version of the Ignite Pass. Instead of simply thrusting the ball using the palm of his hand, he also puts a strong spin on it. He spins his arm and wrist round and round and creates a rotation around the ball. By doing this, like a gunshot, Kuroko puts more acceleration and power behind the pass by transferring the rotation of his arm to the ball. The ball is so strong that it can even pass the Generation's ace, Aomine. He learned this in the winter training camp, under the training of Kagetora.
When the opponents score, Kuroko takes the ball, spins very fast and releases the ball to fly across the whole court. The pass is very fast and powerful, and flies in a straight line from the start to the end of the course, which is perfect for fast-break. Someone remarks it as Ichiro's laser beam (Ichiro is a famous Japanese baseball outfielder). He first showed this in the game against Shūtoku High, in a fast-break with Kagami against Midorima. In their second match, Kuroko showed his full court pass without spinning first.
After being soundly defeated by Daiki Aomine, Kuroko trains himself to evolve his play style. Given the absolute presence and importance of the ball in play, it had been previously thought impossible for Kuroko to maintain his misdirection while in possession of the ball; as such the time he spends handling the ball on court is extremely minimal. He has overcome this previous limitation, and has developed the ability to imperceptibly move past players while dribbling the ball, creating his own 'vanishing' drive. The ability is effective enough to pass through the defenses of Shintarō Midorima, a member of the Generation of Miracles, and can also pass Takao's Hawk's Eye. Kazuya Hara has speculated that Kuroko uses blinking to bypass the defense, but this has been proven wrong.
The real explanation of this skill was given by Midorima, in Seirin's second match against Tōō. The skill is basically a cross-diagonal move (a duck-in) to where the opponent's eye field can't see. Kuroko bends over in a specific angle at drives following a specific route, that the opponent has it very difficult to follow. But the real Vanishing Drive is a collaboration with Kagami. Similar to Kuroko's misdirection, Kagami draws the attention of the opponent to him, just for a second, and that makes it possible for Kuroko to pass his opponent successfully.
The only one so far to have beaten the Vanishing Drive, is Aomine. He countered it and stole the ball by closing his eyes, making Kagami's misdirection ineffective. Because of the two's mutual understanding about basketball, and by following Kuroko's breath, Aomine was able to crush down the Vanishing Drive.
A skill Kuroko developed after completing his Vanishing Drive. He realized that if he can activate his regular misdirection and divert the attention away from him, that the opposite is also true. This is that when his misdirection has run out and his presence on the court is beginning to show. The sudden appearance of a tenth player will attract the attention of the other players. By deliberately running out of misdirection, he is giving his teammates the ability of the Vanishing Drive. The effects are clear: Kuroko has run out of his regular moves, but his teammates can now use the Vanishing Drive freely.
There is however, also a grave downside to the use of this technique. The first is that it must only be used at the very end of the match. It's the same with his regular misdirection, he can't keep fooling the opponents for too long. The second is that while he is using this ability, he is also showing the secret behind it. In other words, misdirection would never work against the same opponent thus rendering the rematch an inevitable loss in the future with this.
Because Kuroko won't be such a threat anymore now that the data of his inability to shoot is known amongst the Yōsen High team. Because of this reason, Kuroko began training on his shot, but only with failing attempts to score. Kuroko brought Aomine in to train him and he told him that while normal players pass with the palm of their hands, Kuroko passes like a normal player shoots, with his wrist and fingertips. In his shot, he tries to do the same, but a pass and a shot are totally different, so Kuroko has trouble with gauging the distance to the hoop.
Because of this, Aomine pushed Kuroko to learn a new shot by himself, the Phantom Shot. The essence is to use the palm of his hand to thrust the ball forward, although that will mess up the shooting posture. Further more, because of the shooting position, the ball is lower than a usual shot. Instead of shooting the ball over one's head, the Phantom Shot releases from the chest. The opponent naturally looks lower because of the ball's position, so his view is limited. By a fast release, Kuroko can shoot the ball through the opponents field of vision, like a floater with less arc. Using the Phantom Shot, Kuroko made the first basket in front of Murasakibara, the tallest player in all of Japan, thus scored the first point against Yōsen in the whole tournament. Kuroko used his Phantom Shot in the whole Yōsen match, and Murasakibara could not block any of them, though Kuroko missed some himself. However, as explained by Akashi, if he were to keep using this move, like his vanishing drive, it would diminish his weak presence, causing him to stand out and be noticed by the crowd, disallowing him to become a shadow ever again, since the Phantom Shot requires Kuroko to hold the ball.
The secret to stopping this shot however, is backing off and keeping distance to Kuroko. That way, the field of vision will not be limited downwards and the ball is visible. Kasamatsu is the first one to figure this out, after which he successfully closed in on Kuroko and blocked the shot.
To use his misdirection Kuroko, needs to analyze and predict the movements of his opponents. This allows him to observe the behavior and habits of others but mostly his teammates. Kuroko acquired his version of the Emperor Eye from the deep trust and bond he has forged with his teammates backed by his observation skills. His Emperor Eye cannot predict the movements of his opponents (unless he has played with them before) but rather the teammates who he is familiar with. Kuroko also uses this to change his passing routes and to change the direction of his teammates passes if he sees the ball will be stolen with that pass.
With his own Emperor Eye, Kuroko has filled the only gap that separates Kagami and Akashi. By looking only at Kagami, Kuroko predicted the future even faster than Akashi and caught up to him. He even prevented a potential steal by taking the ball from Kagami and made an alley-oop to the latter, taking down Akashi and forcing him out of his zone. This also became the key to realizing the condition for opening the door to the true Zone.
A move that Kuroko and Kagami often execute. One of the opponents tries to pass, but Kuroko intercepts the ball. He smacks the ball onto the ground in the direction of the basket. Kagami jumps high in the sky, grabs the ball and dunks it in. They have first showed this in the match against Shinkyō Academy and did it again in the game against Seihō High. The comination started off from a missed shot from Kuroko on a wide open layup attempt and Kagami followed it up. The alley-oop combo can also come from a Phantom Shot, as shown on the game-winning shot at Winter Cup.
A wrinkle to this is that a shot directly from a pass still counts as an alley-oop, just like Midorima's Sky Direct 3P, so on the final shot against Kaijo, where Kagami bounced the ball of the corner of the backboard, and Kuroko beat the buzzer with a Phantom shot to win the game still counts as such instance.
Kuroko and Kagami are good friends. They met when they both joined the Seirin basketball team and after discovering that their different plays complement each other, they make a promise to become the best in Japan. When playing together they understand each other perfectly, which makes them a "lethal rookie duo." Kuroko describes his partnership with Kagami as "shadow and light." Kagami is the light and Kuroko supports him as his shadow; when the light becomes stronger, the shadow grows as well. They have often won matches due to their cooperation play. Satsuki has also mentioned how seeing Kuroko and Kagami together reminds her of how Kuroko and Aomine used to be during their early days in Teikō.
In the Character Bible both Kuroko and Kagami have cited each other as the teammate they get along with the best. They often hang out together at school, with Kuroko acting his usual self and Kagami responding with comically exaggerated anger or annoyance. Kagami's straightforward approach to basketball is also one of the reasons Kuroko was able to turn his back on the Generation of Miracles' way of playing.
|“||When it comes to basketball, we do think alike.||”|
—Tetsuya Kuroko, to Daiki Aomine
Aomine and Kuroko met when Aomine heard a certain rumour from Momoi saying that there is a ghost in the 3rd string gym. Aomine didn't believe her and discarded the rumour, however, Aomine still went to the 3rd string gym to see for himself. When he entered the gym, he met Kuroko and Aomine immediately acknowledged his passion for basketball. Aomine agreed to practice with Kuroko after school and the two became very close. When Aomine introduced Kuroko to Akashi, he was promoted into the 1st string. In the 1st string, Aomine and Kuroko played together and stayed after practice to practice on their own, also going home together.
Aomine was Kuroko's best friend and "light" back at Teikō Junior High School. Aomine was starter at first, when Kuroko was still third stringer. That didn't matter to Aomine, because he saw the same amount of basketball passion in Kuroko that he has. They practiced together after training and quickly became friends to the point where Aomine calls Kuroko Tetsu. When Kuroko was promoted to playing with the starters, his play was very in sync with Aomine.
Aomine once stated that the two have very little in common but that basketball is what brings their friendship together. Midorima once said their way of play is so compatible to the point of annoyance. Outside of the court they would hangout and grab ice cream together after practices or games.
Over time Aomine changed: he became stronger and eventually lost his passion for basketball because he was too strong for his opponents and winning was no longer fun. Kuroko tried convince him that Aomine would eventually find a formidable opponent, but during the championships Aomine dominated the competition once again and deemed that he can beat himself as everyone else sucked. From then on the two grew more distance between them as they were no longer friends and Kuroko quit Teiko basketball.
When the two were first brought together, Aomine still showed the same attitude he had at the end of his Junior High school days. It was shown that Aomine expressed indifference when Midorima pointed out Kuroko would face him during the Inter-high championships. During the game Aomine overslept and didn't show up till the second quarter, though during the second half of the game Aomine completely destroyed Seirin stopping Kuroko including his ignite pass, misdirections among others. Aomine approches Kuroko at one point during the match and proclaim that he is disappointed in Kuroko because hasn't improved much since playing at Teiko and mentions that his current basketball abilities wouldn't beat him, also bringing up Akashi's prediction that Kuroko's style wouldn't bring winning basketball.
Kuroko and Aomine have met up a few times between the interhigh championships and Winter Cup, as each time their talks would heat up and challenges would be made. During their match in round 1 of the Winter Cup Touou still towered over Seirin, but Seirin gradually got better and better over the course of the match. At one point during the match, Kuroko used his Vanishing Drive against Aomine it first worked but Aomine was able to stop it after seeing it a few times. He also eventually stole his Ignite Pass Kai pass, crushing his will completely. The match would then turn into a matchup between Kagami and Aomine as the two now were pretty evenly matched.
Unexpectedly, Kuroko comes back into the match and uses his Misdirection Overflow helping Seirin score a few points. Eventually Kuroko also forces Aomine to miss a basket. At the peak of his excitement and gratitude toward Kuroko, Aomine goes into "The Zone", the pinancle state of concentration that only few chosen athlete can achieve takes control of the match. Kagami then follows suit and enters "Zone" as well and during the last seconds, as he and Aomine are stuck in a stalemate until Kagami finally gains the upper hand and eventually win against Aomine.
After the match, he and Kuroko bump fists once again and promise to compete again. Because of the tough match, Aomine regained his passion and enjoyment and sees Kuroko as his friend once again. Aomine even agreed to help Kuroko develop his Phantom Shot, when Kuroko came for his help to teach him shooting.
|“||I've thought of Kise-kun as my rival.||”|
—Tetsuya Kuroko, about Kise
Back in Teikō, Kuroko was Kise's personal instructor before he made it as a regular in the first string. Kuroko, as personal instructor of Kise, didn't outwardly show any signs of acknowledging his display of disrespect, even when Kise challenged him for a spot as Teikō's regular.
Kise witnessed Kuroko's skill as phantom player afterwards and found a respect for him; in his opinion Kuroko's way of playing is a type of sacrifice for the team's sake and yet Kuroko doesn't see it as a sacrifice which, for him, makes Kuroko even more amazing. Kuroko became one of few people Kise acknowledges and since then he has called Kuroko as 'Kurokocchi'. Since then, whenever they meet, Kise acts overly-friendly and remembers their friendship by saying that he and Kuroko were close friends, even though Kuroko claims that they haven't been more friendly than normal. In the Character Bible, he even goes as far as to say that Kuroko was the person he was closest to in Junior High school (although Kuroko said that he himself was closest to Aomine). Since their first match together, Kise has admired Kuroko to the point of obsession. He always tries to bring up Kuroko in conversations and tries to be together with him as much as possible, especially in the anime's ending omakes. Note however that Kuroko can see through Kise's friendly mask by asking him to stop acting sarcastically as in Episode 3 when the latter claims he has been crying himself to sleep because Kuroko had rejected his invitation to join Kise in Kaijo.
Kuroko occasionally plays with Kise's attitude by ignoring him but he acknowledges their friendship. When Kise's mind was about to darken during his match against his former teammate from Teikō Junior High, Shōgo Haizaki, Kuroko stood up in the crowd and yelled out to Kise that he believed in him, which encouraged Kise - leading him to unlock his "Perfect Copy" and defeat Shōgo Haizaki. It was later revealed in the semi-finals of the Winter Cup that Kuroko had always felt a one-sided rivalry with Kise, because even though he was Kuroko's first trainee, he had quickly surpassed him. Kise was happy when he heard this, stating, "That isn't just a compliment ... that kind of stuff really sets me on fire!"Kise is also the first member of the Generation of Miracles who starts changing thanks to Kuroko. Midorima remarks that after his loss he reverted back to his state before the consecutive championships.
|“||He's the man I fell in love with.||”|
—Satsuki Momoi, about Kuroko
Kuroko and Momoi are friends from Junior High school. At first, Momoi didn't think much of him, due to his size and lack of presence off the court. However, after seeing him practice and prove his worth on and off the court, her opinion changed and became amazed at his determination. She occasionally became surprised and even flustered everytime he surprised her with his presence, which made her wonder why she was so flustered around him and began to wonder if it was cause she developed feelings for him. Because of Momoi's naivety, she fell in love with him after Kuroko gave her free ice-cream.In the -Replace- novel, it is revealed that he once challenged to take on five high schoolers in a basketball match by himself because they were harrassing Momoi, later causing her to fall more deeply in love with him. Being the manager of the basketball team, Momoi grew closer to an oblivious Kuroko and made advances; these have been as of yet unanswered by Kuroko, who on his part seems to be oblivious.
Momoi actually sees herself as Kuroko's girlfriend, while Kuroko keeps denying this. They have gone on a date before, but while Momoi sees it romantically, Kuroko only perceives it as friendly. Regardless, he cares for her very much and is very kind to her, defends her, and at times grows angry on her behalf. Due to his natural feeling of dealing with women, Kuroko can comfort Momoi and knows how to act on dates; this allows him to be able to cheer up Momoi quite easily. Such was when Aomine said very harsh things to her, a tearful Momoi ran to Kuroko and told him what happened, to which he managed to cheer her up stating Aomine was just angry and didn't really mean it and told her everything would be alright, to which she was grateful.
Furthermore, Momoi would seem to be the one character Kuroko treats with most care, saving her from thugs and accompanying her whenever she is alone, which is especially seen in the light novels.
Just like the other members of the Generation of Miracles, Kuroko and Midorima acknowledge and respect each other's skill. Kuroko admitted that he has a hard time getting along with Midorima, a sentiment Midorima shared partly because of their supposedly incompatible blood types. Midorima also did not like Kuroko's choice of high school, saying he could not stand the fact that he acknowledges Kuroko, who in spite of his lacking physicality is skilled enough to stand as his equal, and yet he went to a new and unknown team who could not utilize his power to the fullest. Midorima has so far shown good understanding of the theories behind Kuroko's skill, the opposite of Aomine whose understanding of Kuroko is by instinct and their former partnership.
Kuroko once bluntly stated Midorima is so smart but sometimes he is dumb when arguing over the best basketball technique with Kise. In Kuroko's opinion his three-pointer is amazing but the worth of points only goes so far, and that Kagami's dunk that bring up team's morale can't be measured in comparison.
Midorima has shown his consideration and care for Kuroko when he gifted the latter with a bird key chain on his birthday.
|“||He went beyond my expectations.||”|
—Seijūrō Akashi, describing Kuroko's skill
Before meeting Kuroko, Akashi was not satisfied with the current Teikō team and wanted a change. A 6th man who would change the flow of the game whenever the situation required it. When he saw Kuroko for the first time, he thought that Kuroko would be that very player, a 6th man. After seeing Kuroko, Akashi questioned him and pushed him in the right direction to making his own style of playing, based on his lack of presence. Three months later, Kuroko approaches Akashi and lets him know he has set on a style and Akashi decides to test Kuroko in a practice match. Kuroko shocks and impresses the first string players, including Akashi, and is admitted into the team with Akashi's help. During this time Akashi was very supportive of Kuroko and helped him overcome his nervousness and doubts. During Kuroko's first match, Akashi helped Kuroko polish his "misdirection" and helped him develop his style of play he uses today.
When the Generation of Miracles began changing and realising their true potentials, Akashi changed drastically, which made Kuroko realise that there are two Akashi's, the Akashi he knew and the other Akashi, emerged from the change in the team.
Akashi holds very high expectations for Kuroko. Showing that even in the most desperate situations, he believed in team Seirin's victory when everyone else didn't, mostly because of Kuroko's influence on the team. He was also surprised when Kuroko revealed his new skills, the "Ignite Pass Kai" and "Misdirection Overflow" showing that Kuroko did indeed surpass his expectations. Some time after when there was a half time during the game between Rakuzan and Shūtoku, Akashi and Kuroko met for a short time. It was the first time they met again after the opening ceremony. In this short meeting Akashi warns Kuroko that if he's planning to fight against him, he would have to be careful. Telling Kuroko that he is the one that found Kuroko's hidden potential first and that Kuroko would come to know what that means. After Rakuzan and Seirin won their matches it was finally decided who the two teams in the finals would be. Kuroko's team Seirin and Akashi's team Rakuzan.
When Akashi and Rakuzan lost in the Winter Cup finals, Akashi experienced defeat for the first time and describes it as immense pain in the chest. However, due to this pain he is able to appreciate playing basketball and meeting Kuroko. It is shown that Akashi respects Kuroko for defeating him as both of them renew their friendship and play together again in streetball basketball.
In the novel 'Replace', Kuroko mentioned "if Akashi was a teacher, it would make lessons very easy to understand." This likely refers to their time back at Teikō when Akashi was Kuroko's personal instructor.
Although Kuroko likes Murasakibara as a person, Kuroko and Murasakibara don't get along well because of Murasakibara's lack of passion for basketball. This is why, in spite of mutual respect to each other's skill, they couldn't get along when it comes to basketball. Outside of basketball, Kuroko describes Murasakibara as "a kid with a screw loose." As for Murasakibara, Kuroko's seriousness irritates him, but he does acknowledge him in some way like other Generation of Miracle members.
Murasakibara also often makes fun of and teases Kuroko by petting him on the head, something that visibly annoys Kuroko. Aomine once pointed out that the way they view basketball is too different: Murasakibara has been winning with only talent and no passion, while Kuroko has struggled to get where he was with effort but no talent. Kuroko dislikes Murasakibara's bad habit of discouraging who tried their best to play basketball, this repeatedly sparked arguments between them back in Junior High school.
In the fifth grade, Kuroko became interested in playing basketball after watching a match on TV. Kuroko started practicing on a nearby court. Kuroko soon met Ogiwara, a cheerful boy from the neighborhood. Ogiwara taught Kuroko how to play basketball and they quickly became best friends. In Junior High, after Ogiwara's team lost to Teikō, Ogiwara was crushed and lost the will to play basketball. However, he still believed in Kuroko. The wristband that Kuroko wears symbolizes their friendship and Ogiwara's faith in Kuroko.
During the final round of the Winter Cup, Ogiwara suddenly appeared with his teammate. He held a basketball in his hand, and boosted the morale of Kuroko and the Seirin team. Not much is known about their interaction after the match, but it can be assumed that Ogiwara does not harbour any negative feelings toward Kuroko.
Kuroko is highly respectful (in his own deadpan way) of his seniors and friendly with the other first-years. He is quite close to Teppei Kiyoshi, who he sees as the big brother he never had. He does, however, slightly fear the coach Riko Aida, like the rest of the team for her deadly cooking skills and the constant wrestling moves she performs on him when angry.
- Kazunari Takao, during the Shutoku vs Seirin match at Interhigh, Takao expressed his dislike towards Kuroko due to how similar their playing styles are and sees him as a rival. Despite this, he is often paired with Kuroko and hides with him to spy on conversations between Kagami and Midorima.
- Makoto Hanamiya, Hanamiya has earned Kuroko's wrath due to his sadistic nature and joy of injuring players who play basketball with passion. Hanamiya enjoyed taunting Kuroko, but Kuroko's basketball passion eventually silenced Hanamiya.
- Papa Mbaye Siki, Kuroko was often irritated being called a kid by Papa. Papa had the impression that the Generation of Miracles weren't such a big deal and Kuroko proved him wrong.
- Chihiro Mayuzumi, was Kuroko's match-up during the Winter Cup Final. After Kuroko's lack of presence began to fade away, Kuroko was shocked to see that Mayuzumi had the same misdirection ability as him. When Kuroko was subbed back in the 3rd quarter, Mayuzumi arrogantly expressed that he is superior to Kuroko, who he views as an old model. Reminiscing about Takao's words, Kuroko finally understood the meaning behind regarding a dislike for their own kind. Kuroko refused to give up the title of Phantom Sixth man and finally regained his ability after overwriting Mayuzumi by making him stand out. The two share some similarities, they both have weak presences, both enjoy reading books and they both met Akashi.
- "I am a supporting actor, a shadow. But a shadow will become darker if the light is stronger and it will make the white of the light stand out. As the shadow of the main actor, I will make you, the light, the number one in Japan."
- "When you come to hate something you liked, it is incredibly painful." (to Taiga Kagami)
- "But there's no meaning if you win alone! You said you wanted to defeat the Generation of Miracles - but you think just like them! And even if we defeat Shūtoku "your way", no one will be happy! (...) In that case, what's "victory"? Even if you have a higher score than your opponent when the final whistle blows... If there's no one happy, is it "victory"?" (lecturing Taiga Kagami)
- "The possibility of victory is only 0% when all the players give up. I refused to make it 0% myself. It's not over" (to Aomine Daiki)
- "… Stop messing around. I chose to fight because I believed the basketball of Generation of Miracles was wrong. But they would never do anything as dirty as what you've done… !! Using such methods, don't you dare ruin our- our senpai's- everyone's dreams!!" (to Makoto Hanamiya)
- "Not next time... We'll win now!!"
- "The ace shouldering everyone's feelings, never looses.. I believe in Kagami-kun...!" (to Daiki Aomine)
- "I definitely won't lose to someone like you, who rejects other people's hard work." (to Atsushi Murasakibara)
- "Basketball's not so simple, that you can win just by being big, Murasakibara-kun." (to Atsushi Murasakibara)
- "The title of Phantom Sixth Man. I'm sorry but... I don't feel like surrendering it yet." (to Chihiro Mayuzumi)
- Tetsuya's surname Kuroko means "beauty spot, prompter, black figures, stagehand, face mole/dark mole, mite" (黒子).
- Kuroko is an actual Japanese term. It stands for "stagehands" in Japanese theater. The stagehands are the roles of animals, puppets, objects,... fullfilled by the hands of a regular actor. But only his hands are seen, the actor himself is dressed in black and is supposed to be "invisible". This is a clear reference to Kuroko's playing style.
- The kanji "黒" (Kuro) in his name means black, hinting to him being the "shadow" towards Taiga Kagami.
- On the first character poll, Kuroko ranked first, with 2625 votes. He won again on the second poll, this time with 2242 votes.
- In the fanbook CHARACTERS BIBLE, an early character concept of Kuroko is seen. Not much of his appearance has changed, though he seemed less gloomy and invisible than in the finished concept.
- Kuroko is the 'gatekeeper' in front of the second door of the Zone.
- Punching the ball with your fist is a violation of the rules. Because Kuroko did this to accelerate the ball when first showing his Ignite Pass, when volume 4 was published, this was changed to his palm instead of his fist. The second time he did an Ignite Pass, it was shown with the palm of his hand. His Ignite Pass Kai is also executed with the palm of his hand.
- In school, Kuroko's best courses are humanities, history and geography.
- Kuroko is a member of the school's Library Committee.
- Most characters call him Kuroko, which is his surname, sometimes with suffix -kun. There are few exceptions:
- According to the CHARACTERS BIBLE:
- Kuroko's type of girl is a gentle person.
- If Kuroko had an alternate job it would be a kindergarten teacher.
- His favorite food is vanilla shake.
- His hobbies are reading (mainly literature works) and human observation.
- His specialty is simple magic tricks.
- He is quite skilled in basic handicrafts.
- His motto is "Once-in-a-lifetime encounter".
- According to KUROFES:
- Kuroko can use his Misdirection for entertainment, for example disappearing during a magic trick.
- Kuroko's Student ID number is 102153.
- His bedhair has shocked a number of characters, often accompanied by a "Comb your hair!" from one of his teammates. There have also been Super Saiyan jokes about his bed hair.
- In a Q&A section in the manga, it is revealed that:
- Kuroko was 155 cm tall upon entering Teikō.
- Kuroko lives in a small home with his father, his mother, and his grandmother.
- Kuroko's best subjects are Classical Japanese and Modern Japanese.
- He dislikes cola.
- He inherited his mother by looks and her invisibility, while he got the characteristics from his father.
- In the end credits of Season 3, there are photos of Kuroko's life before High School that depict him as a fat, happy giggling baby. He also appears to be able to ski.
- Kuroko is rarely seen scoring, his first made basket was only in Chapter 145 and his first basket in an official match was in the Winter Cup quarter-finals, against Yōsen High.
- Kuroko has a habit of pulling or adjusting his wristband just before his match starts.
- During his time in Teikō, Kuroko had perfect attendance.
- Kuroko's technique Misdirection is inspired from the book "The Art of Manipulating the Gaze" and developed because of his unique observation skills.
- Kuroko appears as a support character in the Jump crossover fighting game J-Stars Victory Vs.
- Kenshō Ono, the voice of Kuroko, also sings the second ending of the second season "FANTASTIC TUNE" as well as the second opening of the third season "ZERO".
- Murasakibara believes Kuroko has really good luck when it comes to winning free stuff from snacks. He eats snacks all the time and never wins anything. However, Kuroko doesn’t want to use his luck on something like that. 
- Murasakibara and Kuroko get along really well, except when Kuroko starts talking about basketball. Then Murasakibara just gets annoyed. 
- Kuroko is the youngest member of the Generation of Miracles, according to the Japanese schooling system.
- According to Seirin High’s basketball team’s members, Kuroko’s grades are average. 
- Kuroko made an appearance in a separate anime series named Assassination Classroom, in which he was seen in the 32nd episode lining up at Class 3E's restaurant along with Saiki Kusuo from The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.
- Kuroko's Ignite Kai Pass technique has been used by notable NBA players such as Manu Ginobili.
- Kuroko's passing skill is also similar to a notable NBA star, Jason Williams.
|2nd years||Junpei Hyūga • Shun Izuki • Rinnosuke Mitobe • Shinji Koganei • Satoshi Tsuchida|
|1st years||Tetsuya Kuroko • Taiga Kagami • Kōki Furihata • Hiroshi Fukuda • Kōichi Kawahara|
|Other||Tetsuya #2 • Kagetora Aida • Alexandra Garcia • Kenji Takeda|
|Former players||Teppei Kiyoshi|
|Teikō Junior High|
|Generation of Miracles||Ryōta Kise • Shintarō Midorima • Daiki Aomine • Atsushi Murasakibara • Seijūrō Akashi|
|Other players||Tetsuya Kuroko • Shōgo Haizaki • Shūzō Nijimura • Masaya Kubota • Tōru Sekiguchi|
|Staff||Naoto Sanada (head coach) • Kōzō Shirogane (former head coach) • |
Daigo Matsuoka (3rd string coach) • Satsuki Momoi (manager)
|Team Vorpal Swords|
|Players||Seijūrō Akashi • Daiki Aomine • Shintarō Midorima • Ryōta Kise • Atsushi Murasakibara • Taiga Kagami • Tetsuya Kuroko • Junpei Hyūga • Kazunari Takao • Kōsuke Wakamatsu|
|Staff||Kagetora Aida (coach) • Riko Aida (assistant coach) • Satsuki Momoi (manager)|