Episodes: Season 3, 1-3 (overall 51-53)
Having taken down another formidable team, Seirin is gaining some recognition. They’re interviewed by the press, which gives them a chance to reminisce about the games that brought them to the semi-finals and the memorable moments from each game. Once they’re done, Kuroko confronts Kagami about Tatsuya. He knows that Kagami shouldn’t leave things with he and his brother separated. So, he gives Kagami the ring that symbolizes their fraternal bond and tells him to go deal with it. Kagami races after Tatsuya but ends up finding his brother and his mentor, Alex, being assaulted by another player. The guys’ name is Shogo Haizaki and it turns out that he’s a former member of the Teiko basketball team. He’s also a thug who says he doesn’t actually care about basketball.
Haizaki was a starter on the Teiko team before Kise arrived but was ultimately replaced by Kise despite beating him one-on-one. Once that happened, Akashi told Haizaki to quit the team for his own good. Akashi knew that Kise would surpass Haizaki and that he wouldn’t be able to handle it. Once he quit, Haizaki began to hear his old team referred to as the Generation of Miracles. Despite claiming not to care about basketball, he did decide that it was a title that he wanted to take. That’s what Haizaki does, he takes things both on and off the court. Kagami wants to step into the fight, but Tatsuya warns him that he could be disqualified if he’s caught fighting, something Haizaki clearly doesn’t care about. Fortunately, Kise arrives on the scene and stops Haizaki. The promise of defeating Kise is enough to get him to leave Tatsuya and Alex alone.
While his actions off the court are criminal, on the court Haizaki’s abilities are problematic. Like Kise, he has the ability to copy an opponents techniques. However, unlike Kise, the way that he copies the technique changes its rhythm. That change in rhythm disrupts the original owner and causes them to not be able to use the technique. So, essentially, he steals it from them; usually while saying “This is mine”, or something like it. On top of that, Haizaki’s a terrible teammate. He hogs the ball, disrespects the older players, and will even hit his teammates. Still, they put up with him because of his overwhelming talent. When the rest of the Kaijo team sees his behavior they get fired up as well. Even though the rest of his team is good, the game turns into a one man assault against Kaijo.
While the rest of his team is hanging in, they are relying on Kise to pull the through. However, Kise is faced with an opponent that he has never beaten and who has an ability to cancel his own ability out. Kise has a finite amount of copied moves and he starts to run out as the game wears on. However, his real problem is that his foot is injured. Kise never fully recovered from the game against Touou and Aomine and had been pushing himself so hard in practice that he sustained the injury. During the game, he drops to his knees before a gloating Haizaki before Kuroko calls out to him from the crowd. After that, Kise rises with a renewed sense of confidence and unleashes a new ability: the Perfect Copy.
Previously, it had been stated that Kise couldn’t copy the abilities of the Generation of Miracles because of the strain those skills put on the. After his training he’s finally become able to copy their abilities, but only for a short time. He reveals the ability with under 5 minutes left in the game and that’s more than enough time. Haizaki gets flustered and starts stealing his own teammates’ abilities as he remembers what Akashi told him about Kise surpassing him someday. He doesn’t go down without a fight and takes one last stab at Kise by stomping on his injured foot. The cheap shot isn’t enough to stop Kise and Haizaki and Fukuza are defeated by a final score of 75-72.
After the game, Kise shows a salute to Kagami and Kuroko; a sign that he’s fulfilled their promise to meet in the semi-finals for a rematch. Aomine, who’s been watching the game, leaves the arena after it’s over. He sneaks up on Haizaki, who he assumed would be planning on attacking Kise after the game. Turns out he was right and he tells Haizaki that he won’t stand for him doing things like that off the court. Haizaki invites Aomine to stop him and charges him. Aomine drops Haizaki with one punch, leaving him on the ground to contemplate how he really feels about basketball.
I wouldn’t have thought that you could have a straight up villain in a sports anime. Especially one like Kuroko where everyone just wants to play ball (or at least learns that that’s what they wanna do). It’s like Haizaki is just bad for the sake of being bad and his ability exemplifies that trait. As ridiculous as being able to copy someone’s abilities is, the ability to steal them is even worse. To be able to destroy something that a player has worked a long time to cultivate is borderline cruel. Hopefully the effects of that ability don’t linger after the game, or Kaijo’s player’s won’t have much left that they can use to play the game. Still, it’s nice to see one of the Generation of Miracles’ players have someone to go up against that’s not Seirin. This way the fans of the show can actually root for these other players. The first season ended with the Kaijo vs Touou match, which was another great example of that. Since Kise lost that battle it was good to have one where he could come out as the victor. Even if it was set-up by basically creating a player that the other Teiko players had conveniently forgotten about until he showed up on screen.
I’ll gladly take the flimsy pretenses for the rivalry because it allowed for a great moment. KuroBasu has always been great at delivering goosebump inducing moments. Kise revealing his Perfect Copy by using Midorima’s shot is gonna go right up there on the list of those moments. Those are the moments that you watch sports/shojo anime for, the ones that make the fan girls swoon and the fan boys shout. I especially enjoyed the reactions from the other GoM players who were watching. Clearly, they didn’t know that Kise would be able to pull of a stunt like that either. Aomine’s face, which usually only switches between stoic and bemused, was particularly priceless. Now, Seirin’s going to have to find a way to deal with that ability. Fortunately for them, it’s got a time limit on it just like “The Zone” and every other overpowered ability ever. It makes you wonder if any of them have any other tricks hiding up their sleeves.