Last Game is a failure of a finale to the series.
Just to get it out of the way: it’s fair to call it a finale because it calls itself last game, as opposed to its manga counterpart that just called itself extra game, which was much more harder to be harsh on it for that reason.
The best part of the movie was seeing how the Generation of Miracles were no longer bloodthirsty psychopaths who’d stab someone with scissors. Seeing them as normal, chill teens was pretty refreshing. Them having retconned Kagami wanting to be an NBA player is also an appreciated touch, it filled in the whole of none of them having any clear goal beyond just becoming really good high school basketball players that the series had for its entire run, and because of it, it also gave some of the other characters goals too. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the other aspects of the movie.
The villains are definitely the worst part. Seeing as fans of the series are used to asshole antagonists who just talk about how no one can stop them and how they wish a proper challenger would show up, it’s probably not that hard to be lenient towards them at first, but it slowly becomes apparent that there won’t be much to them as it goes on. Gold and Silva don’t get any moment where we see what shaped their beliefs and attitude and they don’t get any kind of character arc by the end either, they don’t have any nuance or depth to them, they only exist to get beaten down. It’s quite ironic, really, for a series whose whole point was about showing disillusioned teens the fun of basketball and teaching them to not be stuck-up pricks, the final villains end up being exactly that and don’t even get the same kind of treatment the show prided itself on being about.
For an anime tie-in movie, it somehow managed to look exactly like and sometimes worse than the tv show. Other than the parts featuring hyper-realistic animation early on during the 2nd match, which had very weird camera angles and felt less explosive compared to some of the more well-known cuts from the main series, the movie kept using its usual technique of still frames and close-ups .
It really just felt like a cashgrab rather than a fulfilling epilogue, all things considered.
I love Kuroko no Basket, a lot, it's had a large personal effect on my life, and I've been waiting for the past 2 years for this movie as my most anticipated piece of media. I knew everything that would happen as I have read the manga previously, so this movie delivering what I want was more a question of adaptation than a question of the content itself. Considering that they decide to show The Last Game in movie format, time constraints were definitely one of my concerns, especially since the manga was extremely text heavy and was being published monthly, but The Last Game delivered me the perfect last hurrah for the franchise that leaves me more content than even the TV series ending which I thought was stellar.
The art of The Last Game is slightly different than the TV series with less notable shading and a lighter color palette, character designs look a lot sleeker and a lot of the Generation of Miracles members have had subtle changes to their appearances like Murasakibara's even longer hair or Midorima's combover. The visual effects for this movie are fantastic, usage of "The Zone" and "Perfect Copy" have never looked so crisp and a lot of the plays that are used are animated brilliantly. There are some still frames present, but these are edited well enough that they do not become an issue. There are a lot of dynamic camera angles used especially when it comes to high level plays, characters' bodies move especially fluid when they are doing streetball like maneuvers.
Sound in The Last Game is stellar, the traditional blend of electric and metal in the OST from the series stays strong bringing pure tension to every scene. The sound mixing is great, as there are certain moments like when they zoom in on Midorima's remote or whenever Akashi or Nash use the Emperor/Belial Eye that fit perfectly. The insert songs by Granrodeo and Kensho Ono (especially the latter) are in sync perfectly with the action on screen, Kensho Ono's "Against The Wind" might be one of the most tonally relevant insert songs I've ever heard. However the best thing about this movie by far is the voice performances. Huge props to all of the Seiyuu's who voice the Generation of Miracles but specific props to Jason Silver's awesomely hammy performance as well as Hiroshi Kamiya for displaying Akashi's struggle with his identity and his weaknesses as a leader and overcoming that all in the span of the film. Also the Engrish is fucking hilarious, classic KnB Engrish.
The plot is pretty basic, a foreign team steamroll the D Team and basically disrespect the entire Japanese race and their athletic ability. I don't think characters could be any more racist, basic or agenda driven than Jabberwock. But that's what makes them so easily detestable, I fucking HATE all of them, especially Nash and Nash's competence on the court and ability as a captain on par with Akashi just makes his horribleness even more infuriating. But this film is not about Jabberwock, it never was. This movie is a love letter to Kagami and The Generation of Miracles. Each of them gets adequate screentime and it truly feels like that nobody got shafted in this film which is something I thought the manga didn't do correctly as I was visably mad at Kagami and Aomine's misuse in the Extra Game manga but the get plenty of shine here. Kise and Akashi get major focus in this game and honestly although everyone held their own, they are by far the MVPs of this game. The fact that there was also less focus on isolation play and every single character was assisting others showed that the Generation of Miracles has grown, because they stopped operating as a team when they were at Teiko.
Aside from the game itself, I think the buildup and the ending were also substantial and necessary. Although I think 20 minutes for the introduction to Jabberwock was not necessary and it could have been done in less time, however there was never a point where I wanted to speed up the film to get to "the good stuff". The ending is sort of open and emotionally wrenching, I gave a spoiler warning but I absolutely do not want to spoil this ending, but it was bittersweet but still absolutely perfect.
It's been a long wait to see this movie, but after watching it I can confirm that Kuroko no Basket: The Last Game is everything I hoped it would be and more.