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Mar 22, 2018 - 12:34 PM

Slam Dunk: Rukawa Kaede

Name: Rukawa Kaede
A.k.a.: Wild Fox, Super Rookie, Shohoku's Ace player
Age: 15 - 16
Birthday: January 1st
Highschool: Shohoku Highschool
Junior High: Tomigaoka Junior Highschool
Year: 1st
Class: 10
Height: 187 cm (6'1 ½)
Weight: 75 kg (165 lbs.)
Position: small forward (SF)
Jersey no.: 11
Shoe Brand: Nike Air Jordan 5
Voice actor: Midorikawa Hikaru

Family and background:
There is not much known about Rukawa's family. But as we look at his Nike outfit, Panasonic walkman and cool bike we get the idea that he's from a quite wealthy family. He attended the Tomigaoka Junior High. He was captain of the basketball team and was already a very well known player. Although Ryonan's coach asked him to join the Ryonan Basketball Team, Rukawa chose for Shohoku. (Because it's near his home...) He doesn't have any close friends.

Rukawa is extremely popular at school; he has his own cheerleaders club, that started off with three girls but grew out to a LOT. Besides, he also has a great fan called Mizumawa Ichiro who is still attending his Junior Highschool and has become the basketball team's captain after Rukawa left. Ichiro's biggest dream is to become national champion along with Rukawa. Unfortunately, Ichiro was diagnosed tuberculosis of the knee joint and has to undergo surgery never being able to play basketball again.

Special abilities:
Rukawa is an all-round player: he can play defense and offense as well, he is much more known for his incredible scoring ability though! He has a very nice and accurate jump shoot, good inside moves, fancy slam dunks and he eventually hits three-pointers too. His free throws are accurate, he also has a nice dribble and is a good rebounder due to his height and athletic jumping ability. He likes to play the one-on-one game, for it gives him the best challenge. On his way to the basket he'll never pass the ball to his teammates, always believing in his own skills. He's quite dedicated to this kind of playing style. In the game vs Sannoh though he lost his one-on-one attempts vs probably the best player in Highschool Sawakita, during that game he changes his style and starts giving assists. In the first IH game vs Toyotama High, he gets injured to his eye but was still able to play with only the vision in one eye (i.e.: not being able to see depth nor estimate distances). He had even closed his eyes while taking free throws relying on his body.

Coach Anzai sees in him great talent and knows he'll be a marvelous national player. He said that Rukawa's contribution to the team is his explosive powers and his ever lasting will to win.

Thanks to all these outstanding qualities, Rukawa was chosen one of the five best players of Kanagawa, along with teammate Akagi, Kainan's Maki and Jin, and Ryonan's Sendoh.

And then an ability that hasn't much to do with basketball: sleeping. Rukawa's life seems to be dedicated to two things: basketball and sleeping. He is even able to fall asleep when he's biking... Thanks to his rudeness he gets into fights a lot, and he happens to be a very good fighter as well. (Yeah, some guys get all the good stuff...)

Special features:
Rukawa is always very serious, cool and he doesn't speak a lot. So his smileless face could be a feature... The sweatband around his left arm (kinda like Michael Jordan's). He has quite long bangs and no.11 is of course his trademark jersey number.

Rukawa is a very cool person and seems not to care about anything but basketball. His passion for basketball and sleeping are the only things he has in mind. He hates when people disturb him when he's asleep, mostly he'll beat those people up, even if he's dealing with teachers... Rukawa is definitely a person of action rather than words. When his team is behind, he's always the person who steps up to rule the game. A lot of people consider Rukawa as the most selfish person ever, but he doesn't care about what others think about him. Rukawa is a confident and independent person for sure. He only respects people that are strong and capable, but those are also the people that he sees as rivals that he needs to beat. By the way, he takes winning and losing very seriously; he hates to lose...

AnimeAnalyze's opinion:

Rukie: Rukawa is definitely my all time favorite anime character! It may sound weird, but I really have respect for this guy. He is able to live his own life without caring about others' opinions on him. He is that kinda person that will stick to his own beliefs no matter how others think about it. Another reason to like him is of course because he is a more than outstanding player, being able to get stronger and stronger each game. I think he is a reliable person, and that's why his teammates have so much faith in him when it comes down on scoring. And you gotta love his ability to sleep everywhere at any time!

Vincent: Sometimes is hard to talk about Rukawa, because Rukie listens only selectively, the good things are ok, but the bad ones... Rukawa is without a doubt the best player in Shohoku's team. He can dunk, dribble, (3 point)shoot, defend at a very high level. But allround? No, he isn't an allround player, because he doesn't pass.

Rukie: He did pass in the Sannoh-game. And he will do it again if the team needs it. It's often said that Rukawa can't play a whole game out, because he gets tired easily. But i think that only happens when they're facing a very strong opponent. Well, I think he indeed is not the one with the longest breath, but you have to know how explosively he plays sometimes. In the Kainan-game, he scored 25 points in 6 minutes(!) while also playing some nice defense. He felt he had to do it because of Akagi's absence, they couldn't get too much behind on the half time. Such play is exhausting, so in the second half he had to leave the court with 1.30 min on the clock. And I think Inoue-sensei had to give our mighty Rukawa a little weak point, or he might get a bit unbeatable.

Vincent: I agree, Rukawa has been playing basketball probably all his life, I don't think a person who plays basketball 24/7 will still have a poor rate of stamina. If you have to play like he did gainst Kainan, I think nobody can finish the whole game; maybe Sakuragi will be able to do so, but of course Sakuragi isn't capable of scoring like Rukawa does. I don't think he will in the rest of his life.

Rukie: A lot of Sakuragi fans dislike Rukawa, because he always picks on him. But I think Rukawa has some respect for the red-head, because he sees that the guy has talent and because he's working really hard on his progression. And I have to say, Rukawa has never tried to get into a fight with Sakuragi, but Sakuragi has always seen Rukawa as an enemy and has never been friendly, so he gets a mean Rukawa in return. Although Sawakita is even stronger than Sendoh and Rukawa himself, I think Rukawa has more respect for Sendoh. There is an indescribable chemistry between these two geniuses. I think they would have become friends if they weren't in different teams. And also thanks to Sendoh, Rukawa was able to develop himself to an even greater player. After the district games, Rukawa wanted to leave for the Basketball Kingdom: the United States, but Anzai sensei told him to become the no.1 player of Japan first, and that's exactly what his goal became. He told himself never ever to lose to anyone again.

Vincent: Sendoh is a cool guy, and of course Sendoh is better than Rukawa :D

Rukie: Yeah, yeah right Vince... Anyway, it's also said that Rukawa has some similarities with Michael Jordan in his younger years. Back then Jordan was a scoring machine, but a bit selfish when it comes to playing offense, that is: never wanting to pass the ball. And as we look at some details we really see that there are some references to the NBA basketball legend: Rukawa's sweatband around the left arm is just like Mike's; at his training matches at school he wore the jersey with no.23 which is Mike's trademark number; Shohoku's jersey colors are just like the Chicago Bulls'.

AnimeAnalyze's memorable moments:

Rukie: This will be the hardest thing to do... How can I pick just a few moments of Rukawa? Hmm, I think the dunk in the last minute of the first half of the game Kainan vs Shohoku was just marvelous! He faked Maki mid-air and slammed it in! He jumped at least a metre from the floor and had an incredible hangtime!!

His whole appearace in Ryonan vs Shohoku!! At some point, both teams couldn't get a single score for minutes due to excellent defense. Finally Sendoh hits two for his team, everyone is cheering and the Ryonan bench is shouting at Rukawa, mentioning the difference in level between him and their Sendoh. Rukawa's reaction was very cool: he got the ball and fired a 3-pointer and hit it! He walked to the Ryonan bench and shrugs...

The next one is not a very good moment, but I still found it very memorable: in the second half of Kainan vs Shohoku, Rukawa is too exhausted to go on and when he walks back to the bench he can't stand on his feet anymore... He's angry with himself, but he had really given everything. And this moment also influenced his playing strategy of the games coming up.

In the match Shohoku vs Toyotama Minami injured Rukawa (on purpose?), he hit Rukawa's left eye with his elbow. Although the injury was serious Rukawa insisted to play in the second half, he had some trouble of course, but he was still able to shoot and dunk!!!

In the Sannoh-game Rukawa's role in the team slowly changed. He changed his playing style to bring his team victory. With 2 minutes left on the clock, Rukawa got the ball and as everyone was wondering if he would pass or go for the basket himself in this one-on-one situation with Sawakita, Rukawa said to him:"You forgot someting." and hits a 3-point shot to decrease the difference to 5 points!

In the OVA his fan Ichiro's wish is granted: he may play one more game with Rukawa. However, Rukawa refuses to play with him in the same team and suggests playing against each other. Rukawa shows no mercy and beats him in every way. Ichiro tried to block one of his shots from the back but tears Rukawa's shirt. After the game, he threw his shirt to Ichiro. (A gift as remembrance) Rukawa always does it his own way!

Vincent: The mid-air fake then dunk is absolute my fav scene of Rukawa!! Rukie mentioned the rest...

AnimeAnalyze's favorite line:

Rukie: "First grade class 10. Rukawa Kaede. No matter who, I won't forgive the one who is messing with my sleep."

"How do you think the no.1 player of Japan should be...? I think it has to be the one who can lead his team to the championship victory. I'll be that one. I won't be no.2 or no.3..."

"I will go to America too. (Sawakita: What? When?) Today... After I beat you here, then I'll go."

"Let me, Rukawa, teach you something. (Sendoh *smiles*: Like what?) Basketball is not mathematics."

"He's telling me, what I can do, he also can. Nice."

"I won't lose."

Vincent: "No matter what, I will be no.1 of Japan, I'll beat anyone who tries to stop me from achieving that."