Anonymous asked you:
hey, i’ve read some of your essays, and you seem really thoughtful so i wanted to ask, what’s the appeal of aokise? why not just like aokaga? after all, both of them have that rivalry aspect, except kagami is actually a match for aomine. (not interested in either of those pairings myself, but i can see where aomine/kagami shippers are coming from, whereas aokise…just seems really one-sided.)
Ohh, man. Okay. AoKise is complicated for me, but ultimately I still like the ship goddamnit even though I hate how it’s portrayed most of the time I see it. With that in mind, my view of AoKise might be different from the typical fan’s. But here are my thoughts about it in comparison to AoKaga:
First, I’d quibble over the point about Kagami being a match for Aomine while Kise isn’t, especially at the current point in the manga. In the Seirin-Kaijou semi-finals match, Kise totally outclasses Kagami in terms of individual ability. The whole climax of that game revolves around finding a way to stop him as a team because frankly, Kagami alone is no match. This is also true for Seirin-Touou — Aomine is evidenced to be the pinnacle of a basketball player’s individual skill. Kagami is toast in a one-on-one against Aomine, so teamwork is key in defeating him. Which isn’t to say Kagami won’t improve to be able to match Aomine one-on-one, and he’s already very, very close, but the other important area in which Kagami is truly Aomine’s match is their shared love for basketball. They’re idiots over it. They have the talent as well as the all-encompassing passion — so it’s the sheer passion for the game itself where you could say Kise loses out (until the semi-finals, that is), and why it has to be Kagami and Kuroko who are able to reignite that love in Aomine. Additionally, Kise doesn’t have as much experience — here is an exceptionally awesome analysis of Kise’s ability, particularly in regards to how Perfect Copy actually works.
Now, regarding the appeal of AoKise in general…
Aside from the shallow reason that Kise and Aomine are amazingly hot together (this is still a valid reason, at least for me, lol), they do have significant history that reaches into the current timeline. I’m pretty sure the AoKise ship set sail with the Touou-Kaijou match, and while that match is more important to Kise’s development than Aomine’s, we do see evidence of Aomine’s respect for Kise as an opponent. He arrives on time for Kise, which is a courtesy he doesn’t even show Kuroko and Kagami at the Inter-high (though he does regret it once he finally does appear). He trusts Kise to give him a good game — he doesn’t believe Kise will actually beat him, but because of that he can at least be sure Kise will give chase. They have a complacent relationship up until that point: Kise forever chasing without intending to overtake, and Aomine forever being chased without fear/hope of being overtaken.
So when Kise decides to upset the status quo by setting victory as his goal, Aomine is pretty thrown. He’s so sure of his victory that he looks down on those who think they can beat him, and yet at the same time, he does want to be defeated. Since Kise shows signs of actually threatening to overcome Aomine, it’s all the more bitter when he doesn’t manage it in the end — and not just for Kise, whose tears and disappointment are obvious, but also for Aomine, who is so tragically alone he can’t even extend a hand to a friend and worthy opponent at the end. His words about the loser not being consoled by the winner speak more to his own isolation, his own inability to be consoled, just look at how lonely his back is in that single panel, because after being defeated at the Winter Cup Kagami’s all "this isn’t over" and Kuroko’s like "give me my damn fist bump," which Aomine gladly accepts because he’s now able to connect with people again.
My point somewhere in all this is that it’s not that one-sided with Kise chasing and Aomine being like “whatever,” because Aomine does in fact value Kise as an opponent. Aomine says he can’t afford to go easy on Kise, and he doesn’t want anyone or anything interfering with their match. Kise is definitely up there among the few people Aomine truly respects through his haze of bitter apathy, and he’s one of the people Aomine is willing to actively fight for (in the literal sense re: punching Haizaki in the face) because Aomine acknowledges Kise’s dedication and effort. Kise’s dedication and effort, by the way, are hard to bring out. Aomine, Kuroko, and Kagami bring it out of him, and thanks to Kaijou he’s learning to embrace that and appreciate it more and more.
Furthermore — and this is where I tend to go against the fandom stream — while Kise may be the one chasing Aomine as a basketball player, I’m of the firm opinion that back at Teikou Kise would also be the one keeping Aomine at arm’s length on an emotional level. Kise does not like dependency. He is very emotionally independent. People seem to mistake his physical clinging for emotional clinging, but Kise is actually rather aloof. Aomine is the fiercely loyal one, the guy who’s willing to throw away his elite position in the club for someone else, essentially putting all his trust in Kuroko at that time. Kise struggles with this concept of trusting others. “Sacrificing yourself for the team? I can’t agree with that!” Against Aomine Kise tries to put his trust in his team — and fails. And this moment haunts him, briefly, during the semi-finals. He manages to overcome it then, but just barely.
Kise’s loud personality is largely for show. He doesn’t get attached easily — see how he floats from sport to sport until he meets Aomine — and even then, when Aomine is the person he admires and aspires to beat, in middle school Kise never honestly tries to succeed. Aomine is at a level he may never reach, and that’s the whole point for him, that’s the thrill, and Kise doesn’t want to lose that by actually winning.
Aomine doesn’t go easy on Kise at all — he can’t afford to, when he has so few opponents willing to keep chasing him. So long as he dangles himself as the carrot, Kise will keep giving him a good match, and that’s as much as he can hope for.
Teikou-era AoKise I see as being balanced in Kise’s favor, especially near the end when things turn bad for Aomine. If Kise lost interest, Aomine would be the one hurt most. It’s Kise’s choice to pursue him. Aomine, on the other hand, is unable to turn down Kise’s challenge, so long as that challenge is being offered he will always accept because he has no other options.
I just really, really don’t see their relationship as being one where Aomine holds all the power, and Kise is left chasing hopelessly after him or is subject to Aomine’s whim. Kise only ever puts up with as much shit as he’s willing to put up with, for one thing. He may flail and cry crocodile tears and make a great big production, but when push comes to shove Kise will shove right back if it’s something that matters ("Don’t impose your values on me!") or walk away if it’s inconsequential to him ("That girl was annoying anyway"). Even after his crushing defeat to Aomine, yes, that mattered and Kise cried over it, but he is not immobilized by it. He just works even harder. Kise is independent and emotionally strong as fuck, is what I’m saying.
TL-FUCKING-DR: AoKise has some interesting and potentially angsty backstory to me based on their established characters and the glimpses we get of their relationship. I am all about angsty history, it’s why I’m an AoKuro girl first and foremost, but I also super love reconciliation. And I think AoKise could work out just fine now that they’re getting over their personal issues and growing individually. I tend to read them as opposite to how most of fandom does because my view of Kise is very, uh, particular, and I am unyielding on this point. He ain’t a pushover, sorry. He may let himself get pushed around because he doesn’t care, but when he’s serious he’s an aggressive badass and the more fool you for underestimating him.
As for AoKise vs. AoKaga, I think it just comes down to personal preference — whether you like Kise or Kagami more, because Aomine has a well-matched rival in both. Kise has the fun, angsty history going for him, and Kagami is the “destined rival” who shares the most similarities with Aomine. Personally, because of those similarities, I tend to think of AoKaga is a broship — except they can sometimes be scorchingly hot together and that’s enough reason for me to go, “You two. Clothes off. In bed. Now.”
But AoKise is still in my Top 5 Kurobasu Ships. I just… sometimes have to ignore the way fandom makes Kise out to be this oversensitive bleeding heart who’d be a sobbing wreck if Aomine ditched him, and I insist that Aomine is really vulnerable even/especially when he’s a raging asshole.
So, um. There’s my massive AoKise essay. /dusts off hands