Does Rukawa Go To America

Kaede Rukawa (流川 Rukawa Kaede) is the small forward and the ace player of the Shohoku High. Rukawa is a tall young man with short black hair and blue eyes. He usually is seen wearing the Shohoku basketball team uniform with a black band in his left arm and Air Jordan 5 - "Retro White" colorway as his basketball shoes during games and practices. In his casual clothes he is usually seen wearing baggy type clothing. Since many girls find him very attractive, Rukawa is considered one of the most good-looking characters in the series. Rukawa is reserved, quiet, cool, selfish, insensitive and very cold. He cares about nothing besides basketball. When not on court, he is usually seen asleep on the roof of Shohoku or in class. He even rides his bike asleep. Waking Rukawa from a nap is considered unforgivable, since he will almost always automatically beat up the culprit. He has also been in his fair share on off-court fights, but can hold his own, but easily gets winded if he gets punched in the ribs. He is a counter-puncher and likes to utilize wrist locks before actually engaging in fist fights. When it comes to basketball, Rukawa does not accept loss easily. This is shown during the practice match between freshmen against 2nd and 3rd years, especially against Takenori Akagi. His goal is to be the best High School player in Japan, and he considers Akira Sendoh of Ryonan to be his greatest rival.

He is also a very lazy person considers sleeping his only hobby outside basketball. He also chose Shohoku and refused Moichi Taoka's basketball scholarship in Ryonan simply because Shohoku is the closest to his home, annoying the coach with his lazy nature. Despite this, he gets offended when the thugs tried to soil the basketball court. He defended them from smashing Ryota, and he only attacks by hurling basketballs at them like dodgeballs. He even tried to force them to clean the basketball that was ruined by cigarette ashes and spit. After Coach Anzai motivated him into becoming the number one player in Japan, Rukawa became very ambitious and more devoted to basketball. This was shown when he challenged Hisashi Mitsui, and later Sendoh on 1 on 1 game, vowing to never lose to anyone. His new found ambition caused his personality to become more colder, intimidating. This was seen during practice, when he challenged his own teammates with an intimidating and menacing look. He also appears to be unfriendly and unsociable. Apart from the basketball team, Rukawa doesn't have any real friends to talk to or might even have no interest in friendship, as basketball is his only objective in life. Many people viewed Rukawa as someone who prefers to act on his own rather with his teammates. Despite his dark personality, Rukawa can show a bit of respect and compassion for others. During the match against Shoyo, when Sakuragi's dunk was invalid and got fouled out due to the offensive foul, Rukawa told Sakuragi that it must be very pitiful for him.

39;s late-student, Ryuji Yazawa.

The second time, is during the match against Sannoh, when Sakuragi crashed into the table going after the loose ball saving it from out of bounds and Rukawa praised Sakuragi for saving the ball and told him that he looks very awful after the latter seemed unconscious, showing no sign of movements after his crash. He is usually stoic and emotionless, and the only time in the series he is shown smiling is when he realizes that Eiji Sawakita is a better player than him. Rukawa went to Tomigaoka Junior High. After defeating Ryonan, Rukawa approaches Coach Anzai seeking permission to go to America, since he aspires to join the NBA. Coach Anzai flatly refuses to give him permission, and tells him that his goal should be to become the best high school player in Japan first, and Coach Anzai's wife explains to Rukawa everything to ensure he would never end up sharing a same fate as her husband's late-student, Ryuji Yazawa. Rukawa was popular among the girls, like Haruko, who has secretly fallen in love for him him. He was also popular in middle school. Rukawa is seen walking in the school hallway by Sakuragi's Gang. They compared his height to Sakuragi saying his height is the same as Sakuragi's.

39;s Gang was taken aback and asked him what he was doing.

The girls blushed when he passed by, causing Chuichirou to dislike his face somehow. Sakuragi mistook him as Haruko's boyfriend because of his gang which also caused him to dislike Rukawa. Rukawa was peacefully sleeping on the rooftop with his back facing the door when Hotta and his Gang came in. One of Hotta's Gang members kicked him, causing him to wake Rukawa up. When he stood up, a member of Hotta's Gang was impressed by his height. Rukawa didn't mind what he said. He asked him if he was the one who kicked him and kicked his stomach without waiting for his response. The other member of Hotta's Gang was taken aback and asked him what he was doing. Rukawa ignoring what he said, introduced himself to them as "Year 1 (freshmen) Class 10, Rukawa Kaede" and told them that he didn't care how many are they. But he won't forgive them if they disturb him in his sleep. Hotta's gang retaliated. One called him a brat, while the other claimed that it was they who would never forgive him. Hotta chuckled and informed his crew that they'd have to show Rukawa how terrifying Shohoku High School can be.

Meanwhile, Sakuragi and his gang went to the rooftop, only to find Hotta and his gang beaten to a pulp on the floor, with only Rukawa standing up, his back facing them. The scene in front of them astounded them. When Sakuragi's Gang looked about for Ota, they discovered him face down on the crotch of one of his Gang members. Blood was streaming from his head as he turned around and at Sakuragi. Mito asked if he had taken Hotta and his gang by himself, and Yuji asked who he was as Sakuragi approached him. When Rukawa said his name, Sakuragi's eyes widened. Sakuragi stutteringly uttered his name. Mito, who couldn't believe what he was hearing, repeated his name. When Sakuragi realized he was the guy Haruko was secretly in love with, he became furious. Rukawa gave a brief glance at Sakuragi's fisted hands before averting his gaze. As Rukawa glances at him, Sakuragi checks him out. He asked about Sakuragi's identity and whether he was associated with Hotta and his group. Sakuragi is upset by what he said and tells Rukawa that he'll say his name as Mito tries to calm him down. Mito looks at Rukawa, still amazed that he defeated Hotta and his crew on his own. Rukawa cast a sidelong glance at a furious Sakuragi. Mito is concerned about Sakuragi, who he knows is jealous of Rukawa and is becoming increasing erratic.

Rukawa is a scoring machine and once he heats up, it is very hard to stop him.

He is frightened that if he begins to attack him, who knows what would happen. Okhusu, Takamiya, and Noma, on the other hand, are invested in the two. At first, many noticed Rukawa's potential to be a future basketball star. Ryonan's head Coach Taoka was surprised that Rukawa was just a freshman. He noted that at such a young age, Rukawa has what it takes to be a high school basketball team ace. According to Sendoh and Coach Anzai, his speed and athleticism, combined with his drive to win and explosive strength, he is unstoppable on the court. He literally lives and breathes basketball to the point he is able to shoot free throws with his eyes closed against Toyotama High due to injuring his eye meaning he could not see depth nor estimate distances. Rukawa is a scoring machine and once he heats up, it is very hard to stop him. He always surprises the crowd and never fails to answer back when faced with a strong opponent. He is a microwave when it comes to offense being capable to heat up and go for a bunch of points very quickly. An example of this was in the Kainan game where due to Akagi's injury he scored 25 points in 6 minutes. He is also able to copy opponents' moves, from fadeaways to pass interceptions.

His defensive skills are also not to be reckoned with.

However, his playing style is criticized as being selfish. He met his match in Sawakita and cannot do a thing against him. Realizing the meaning behind what Sendoh said about Rukawa's selfish playing style, he decided to start passing, which collapsed Sawakita's concentration and allowed Rukawa to gain the upper hand. His pass was also the main factor to Sakuragi's game-winning shot. He was not an unwilling passer at the start, but he only passes when he is sure that the receiver is unmarked and can score easily. His defensive skills are also not to be reckoned with. He can steal the ball and even block taller players, such as Toru Hanagata of Shoyo and Kazuma Takasago of Kainan. However, his tendency to stick with the top scorer actually hurt the team because Sennoh can ice the player to the corner and stop them from driving to the paint. Rukawa's on-ball defensive technique is weaker.

Since the beginning, they are really water and oil as Sakuragi considers him as an obstacle to win Haruko's heart and he was everything Sakuragi wanted to be, which makes them the polar opposites of one another. Their only similarities are being strong fighters and not academically inclined. Whenever Sakuragi makes a mistake or is being scolded by Akagi, Rukawa always comments on him "Moron" comically, which always enrages Sakuragi. But deep inside, Rukawa always knew that Sakuragi can put his abilities to a better use, instead of wasting time competing against him. In the game against Sannoh, Rukawa made the last pass, which enabled Sakuragi to have the winning shot. The two of them celebrate their victory with a high five, before resuming their rivalry once again. Sendoh is the ace player of Ryonan, he is the most known rival of Rukawa and always wants to challenge him to find out who is the best ace player. They always had a 1 on 1 match up during their game practice and in the real match.

However, Coach Anzai believes he is still weaker than Sendoh. To be the strongest ace player, Rukawa challenges Sendoh 1 on 1 but their game ends in a tie. Sendoh gave Rukawa a teaching that being an ace player is not just challenging someone else through 1 on 1. An Ace has many weapons and attack is only one way. Sawakita is the no. 1 player in Japan. He plays basketball since he was a child. During the match between Sannoh and Shohoku, Rukawa kept challenging Sawakita in a 1 on 1 match up but the difference in abilities is just too big. Despite this fact, Rukawa is still persistent but finally came to realize the meaning behind Sendoh's words after their 1 on 1 match. Rukawa decided to pass and eventually gained the upperhand as he found out Sawakita's sole weakness. Sakuragi also had his share against Sawakita. The name Kaede means "maple" (楓). In the original English Dub of the anime, Rukawa's given name becomes 'Kaeda' instead of 'Kaede' in which most of the casts in the English Dub calls this name. Rukawa chose Shohoku High School because it is close to his home. Rukawa cheered for Hanamichi Sakuragi during the latter's dunk against Shinichi Maki of Kainan. Rukawa doesn't seem to notice that Haruko Akagi has a crush on him. Whenever Sakuragi and/or Nobunaga Kiyota makes an error or are in a funny situation, Rukawa joins in and calls them idiot, moron, or stupid. Sakuragi frequently calls Rukawa "Fox" due to his look, and in Sakuragi's opinion, he is very sly and cunning, not only stealing Haruko's attention, but also quite selfish in his playstyle.

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