Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (2023)

By Makena Jinhee Song

Born from desperation to win, Seijūrō Akashi's alternate personality takes on a life of his own.

Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (1)

Kuroko's Basketball poses a dilemma spanning the entire anime series: Is winning everything? For Seijūrō Akashi, the former captain of Teikō Junior High's basketball team and the leader of the Generation of Miracles, winning is not just an expectation, but rather it's a fact. Excelling in academics, sports, music, and more, Akashi is the poster child of perfection. The third season reveals, however, that this perfect version of Akashi may not be the true Akashi at all.

From season one to season three of Kuroko's Basketball, Akashi is set up as the final boss character of the series. Combining a superiority and/or god-like complex with an overpowered ability like the Emperor Eye, he is Kuroko's natural enemy on the court. In Season 3: Episode 23, as he's faced with the reality of losing to Seirin High, the audience is finally able to see the true Akashi hidden behind the scenes: his original personality.

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What is Split Personality Disorder (DID)?

Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (2)

Alluded throughout the series, Akashi struggles with another Akashi living inside him. What at first seems to be a metaphor used by the members of the Generation of Miracles to describe Akashi's absolute strength and dominance on the court, turns out to be something completely different: A real-world psychological disorder known commonly as Split Personality Disorder.

A split personality refers to dissociative identity disorder (DID), a mental disorder where a person has two or more distinct personalities. The thoughts, actions, and behaviors of each personality may be completely different.

According to MedicalNewsToday, there are several key symptoms of this disorder. First, the original personality tends to be more passive than the alternative one. Second, when the alternate personality assumes control, he will have a separate set of behaviors, memories, and vocabulary. Third, the initial switch from the original to the alternate personality possesses a certain trigger that bounces the two personalities back and forth.

Akashi exhibits all of these symptoms. For the first point, Akashi's original personality, as seen in the flashbacks during season three, he's displayed to be pleasant, kind, and compassionate, toward his teammates. He is often shown during these times to be a cooperative team leader who guides with patience. For the second point, when the alternate personality Akashi takes control, he becomes abrasive, authoritarian, and ruthless towards allies and enemies alike. And for the third point, the fear of losing acts as the trigger to switch.

What Caused Akashi's DID?

Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (3)

As was revealed in Season 3: Episode 23, Why We Don't Give Up, Akashi's past is finally explored. Being born into a wealthy household and the sole heir to his father's company, his life is filled with high expectations. In a sequence of time skips, he's shown taking countless academic, music, and language lessons. However, he seems to only be truly happy when he's playing basketball in front of his mother, the one who introduced him to the sport. After his mother's death, Akashi seems to notice his personality starting to split, as he's stuck between two different identities.

The condition represents someone who struggles to integrate and assimilate certain aspects of their own identity, which become disjointed over time.

According to MedicalNewsToday, the primary cause of DID is childhood trauma. Looking back through his childhood memories, it is obvious that he not only was scarred by his mother's tragic death but also by his father's emotional neglect. In order to keep the memory of his mother alive, he pursued playing basketball. However, even that aspect of his life was limited as his father only allowed him to play so long as he won all of his games. Winning was everything.

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During his third year at Teikō Junior High, the individual abilities of the Generation of Miracles exploded in strength. Fearing that he would be left behind by his friends and fellow teammates, Akashi's alternate personality materialized in a one-on-one match between him and Murasakibara. For context, this match happened due to the Generation of Miracles' refusal to follow the Akashi who stressed teamwork but who couldn't prove his worth as an essential player to the team. With the awakening of his alternate personality, he was able to regain control, but at a steep cost.

Although Akashi claims in the anime that the one-on-one match with Murasakibara was the "birth" of his alternate personality, that isn't really the case. What Akashi experienced in this match was closer to the "trigger" that occurs in DID as he was threatened with losing both the game and his friends. The true "birth" of his alternate personality was after his mother's tragic death causing his childhood trauma, as previously explained.

How is Akashi's DID Expressed?

Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (4)

From birth to his third year at Teikō Junior High, Akashi appeared to be a relatively normal middle-school boy who liked playing sports, specifically basketball, and who liked to spend time with his friends, mainly the members of the Generation of Miracles. The physical traits of his original personality are maroon-red hair and maroon-red eyes. Both his physical and emotional state change drastically when his fear of losing triggers his alternate personality to awaken.

From the third year at Teikō Junior High to the Winter Cup at Rakuzan High, Akashi's alternate personality is in full control. What defines this personality's physical traits is his heterochromatic eyes: His right eye is a maroon-red color and his left eye is a golden-yellow color. As for Akashi's alternate personality, he can be verbally brutal and physically violent at times. For example, during the reunion between the Generation of Miracles at the start of season three, after Akashi snips off some hair from his bangs, he lunges at Kagami and ends up cutting his face with the blade. This reveals much more than just his violent behavior: It reveals his rampant insecurity and mental instability.

The final switch between the two personalities for the main series occurs near the end of Season 3: Episode 23, where his original personality has to confront his alternate personality. As the trigger for the switch is the fear of losing and/or the desire for winning, Akashi's original personality resurfaces, and he takes back control over his body. He claims that his alternate personality was born out of his weakness and that he needs to confront the truth for himself in order to not repeat the same mistakes and lose the people he cares most about: his teammates.

Can Akashi's DID Be Cured?

Kuroko's Basketball: Seijūrō Akashi's Split Personality, Explained. (5)

According to MedicalNews Today and PsychologyToday, there is no current cure for DID. While there are many treatments that are tested on a case-by-case basis, this disorder does not fundamentally "go away." Unlike in Kuroko's Basketball: Last Game where Akashi's alternate personality merges back with his original personality in order to defeat Nash, the Belial Eye user, and win the game, there is a low chance that this could occur in such a short period of time.

Realistically, after the end of the main series of Kuroko's Basketball, he would've had to go to several psychotherapy sessions in order to deconstruct his multiple personalities and assimilate them back into one. This treatment, however, is by no means an all-encompassing solution, as it is nearly impossible to know if the two personalities can ever revert to the way they were prior to the childhood trauma caused by his mother's death and by his father's neglect.

MORE: Kuroko's Basketball: Who Are the Uncrowned Kings?

Source(s): MedicalNewsToday, Psychology Today 1, & Psychology Today 2.

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