"Basketball Shoes and Boys" is the first chapter in Ahiru no Sora.
Sora Kurumatani a small boy with a strong heart, passion, and desire to play basketball. He enters Kuzuryu High with an unfortunate circumstance.
As Sora makes his way to high school, he bumps into some random street thugs under the Kawasaki bridge. Due to Sora's smaller-than-average height, the delinquents assume that he is from elementary school and demands Sora to hand over his money and valuable possessions. Sora, not being fazed by their height and numbers, challenges them to a brawl. The random street thugs easily overpower Sora and take his 1,200 yen; while receiving a beating, Sora doesn't give up on his prized possession, his basketball shoes.
Chiaki, a sophomore from Kuzuryu High, watches all the drama unfold and makes his way to meet Sora. As he approaches Sora, Chiaki's stomach starts to growl. Because of this, he asks Sora if he has any nourishment to offer. Sora, seeing Chiaki's tall and muscular physique, hands over his remaining curry buns. While eating the curry buns, Chiaki shows Sora a picture of Tomo. Tomo was a high school sophomore girl who agreed to go on a date with Chiaki. Unfortunately, she never showed up. Chiaki then tells Sora that he could wait 24 hours every day, but Tomo will never show. Hearing Chiaki's heartfelt sorrow, Sora excuses himself and tries to make his way to Kuzuryu High. Chiaki stops him and nicknames Sora, "Mister no-height." Because of this, Sora angrily tells Hanazono not to give him random nicknames.
Chiaki then diverts his attention at Sora's bag. He asks Sora why Sora did not hand over his bag when he received the furious beating from those thugs. Sora answers, saying that inside his bag pack are his wings. Sora considered his wings his basketball shoes. Chiaki, unable to understand, pushes Sora towards the river bank. Sora, not knowing how to swim, struggles. Fortunately, Sora manages to make his way back to the staircase where Chiaki is seated. Sora tells him he has been in these kinds of brawls before, and no matter how many people he is facing, he never runs away. Chiaki smiles at him and expresses his desire to teach Sora how to fight. But, before Chiaki could do that, a remote-control airplane collides point-blank with his forehead and stuns Chiaki out. Sora, witnessing that peculiar encounter, makes his way to Kuzuryu High.
Following this, Sora attends the entrance ceremony. But, before going towards his classroom, he makes his way to the basketball court. Sora puts on his basketball shoes and excitingly starts to practice. While Sora was dribbling, Kuzuryu High's ferocious delinquents, led by the infamous Momoharu, make their way on the court. Similar to others, Momoharu assumes Sora for being an elementary school kid. Momoharu and his other companions' take Sora to the basketball men's locker room. Momoharu then notices Sora wearing his school uniform. Subsequently, Momoharu questions Sora why he was practicing and tells him the basketball court is his turf. No one can enter the basketball court without seeking his permission.
Shortly after, Momoharu and his companions angrily exit the locker room. Moreover, for punishment, Momoharu leaves Sora locked up. To pass the time, Sora starts to clean the untidy locker room. While doing that, he notices a small hole in the wall of the locker room. He peeks inside it and sees a peeking hole that leads to the next-door basketball girl's locker room. Sora furiously screams and makes his way back to the opening and falls in affection to Madoka Yabuchi, a sophomore who plays for the Kuzuryu High girls' team.
Meanwhile, Chiaki makes his presence felt in the locker room, and Sora questions how he managed to get inside. Chiaki informs Sora that he was inside the locker room before him and was sleeping inside one of the cabinets. Chiaki then warns Sora of Momoharu and tells him that he should stay away from the basketball court.
The boys' basketball team is home to Kuzuryu High's fierce delinquents, and the current members of the team does not let anyone practice. Nevertheless, Sora doesn't get fazed by it and expresses his desire to go out on the court and play basketball. Witnessing Sora's passion for basketball, Chiaki tells Sora he admires people who refuse to give up even if the odds are stacked against them. Chiaki makes his way to the front door of the locker and smashes it. Both of them make their way to the basketball court and sees Madoka and her teammates practicing. As they watch them practice, Chiaki introduces Madoka to Sora and tells him she is the ace and gem of the girls' basketball team. Sora nervously heads towards the court. Madoka approaches him and informs Sora of the lurking dangers of the boys' basketball team.
However, before Chiaki and Sora could start their practice, Momoharu and his gang make their intimidating presence felt on the court. Momoharu tells Sora that he furiously hates people who break his rules. For punishment, Momoharu and his friends beat up Sora. They then forcefully take Sora's basketball shoes. While lying unconscious on the ground, Sora reminisces when his mother gave him the basketball shoes.
Madoka approaches him and asks Sora if he is okay. Sora furiously gets up and tries to fight Momoharu and his gang to hand over his prized possession. Sora, however, was unsuccessful in fighting them off. Due to this, Momoharu informs Sora that he will throw his shoes in the incarcerator. Chiaki, upon hearing that, forcefully stops Momoharu, and the both of them get into a small friendly, brotherly bout. After the conclusion of the brawl, Sora challenges the current members to a basketball match. The rule for the game is a simple, 5-on-1 match, and if Sora loses, he will stop playing high school basketball.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Sora Kurumatani
- Chiaki Hanazono
- Momoharu Hanazono
- Yasuhara Shinichi
- Masahiro Saki
- Ryuuhei Nabeshima
- Madoka Yabuchi
- Yuka Kurumatani (Flashback only)