This is the first anime that I watched that was written by Mitsuru Adachi. I love baseball anime so I give this one a chance, I never thought that I'll love it so much~ :D Just finished re-watching it for the third time.
Honestly, i was blown away by the first episode, what a very strong start for an anime. It was all unexpected, Just the first episode and it already made me cry... The story was about the cat and dog relationship of Kou and Aoba. Adachi-sensei used his usual pattern of story, the childhood friend route. With a lot of twist
, surprise event and a roller coaster of emotion that you will like. We have comedy, romance, drama, Baseball action in one place.
First, let’s discuss comedy, Adachi-sensei never missed any opportunity to crack a joke, the very important thing about delivering a joke was the Timing and that was done perfectly. He will happily use anyone or anything (old or new) as a punch line, so even its just an ordinary day you will find it funny and interesting. Next is Romance, the romance in the story isn’t rushed, you can see it develop little by little, with love triangle in every corner makes it interesting so you can enjoy the love and hate relationship of the two protagonist until the end~. Drama, when Adachi-sensei put a drama in his work it become the key point of the story, just like what happened in the first episode, it will leave an impression until the end of story. Baseball action, Maybe because Adachi-sensei have his own baseball team that he can deliver such an exciting baseball game. He knows When and how to make incredible events to happen, totally surprising, that's why I love the baseball manga the he writes.
Another key point of the story is memories~ Every now and then you'll see a flashback in the story, well I didn't find it annoying, it plays a major role in the character development of the main characters. Sometimes those memories makes me teary.Ending, I'm somewhat contented with it, all the feelings was sorted out and finished the climax of the waited battle in the baseball tournament. Somewhat because i wish he continued it until koushien XD
If u already read some of Adachi-sensei's manga you will find that all of his male protagonist has the same kind of character and i think same goes for the female. This time its Kitamura Kou, only son, cant even play catch ball till 5th grade, hard working and good at lying. The Ace Pitcher of the Seishu Academy, a typical character that you will like. Tsukishima Wakaba, same age, birthday and birthplace as Kou and love him more than anyone else. She plays a major role in the story despite of her status. Tsukishima Aoba, wakaba's little sister, who hates Kou very much and love Wakaba. If there's a word to describe her its "Tsundere". Kou's teacher about pitching. Very talented in Baseball despite of being a girl. Akaishi Osamu, position catcher, 5th batter and later the Captain of the Seishu baseball team. Like Kou he loves Wakaba too. Azuma Yuuhei, 1st base and the 4th batter and a talented one. He first appeared as an antagonist. He's emotionless when talking and only shows different emotion when playing baseball. Takigawa Akane, I'm really surprised of her appearance in the story, almost jaw dropping. The girl that moved next door and the daughter of the Soba Restaurant owner and a great painter. Her appearance takes the story to a new height.
Here's another trademark of Adachi-sensei. Imagine a classic drawing and add modern day coloring and you will get a remastered feeling. His character design is all the same, specially the ears and the hair color were black, blond and brown. Same goes for the character faces, i had read in one of his manga that even Adachi-sensei criticize his own work for having the same face design for some character. Overall, the classic animation style that used in this anime was some-what refreshing if you want to escape the modern day animation style.
The Opening song "Summer Rain" really suits the anime, it gives the listener a tropical kind of beat, maybe because of the guitar. Good thing that they didn't replace it until the end of the series. The Ending song Koi Kogarete Mita Yume fit perfectly to the 1st quarter of the season~ that slow and sad song can easily make u cry if added in the scene specially in the 1st episode~ The 2nd one is Orange Days, a Rap song, IMO it doesn't fit the anime, its not like the song is bad or anything, just that using a song like that in an anime with a classic style of animation isnt good. The 3rd Moeru You na Koi Janai Kedo got a nice beat and slow rhythm . And the last ED song is Rehersal, one of my favorite song. The piano is great and the lyrics too.
I really enjoy Cross Game. I laugh on the jabs, cries in the sad and touchy scenes and get caught in the suspense and excitement of baseball action. that you will ask for more. Well if you Want more baseball action, read H2 and Touch.
Cross Game is my first Adachi anime, and I was thoroughly impressed by its storytelling. The whole series is slow paced and filled with tension. Despite being somewhat predictable, Cross Game is well executed. There is only 1 filler episode out of 50, and even that episode tied pretty well into the main story. My only criticism is Adachi could have fleshed it out a little more, adding some more episodes. Yes this show already has 50 episodes, but it feels shorter than that.
I really liked the art from this show. It feels like an old school anime, and the nostalgic atmosphere it
creates serves it well. There were a few points in the show where the animation quality dipped. However, the no non-sense/frills animation was pretty consistent throughout its entirety.
Cross Game’s cast is one of the most memorable in all of anime (that I have watched at least). Each character is developed so well that there isn’t really a character that you won’t like. In fact, you will really sympathize with the main cast’s struggles, hardships, and triumphs.
I loved the OP and the first ED. The next few ED’s are great, but not as powerfully moving as the first one. The first ED “Koi Kogarete Mita Yume” is a beautiful song in its own right, but coupled with this anime, it really could not be more perfect. The OP “Summer Rain” is another song that really speaks volumes about the show and instantly feels like a classic. Finally the soundtrack is wonderfully arranged and really adds to the tension/excitement of the show.
I’m not really a big fan of baseball and when I started this show I was a little hesitant, but I had heard great things about it. From the start, the show hooked me in and never dropped the ball. Easily one of the best slice of life shows I’ve seen (one of the best anime’s I’ve seen for that matter), so I highly recommend this show to others. If you can get past its animation (for some, that’s the weakest part of the show), you will be rewarded with a classic.
One of the most common misconceptions viewers have regarding any form of media is something I call the “been there, done that” phenomenon. That is, if something similar has been done before, chances are the viewer will form a set of judgmental comparisons and criteria to be matched. This leads to the unrealistic expectation that equates to the viewer expecting some sort of literary revolution, only looking forward without truly embracing what the present has to offer. Adachi Mitsuru’s Cross Game accepts its genre boundaries, and relies on the deftness of its storytelling and the depth of its characterization to keep you
Kitamura Ko is the only son of Kitamura Sports Shop, whose apathetic nature belies his immense potential as a baseball player. Living down the street from Tsukishima Batting Center, home to its four sisters, Ko’s family has formed a long-lasting relationship with the Tsukishima’s. This bond is strengthened by the fated pair, Ko and the Tsukishima’s second oldest, Wakaba, both being born on the same day in the same hospital.
Almost immediately, Adachi throws a tragic curveball to the viewer, to which he first displays his skillful handling of his story. With such heavy dramatic potential in just the first episode alone, Adachi carefully utilizes this opportunity to not throw away his setup in favor of melodrama, but instead capitalize on creating a human connection between the characters and the viewers. This connection cements the foundation for a strong cast of personalities, led by Ko and the Tsukishima’s third sister, Aoba.
The two protagonists are startlingly similar, and Adachi builds the pair up like two halves of a perfect whole. Despite Aoba’s generally spiteful attitude towards Ko and his reluctant acceptance of her continual ridicule, the exchanges between the two do not detract from their development, but instead define its progression. Additionally, a further romantic element is introduced, which adds a dramatic tone that quickens the story’s pacing towards their lives in Seishu High School and their dreams of aiming for Koshien, while introducing human complexities and relationships that are surprisingly, never overdramatized.
However, to assume the depth of characterization stops with the protagonists would be a major mistake. Perhaps the most interesting character besides the leading pair is Akaishi Osamu, a childhood friend to Ko. Eventually named team captain to Seishu’s baseball team, Akaishi’s personality and decisions throughout the series draw a heavy emotional connection not expected of side characters, especially in sports anime that typically focus only on the protagonists. A whole slew of other characters are also given some time to shine, from Seishu’s cleanup hitter, Azuma Yuhei, to the team’s former manager, Shidou Risa. Each character opts to stay true to who they are, while developing as a result of the progression of the story. Adachi embraces the notion that people never completely change who they are, but they do make adjustments to make better of their lives.
Outside of the drama and relationships is a generally lighthearted dialogue that surrounds a rather typical formula to get to Koshien, Japan’s High School baseball championship. The progression of Seishu’s baseball team and Aoba’s struggle to continue baseball despite not being able to participate in official games become key plot points that seamlessly intertwine with consistent character interaction defined by Adachi’s keen sense of humor.
Speaking of humor, jokes are masterfully timed and clever, despite seeming cliché from time to time. The juxtaposition of the serious and the blithe is a tone not seen pulled off correctly too often in anime, but Cross Game is able to nail it almost every time, making sure each joke is cracked just the right number of times and at the right time too. However, the frivolity of their banter is not wasted either. Even the lightest of jokes serves a purpose to further an emotional connection between the character and the audience, and as the series progresses, the viewer will find him or herself laughing or crying along with the characters.
Regarding the actual baseball in the series, there is definitely plenty of it, and the games are done very well. One does not have to be a fan of baseball to simply enjoy the timely suspense of a close game, and unlike most other sports anime, the series doesn’t sell out on creating unrealistic situations or miracle comebacks to keep the viewer at the edge of her seat.
The pacing of Cross Game is slow for a sports anime, but well-executed. The three major twists in the series are timed perfectly, which adds a sense of believability, for coincidences in life do occur, but not constantly. While relationships between characters may seem to grow complex, the foundation of the series remains rather simple and true to itself. For this series to be labeled as a “drama” is definitely justified, but a bit of an overstatement. It carries many slice of life elements and ultimately is a feel-good experience, but the sheer variety of what it has to offer extends beyond a simple genre label.
However, that’s not to say that the series is flaw-free either. With a decent amount of characters spanning 50 episodes, one can’t help but to ask for just a bit more from a few more characters. There were many lovable personalities throughout the series, and while some continued to develop, others like Nakanishi or Senda could have had some more time dedicated to them, seeing how they were both constants throughout the series.
The animation is relatively consistent throughout the show. Released in 2009 by SynergySP, Cross Game definitely isn’t one of the top shows in the animation department; however, the series definitely wins some points with its charm in character design. Even though the art style might not seem too refined, it is easy to grow onto, and within a dozen episodes, one will hardly notice any huge complaints in that department.
One step above the animation is the quality of Cross Game’s soundtrack and voice acting. While there isn’t anything in particular that stands out about the voice acting, Irino Miyu’s Kitamura Kou and Tomatsu Haruka’s Tsukishima Aoba were a fine lead pair. The true standout of Cross Game’s sound set was its OST, which includes several tracks that were awe-inspiring when played alongside certain scenes. However, the OST probably was not used to its full potential mostly because the most captivating tracks were saved for the grandest moments, and most of the series consisted of lighthearted moments with lighthearted tunes to match it. The only opening of the series, Summer Rain, was an excellent choice to carry the series through 50 whole episodes. The first ending, Koi Kogarete Mita Yume, was my personal favorite and a highly emotional ballad. The other endings were all solid with their own respects.
They say to never judge a book by its cover, and Cross Game is an excellent example that supports this time-worn metaphor. Underneath a genre filled with complexities and controversy, Cross Game flourishes with a simple tale to tell, and it’s given a lengthy amount of time to do so. Unhurried, yet engaging – simple, but beautiful – Cross Game was an emotional and memorable experience that has undoubtedly been the best Sports-related anime I’ve watched thus far.
+ Charming design
+ Consistent animation
- Nothing too special
- A few gaffes in animation
+ Extensive cast that is believably human
+ Heavy emotional connection
+ Excellent Development
+ Does not fall victim to repetitive tropes
- Some characters could’ve used more attention
+ Excellent OST and op/ed sequences
+ Solid voice acting
- Some wasted potential in soundtrack usage
+ Engaging story that is simple at heart
+ Nearly perfect pacing that always keeps the viewer at the edge of her seat
+ Highly entertaining baseball games
+ Mixes well with characters
Overall: 9.3/10, Highly recommended for anyone to give a try. Potential classic of the genre.
Cross Game is a very special show. Unlike the disappointing standard in most shows today, Cross Game is a show that treats both its characters and the audience with respect. On paper, it looks to be yet another boring baseball series, but it shines as a rare gem of the genre.
The most significant difference between this show and most other sports shows is the fact that the show is willing to portray the characters outside the sport - showing who they are as people - what they care about, what they like, who they are. The show is often said to be more of a
slice of life rather than a sports show, and this is without a doubt true. There are often long periods of extended slice of life sequences wherein all we see are the characters going about living their daily lives, something unheard of in most shows which rush to showcase the exciting and hot-blooded sports action. This is a testament to the strengths of the show, trusting in its stellar character writing to carry itself.
I have mentioned that this shows treats its characters with respect - and that is easily the most charming part of the show. Gone are the ridiculous slapstick sequences or the completely ridiculous and convenient misunderstandings that occur because a character decided to act completely against his or her pre-established personality and motivations. Cross Game takes the time it needs to develop its characters, allowing us to slowly know them as we watch them go through their daily lives, through their interactions with the other characters and through a large number of well-placed flashbacks. This allows them to grow beyond the typical traditional character archetypes, with every character given the space and time needed to develop and grow.
The past plays an important role in the show. We start off the series with an extended prologue of sorts, going back to the past when our characters were children. It covers a certain event which has huge implications on the characters, as well as giving us a glimpse of the personalities of the characters, and an idea of who they are. This allows us to see how they have changed with the passage of time, and how the event has affected them. It sets the tone for the rest of the series, and is an amazing pilot which serves to capture your attention.
I also mentioned that the show treats its audience with respect. What I mean by this is that it is not a show which feels the need to explicitly state what the characters are feeling through narration, which can oftentimes be a very clunky tool. We never get into the characters heads where they outright say what they feel, but we always know what they are feeling and what they are thinking by virtue of the stellar direction. It is a very subtle show that constantly gives hints about what the characters are thinking, trusting in the audience to interpret those signs. It is a show wherein a simple look, laugh, or a word can mean much more than a whole episode of dialogue in a typical show.
You might have noticed that I have said little about what is thought of as the meat of the story - baseball. This is simply because the baseball takes a backseat to the characters. You don't watch this show for the baseball - it is honestly nothing special and there are certainly much better shows out there. The segments are competent enough and are usually exciting to watch, but it is merely well-done, and nothing too special. And that's perfectly fine for the series - it really isn't about the baseball. The baseball is simply the backdrop for the series, and never the true focus of the series. This means that you should really watch this show even if don't typically enjoy the sports genre - what Cross Game brings to the table is a highly unique experience that everyone can enjoy.
The production values of the show are sadly nothing to write home about, and the art and animation of the show is nothing special. This is perfectly fine though for a 50 episode series, and whilst not outstanding, is certainly suitable for the show. Where it excels in is its stellar soundtrack - containing many strong pieces that are well-used. Of particular note is the first ED, which perfectly sets the tone for the series and is used masterfully in the first episode.
All in all, Cross Game is a show that you really should watch. It is through and through a character work, one which prioritizes the growth of its characters over everything else. This means that it doesn't really have a point or a lesson to drive home, and is simply a simple story about a group of people. But what makes it a great is the painstaking effort and love put into them, turning it from a simple story to an emotionally powerful masterpiece.
Many people perceive the combination of genres "School" "Romance" and "Drama" as usual "stamps" in the anime of the industry, and this is understandable, since often such shows are filled with a lot of banal events. Having started watching Cross Game, a skeptical viewer, most likely, will be pleasantly surprised. It is pleasant to realize that already the genre in which, it would seem, it is impossible to find anything new, there are some exceptions that not only make it interesting to watch what is happening, but also in certain events can surprise.
Story tells about a boy named Kou Kitamura and four sisters of Tsukishima
living with him in the neighborhood. The sisters are called Ichiyou, Wakaba, Aoba and Momiji. Wakaba and Kou were born on the same day in the same hospital. They are so close that Wakaba refers to Kou, as to his boyfriend, although Kou does not think so. Aoba, who is younger than Wakaba for a year, dislikes Kou for the fact that he, in her opinion, is trying to take her sister away from her. After, Kou and Aoba are gradually converging and are striving to realize the Wakaba dream - to see their play at the school championship on baseball, held at the stadium Koshien.
Cross Game is a story about a hard-working young man and a talented girl who is very fond of baseball. Without excessive pathos, with the charm inherent in the classic anime, this series tells about the most important things. Story is relatively simple - like the plot of most films about human relationships. The series covers a rather large part of the narrative, it describes more than five years of life of the main characters. It should be noted that, with the "Slice of life" genre, every episode of the series looks with interest, the narrative does not break into events that are not necessary for the viewer. One of the main advantages of this series are the characters, let's move directly to them.
As it should be, in the works of Adachi, his certain style of art is preserved and it is on him that should be paid the main attention. Thanks to his own style of drawing, such amazing characters are obtained. Simply painted on the outside, similar in appearance to each other characters, inside are very deeply worked out, which causes a pleasant surprise.
At the beginning of the narrative, Kou is a fifth-grade pupil of primary school, and later goes to Seishuu High School. Since his childhood, he spends a lot of time with Wakaba, and their families look at them as if they were a couple. He does not show outsiders his interest in baseball and regularly trains in the center of Tsukishima, he began training since he learned to hold a baseball bat. The series tells not only his story: the plot is divided roughly equally between him and Aoba, whose interests are incredibly similar. Aoba is the third daughter in Tsukishima's family, she is one year younger than Kou and Wakaba. She a tomboy, very fond of baseball. When she was little, her father often played ball with her, and so she became a strong pitcher. Mysterious Kou and energetic, persistent, mocking Aoba. These characters give two visions of the same story. Kou externally amused and carefree, whatever events happen to him. But in fact, these events worry and upset him more than others. Noisy behavior Aoba is just a mask, she understands that thanks to this no one will hear what she really wants to say. This plays into her hands, because she prefers not to give out her true thoughts and feelings. In this series, characters can play a crucial role, almost not appearing on the screen. For example, Wakaba is not the main character, but her role is very important, in connection with what she means for the main characters. The genius of the series lies in the interactions of the characters, it is they who create such a living atmosphere.
Interaction of secondary characters, also performed at a high level. Here will not be stamped characters for waste of screen time. Every character will disclosed enough to make you remember them. This is surprising, because, as mentioned earlier, from such genres you usually expect standard stamp-characters.
It is worth paying attention to the humor. It is very important to present it at a certain moment. The main thing in humor - this is the right time for filing, with which Cross Game handles perfectly.
As for sound and music, everything is done at the highest level here. Soundtracks perfectly match the atmosphere of the show. Energetic and cheerful sounds, at some point in the series can be replaced by sad and melancholy pianos, which perfectly convey the mental state of characters.
And yet, the anime has a sport genre, which is one of the most interesting, as it always "unties the hands" of the creators. Due to his correct representation, he constantly keeps the viewer in suspense. That is, in addition to the personal relations of the characters, the viewer is also interested with the sports component, since the combination of the two genres "Slice of life" and "Sport" is just perfect.
So, how much on your memory do you remember such kind, unpredictable and touching stories? How many times have you been given the opportunity to follow the story of the character since his childhood, and so that it was interesting? Cross Game having a simple look, with a kind of banal genres, completely inverts the notion of them. This is new word in the anime industry, to repeat such an ideal combination of genres will be very difficult. Also, with confidence, I can say that even if you are not a big fan of baseball (or not at all fond of them), you will still be interested in this series.
This is the best sports romance of all time. Take time for Cross Game.
Well, I will say first of all that both this manga and anime are perfectly nice, perfectly pleasant, and probably perfectly enjoyable for a lot of people. It is all smiles (except for Aoba who is, you know, completely incapable of anything but frowning or looks of indignation), all optimism, and simple but sweet. Unfortunately, that keeps it from being very good either.
The story is your typical "gets one star, enjoys a meteoric rise to the near top, loses anyway, probably eventually wins but ONLY in the very last year" formula. Typical to this, ONLY the protagonists and "notable" opponents ever in ANY way matter.
The only real gags in the entire anime revolve the few times they do not have the protagonists/notables easily succeed...which is not a very good gag element. The only real change to the overall plot tendencies is that they throw in a tragedy, and the tragedy is not a very good one...having to see people get all sadfaced and wax nostalgic about it is pretty annoying, and the onslaught of flashbacks repeated, while not as bad as it could be, is fairly overboard.
To the actual baseball parts of the action, since pretty much the largest negative emotions it displays are an "oi oi oi" "are you kidding me" attitude, there are not really any sore losers or sore winners. I know that the cliche "big personalities! ridiculous action!" shounens are not that great either, but all this manages to produce is a baseball team with no personality, taking matters to the other extreme. The baseball games are never really interesting because of this, and there is no real reason to sympathize with the team and want it to win no matter how much time they spend on all of the characters.
The characters are pretty weak. It is nice that Ko is not a brat, but he is also pretty bland, having no real personality to speak of...this goes for a lot of characters, probably everyone but Aoba really. Their personalities are pretty much all "stare around thoughtfully/at another person, crack a smile, play baseball". I appreciate that they wanted to use silence to set some sort of tone, but they failed to craft any meaningful personalities because of it. Unfortunately, Aoba is your standard grade unenjoyable tsundere who does NOTHING but complain and lie about her "true feelings" for 50 episodes, so she is not a good break from all of this at all.
The art is a nice style, but it has some major problems. The character art becomes very chunky and bold in a lot of zoom ins for some reason, despite having previously looked fine zoomed out just seconds before. The next biggest problem are the mouths, which are some of the least expressive I have ever seen in an anime...just because you chose a simple style does not mean you have to totally cop out of drawing faces! They pretty much are just a barely open o ( or closed | all of the time. The other biggest flaw with the art is the coloring - everything is vivid, but nothing actually has any detail! Pay attention and you will notice this is true...it does not ruin the anime, but it makes it difficult to find much interesting.
The animation is very smooth most of the time, a real treat to watch actually, but it also deals in most of the major problems of modern anime. It has a ton of slow zoom ins on characters to simulate movement that is not there. It has tons of white action lines to simulate false excitement in the sports scenes (no idea why, they ACTUALLY decently animate most of the time, so why do this?) - this happens more as the anime goes on, initially it was rare. There are lots of repeat moments (as in triple takes et cetera), lots of white outs during action scenes to try to draw out and create a bigger impact, and other various tricks that really fall flat...again, it is not bad enough to destroy the in episode pacing or destroy the "feel", but it is overboard and slightly distracting.
The voice acting is completely average, and the music is terrible and interferes with a lot of moments.
A final miscellaneous flaw is that the transitions are incessant and really poorly done. Oftentimes they will flash to some random scenery and pan straight up, this happens literally about 30 times. Also literally about 30 times they will use the terribly drawn cat (worst part of this anime) to clumsily transition.
This is a decent sports anime/manga, but really I would say that not only are there better slice of lifes around, and alternately there are better hot blooded sports anime/manga around, and that I would fill my time with either of those alternatives first before looking to a work like this.
Cross Game is the latest story from Adachi to be animated. Once again, Koshien rules!
If anyone has watched or read any of Adachi's previous stories (Touch, H2) than you will know what to expect: Great characters (albeit looking the same as ever!), a great story, lots of dry humor, and the ever-present dream of going to Koshien. However, there are some subtle differences with this story and characters that I think make Cross Game Adachi's best work so far. I'll get more in depth with that a little later. On to some categories:
Art/Animation - 7/10
Some people may find the art a
little bland. However, I am going to pretty much ignore the drawing style, as it is entirely based on Adachi's drawing style, and as he has been successful it it for a long time, there really is no need to address it. However, his drawing style is mostly reflected on the character designs. Other than that, the art is stunning, especially the clouds when they show the sky (which they do often). I will talk about the animation, though, which is what most of my score is based on. Overall, the animation is fine, but it suffers somewhat because of the drawing style, which tends to produce bland looking animation. It also seemed to me that the director took a look at the huge success of Touch and thought that they could copy some of the animation styles from that time, which also drags it down a little bit. However, the animation is still crisp and lifelike, especially at crucial moments in the baseball games, which is where it probably needs the most focus, and they did a great job of that.
Sound - 9/10
They picked a good first opening song for this anime. There is only one so far (Summer Rain) through 30 episodes, and I imagine there will be another one soon. Summer Rain has a nice touch of acoustic guitar that leads into the rock song. The band has a nice male singer with pretty good range. The opening animations are also very good. The endings so far have been pretty good as well, although I don't listen to endings very much. I like the second ending better than the first, but that pretty much all I have to say on that. The background sound/music is also very good. It reflects the tension very well during games, and is very good at setting the mood at the batting center and in homes as well.
Characters - 10/10
Without a doubt, the characters are the star of the show, and are the reason the premise behind Cross Game works. Without good characters, there is no way anyone would want to keep reading and watching Adachi's works.
The hero of the story is Kou Kitamura, son of the owner of Kitamura Sports. When we first meet him as a child and later as a middle-schooler, he is aloof and self-centered, but he shows flashes of competitiveness and compassion, which increase their presence in his character throughout the show and create a very likable hero. His dream of making it to Koshien is based on Wakaba's dream of Kou pitching in the Koshien in front of a sellout crowd.
The next character to talk about is Tsukishima Wakaba. Although she really is a minor character in terms of real-life presence, her influence is seen throughout the entire show and behind many of the motivations that the characters have. Her death is a tear jerking one, and from then on, while she is not seen again in the real life of the characters, numerous flashbacks and memories that Kou, Aoba, and some others have of her remind us of her influence, sometimes to an annoying extent (although not very often). Her character is almost perfect, and made more so because of her death, which I think is kind of lame in that there are no moments of Wakaba as anything other than a good girl. She is always kind, beautiful but not conceited, and she only shows selfishness with her relationship with Kou.
The second main character and the heroine of the show is Tsukishima Aoba, the third daughter of the Tsukishima family. Aoba is loves baseball and is fiercely competitive. She was also jealous of Kou as he spent so much time with her older sister, Wakaba, and early on declares her dislike of Kou, though he doesn't seem to care. Aoba's competitiveness never changes throughout the story, even though she knows she will never be able to play an official baseball game in high school. Aoba and Kou are constantly at odds with each other, and provide great humor and banter in their encounters, which happen often as they live right next to each other.
Akaishi Osamu is Kou's catcher and bats fifth. He was tough guy at a young age, but after Wakaba died, who he liked, he became more considerate of others. He also was the one who heard Wakaba's dream of Koshien, with Kou pitching, Akaishi catching, and Aoba in center field. He, along with Kou fight to make Wakaba's dream come true.
Azuma Yuuhei is the fourth batter of the Sheishu High team. He was a star player in middle school who came to Sheishu because of a gathering of famous middle school players under a new coach who promised a trip to Koshien. When the coach quit, most of the other players left, but he stayed behind, believing that Kou had what it took to reach Koshien.
Nakanishi Daiki is Kou's friend from childhood. He was Kou's catcher throughout middle school, but moved to third base at Sheishu High. He bats third.
Senda Keiichirou is the shortstop and leadoff batter on the Sheishu High team. He has a big ego and likes to act flashy, which the caoch calls "perfect" for a shortshop.
Story - 8/10
The story of Cross Game flows in a laid back matter. The motivations of each character are conveyed very smoothly and there are no real inconsistencies within the plot, which is reflective of Adachi's genius as a storyteller. The story sneaks up on you and begins to encompass you, whether you want to or not, and because the characters aren't so easy to figure out at times, it keeps you guessing as well, which keeps you engaged. The only issues I have with the story is that the influence of Wakaba seems a bit too much, and she annoys me at times.
Enjoyment - 9/10
Now the pace is a bit slow, and that may turn some people off, but this is no high profile action series. This also isn't a comedy either, but it also doesn't become overly dramatic. The show is character-driven and has virtually no plot holes, so, it doesn't become confusing, which often takes away enjoyment, especially with a drama like Cross Game is. It's an interesting show to watch and the pacing of the show, as well as the right balance of action, comedy, and character development serve to ensure that you keep watching from one episode to the next.
Although the plot may be simplistic (Go to Koshien! Rah! Rah!) at times, Cross Game doesn't depend on a complex plot, as the show all about the characters than anything else. The main focus of the show, from beginning to end, are the characters. This is emphasized by the fact that the action and drama clearly take second place to each of the characters, and therein lies its genius.
When we group up, everything that defines us as a person is brought into question. This could be our ideals, passions, hobbies, relationships with others and many aspects that make us, well, us. This is part of the reason why as we grow up, we end up remembering our childhood or high school lives in such a bittersweet fashion. It is this period of our life that defines us so much as people, where we look at things that defined us in the past, and where we decide whether to keep them or discard them.
Of course, this is not a difficult subject to write about
or even make the audience relate to. Writing a story involving such a theme isn't difficult, since there really isn't much to do. The problem is, however, that writing characters centered around this theme is difficult. Since they are not defined by the setting, there's only so far you can go with writing characters around whatever the setting is. The key is, the characters have to feel and act human, not necessarily be complex (hell, in this kind of story, simplicity is probably the way to go). Problem is, a lot of writers sink into the melodrama and overblown character trait trap, where they focus on one layer and make that define the character or be overly dramatic even when there is nothing to be dramatic about.
Cross Game doesn't do that. Cross Game is human. In fact, it's so human that I legitimately wondered at times whether I was watching fictional characters or actual human beings. Hell, I wondered whether or not the writer was writing his own life experience onto the show.
The story isn't particularly remarkable, but serves its job well. The sports element is hardly even present for most of the show, and the show succeeds where most sports anime fail; making us care about the people playing the sports rather than watching it just for the sports. This works exceptionally well, hell I'd argue the show is more slice-of-life and about people discussing sports or practicing than actually playing matches. This works exceptionally well, since the viewer is emotionally involved in what's happening and isn't watching, oh I don't know, a football getting kicked around, players celebrating and that being the end of the story.
This wouldn't have worked without the characters. The characters are the driving force behind the show, and they never stop moving forward from the beginning to the end. I've spoken earlier on that they are human, and I cannot help but repeat myself; they are human.
They don't take loss by crying and running screaming or trying to kill themselves or any other stupid reaction. They don't go crazy and act like it's the end of the world if they lose a baseball game. No, they feel depressed for a bit, then life goes on. The character interactions are excellent and the romance which is the driving force behind the show is developed with a ridiculous amount of subtlety and care, and never feels forced or unnatural.
The artwork is pleasant to look at and very distinct, though the animation quality is nothing particularly special to look at. The backgrounds are very simply done, but somehow feel very normal looking and does a good job in bringing the show to life. The animation is the weakest aspect of the show, not because it's bad, but because the show deserves better.
The voice actors never scream or act irrationally, and a lot of care went into all of their lines. The soundtrack is nothing remarkable, but fits the overall mood of the show and plays at the right time, meaning that it's never in the way of the viewer enjoying the show.
Overall, Cross Game is an excellent show that does an exceptional job in its human characters, extremely human characterization and it's hard not to walk out of this show smiling and feeling satisfied. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
When I think of Cross Game, I can't help but smile. It is without a doubt my current favorite slice of life anime. Those turned off by sports series need to look past that when picking up Cross Game. While baseball is a huge part of the series, the relationships between the characters is the biggest part of what makes it amazing. Baseball is simply apart of their lives. Those who enjoy character heavy slice of life anime will feel right at home with Cross Game.
Story and Characters:
Cross Game's story is a beautiful blending life's two wonders -- drama and comedy. While the comedy is
subtle and often unspoken, it fits perfectly into the situations, making it a big part of the series' appeal. Adachi is a genius at progressing the story through more than just dialogue and physical action, but through the unspoken emotion given off by the characters.
The many different relationships shared by the characters is the true wonder of the show.
The cold, yet close relationship between Kou and Aoba is amazing to watch unfold throughout the series. In many ways I believe Aoba's cold attitude towards Kou stems not just from a jealousy of the time he spent with Wakaba, but from the fact that because she always liked him, she was jealous of the time Wakaba spent with him. Aoba knew Kou was a good guy, yet Wakaba loved him, so instead of getting closer to him and torturing herself, she decided to push him away with outward hate. And after Wakaba's death, she could have gotten closer to Kou, but the fact that he reminded her of Wakaba so much only fueled her outward feelings of disdain.
The other interesting relationship in the series was Kou and Akaishi. Akaishi seemed to hate Kou because of his relationship with Wakaba (much like Aoba), but instead of hating him after her death, he wanted to get closer and befriend Kou. This not only because of something Wakaba once said to him, but because being around Kou allowed him to be reminded of Wakaba.
There are plently of other character relationships that help add to the story, but those are two of the main ones I wanted to shed some light on.
Art and Sound:
The art of Cross Game, like Adachi's other work, is simple, yet wonderful. The actual animation done is mostly the characters, with well drawn, but overall static backgrounds to support them. Despite this simplicity, the show appears beautiful with vibrant colors, leaving you with a light and good feeling.
The score throughout the show fits perfectly into each scene, with a pick up or drop in intensity when needed. The only opening theme of the show, Summer Rain, is one of my favorite ever in a series. It's one of those feel good songs that I looked forward to at the start of each episode. The various ending themes started with a rather melancholic song, yet allowed you to enjoy it while reflecting on the events of the past episode. From there the ending themes got a little more cheerful, evolving with the show.
The characters' voices are virtually flawless, each matching the look and tone of their respective character perfectly no matter what the situation.
Enjoyment and Overall:
I enjoyed this show probably more than any other anime I've ever viewed. It's just such a beautifully written and paced show with a wide variety of interesting characters that almost make you wish the show could go on forever.
Like I mentioned in my opening statement, don't be turned off by the sports genre stamped on this series. This is one of the best slice of life shows you'll ever see and turning a blind eye to it because it also happens to be about baseball is only doing yourself a injustice.
I was recommended this anime a lot of times and I had read a lot of reviews of it before watching the anime which led me to expect a lot from it. And fortunately, it certainly did meet my expectation if not, exceeded it.
Adapted from a manga series by Adachi Michiru, Cross game is a romantic comedy sports (baseball) anime series made by SynergySP studio which has also produced some hits like “Hayate no Gotoku!”. Although superficially, it looks like just another sports anime, its main forte lies in how characters develop their relationships rather than the baseball itself. And the interactions
of characters are portrayed so finely that you can pleasingly watch it the whole day without being bored in the slightest.
Talk about the plot. Cross game has a very simple and usual plot like any other baseball series: some high-schoolers dream of reaching koushien, where a national high-school baseball tournament is held. Well, I have no complaints here, though. After all, it does set up a good setting for the characters to develop and blend very well among themselves.
The anime starts off showing the protagonist, Kitamoura Kou, in middle school. Probably due to proximity, his family has very good relations with Tsukishima family thus making their children also very close to each other. Unexpectedly, one day, Adachi’s trademark ‘tragedy’ storms into their peaceful lives, which then opens up a way to an actual story which follows after 4 years of the previously shown time – meaning Kou is a high-schooler now! It is a pretty powerful start albeit probably not original, which draws the viewers into the story from the get-go.
The main allure of this series is the characterization. Every single character is given a fair enough of screen time to depict his/her traits and the viewers can’t help getting attached to the characters. The pace of the story is slow but it’s actually because of that, the characters are able to grow on the viewers and become so memorable. However, this might be a miss rather than a hit to those who are more into fast paced action-packed series. But again, it cannot be helped; a single series cannot cater to every type of viewers as some things can be polar opposite of each other.
The subtle depiction of the relationship between two main leads is always intriguing to watch. They never speak out their minds even until the very end of the anime. However, the expressions and emotions of them feel so natural and real that viewers can easily discern what they are thinking. It is very often said in the series itself by other characters that the two main leads are very much alike. And it is undoubtedly true in a sense that they both are very reluctant to show their true feelings and outwardly, keep a hate relations whilst still caring for each other in most situations. Also, some daily manners of them like drinking an out-of-date milk apathetically coincide. This makes their relations very intriguing to watch.
Another aspect of the series – romance is very nimbly hinted in the series. As I already said, two main leads don’t openly admit their standings as a romantic couple. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean there isn’t any development at all. Gradually but surely, the reticent behavior of their feelings for each other seems to be opened as time goes although the anime ends before the very end of its conclusion. And it is completely fine as the romance in this show isn’t supposed to be taken to the extreme in the first place. It is just one of aspects, that embellishes the anime. So, viewers are not to expect a full-fledged romance from this series.
Aside from the two main leads, side characters also get to enjoy a pretty good amount of romance. Some love triangle also gets evolved; however, it is never taken to the extreme level keeping the series fairly simple and relaxing. From an unrequited love to a successful one, the anime presents both of them in quite an elegant manner. The best thing is: the drama in this series is never overly exaggerated yet evokes the powerful emotional feelings in the viewers.
The comedy part is just as great kept to a reasonably minimum level which perfectly suits the ambience. This may not get the viewers to laugh out loudly (as it is never intended to) but definitely ensures the viewer to form a smile throughout the comedy scene. It actually serves as a medium to keep the viewer busy from being too depressed from the emotional drama keeping the anime as relaxing and light-hearted as possible.
Although the baseball part may not be the main focus of the series, it isn’t of low quality at all. Prior to watching this series, I, myself wasn’t much familiar with baseball but was still able to grasp what was going on to get on the edge of the baseball’s thriller. So, for those who are reluctant to watch this series because of baseball (sports), don’t put this series aside without even trying just because you don’t know baseball game.
The animation and artwork is slightly above mediocre level. Some characters look almost same; it is sometimes hard to distinguish the character by the looks alone. However, although it is far from being able to give a stunning and awesome sense of aesthetics to the viewer, it is pretty much watchable and fairly consistent.
As for the music, the opening song, “Summer Rain” is somewhat catchy to at least make you not want to skip it. And while the first ending song didn’t really catch my interest at all, the second and third ending song were more or less decent. The BGM (Background Music) especially, during the baseball game, is placed very rightly adding another level of exciting feeling while watching the game.
The only possible downside in the character is of Mizuki Asami. He doesn’t have much role or any character development in the series. He is introduced as a love rival only to be ignored by the female lead. Or maybe, it’s just me being not able to understand the author’s intention of keeping this character in the cast. So, whether this is the downside or not is I cannot say with certainty. Nevertheless, even if it is one, it is not so significant to be an obstacle.
Spanning 50 episodes, Cross game is a well thought-out series with very few flaws that are also overlookable. I enjoyed this anime so much that fifty episodes didn’t feel long at all. Characters are so memorable and attachable that even weeks after watching it, whenever I think of Cross Game, I feel a sort-of warm nostalgic feeling.
Simple yet, a very powerful emotion-invoking series full of likeable characters. It gets a whopping 10/10 from me.
Recommended for almost anyone to at least try this series. If you are looking for a relaxing light-hearted slice-of-life anime, then it is a plus.
And for those who are avoiding it because of the sports genre, don’t do so. This series is more of a slice-of-life anime than the sports. After all, the sport is used just as a backbone to lay out the way for the plot to proceed.
Let's keep this review short, I don't like long reviews, I'm a busy guy with not a lot of free time. Even still, I find it hard to not write a bit about this anime Cross Game, even after two weeks of watching it.
From what you can read from the synopsis, the story is about a boy, Kou, who had a childhood love with a girl Wakaba, one of four sisters who run a small family batting center/cafe in with their father.
It actually starts after the first episode (you'll see what I mean.....), and what you will experience is something you probably never have before.
In general the anime may appear to be a simple slice of life story in a baseball setting on the surface with a predictable theme or overlying plot, but Cross Game will send all your expectations you may have from what you assume from the first episodes out of the BALL PARK. You WILL be proven wrong. You'll witness some of the most believable characters you'll EVER see in an anime.... I can guarantee you that.
What makes it a home run (no pun intended), are mainly the interpersonal relationships between all the characters, the beautiful art from the classic manga writer Adachi, and the amazing OST.
This series needs so much more attention because it doesn't have all the cliche anime tropes or the sleek, modern anime art style we're all so used to now. But even then, if it's in your plan to watch, PLEASE WATCH IT NOW. I don't hand out 10's very easily, let alone write reviews, but this series deserves it. You WILL have a great anime completed after finishing this masterpiece.
The starting of this anime is good . It brings so much emotions that this is the only one of the anime that i ever watched that makes me cry just through the 1st two episodes . After that i was really curious how the series is going to move on . I keep on watching and it gets quite good as the story progress . But i think the author just ran out of ideas at episodes 30 to 40 .. Its a BASEBALL anime yet they show so little of baseball action . Mostly just his life story and whats gonna happen in
his life ... Its really disappointing :( I was intending to finish the entire series but i really can't. Too painful to watch at the last 10 episodes . It literally just become cringy relationship .. I love you , he love her , she love him too .
For E.G . This girl and guy dont like each other yet people could tell they were match . But this Guy's friend like that girl. Then Still got another friend like that girl , Azuma . Then the guy date another girl -_- SO SO FUCKED UP . But there is a cute relationship between Azuma's Brother and Tsuchibana's sister :) Still .. This anime just gets worse .. ( In my opinion at least )
For people who like baseball anime , i think that this anime doesn't suit you that much . Very little baseball action involve . Mostly just relationships and so on . As i am fan of romance genre category ... I tried my best to keep on watching but even the romance isn't that great haha. It just get so cringy as their relationship progress .. WHY Can't they just admit they love each other ? They just have to be annoyed with each other -_- So.. pissed to watch this kind of part . And , they still continue date other partner -_-
*Note: This review does not contain spoilers, but indirectly alludes to events that take place during the first episode*
We all have ghosts. And if yours are of the variety that come from losing someone you love, this anime is about to take you on a ride you'll not soon forget. Don't let the younger characters and apparent focus on baseball catch you off-guard: This is a coming-of-age story about how a young ensemble cast reconcile themselves with a tragedy and their memories of what was lost, while finding themselves and each other along the way. Their quest for the Koshien masks this deeper goal, but
the baseball provides a fitting context to drive the character development, which is the heart of this series.
The plot itself is not overly complicated, and the slow pace of the series might frustrate viewers who are more accustomed to action or plot-heavy series. This is definitely a slice-of-life anime, but it nevertheless manages to inject significant suspense elements, and balances its more serious themes with a healthy dose of comedy. However, unlike many series in the genre that tend to drift or take a lot of time to ground their characters and story elements, Cross Game front-loads its first episode and sets up a scenario that pulls at a viewer's heartstrings, drawing them in. The most significant criticism that can be leveled against it is that if you've seen Touch, you will find that Cross Game borrows heavily, even if it ultimately carves out its own path. On the bright side though, those who have not had the pleasure of enjoying Cross Game's older predecessor from the 1980s will have 101 more episodes of beautiful storytelling to look forward to.
With a *very* significant exception, the soundtrack is not particularly remarkable. The OP does invoke the feeling of lazy days of summer, and the quality of most of the ED's is pretty hit/miss. Having said that, the first ED is absolutely stunning and instead of feeling "tacked on," integrates itself beautifully into the first episode - it's probably one of the most emotionally powerful uses of music you'll ever come across in an anime.
The art style is simple and clean, but if you're looking for spectacular lighting effects or incredibly detailed designs, you won't find them here. At the same time, the style fits the series like a glove and the strong character development mitigates this to the point where you may not even notice the absence of flashy graphical effects. My experience was that despite its simplicity, small but significant art details had a strong effect - notable examples include the rusted-out and cold appearance of the Clover cafe/batting center contrasting with the warm personalities that inhabit the place, or the inherent symbolism in the series' trademark four-leaf clover with one petal colored a slightly lighter shade of green.
What's the bottom line? Cross Game will make you cry. Then it will make you laugh. Then it will make you cry again. Along the way, you might find that you liked baseball a lot more than you thought you would. Most importantly, you'll love every minute. A must-see.
Writing a review over a sports anime is something I myself never expected to do but Cross Game is in a different league and deserved one. Sports anime generally stick with the basic formula of 1 person having amazing talent and taking a team by his/her hand and making it the best team there is, now if you read the synopsis you will have the same impression as you have with any sports anime however Cross Game(CG from here on) is not your usual sports anime.
Story~10: As I mentioned above, CG seems to be your usual sports anime but right after the 1st episode it
will leave you in awe and shrugs off any bad expectations and will not give you the slightest opening to let you have them return, it was truly the best opening for an anime that I have seen so far. Every single time you think that it will be predictable, it surprises you.
CG has a nice flow and pace and before you know it you will have clicked on next episode for the whole day, don't let the 'all ages' rating turn you off, there is plenty of drama in the 1st episode already which made me even doubt that rating.
There are 50 episodes and usually what bothers me with animes that have 20+ episodes is that fillers will bump in, this is not the case with CG, there is 1 filler episode and even that is not really a filler, it adds to the anime in some way. Having that said, I actually wished that it would have lasted longer, the ending was alright but I have this urge to actually know how the whole tournament ended which is never shown though it was probably done so the viewer would go into their imagination world.
Another point that CG delivered well were the jokes, punchlines were everywhere and the comedy didn't come only from the supporting characters, it came from anyone, whether they were 1 episode flies or main characters. Something that should also be mentioned is the usage of flashbacks, they play a major role in this anime and they will explain some of the characters actions or their emotions, they were never bothersome and would always give an explanation.
Now what is most important in a sports anime is of course the action or matches, they were always packed with tension and surprises, let me tell you that this is no anime with all super heroes that win every single match with a major difference in score, the results were always believable and the matches were astonishingly well made, the matches were truly matches that would make you root for them, at least I did and i'm sure I am not the only one who did. From what I heard the writer of the story is involved in the real baseball world, so it might explain a thing or two.
Art~8: This is really something that bothered me at the start, huge ears is something you can't overlook and generally the hair style of some characters are what you could call weird or at least bothersome. Now you have to take into consideration that it is made for all ages, and you will eventually get used to it. The background is well done and emotions were well drawn out. What occurred to me was that the art actually got better the further you get into the episodes, so it is something you can look forward to.
Sound~9: Opening song is quite catchy and I myself never skipped it, it's just your usual J-Pop but an enjoyable 1. There are 5 different ending songs, all J-Pop as well, the last ending song (Koi Suru Otome by Natsuko Kondo) made the ending of the anime just that bit better.
BGM is almost never there, but when it was, it was blended well with the action on screen or just the right one to bring out the emotions better.
Characters~10: There are 2 main characters and they have the relationship of childhood 'friends', why that is, is something you'll have to watch the anime for.
We have Kitamura Kou, the male main protagonist and a promising pitcher who looked up to Tsukishima Aoba, the female protagonist, his reason for playing baseball is actually inspirable and will be explained, you guessed it, by memories. Both are likeable main protagonists and their relationship with each other will leave you laughing every now and then.
Tsukishima Aoba is as I said the female main protagonist, she is Kou's pitching mentor and he has his form from her, she is in a male's baseball team which leaves her unable to play for them and always having to watch the game from the stands, the reason why she plays for them is already explained in the first couple of episodes and further explained as the episodes pass by.
I will briefly explain the most important supporting characters;
Tsukishima Wakaba, Aoba's older sister and in love with Kitamura Kou, the main reason behind everything that happens and generally the main character in the memories.
Azuma Yuuhei, 4th batter for the team and able to hit near every ball that could be thrown, was an antagonist at the beginning but has reasons for changing, has sort of the advisory role in relationships.
Takigawa Akane, Akane puts the whole anime in a bullettrain and will leave you in awe, you will not see her appearance coming and is the switch that will put everything in motion.
Akaishi Osamu, the catcher and brain behind the team, was in love with Wakaba changed to a catcher from being a pitcher because of her.
Enjoyment~10, CG is truly a masterpiece and is nr48. on the ranking not for nothing, it has action, drama, comedy and tension in the matches and with some romance as well. It will have you in it's grisp straight after the first episode and will not let you go. I highly recommend CG to everyone, as it was inspiring and beautifully told.
My first impression of this show was "another sport-themed anime? ¬¬". yeah i was expecting something like prince of tennis or captain tsubasa with baseball (you know, naturally impossible balls and over reacting of the game). it comes out that i was wrong.
This anime more than centering on just baseball, gives a great enphasis in friendship, values and, of course, romance. The techniques are not unnatural, there are no super curve balls or balls that gets in flames and destroy the other one's bat. instead this is a relaxing and ejoyable anime with a slow pace.
This means that its great if you are not searching
for epicness or heart breaking anime but a quite "awwww" anime.
The story is simple but it develops very well. It manages to get some twits that you would never expect and overall there are no real fillers so its pretty much 50 episodes of story. (it sounds to much for an anime but believe me, you will want more)
One of the aspects that make me consider not watching it. Sometimes i feel the drawings are a little bit deformed and the animation is a little bit old. however the it is pertty fluid and that helps a lot for the baseball match to look great. its just matter to getting use to it.
Not epic but good. didn't like the ending, the op was just fine but there were two songs that were pretty good. nothing more to say.
This is why i loved the series, the characters are just so well developed you actually get very identified with them. You can understand them without having to explain it verbaly. there is a great variety of characters and each of them is instresting in their own way (exept for senda, over-anoyed me sometimes). i would say this is the strongest point in the series.
i got pretty stuck with the series, again i really enjoyed it so pretty selfexplanatory rating. this series manages to give you exitement, laughts and tears in a very light way. good to rest from those shocking animes :)
In conclusion, don't watch this series if you are searching for shocking OMG AWSOME ADICTING UBER EPIC anime that will leave you traumatized for a week.
I am typically hesitant to even begin decently long shonen series. They tend to be filled with flaws that reflect lazy writing for the sake of length, unfortunately. From huge casts of characters, ranging from the barely touched upon yet interesting side characters to the incredibly dull main characters who receive much more than their fair share of exposure. On top of that, there are occasionally long stretches of boring developments or slow pacing to keep the content running. Very often these lengthy series become too stagnant and similar to itself, leading me to feeling the need to take breaks from the show simply because
I need to experience something in any way different for once. Last but not least, the ending is very rarely satisfying, leaving me wishing I had spent my time on a series that could end itself without so many bumps in the road.
Cross Game has none of those problems, and that is why it is a series that will be remembered.
To begin with, as most will immediately assume based on what they may see about the show before viewing it, Cross Game appears to be a baseball anime. However, that presumption is a mistake – is a show that involves baseball, but it isn’t about baseball. Baseball is the lowest common denominator that ties almost every character to each other, and it is the driving force that provides the challenges and rivals that keeps the characters aiming higher. This drive and determination is a theme that is played out in a very classic shonen way, but Cross Game plays its cards just right by keeping the work, successes, and failures relatable to anyone. This is achieved by keeping the focus not on the baseball itself but on the characters and how they react to and deal with the significant baseball-related events as they occur, allowing the story to stay easily understandable and interesting to even non-sports fans.
That isn’t to say that there is no baseball in the series, quite the opposite in fact. However, the games that are focused on are limited to the most important, intense ones that keep the viewer on their toes while being easy to follow for the non-sports fan. The baseball fans in the audience need not be turned away by the comparatively sparse amount of actual playing, though. Since the viewers who aren’t into baseball won’t need to be entertained by antics or extravagant special moves, Cross Game’s take on the game of baseball is realistic and fun for purists who just want a good game of baseball. Both sets of viewers will easily be able to understand how the game keeps the world of Cross Game turning.
Cross Game also knows where to put its attention when it comes to the characters. The cast is kept decently small and focused, allowing for as much growth and screen time as possible for the most important characters. The people who will be mainstays are made clear early on, allowing for introductions to take as little time as possible to give way for optimal development. Of the main cast, there are no flat characters, and with the diversity of the roster it is a rare moment to become tired of what the series has to offer. On top of their contributions to the story, each character also provides a unique atmosphere and sense of humor to the scenes they are involved in, keeping the show fresh and on its toes at all times. The cast deals with basic themes of life, death, and love, but each in their own different stride, bringing an interesting dynamic of how long it takes individual characters to cope with certain situations while also interacting with each other on a daily basis. This all leads to a small, well-developed lineup of characters that are all memorable, and that cast itself is quite possibly the strongest asset Cross Game has to offer.
As the saying goes, the real beauty is in the journey, not the destination, and Cross Game recognizes and relishes in this fact. In terms of plot twists or surprise advancements in the relationships, there are very few if any. The turns and twists the story takes are, for the most part, what many would describe as unsurprising or cliché. In the case of Cross Game, though, this is definitely not a negative. From the results of games to the status of relationships, Cross Game takes the most natural progression without attempting to insert unnecessary drama or convoluted twists, and it works perfectly without either of those because the story simply doesn’t need them to stay both entertaining and lovely.
The music, animation, and even art are all simple and to the point. The retro-feel of the art with the more modern animation style gives a sort of “remastered” feeling to the viewer, complimenting the traditional standards and themes Cross Game makes a point to keep intact. The opening never changes and, while never exactly fitting the state the story is in at any given point in time, is just ambiguous enough to keep a certain relaxed mood in mind for each episode. The endings are never terrible but simply not memorable. The single exception is the first ending, which incorporates itself into the first episode in a beautiful and melancholy way that successfully set the tone for the entire next forty-nine episodes to come. If nothing else, that moment is one that will stick around in many viewers’ memories as possibly the most emotionally powerful scene of the entire series, and that in itself is worth something significant.
Cross Game is not the most intellectually compelling anime you will ever watch. It doesn’t delve deeply into subjects, and it never leaves a certain comfort zone when discussing more tender subjects. It doesn’t have groundbreaking characters or a surprising story with exciting cliffhangers. It is fully aware, however, that those things don’t matter if the execution isn’t just right, and that shows bright as day. Thus, Cross Game’s simplicity is also its beauty, standing as an instant classic and a coming-of-age story that will be looked upon as one of the greats someday by the power of its small successes and incredibly human characters.
Sometimes, simplicity is a beautiful thing. At the heart of "Cross Game" is a simple shounen story about baseball and romance. But even though it's the kind of story where you can roughly predict the ending within the first few episodes, there's never a dull moment. Heart warming, heart wrenching, beautiful in its simplicity... the joy of watching "Cross Game" comes not from its destination, but from the journey itself.
Despite being a predictable story at its core, "Cross Game" begins in a way that is anything but predictable, featuring an early twist in the tale that no doubt comes as a big surprise to the
majority of viewers. Because of this twist, "Cross Game" is not an anime that's easy to review, as the remainder of the series is built around this early key event, and it's nigh on impossible to go into details about a lot of the qualities "Cross Game" possesses - such as how it completely turns the conventions of character development on its head - without spoiling it. The twist itself is not only remarkable in its timing and its impact on the remainder of the story, but also in its dramatisation... or rather lack of. They would have been forgiven for making a meal of it on such an occasion, but instead it is handled in a surprisingly subtle and understated manner (in truth I actually found it to be a bit *too* understated).
And in fact "understated" is a word that describes "Cross Game" perfectly as a whole. This is especially noteworthy considering it's a shounen, a genre famous for its flamboyant production. "Cross Game" barely uses any production gimmicks, as it goes about its business in a refreshingly quiet, down to earth manner. The rather plain art style, reflecting the low key dramatisation, is probably the weak link in the series. The lack of effort that can be seen in the excessive panning upwards towards the clouds (this is used so much it's almost like a running joke) and the sub-standard character designs (there are a lot of similar looking characters, and everyone have monkey ears) is likely to put off a lot of viewers. But you'll probably regret it if you completely ignore "Cross Game" just because of the unspectacular exterior. Because in all honesty, this is one of the most pleasant, likeable shows I've ever watched, and it's a travesty that not more people have seen it.
I guess the other main reason a lot of people haven't tried "Cross Game" is because of its baseball tag. Now, I'm not particularly interested in nor knowledgeable about baseball, so I can't really comment much on the technical side of things, but the baseball part of "Cross Game" can still be enjoyed without too much knowledge about the game. As I've already stated, the anime doesn't heavily use the over the top embellishment omnipresent in shounen sports anime, and nor does it have a bad habit of dragging games out - even the longest games take just a couple of episodes to complete. More importantly though, baseball isn't crucial to enjoying "Cross Game". The fact that the source material is done by an author who is famous for his baseball mangas comes as a massive suprise to me, because if you haven't come across his other works before, like me, you would probably think that such an author would put more emphasis on baseball... but instead it plays second fiddle to the characters.
Because even more than baseball, "Cross Game" is about the chemistry between the members of the cast, and about growing up. Though it's arguable whether its shounen content prevents it from being a slice of life, there is no doubt that, in the very least, it shares a lot of the values with shows of that genre. There's often a strong sense of melancholy and nostalgia, and yet it's not a show that's shackled by the past - it's about moving on, and in fact it's the past the provides the inspiration for the characters to strive forward. A painstaking amount of attention has been given to fine-tuning the character interactions. The delicate nuances and countless metaphors and double meanings in the dialogues not only enriches the interchanges between the characters but also gives the show great rewatch value. It's easy to miss a few hidden meanings just by having a short lapse in concentration, and in fact there is so much subtlety in the dialogues that notable difference to the implied meanings can be drawn out just from watching different translations. In addition, "Cross Game" is also content with devoting a significant number of episodes concentrating on the mundane, every day stuff. The episodes about buying a birthday present, about valentines day, about taking care of someone who's caught a cold... it's actually these small but priceless distractions from the main plot that, along with its attention to details regarding character interactions, brings "Cross Game" to full bloom.
Ko Kitamura makes for quite an unusual main character, especially for a shounen anime. In fact he has most of the qualities normally reserved for an intriguing, dark horse type side character. Usually, the main character of a shounen anime comes in two flavours. The most common one being some level 1 loser who gets bullied a lot and who ceases to function in front of girls (Ippo from "Hajime no Ippo" being a classic case), and watching them improve is a bit like playing an RPG game, where you have to slowly grind up the levels. But occasionally you also have characters like Akagi from, er, "Akagi", a badass anti-hero who is virtually untouchable from episode 1. Ko is not like either of those. Instead he's somewhere in between, and comes off as a mostly normal, believable character but with that extra something about him. He gets a headstart in terms of baseball skills, and within very few episodes shows himself to be quite a special player without the usual montages and "level grinding". Moreover, he doesn't start from the bottom of the social ladder either. He's popular in school, possesses a sharp sense of humour, a quiet air of confidence and maturity, and is incredibly dependable both on and off the baseball grounds. Even though baseball is important to him in a personal way, he's wise enough to recognise that there are far more important things in life, and would willingly give up all he has achieved in baseball at the drop of a hat if it can be exchanged away for those more important things. Out of the whole cast, he's probably also the one that's hardest to read - he doesn't show his emotions or thoughts easily, but not to the superhuman extent of the aforementioned Akagi. This makes him kinda enigmatic but in a believable way - most of the time, his casual exterior can fool everyone apart from those that are closest to him, but at the same time you can often make a good guess at what he's thinking from the subtle signs that he drops. What he does share with common main characters though, is his willingness to try hard, but he does this in a way that reminds me of a character from "Planetes" nicknamed Miss Swan. This nickname came about because like swans, she's all graceful and elegant on the surface, but underwater, she's padding away like crazy. A similar analogy can be applied to Ko, who, despite looking so calm and nonchalant all the time, is trying harder than almost anyone to reach his goals. And when it matters, there are few better people to put your trust in. All in all, like one the characters put it, "Ko sure is a cool guy".
From the point of view of character development though, it's probably Aoba that takes the biscuit. She starts off in the anime as a baseball loving tomboy. In this anime there's probably no one who loves the game more than her, no one who puts in as much effort as she does, and no one who has to make as much sacrifices as she does. The tragic thing is that because she's a girl, she is unable to take part in the high school baseball tournament representing the school that she attends. But to see this as wasted effort is to undermine her the sacrifice she chooses to make later on in the series.
Ko and Aoba are both interesting in the their own right, but when they come together, they become the show's highlight. Aobo hates Ko from a young age because he always monopolised her sister Wakaba's attention whenever they're together... but also because of how similar her own personality is to Ko's - this is especially a problem considering their competitive streaks. It honestly is delightful watching the two of them clash over every little thing, uncanny to see their mutual understanding, and satisfying in the extreme to see the trust and mutual respect that grudgingly develop between them. Because of the remarkable similarity between them, by appreciating what makes Ko so great, Aoba also begins to appreciate her the strengths of her own personality.
Wakaba is another character worthy of note. Though sweet and innocent, she possesses a maturity and wisdom far beyond her years, and her strong personality inspires everyone whose lives she touched, bringing out their very best qualities. If she has any faults, it's that her character is probably designed *too* perfectly... but I guess this ties in with the simplicity that's the essence of this show. Wakaba inspires a great many characters in "Cross Game", but perhaps none more so than Akaishi, the big guy with the even bigger heart. He starts off as a common bully, but ends as an incredibly endearing, selfless character. There are other great characters found in support too, like Azuma, who we initially see as just a baseball player devoid of emotions and completely focused on winning. As the series progresses, he becomes more and more human underneath his unchanging expression. Oh yeah, and I love his dead pan, cutting one liners.
There are a few characters I would like to have seen more of though, in particular Nakanishi and the baseball coach. I'd like to have seen more of Nakanishi because he played quite an important role in the early part of the series, and it's a shame that later on he becomes little more than a joke character both on and off the baseball grounds. As for the coach, his tactical know-how and knowledge about the game is said to be extraordinary, but as the show went on, this aspect seems to get neglected, and it felt more and more like Akaishi is the one running the show on the tactical side. Aoba's cousin Mizuki's presence also faded after the first few episodes, but unlike the others, I'd rather have seen less rather than more of him. He struck me as a bit of a redundant character, and I don't really know why he was introduced in the first place (although he is responsible for drawing out one of the most hilarious one liners in the series from Azuma).
These are all smallish problems though. The one big problem in the cast is Akane. Her appearance mid series threw a big spanner in the works, and I really didn't like that. Up until the point of her introduction, "Cross Game" is a very straight forward show (apart from the early twist), and it should have stayed that way. Akane's introduction feels like a Clannad-esq twist to complicate things. But thankfully, "Cross Game" is not "Clannad", and so does not take the cheap option that the latter most likely would have taken. In the end, none of the melodramatic endings that I was dreading came to pass. To be honest, the result rarely looked in doubt. It felt like Akane merely stalled things a little rather than knock them completely off track. In fact, she eventually becomes the catalyst, and is involved in some poignant scenes that helped to offset her introduction (which I think should never have happened).
As the anime approached its climax, key events starts coming in thick and fast, with almost every episode throwing up some significant development. These kind of got ruined by the previews though - they spoilt way too much for me. I often ended up watching an episode with great anticipation, only to find to my disappointment that the previews at the end of the previous episode had already picked out most if not all the choicest lines, leaving very little behind for me to discover for myself. So, if you're watching it for the first time, I highly recommend that you skip the previews.
Anyway, complaints about Akane and the previews aside, the second half of "Cross Game" is still really good overall. But as everyone knows, bad endings can marr an otherwise fantastic series. And when you boil down to the bare facts, the ending of "Cross Game" is a very simple and predictable one... and it just goes to show that the simplicity of an ending does not necessarily stop it from also being an incredible one. The last episode features a double climax that simultaneously hits the emotional apex both on and off the baseball field, followed by a gentle, blissful wind down in the second half. It's so simple, so beautiful, so satisfying, so perfect.
In this current era, "Cross Game" is a breath of fresh air, an anime that isn't hampered by cynical pandering nor reliant on melodrama and flashy production values. But despite its understated style and lack of gimmicks, it is as powerful as the best dramas and as addictive as the best shounens. And despite being a shounen, it's as human as the best slice of lifes and as sweet as the best shoujos. It's an anime that, while not seeming to be special in any way, ends up being oh so special.
As an aside, I'd like to talk a bit about the anime adaptation of "Cross Game". Unsurprisingly, "Cross Game" left a bit of a void in my life after I finished it, like I knew it would from just the first few episodes. This led me to follow up by reading through the manga, which allowed me to gain some insight into some of changes made during the anime adaptation. For the most part, the anime follows the manga pretty faithfully. A few subtle points are removed here and there, and other events are added in order to expand a chapter in the manga into a full episode. The two main changes though, are the way the anime reordered events to bring forward the early twist to be even earlier, and the expansion on Aoba's girls' baseball try out that only briefly gets mentioned in a single scene in the manga. Given the general result when anime studios try to mess around with the source material, it's normal to have certain reservations about changes. However, I honestly think that in the case of "Cross Game", most of the changes are made for the better. Changing the order of events allowed the anime to hit the ground running amongst other things, and fleshing out the girls baseball trials adds extra weight onto the decision made by Aoba later on in the series. The anime also enhanced the sweet and innocent feel of the work by removing most of the terribly inappropriate fan service that turned up on occasion in the manga. Add to this the competent voice acting and the music - who can forget the extended version of the first ending theme that was used to such potent effect - and you have yourself one very, very nice adaptation.
I know its a dramatic score. But to me I've always loved the anime and drawing styles of touch and orange road.
At first I was skeptical, like with most baseball and sport animes. but cross game was different from the very start. after all how often do you see the girl you love die in the fist epiosde?
That first episode caught my attention fully. that beautiful scene of Kou realising how he should be feeling. the music everything drew me in instantly. It truly stirred up my emotions and it really made me feel like Kou in a way.
Unfortunately I wasn't patient enough and decided
to read the manga up to nearly the final 4 episodes. So I never knew the ending till today
All I can say this anime, is not hard core baseball. it revolves the story around baseball and its characters. The speical moments the funny twists, and the personalitys of the characters. even the jokes are well placed.
Te final match really had me feeling like I was on the mound, I felt exactly Like IKou did in the anime, my heart beating quickly, puming adrenaline throughout my body, my breathing slightly paced from pressure and my body being worn out by it.
I found myself cheering him on, foundmy self Lost in the world infront of me.
I've watched major, and though it is good. Cross game really has it all. Its a baseball anime and manga on a completely different level. that really gets to you with story action and muisc.
I really want everyone to watch this, but I guess you first have to be slightly into baseball to enjoy it. ^_^. But yeah I loved it. Completely.
The way it draws me in is amazing. I really hope there would be a second season. but I know thre won't and deep inside I hope there won't because this is a work of art. The suspense really really gets to you.
Overall 10/10 ito me is the score it completely deserves. Which is hard to get. (esepcially since anime seems to have gone done a BIG Boob Road. :P)
The story starts off with a dramatic scenes and continuously moving towards the main story. An introduction of a boy named Kitamura Kou. Along the way he will encounter some trials and changes in life, facing it and surpassing these kinds of problems he’s encountering will be hard at start, but looking at the bright side might help him to keep moving. Finally, being a part of a baseball team is quite a change for him, but knowing that he got a talent from it, he strive to do better for his own will. After that, there is a girl who
is quite close to him or kind of an acquaintance of his named Tsukishima Aoba. At start it is quite funny, but when she is close to Kou it’s going to be quite an annoyance on her side. A story between baseball team and these two will fill up some nice entertainment and brings a kind of twist to the story as it moves along.
The main attraction here would be having a soft, light, and balance flow of events about the drama, comedy, romance, and most probably about baseball. It focuses on how to accomplish the trials and encounters the story gets. Fulfilling a dream as an individual, a team, or for other sake will be added as it became an interesting plot. Since it involves sports, giving such determination and willingness to perform well in a game may be attractive as they put such tension and thrill into it. The development of the story is good since it has 50 episodes to watch. They focus on the flow of the main and other characters in the story while giving also a great impact to the main arc itself. It is a kind of development that is done slowly, little by little, arc by arc. Also putting a comedy and drama scene to the story gives something else for the viewers to be entertained of, for which to avoid boredom.
Art & Animation...
The art & animation is great. The backgrounds, the sceneries, and other minor details on the story are surely detailed and have a radiant effect that appears on every episode of the series. As for the OP and ED theme, it definitely matches on the whole story itself. The characters are drawn in such a way that probably most children can appreciate, while it is animated based on its specific situation. All are well drawn and animated based on each scene which brings such nice feeling to the whole series.
A cheerful, lively, calm, and something deep BG music and sounds will be heard. It is a kind of sounds that surely bring pleasing effects throughout the story. Also both OP and ED songs here are something nice to hear as it gives soothing and attractive melody that is nicely suitable for the series.
The main characters in this series give a lot of entertainment and add some interesting plot to the story. These three main which are Aoba, Kou, and Yuuhei, they may have some similarity on their traits, but deep inside of them they have some unique traits to tell. And for the supporting and other characters that appears throughout the show, they made it complete as they give meaning, laughter and drama to the series.
It has a promising story to tell. A kind of anime that keeps you interested on the flow of the story. A story that gives something to laugh about and at the same time gives some drama to reminisce over. Adding such ideal art & animation to the story makes it truly fascinating; sounds that matches the theme and the traits of the characters that are nice to hear; and characters that supports the story makes it even worthy to watch.
On its concept and development of the story, it is nice to have as it has a well balanced atmosphere between sports, romance, and comedy. It is a series that includes such wonderful art that affects the overall image of the story, an animation that matches the traits and delivery of each character, and sounds that helps to add some feelings to the show. It’s quite a nice mix of these as they make a wonderful story to tell.