Ogata Natsuki is the best player on the Kakuchi Junior High Basketball Team. Which is not saying much because they couldn't even get through the 3rd round of the Prefectural Tournament from freshman year until the end of Junior High. For High School, his friends convince him to try out for the Number One High School Basketball team, Fujiwara Academy. So he goes to live with his aunt who runs a hot springs resort to go and try out for the best. Fujiwara Academy.
The thing is...he's small. So people look down on him and he has trouble convincing people he's any good. Through one thing or the other, he ends up with Tachibana Mitsuki watching her school, St. Mariannu High go up against Fujiwara Academy in a practice game. But the thing is, St. Mariannu is very weak. Weaker than even his former school. Fujiwara is just toying with them and now they don't even want to finish the game. What will happen now? Will Natsuki ever be able to achieve his dreams of being High School Basketball's Number 1? And will it be with Fujiwara?
Cross Over is a fairly well made manga created by the same Mangaka as the one who brought us Suzuka. It is kind of like a mix of Slam Dunk and Suzuka. It has the sports theme of Slam Dunk therefore you should expect lots of well drawn forms of shoting, rebounding etc. and the ecchiness and art of Suzuka. Although having said that, this manga is not exactly as good as either of the two titles and this is a big deal coming from a fan of Kouji Seo's.
Story: The story really isn't anything new, this manga is about basketball with a little romance
and lots of ecchi scenes mixed in. The hero of the story Ogata Natsuki is relatively small up and coming basketball star wannabe and his goal is to defeat the no. 1 team in the prefecture by joining a weak team and making it stronger while at the same time having love interests with at least a couple of girls including their team manager and a chearleader.
Art: The art is very wellmade and this is no surpirse because Kouji Seo is the one who made this, however there is something missing in the artwork here, for instance some of the players are 190-200cm yet you don't really notice this unlike in Slam Dunk where the big players really do feel like giants. There are some nice effects mixed in here especially on scenes where the players like like they are running through a brick wall (figuratively speaking) and the girls here are prety damn hot (Very curvy wink wink ;>).
Character: Here's the part that bothered me the most, for one thing the Americans in this manga are depicted as a racist society because there are a lot of moments where they understimate the Japanese people with comments like "I knew a person raised in Japan like you is useless in basketball" or something like that. Another thing that really pissed me off is their team center because despite being 200+ cm tall he is extremely frustrating because he refuses to be a good center and his reason for doing so is absolutely GAY! Finally theres the other teams, pretty much the only teams that are given decent character development are Sain Mariannu (The hero's team) and Fujiwara or Fujihara academy (Depending on the translation, this is the team St. Mariannu wants to beat)
Having hit rockbottom theres no way else to go but up and we go to the good part of the characters. Perhaps the best thing about the characters is that they are drawn nicely especially the girls... Each person also has a unique personality and I personally liked the dirty scumbag as well as the chearleaders nad their manager (looks very similar to Suzuka Asahina).
Enjoyment: This manga shouldn't be taken too seriously (You'll understand). If you're looking for a basketball manga with the same level of adrenaline pumping excitement like Slam Dunk then you're going to be a little disappointed, the action here seems to be one sided where the best shots are made by the hero's team and the fine plays made by the opposing team just won't make you go OOH! and AAH! as when Sendoh or Sawakita of Slam Dunk does it (both Sendoh and Sawakita are from rival teams of the main characters). There are some funny moments here but there are also cliche moments too.
Overall: as a fan of Slam Dunk, Suzuka and Kouji Seo's this manga falls a little short of my expectations. Regardless this manga is still pretty solid and is still worth reading (Well maybe for most people until the training camp part), it still has a lot of good things going for it.
It's hard to explain the feeling I got when I read Cross Over... There is a energy put into every page that made me smile and cry and laugh, and that was why I just loved to read this manga!
First I thought "Hey, just another sports manga", but the amazing thing is that it IS just another sports manga with so much more.
The story is quite ordinary, but as I mentioned earlier I really got captured in the mood and couldn't help myself but get dragged in to what is happening. It's all about the power of team mates and sticking together in their try
to reach a common goal, and the spirit of the characters is amazing. Actually it was the charachters that made me give this an "overall 10", they just feel so real. In some manga, many of the characters are "over the top" and leaves you with a feeling of Im-the-greatest-and-most-beaytiful that makes them unreal, but in Cross Over they seem like you could meet them on the street. You get to learn about the characters as the story progresses, and it feels wonderful to see them evolve. One thing I did notice was that even though the St Mariannu team and some of the cheerleaders were well described, most of the other teams just seem like one person with the same style and the same thoughts (not everyone, but overall).
The art maybe isn't the most outstanding or complicated, but it fits the story and express the mood and feelings that is described. If it's something the mangaka needs to work on it's environment, but even the background is really good.
Cross Over is definitly a great manga that fits both boys and girls in many different ages!
Sometimes, a good manga can take a subject you have no interest in and still make it fun and interesting. Does Cross Over do that for basketball? Not really.
Most of you are probably familiar with the now infamous Kouji Seo (lol, Fuuka) due to his other popular romance series such as Suzuka and Kimi no Iru Machi. Cross Over differs from those two in that there's a much larger emphasis on sports. Romance isn't at the forefront of this manga. (Don't worry, though--there are still plenty of ecchi scenes for all the fanservice lovers.)
The story is pretty standard for a sports manga. It's an
underdog story, and I'm sure you've seen similar stories in plenty of other series. An unoriginal story isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course--there are plenty of series with unoriginal stories that still manage to be entertaining and fun. However, the biggest problem with Cross Over's story is that it shifts focus in the last three or four volumes. I won't spoil anything, but this shift in focus really takes away a lot of the momentum that builds in the beginning of the story for the sake of some cheap drama. It also causes this manga to drag a bit more than it should, which is sad considering that it's only seven volumes long.
The best part of this manga is undoubtedly its artwork. Kouji Seo is a talented artist. The basketball scenes are drawn really well, and they're easy to follow. The characters are also drawn well, and I really enjoyed their designs. And yes, there is a short-haired love interest of sorts, as there always is in Kouji Seo fashion.
The characters are pretty standard for shounen manga. The protagonist wants to be the best, blah, blah, blah--you know the drill. The protagonist still manages to be somewhat likable despite that, but the same can't be said for the some of his teammates. There are some teammates who are, how do I say this, annoying douche bags. I believe the mangaka's intention was to leave room for some character development, and, to be fair, some character development does come as the story progresses. However, due to the shift in story focus, some of the character development just makes you think, "Oh, my god, who freaking cares?"
Did I enjoy my time with Cross Over? Sure. The most enjoyable parts of the manga are probably the basketball games. (You would sure hope so when this manga is centered completely around basketball.) They aren't anything spectacular, but they are entertaining. This manga does have its fair share of boring bits, though. It also gets pretty frustrating to read near the end due to the story's shift in focus.
Overall, Cross Over isn't great. It's not bad, but it's not great. If you love Kouji Seo's works and want to read everything he's done, then this might be worth your time. If you're looking for an exciting, riveting sports manga, however, this probably won't do much for you.
If you are an avid basketball fan or you simply enjoy watching sports anime, then this article is for you. Learn how different anime shows and manga portray different aspects of basketball, what is their focus and why you should check them out.