I think this was the calm before the storm. After this episode, it’s just going to be gasshuku and tournament. I’ve said this many times before, but I think that it’s after this that this series is going to get less interesting again, simply because the baseball in this series has always been inferior to its slice of life.
In a way this episode felt different from the previous ones. It seemed much more… focused. It picked out various couples of characters, and pushed their relationships a bit further, rather than the more random pacing of the usual Cross Game episodes. We have Kou and Akaishi, Aoba and that female baseball player who made her return, et cetera. It all was about preparing for the upcoming tournament, and getting mentally ready, while the second years kept fantasizing about what would happen as soon as the third years would leave.
Overall it was a very enjoyable episode despite its slightly different style. At this point, there are nine episodes left. At this point I’m not expecting anything of this series anymore: it has already showed off its best for me. For the baseball part, I’m just looking to be entertained. I know that if I’m going to take the baseball games too seriously, I’ll just end up comparing them endlessly to Touch, whose matches granted were much more superior than what we’ve seen here. For me, this show has already been a success. And if it does manage to get the baseball matches right, then that’s just a nice extra.
Rating: ** (Excellent)