Six episodes left, and Seishu’s baseball team has reached the best four, which means that only two baseball matches need to be played. Oh, let’s hope that this will mean a ton of slice of life in order to fill up most of the time, rather than dragging these final two matches on for more than an episode (although this will probably happen for at least that final match).
This episode though was wonderful. I think it was one of the only Cross Game episodes that played its drama straight, and talk about contrast! It really showed the development between Kou and Aoba, which has been subtle but present. In the past number of episodes, Aoba has finally realized completely that Kou has surpassed her. She’s gotten more and more intimidated by him, even when this episode showed that she still can exactly see where his technique needs work.
In contrast, Akaishi’s development was a lot less subtle, and I don’t even think that it classifies as development. It’s simply that Akane has gotten to the hospital, and he’s so worried about her that he starts making stupid errors. It’s more a sign that he’s crawling out of his shell: Kou and Aoba helped each other move past Wakaba’s death. Akaishi had nobody, so that’s why he wasn’t as strong as these two to let his worries affect his performance.
Aside from that, the baseball match was great because the creators actually didn’t try to shallowly create fake tension by having everything decided by the final pitch. That’s also my biggest fear for the final episode. Because seriously, I’m betting my hat that the series is going to end with that kind of plot device. Touch is the only baseball series that I’ve seen that actually did it right. Aside from that it’s all too forced even though apart from that most other baseball series tend to be excellent.
Rating: ** (Excellent)