Posted by psgels on 28 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Cross Game




It’s easy to dismiss Cross Game as a baseball series, but make no mistake. This is much more a slice of life series about characters who just happen to play a lot of baseball. Cross Game is much more a tale of growing up, with a healthy dose of humour along the way. And it does this oh so well.

Seriously, in terms of slice of life, you can hardly get any better than this. The seemingly endless amount of wit with which the writers spice up the daily lives is incredible, and they love to play with this. Whenever you see a character do something seemingly out-of-character, there’s always some sort of very logical explanation behind this.Think about a character making an important confession at first sight, only to reveal that he’s talking about something completely different. The entire series is chock-ful of these moments that have a ton of fun playing with the characters in this way.

Obviously this gives the show an awesome cast to work with. We see them grow up through the series, from when they’re still small children to their third year in high school. As a viewer we really get to know who they are, and because of that the slice of life works so well: these characters rock right from the first episode of this series, so it becomes a really enjoyable ride to just see what they’re doing in their everyday lives.

The problem with this series is, in fact, the baseball, for multiple reasons. First of all, the slice of life is just that good. Every time a baseball match started, I felt like something was missing, and just kept hoping that they would wrap up as soon as possible in order to get more of the quiet moments in this series. That, and the baseball matches aren’t that good anyway. Especially when you compare them to other series, they’re poorly built up, hand together with cliches and the teams that our lead characters match against are hardly ever fleshed out properly. There’s no tension in them, and all you’re doing is waiting for them to finish.

Cross Game is based on a manga by Mitsuru Adachi, who pretty much can only write one type of series, but he can do that incredibly well. Cross Game is the same, and although I do prefer Touch (due to its longer length and because it did have excellent baseball matches, despite its lack of wit in the slice of life department), Cross Game nevertheless is excellent and its execution is one of a kind.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Wonderfully witty in its portrayal of the characters’ daily lives. Baseball matches suck, though.
Characters: 10/10 – Take perhaps a bit long to develop, but a lot of the cast members end up well rounded at the end of the series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Nothing special, asice from a good soundtrack perhaps.
Setting: 8/10 – Not a fan of the way it portrayed baseball, but did a good job of the high school setting.

10 Responses

  1. shirokiryuu says:

    I never finished Touch, but I kinda felt H2’s ending was more complete than Cross Games. But the subtlely of Cross Game’s ending was nice, and I liked the characters much more. (Aoba’s better than most Adachi heroines)

  2. thomas says:

    I didn’t mind the baseball matches as much as you (perhaps because this is the first “baseball anime” I’ve watched?) but I did much prefer the slice of life, it was so good. And I would’ve totally watched this if it kept going for another 50 episodes. What a lovely ending, and this anime’s highly recommended. I gave it an “Excellent” on ANN, or 9/10.

  3. Watcherzero says:

    I was left a little dissapointed, the confession was well done, the pitch was left ambigious and it didnt feel wrapped up to me. However that could reflect its slice of life in that as in real life a story wont just be wrapped up completley and have a definitive end.

    However I like my anime to have just that kind of end as it makes it so much easier to move onto the next. With an ambigious or unconcluded ending your left wondering for days what really happened, or how it could have ended if the anime had been allowed to finish instead of being cut short.

  4. riddle says:

    best slice of life i watched. first base ball anime i watch not a big fan of sports anime. and this anime receives a well rounded 9.9/10 for me. the final ending was well done, not over the top and had a sense of finality.

  5. kriyn says:

    Cross Game is the only anime after Vision of Escaflowne that captured my heart and not just my emotions. And your insightful recaps and reviews made a wonderful companion for this journey.

    My heartfelt thanks.

    At the end of this series, I was in a long distance phone call to my younger series. I was mildly incoherent since I just saw KouXAoba hug and hold hands within the span of 15 minutes. So all I could shout across the phone was “It’s such a great anime because it’s about awesome stuff in life like youth, friendship, love and family”. To which, my sister replied, “Er… isn’t that what ALL shounen manga is about”.

    Which made me realize that Cross Game is groundbreaking because in this age of entertainment, it goes back to the heart. It’s about life and real people. And that’s awesome. And really brave.

  6. Nichokiu says:

    You know Psgels, I, like many, many others really really love this blog. Not only because it has by far one of the largest and best anime reviews, but because you really bring to light so many brilliant anime out there that would have fallen under our radar if it weren’t for you.

    This is just another anime like Toward the Terra, Phantom, Tokyo Magnitude etc etc. It’s another anime that I absolutely adore, and even though I’m only at episode 35, I just know it will be heartbreaking at the end of the anime, because it is so good, and it will take a while before I really get so immersed in such a great anime again.

    So I say thank you psgels, really love your blog, really love your reviews, it really has given so much more fun, excitement and happiness for many people out there like me, who would not have enjoyed such great anime if it weren’t for you!

  7. I just read cross game manga end that so fun

  8. Diasen says:

    Cross game getting the same score as touch? Well not that I don’t agree with you, material wise touch is much better, but it loses out adaptation wise. Cross game is a much much better adaptation. Even the fillers were interesting. On the other hand, touch was an awful adaptation.

  9. mdv says:

    yeh yeh Nichokiu speaks the truth

  10. J says:

    I only watched this anime due to this review and loved it so very much. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:32 AM)
    If a series wants to be sophisticated about complex concepts like war and conflict, then it has to presuppose the fact that it is part of human nature. Resources are limited, and even aside from that, greed exists. There is no way to take out a few head figures to stop a war- there will be a vacuum that will almost immediately be filled by a similar, if not worse, individual. A world “where no one cries” or suffers, or dies, etc, cannot exist as long as we have free will.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:26 AM)
    F/SN delved into this deeply with the Shirou/Archer dichotomy, but then it pussied out at the decisive moment. Archer was right, his arguments made perfect sense, yet the arrogant naive Shirou had to pull thru by sheer will alone, and a vague hope and promise that he’ll find a way somehow. I swear, I’m not sure if Nasu gave in to pressure to make a so-called “good prevails” ending, or that he honestly believes in it. Looking at his material, I’ll bet on the former.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:22 AM)
    hehe … that’s why you don’t get me started on Eva or Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:20 AM)
    It also delved into the depth of what a desperate goodie-two-shoes people-pleaser protagonist would actually be like, and the reception he would get from his peers, specially the women. That alone right there was a deconstruction of the majority of shonen main characters.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.

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