Anime Reviews

The quietness of Cross Game

Kou, Cross Game

When writing about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I noted that I think it’s great because it has moments of exciting, fluid animation. I realise that’s a fairly superficial thing to say, but I think it’s true, too, and now, as if to immediately contradict myself, I’m going to write about Cross Game.
This doesn’t have great animation, but it’s probably going to be one of my favourite series of 2009, because a delightful story is always delightful, regardless of medium, and because I’m really into these characters. This has nothing to do with being swept up by some soapy drama or romance or whatever, rather, I like it because it’s understated.
Cross Game is a quiet series, so quiet you can hear the wind breezing through fallen leaves and hear the snow crunching underfoot. At its centre is Kou and Aoba; there is no blurting out of their feelings or forced confessions of love, everything remains unsaid, unrealised, with just a moment of hesitation here and a shy glance there.
Their feelings are protected, hidden even from themselves. They have a determination about them, yet seem introspective; they remember things, tiny, stupid, important, vital things, like we all do, before clamming up again. It’s sweet to watch them blunder through uncomfortable situations, but reassuring, too. I think we’ve all been there, spent a lot of time observing people and watched as the days draw into night. Life can be so understated, and such is Cross Game, it’s so quiet.

8 replies on “The quietness of Cross Game”

I agree with you about Cross Game. It’s a great series one of my favorites in a long time. And although it might not have the best animation, I have to admit I love the character designs. It has a very nostalgic feel to it.
As for the characters it feels like every week i am hanging out with old friends, if that makes sense.

I have one (and only one) problem with Cross Game: lately, too many characters have been emotionally insightful. The little girl is insightful. The stoic guy is insightful. The tough guy is insightful. Hell, everyone knows what’s going on except Tatsuya Kou and Aoba. Even the cat.

Well, I wouldn’t agree about the cat. His job is apparently to get a closeup and say “mauw” once an episode. Not to disparage him; he does it very well.
This show just breezes cheerfully along and nothing is overplayed. Even the tense moments of baseball have a breezy feel to it, which meant that that one game took three episodes to play, but was never boring. I find it almost astonishing that they pull it off. I don’t know if I’ll make it my top series of the year, but it’s right up there.

As Kim said. Watching Cross Game makes me feel like I’m actually friends/buddies with the characters, and getting to know them takes a whole lot of meaning given that context. And I love how everything unfolds naturally in Cross Game, the comedic antics, the romance, the whole ‘baseball experience’… slice of life at its best, definitely 🙂

Hate to be original but I agree about feeling very close with the characters. I think that this is the strongest cast this year, every single interaction between them is captivating, I never lose interest through an entire episode. I hope that the series can mantain this quality to the end, because it would definitely jump into my favourites list. No complaints about the character designs from me, either.

@Kim & Theowne
Yeah, it’s never a burden to watch Cross Game, and to be honest, I’m so caught up in the characters that I don’t even notice whether or not the animation is bad, I guess it was just a nice point of comparison to make against a more visceral series like FMA; obviously, some anime only needs good writing, the rest takes care of itself.
I think this is just something you’ll always get with Adachi anime. It’s like shonen action with the way the weaker characters are often reduced to dramatically commentating from the sidelines; quite often it’s just a sneaky way of explaining the plot!
On the other hand, what if these characters really are that clever? I suppose that could happen, however unlikely it may seem, so I’ll give my man Adachi the benefit of the doubt!
@Peter S
I’ll be offseting the future baseball episodes by watching them in batches. At the best of times I’m really frustrated when an episode ends, let alone when it’s mid-game and full of plot twists.
Anyway, I think ‘breeze’ is a fine way to describe the feeling one gets from watching, I really like how it places nature and quietness to emphasize the slow, nostalgic beauty of every-day life.
I never really thought about how it “unfolds naturally” but that’s spot-on, I think. The tiny scenes are quite revealing, like how the presence of the new boy in Aoba’s house forces her to start living differently, for example, when she checks that the hallway is clear before walking across; it’s precisely these little touches of human nature that add so much nuisance and personality to the characters.

Cross Game feels a lot like Mushishi or Kino no Tabi in its pacing. Stuff happens, sometimes a lot, but it unfolds like a blossom in the morning sun. I’m always in the mood for Cross Game. I actually fine myself anticipating the next episode more than the next chapter of One Piece! One of the things I find amazing about Cross Game is that it can actually get me excited! Excited like the some of best shonen anime, but it does it at a very low decibel level. Great series!

It’s great to read your comment as a fellow One Piece fan, may be something these two share is that natural rapport between the characters? It’s been noted above how it’s really easy to feel as you ‘know’ the characters in Cross Game and I definitely get a similar vibe from One Piece; I could watch them all day long, just bantering between themselves and cracking jokes.

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