Studio : SynergySP
Length : 50 Episodes
Year : 2009
Genre : Romance - Drama - Sports
Ko Kitamura is the son of the owner of Kitamura Sports. Just a few buildings down the road lives Wakaba Tsukishima, daughter of the owners of the Tsukishima Batting Center. Both were born on the same day, in the same hospital, and grow up to become close friends to the point where Wakaba's sister, Aoba, becomes very jealous of Ko. As Ko and Wakaba plan how to spend their summer together, an accident at summer camp will change their lives forever.
Added : 2009-04-06
Synopsis by : AJtheFourth
Last update : 2011-10-19
Last update details : Production staff added to studd
Score : 10
Number of reviews : 4
Official #1 : TV Tokyo's Cross Game Website (Japanese)
A-Source #1 : AJtheFourth's Spotlight Preview
OP1 : Kobukuro - Summer Rain
ED1 : Ayaka - Koikogare te Mita Yume
ED2 : SQUAREHOOD - Orange Days
ED3 : Tsuru - Moeru you na Koi ja Nai Kedo
ED4 : Natsuko Kondo - Rehearsal
2010-05-17 -- Episode(s) 45 by ANBU. BT Link
2010-05-16 -- Episode(s) 44 by ANBU. BT Link
2010-05-16 -- Episode(s) 43 by ANBU. BT Link
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Posted by : leoxjm
Posted on : 2011-10-19
Originally, I had fairly good expectatios of Cross Game. The first few episodes are solid, touching, and a fitting overture for a great narrative. I didn't really expect it got so much better. Series like this don't appear very often; at least not for me.
Cross Game is, at heart, the love story of its 3 most important characters, a very special love/hate triangle between Ko, Aoba and Wakaba; the way they grow up, cope with their grief and other mixed feelings, and aim to fulfill their dreams. It is a beautifully presented tale at that. It is simply not possible to give enough props to series creator Adachi for coming up with such a touching story. The characters are great and very humane, the kind you'd come across in the street and not look at them twice. Not heroic, not magical, not superhuman... just people, living their lives with themselves and with each other. These relationships and the process of their growth is what just keeps viewers coming back for more. it is simply enthralluing how these mundane effects afect these mundane people in their mundane lives, and how they still strive to fulfill a dream that is precious to them.
While baseball is an important element in the series, it isn't THE key element; it is not a series about animated baseball games or somesuch. The burden is placed on the characters and their relations with each other. As such the "sports" element may be both its gratest strength and its greatest weakness. On the one hand, it provides an excelent element for setting up struggles, adversities, the need to overcome them, and a fertile ground for love and friendship. On the other hand, the sport remains pervasive enough that people with no knowledge of baseball, much less any interest in it, might be put off by it. However given how the real thrust of the story are the characters, I think the game is not only used adeqyçuately to move the story forward. It is used masterfully.
The series isn't quite as flashy or visually provocative as many others in recent memory. The original author's simple style, however, translates beautifully for animation, is an excellent fit for the narrative and the characters, and is simply animated very well. The visual representation of the show is elegant in its simplicity. The animation isn't groundbreaking, but it is done in a way that helps the seriers, as a whole, deliver its message. Since that is what it should be all about, the studio's and animator's work deserves nothing but praise. Same goes for the background music, which does not stand out either, yet is always adequate for the moment. The series' voice actors perform excellenty as weall, and further bring the characters to life.
It is worth noting that I can't rememeber the last time I saw a series this long keep its opening sequence pretty much intact throughout its entire run. While there are a few changes in the animated sequence, the music remains the same throughout. While Summer Rain is not really a favorite of mine, it was also a nice fit for the show. The ending themes and animated sequences, on the other hand, change after about 12 episodes each, but I guess that par for the course.
I simply cannot recommend this series enough to people who don't absolutely hate the very notion of Baseball, although at least some knowledge of the game is probably required to really enjoy it. Nevertheless, the true jewel of the series is the narrative centered around the colorful and attractive characters, each and every one of them relatable or understandable in their own way. Cross Game surely belongs among the best anime series ever created. I don't usually give out 10/10 scores easily, but this series deserves every single point it gets. Simply amazing.
Posted by : Lightningcount12
Posted on : 2010-05-28
Story (10/10): Cross Game sports strong emotion through its drama, romance, and baseball. The story sets up several potential relationships to keep the romantic angle on equal footing with the baseball. There is definitely a lingering sense of sadness that the story beautifully preserves for the two main characters to lift above. Cross Game also does a really good job with serious comedy as you become familiar with everyone’s personality. The Cross Game anime follows the manga almost perfectly; the only filler is a minor part about the heroine, Aoba, playing girl’s baseball. I did not appreciate the compact ending as much as the more drawn-out manga; furthermore, there was one chapter at the end of the manga that was cut; this may not have had a large impact on the story but I felt it was a very touching moment to show Ko’s growth throughout the story. But the end still comes together beautifully.
Characters (10/10): I find myself rooting for everyone in the main cast. I loved the fact that none of the young characters acted angst, making the audience feel angst, when handling all of the romantic angles. It is nice to have a romantic anime storyline without the characters acting over-the-top dramatic. The foes-turned-friends, Akaishi and Asuma, were great has calming, strong characters, even when faced with their respective conflicts of inferiority and guilt. Momiji was a comedic joy with her smart comments and mischievous attitude. But the show is stolen by the two leads, Ko and Aoba, and probably one of the most significant characters to play a limited role, Wakaba. Wakaba was a powerful character from the moment she enters the screen, displaying a perfect balance of kindness, calmness, and a stern attitude. Despite being a powerful and somewhat reckless pitcher, Ko kept a steady appearance, and thankfully controlled his emotions, even when they clearly weighed down on him; this is much harder to pull off than having an angst, overemotional male teen lead, a trait Ko stays far away from. His comedic moments also make him as witty as Momiji. Finally, there is the heroine Aoba, the tomboy tsundere. Cross Game casts her as a rough girl who is supposed to be very attractive; and Aoba successfully conveys her attractiveness through her dominating personality. Her relationship with Ko continually waivers between comedic and sad due to the nature of their past and the similarities in personality neither wants to admit. Because this relationship between Ko and Aoba is the cornerstone of Cross Game, in conjunction with the baseball, I was able to enjoy the show at the highest level.
Animation (8/10): The character designs help make everyone feel real. In the age of crisp, brightly-colored, pretty boy designs, the basic look of these baseball players and working class Japanese is welcome. The little-known studio, SynergySP, did a great job with background. I really felt like I was setting foot in a Japanese prefect. The baseball fields all had that rough look to them, which made me really feel like “this is baseball.” Most impressive, was the scenery in the woods with the running rivers, conveying the crushing danger and disaster posed by rushing water in Cross Game. It may not appeal visually to the younger audiences, but this more traditional look felt right.
Music (8/10): I cannot remember the last time a 50 episode anime used the same OP from start to finish. While Summer Rain never reached the point of me constantly re-listening to it, the song also never wore thin. The EDs were all melodramatic; the first, Heartfelt Dream, is almost tear jerking, really fleshing out the sadness that ensues at the start. My favorite ED is the catchy 4th, Rehearsal. The final ending song is a soft tune that winds down the end, and you will want to hear more. A weak point of the show, though, is the lack of insert music that really stands-out; although, the sound really helps emphasize the tranquil, dangerous, and tense moments.
Entertainment (10/10): Cross Game is about as good as it gets with anime story and characterization. It might not jump out visually, but the entire production provides so much emotion, it becomes easy to fall in love with this show and its main characters. I loved how baseball here was not overblown to generate excitement. There were no special baseball powers or extraordinary feats. Ko just happened to possess raw baseball talent, and he worked hard to acquire and hone those skills; furthermore, I found it interesting that his weakness was endurance, which is usually the complete opposite of many male lead roles, in sports and action shows. Also, I was glad that the primary rival was a cool, skilled baseball player, who did not have some dark past where he had to be saved through the main character’s baseball. Cross Game’s, do I dare again say, realism helps weed out unnecessary clichés. My only huge complaint with Cross Game are the quizzes at the beginning of many episodes. I really those are for little kids, but come on! Some of those questions just insulted the intelligence of any 4 year olds who might be watching. One question: “Who is the ace pitcher for Seishu [the school where the main cast attends]?” How does anyone not know the name and position of the main character 20 some episodes into the show?
I would recommend that EVERYONE watch Cross Game. I find it hard to believe that unless someone utterly despises baseball and romance, they cannot enjoy this masterpiece. Cross Game is one of the premiere series of 2009, a fantastic year for anime.
Posted by : AJtheFourth
Posted on : 2010-04-13
Cross Game is an amazing anomaly in today's anime production in that it's seemingly created for nothing more than the viewer's pure enjoyment. It's not going to sell toys or merchandise, and it offers no fanservice value. It wasn't designed to promote the manga Cross Game although that is where the majority of the story comes from. There's no manipulating someone into liking Cross Game it simply happens because of the story's excellent progression and character development.
Based on the manga by Mitsuru Adachi (who also brought us Touch, Rough, H2, Katsu, and others) the most amazing thing about Cross Game could possibly be that the storyline is very close to several of his other works without ever seeming stale. It follows the adventures of Kou Kitamura, and his relationship with the four Tsukishima sisters: Ichiyo, Wakaba, Aoba, and Momiji. After the first few episodes you can already see where the story is going; however the character development is so superior that this doesn't affect your enjoyment of the series at all. As with any Adachi story there's always two center plots, the romantic one, and the sports one. In Cross Game they effortlessly blend together, thanks to the excellent characterization of our two leads: Kou Kitamura and Aoba Tsukishima. The side characters are all well-developed and add a lot to the story, especially Akaishi and Azuma.
The character designs are all Adachi, and this may bother some, as there's nothing fancy or particularly attractive about them by today's high animation standards. The animation itself is standard and transitions from scene to scene fairly well, but won't blow anyone away with its technical merit. It doesn't have to, because the characters and story more than make up for anything supposedly lacking in the animation department. As for other production values, the background music adds a lot to various scenes throughout the story, and the opening, 'Summer Rain,' is a relaxing reintroduction to the characters each and every week.
Overall, I would recommend that this anime be watched by anyone and everyone. It remembers what brought most fans to anime in the first place: an engaging story and characters. 10/10
Posted by : fellcleave
Posted on : 2010-04-08
WoW...just...wow... absolutely everything I love in an anime all slammed together into 50 episodes of sheer epicness. I've seen nearly quite a few anime in my day, and this one is most definetly my favorite.
Nearly every episode develops a rich plot and characters. So much of this anime is predictable, but there are several points at which you'll be incredibly surprised. The anime uses a great deal of symbolism and uses other tactics to enrich and enhance the show. A somewhat tragic story in it's own way, with a breathtaking ending that I would suggest to anyone who has ever watched anime.
Every character is well defined and well portrayed from the first few episodes. The characters themselves go hand in hand with the plot, predictable, but they'll definitely surprise you. The romance between the characters can be frustrating, since there's so many possibilites of who could end up with who. However, by the end of the anime, the relationships are clear, and even the surprising traits of the characters are interesting.
Beautiful animation from episode one to fifty. While the character styling wasn't exactly in my taste, the expressions and the way the characters move as they play is fantastic.
The BGM blends in artfully with the scene, making the dramatic scenes ones that put you at the edge of your seat. The opening and closing songs are magnificent, and go perfectly with the theme and story of the anime.
Anyone reading this review and wondering whether it's good to watch, I can guarentee that you'll at least find it interesting, if not brilliant. In my opinion, it's similar to Eyeshield 21, with more depth, realism, romance, and alot less filler episodes. The sports aspect of the anime is flawlessly weaved into the story and the characters, making each game a climax of its own. Definitely one I'll be re-watching.
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