Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

2 May 2009: Cross Game is a baseball anime that's not really about baseball

Aoba and Ko
Aoba disavows any affection for Ko.

I was hesitant about starting another baseball anime when I've already got the second half of the fifth season of Major leading my Spring 2009 rankings, but Cross Game is quite good in its own right. It's not quite as cruel as Major, but it does pitch inside, if you understand what I mean. Through four episodes, there's not a whole lot of baseball yet, but what play is shown is realistic, and Aoba's instincts for the game are very natural. The second episode also features a runner almost getting thrown out at first for Cadillacing. In my view, it's these little details executed naturally that give the baseball sequences credibility.

Ko, the cat, and the Tsukima sisters
Ko, Nomo (the cat), and the Tsukishima sisters issue TV caveats.

But Cross Game isn't really about baseball—at least not yet. So far it's about relationships. There have been two baseball games so far, and each has lasted less than a third of an episode. In contrast, every baseball game in Major takes about three episodes apiece. As far as the relationship aspects go, I think everyone in the show is a little too hung up on Wakaba, when the real star is the sort of homely but very athletic middle sister, Aoba.

Aoba changes her shirt.

Aoba is tsun-tsun, if you must break it down this way, and will be predictably dere-dere at the end of the season, I'm sure. But the tsun aspects are delivered well in that Aoba and Ko are still childhood friends who are evidently comfortable around each other despite Aoba's open hostility. For example, despite professing to despise Ko, Aoba doesn't make him leave the room when she changes her shirt in the second episode; neither of them think anything of it. (He turns his back.)

Senda and Aoba
Don't eat at Clover when Aoba cooks.

Actually, to tell you the truth, the real real star of Cross Game is the Clover batting center/diner. Were there such an establishment near me, I would blow so much money there. I want one of those sideways-heart/cloverleaf t-shirts, too, but I'll settle for some home run socks. HOME RUN SOCKS! I'm so there.

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