Cross Game Episode #05 (of 50) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Release Date: Saturday, May 02, 2009

A little domestic bliss never hurt anyone, right?

What They Say
Aoba tries to make porridge for Momiji, but then Ko proceeds to skillfully prepare some food for Momiji, and the three of them end up spending New Year's Eve together. And then, the cherry blossoms bloom and...

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ko's training continues on as Akaishi wants to utilize him as a secret weapon for when they hit high school and Ko is going along with it fairly well. He's still not sure about his own abilities and is questioning it somewhat regularly but as he sees that Nakanishi is also standing behind Akaishi on this, he's starting to get the picture. The push to put together Koshien-level teams starts early and Akaishi sees Ko as a big part of it as he starts figuring out who they'll end up with come high school. There's an amusing piece where the trio head to a high school field during New Years break to try it out and they're spotted by the actual coach, who treats it as a bit of a dream to see such a practice. A nice hint of things to come.

Cross Game plays up the domestic side nicely as well as New Years Eve is off to a bad start as Aoba's grandmother has a fever, so her older sister and her father head off to help out there. At the same time. Momiji isn't feeling well either so Aoba is staying there to help take care of her. Ko's long history with the family has him all too aware of the grandmother since he used to go with them to see her and he's certainly sympathetic. Amusingly, he's asked to check in on Aoba and Momiji and that eventually turns into Momiji insisting he spend the night there. Ko and Aoba are very cute to watch together as she's got that simmering anger going on and can't even do the most basic of things with him around without going that route. The two are still so young that watching their most basic emotions and uncertainties worn on their sleeves like this is very charming.

What continues to be interesting with Cross Game is that Ko really comes across as a nice guy overall with no serious faults to be found other than a slight lack of confidence in his abilities. The time he's spent with Aoba's family over the years, because of Wakaba initially of course, has him feeling very close to them even as Aoba pushes him away regularly. The time he spends with Momiji here during her illness is very endearing to watch and even Aoba starts to recognize that. What makes it worse for her is that she remembers when she was being taken care of by Wakaba and can't see herself in the same light when she takes care of Momiji. It all spirals on her even worse because she does see how well Ko is with her and that aggravates her for all sorts of reasons.

In Summary:
There's very little in terms of baseball going on here, though we get a few pitches here and there as Ko continues to train under Akaishi's slightly intense regimen. Mostly what we get here is the continued strengthening of the family bonds that definitely have their hold on Ko since he's been a part of that family for so long. The way we see both Ko and Aoba interact here is really very charming as it's reminiscent of real childhoods and that age from my own memories and how things were with friends and those I was interested in but not really aware of. The relationship between Ko and Aoba is one that you want to see bloom, because Ko really is that great guy and you want to see Aoba relax on the problems she has with the loss of her sister and hope that Ko is the one that can help her with that pain. A very solid character episode so early in the series that works very well.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cross Game