Senda's reputation changes a bit through the actions of Aoba and Ko's quick thinking.
What They Say
An unfriendly man comes to hit at the Tsukishima Batting Center. He hits homerun and homerun, and the other patrons are astonished. When a group of students come check out the high school, the homerun hitter is among them.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cross Game takes a nice little diversion at the start of this episode as it has Ko and Aoba foiling a burglary when they see something amiss from the train. It's a straightforward situation that you have a hard time believing kids would get involved in, but through the efforts of both they take down a knife-wielding burglar, though both of them disappear from the scene before they can be given credit for it. Senda's there though and sees everything that happens, even has his life threatened by the burglar, and ends up taking the credit for what happened, though he's still in shock about the whole thing. The moment is short overall, but it makes it clear what kind of people both Aoba and Ko are.
Life goes on though and the general flow of the series at this stage is still about building things when it comes to the team that's envisioned. Ko's continuing to do his batting practice on a regular basis, though it seems like he's doing it more to get the prize socks than anything else. Aoba's working hard at the family business where she gets to one-up Ko a bit by pointing out someone came in to practice and completely obliterated his record. He doesn't seem to care too much though and instead sympathizes with the stranger over the fact that Aoba is quite the bratty girl, something that earns him yet another slap from Aoba. Between working there and working at the café portion itself, Aoba has a kind of personality that's fun to watch at times but could be problematic in the long run. She's a good kid but there's a chip there that's difficult to deal with on a regular basis.
Pieces of the past are brought into the show again as well as we see a little more of the fight that broke out with Nakanishi and the other players which resulted in him getting out of the team. Akaishi is trying to draw him back in since he sees so much talent in Ko and he knows that Nakanishi is a key part of that as well. Akaishi's method of drawing in Ko is interesting as he plays the Wakaba angle pretty delicately by talking about the dreams she had for Ko and getting him to pitch for him, letting him show off exactly what he can do even though Ko doesn't think he's a great pitcher or anything. It's a good motivation piece and one that Ko is up for, though I think he sees it as a pretty transparent thing. Akaishi is really turning into an intriguing character for me since he's the strong silent type, but he knows when to break his silence and say the important things.
With the show having fifty episodes to work through, the pacing is spot on here as it is slowly building out the cast of characters and the way their relationships work, especially since several aren't actively playing on the team (yet). The one that I'm enjoying the most is watching how Aoba and Ko get along since there's that bit of tension there. Both of them keep remembering the past at different times so we see more of how they were when they were younger and when Wakaba was alive and that's very much coloring the tenor of their relationship in the present. At this stage, I'm really liking all the characters and the generally realistic approach to the game itself outside of the sudden arrival of several very skilled junior high school players. There's a lot to like here and I'm savoring every second of it.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.