Sometimes the pot does call the kettle black without realizing that they're really the same.
What They Say
Aoba feels disgruntled when she hears that Momiji has gone to the park with Ko. Meanwhile, Coach Daimon and the principal discuss the baseball teams' futures. Daimon declares he has no intention of bringing any of the Portables up to varsity, but...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The memories of the past that interact with the present continue to be a fascinating aspect of the show. Aoba has her issues with Ko that really do stem from the way that Wakaba used to just be all over him and she wanted time with her older sister that she felt was being given elsewhere. When we see Aoba go on a tirade to her older sister about the issue since she can't understand why everyone is so nice to him, she ends up being schooled politely in the simple fact that Aoba and Ko are pretty much more similar than not and it's kind of a shock to poor Aoba.
The moment that really got to me came early in this episode as Akaishi is with Ko as they wanted to go to the batting center but realized that they're there too early. They end up running into Momiji who is still very friendly with Ko and it's almost a shock for Akaishi as he sees a huge amount of Wakaba in her demeanor and look. All those memories come rushing back and you can see that Akaishi is almost staggering mentally when he tries to process it a little. He and Ko are amusing to watch together, whether they're playing in the park with Momiji for a bit or they're in the cages after having a spot of food that was specially made for Ko by Aoba's dad. Akaishi's quiet approach and soft spoken voice really has an interesting effect in how he's viewed and the way he's so carefully insightful without realizing it.
When it comes to the sports side of the show, a lot of things were made very clear in the last episode when we got the background on coach Daimon and the plan that Akaishi has to try and oust him in some way. They plainly know they'll not make it to varsity, though a number of those on the Portable's haven't figured it out and are trying their hardest to be noticed. The dedication of those on both the varsity and Portable's is great to watch, though things are starting to shake out some in terms of true ability and drive for the goal of reaching Koshien. Even Ko is grappling with some issues as he's never pitched in a true official game and his lack of overall confidence in himself continues to be a welcome sticking point since it's not a crippling issue but a thoughtful one.
The pace and atmosphere of Cross Game continues to be an area that really sets it apart from almost every other sports show that I've seen. The baseball aspect is dominant, but not overbearingly so where we're spending episodes upon episodes watching a single game or a single inning. It's masterfully blending the real world stories of these teenagers in school and outside of school, the dynamics of the teams, the politics of the school with the coach and the interim principal and actual gameplay mechanics. And it's doing it in a way that's relaxing and refreshing will coming across as entirely captivating. The series started with a very, very strong first episode and has only managed to build off of it to make something really intriguing.
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.
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