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Cross Game – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Summer Rain」 by コブクロ (Kobukuro)
Watch the OP! Streaming ▼

 

Summary:

Kitamura Kou is the young son of the owner of a sports equipment shop, and his family is well acquainted with the Tsukishima family. The Tsukishima family has four daughters, one of whom was born the exact same day in the exact same hospital as Kou was. Her name is Wakaba, and she already acts like a girlfriend to Kou, making him give her rides on his bike and giving him kisses on the cheek in return. She even goes as far as to give him a table of the birthday presents he should give her. In his free time, Kou plays some baseball with friends – driven by his desire to get away from potential bullies – and although he’s not good at catching, he can hit really well.

When Wakaba goes off to camp one day, she takes Kou’s baseball cap with her, and the two promise to go to the summer festival together when she returns. Two days later, however, a news bulletin reports that a girl drowned at a swimming camp. That girl is none other than Wakaba. After attending her funeral, Kou decides to go that night to the summer festival by himself, wearing the hat that Wakaba’s father had returned to him earlier. Kou feels completely lost without Wakaba, and it’s not until he sees Akaishi – a kid who had a crush on Wakaba – crying that he realizes that he just has to cry.

ED Sequence

ED: 「恋焦がれて見た夢 」 (Koi Kogarete Mita Yume) by 絢香 (ayaka)
Watch the ED! Streaming – Warning! Contains Some Spoilers ▼

I didn’t expect much from the music out of the series, and the OP ended up being pretty good, but nothing compared to the ED which blew me away. It’s by ayaka, who’s someone I already admired as a very powerful singer, and this ballad was perfect for the entire grieving scene. The reason I have the extra spoiler warning above is because they played the entirety of the song, meaning the actual ED sequence began mid-verse, and so I had to start the video a little earlier. Anyway, I really like this song and am already looking forward to its release later this month.

Preview

Wow. That was one helluva debut episode. They blazed through the first volume of the manga, but I can’t complain because most of the important stuff was there. The animation quality was fine, and the series has a really lively soundtrack that always seems to be on, but what overshadows everything is the incredible ending. Even though I had read some of the manga prior, meaning that I knew that the plot twist would be coming, the anime still far exceeded all my expectations for it. The ayaka song was used to such great effect that I even got a little choked up at the end. It’s hard to believe that a baseball series that features elementary school kids in the beginning can be so good. I guess this is why Adachi Mitsuru works are so popular.

I was originally planning on just watching one episode of this because I had enjoyed the manga and wanted to see how the anime handled Wakaba’s death, but this impressed me so much that I’m definitely going to continue watching, even if I don’t end up blogging any more of this (it’s all still up in the air pending how the other new shows turn out).

April 5, 2009 at 12:45 am
45 comments »
  • April 5, 2009 at 12:54 amSageGaiGar

    Nice but might want to hide the ‘spoiling pictures’.

    Still, interesting they get to that point so quickly. This is one of my favorites.

  • April 5, 2009 at 12:54 amWcastro

    What… mmmmmmmmmmmm…

  • April 5, 2009 at 12:56 amOmni

    SageGaiGar: Sorry, but it’s never been my policy to hide pictures since the episode aired and is out there, never mind the fact that I talk about it in the impressions. I only added the extra warning this time because I know some ppl who don’t look at images and just like to watch OP/EDs to get a sense of what the series is like.

  • April 5, 2009 at 1:25 amMark

    I like the character designs, but the ears are a little too big, haha.

  • April 5, 2009 at 1:52 amFox

    Hm… the animation looks snazzy, and it sounds like the sound is top-tier on both ends. I really feel like I ought to watch this anime, but I’m still reading the manga and I’d hate ffor a derivative to spoil Adachi’s original masterpiece.

    In my opinion, Mitsuru Adachi is the single greatest manga-ka. Ever.

    Hm…. checking out Manga-Updates, apparently the manga is divided into three parts (I’m still reading in the second part). As the story is still ongoing, I imagine the anime will be somewhat shorter and only cover the first two parts. (The first part being the first volume/episode, which works well enough as a oneshot). That should leave the story sufficiently self-contained to both be immensely satisfying, and still leave room for a sequel.

    One more thing I have to say: I like seeing Cross Game and Dragonball Kai airing at the same time. It’s nice to see more “oldschool” art design, instead of more contemporary styles.

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:01 ambravejaf

    Damn, spoilers in episode 1. Not complaining or anything, it is my fault for reading this post without first seeing the episode. Usually nothing of consequence happens in the first episode so I figured it would be safe to read. Oh well, this wasn’t one of my most anticipated shows before this post but it now is a must watch for me.

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:08 amRydin

    How long will the anime go? To the end of Part two? I wanna see those games animated!

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:29 amShiNN

    Finally a GOOD show.
    To hell the moe-blobs produced by Kyoto Animation.

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:37 amjayers

    oh god, the episode summary sound so sad. I really hope someone sub this.

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:42 amSherry

    I was waiting for it and I loved it!
    I read the manga and I like Mitsuru’s Adachi’s works ^^
    The animation is awesome and the op/ed were both beyond my expectations~
    The good thing too is that they will very likely stick with the manga, they got 15 volumes of manga material after all, there is really no need to make up fillers having that backing them up ^^;

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:58 amLelouch

    Nice. ^_^ I want to start reading the manga just from this episode.

  • April 5, 2009 at 3:50 amtomtom

    sad summary! sad first episode!
    can u tell, if the anime is going to be more lively or will it keep the sad happenings ???

  • April 5, 2009 at 3:57 amLump

    still 0 sub groups. its a fucking travesty

  • April 5, 2009 at 4:04 amJoeHiroshi

    Wow, what an awesome first episode! Best of the year! ^^

  • April 5, 2009 at 4:11 ammegalith

    Wow… Splendid ending. I can’t wait for the CD to come out on April 22!!!

  • April 5, 2009 at 4:12 amnapen

    due to this series, hopefully the raws of H2 and Touch will reappear.. I need remastered version, too.

  • April 5, 2009 at 4:13 amlulalala

    Wow, this is the first blog post. You surely are fast.
    Yeah I have been waiting for this for too long, since Adachi’s H2 was discontinued on TV(what a shame). So this is like the reincarnation of H2 (or call it H2 2) for me lol.

  • April 5, 2009 at 5:06 amkenri

    Finally Cross Game is out!!!! The manga is really incredible…as typical of the majority of Adachi’s works. I wonder how they are going to play out the parts or if they even follow it completely since it doesn’t look like part 3 is going to be done anytime soon (atleast I hope not =) )

    @jayers
    I’m pretty sure mangadownloads, the team that works on the manga is going to sub it. I think I read something on their site regarding it.

  • April 5, 2009 at 5:30 amAnon

    Blasting through the first volume in 1 ep is stupid. The manga does it much better, the reader is grown and attached to Wakaba before Adachi does his plot twist. It feels even more emotional once you reach the last chapter of the first volume.

    Still, Rough is better than all of Adachi’s baseball mangas.

  • April 5, 2009 at 6:35 aminsane

    darn spoiler >.< I just wanted to see what this anime was all about but no biggie.

  • April 5, 2009 at 7:37 amMoocow

    emo fest…. not sure i want to watch, but i love ayaka’s singing

    choices choices …

  • April 5, 2009 at 8:49 amSageGaiGar

    @Omni

    I understand. And it’s to be expected for spoilers viewing this blog. :)

    I’m just a little paranoid about people dropping the show because of that part. Though, they get it taken care of pretty quick with this first episode so it’s not like in the manga where you’re reading along and *Bam*. It happens.

    Just *really* want this to be given a chance. heh.

  • April 5, 2009 at 8:50 amAnotherGeek

    Rough is nowhere nearly as good as Katsu! (His best work so far, simply because of the awesome ending). And Cross Game is about to be the best if he can pull a good ending.

  • April 5, 2009 at 8:51 amSageGaiGar

    This is not going to be an emo fest. the mains are far away from that type.

  • April 5, 2009 at 9:19 amMachi

    They blazed through the first volume in one episode O.o

  • April 5, 2009 at 11:31 amFox

    Yeah, I’ve gotta agree with AnotherGeek, Katsu! is probably Adachi’s best work, though Cross Game is shaping up nicely and Niji Iro Togorashi was pretty damn stunning.

    As for the emotional impact being lesser than in the manga… I don’t know. The impact is going to be diminished if you already know what’s coming. I was used to Adachi tossing out “tragedies” of similar sorts in his stuff, but it still took me unaware with Cross Game.

    As much as I love Adachi, the first part of the manga left me so depressed I couldn’t even think about reading further for about two months. It was… quite the shock.

  • April 5, 2009 at 11:32 amPfft

    I was really looking forward to this series. Thanks for blogging it, Omni.

  • April 5, 2009 at 11:52 amSon Gohan

    The best Adachi manga for me is still Rough, a really underestimated masterpiece.

  • April 5, 2009 at 12:11 pmMidnightTide

    damn, guess it is time to start really learning japanese…

  • April 5, 2009 at 2:12 pmkresslia

    ayaka!? Might watch just to hear her song. She’s going on hiatus, so I’m sure I’ll get quite choked up hearing her song aswell.

  • April 5, 2009 at 5:16 pmAnonymooo

    Thank God. Thank you for blogging this, since Adachi Mitsuru doesn’t get nearly as much love among the English-speaking anime and manga community as he should–hopefully this makes more of his work more accessible to them. Touch and Katsu are my two favorites of his, but then again everybody and their mom has read or watched Touch.

  • April 5, 2009 at 9:30 pmpsychohare

    yea, I dont understand why Omni has to hide the screens. It’s a blog after all.

    Long time since I last commented on here, been a lurker for most part, but after watching this bittersweet episode, I kinda felt the need to talk a little.

    Adachi’s so good at making mangas like these, very comfortable, good smooth reading. Well the manga sure is good, been following it until now, finally restarted :D
    thanks for the blog, I’m definitely following this anime for sure.

  • April 5, 2009 at 9:58 pmAquifina

    I still remember having the same reaction Kou did to Wakaba dying in the manga–I didn’t quite believe it, and literally had to reread it, and then even read the start of volume 2, before I could quite believe that she had actually died. I’m partly waiting for a fansub group to pick the series up, but I’m also using that as an excuse to avoid seeing her death animated–and as these things go, I’m really not at all sentimental. I was even hoping for some weird supernatural event to occur to bring her back to life, or some preposterous (but workable in manga) plot twist to bring her back. Show Spoiler ▼

    There’s something refreshing, but truly poignant, about the way Adachi deals with grief and loss in the manga. As someone’s already pointed out, none of the leads are at all emo, and they in a profound sense remain true to Wakaba by continuing to have her influence and memory have a positive effect on their lives–what Wakaba, of course, would have wanted. But the sense of loss really is still there, and the end of Ch 144 in the manga was truly poignant. Treatment of grief and loss in anime sometimes strike me as seriously overdone–in line with the exceptional and dramatic circumstances that usually underly anime–but Cross Game always struck me as much more true-to-life and all the more powerful for that reason.

    As a big baseball fan, I also can testify to Adachi’s skill at integrating baseball into the series.

    Even with some reservations regarding a later event that occurs, this really is a great manga, and I really hope the anime will be subbed by someone.

  • April 6, 2009 at 5:41 pmAkaSmiley

    omg Cross Game in HD, i thought it’s was more like old fashion quality…can’t blame now…must watch it,thought the manga was pretty good

  • April 7, 2009 at 1:54 pmKaratula3

    It’s one of those shows that I’d prefer watching in live action but since it looks great then I’d watch this animated.

  • April 7, 2009 at 2:14 pmjaalin

    T_T
    WAKABA WHYYYYYYYYY

  • April 7, 2009 at 5:11 pmreilina

    gosh the went through the whole 1st arc of the manga. ive read it for one day and watch it for less than 30min…unbelieveble how they squeeze everything. the ED struck me the most even though i know its coming still made me emotional, probably bec of the song.

    i wonder why nobody mention h2? rough and katsu are good, actually all adachi’s work are good.

  • April 7, 2009 at 6:53 pmTouch (Reverse) equal to Cross Game

    Why killed Wakaba so early in the story? At least in touch the younger brother didn’t die until much later. Let the viewer bond with wakaba first.

  • April 7, 2009 at 6:57 pmKhrno

    Touch. All over again.

    And I really love it. I don’t know if it will end up being one of the best series of this year, but it certainly will be one of my favourites.

    I had read a few volumes of the manga, but didn’t have the chance to read it all, so I don’t know how it will come out compared to Touch, might not be as good, might be better. I really hope it is the latter.

  • April 8, 2009 at 6:56 pmjho

    wow that episode was really good. i thought it was going to be lame until i read your review omni. man thanks for writing about this show, i’m definitely looking forward to the rest of this series now!

  • April 9, 2009 at 1:00 amGGear0323

    :{ ….. too sad. dammit, even though i read through some blogs and and kind of knew it was coming, that was like a shot in the gut. when i watch animes or read mangas, there are times when you dont want a character to die, but you know it is going to happen sooner or later (and i am not talking about spoilers, i mean within the story itself), then there are times when you want a character to die but they dont, or you dont really mind if a character dies but the depiction of the death is pretty sad. but then there are times when there are characters in these anime/manga that i tell myself, “this character does not deserve to die, no matter what, this character does not deserve to die in any manner whatsoever.” this would definitely fall under that last category. i mean sure, her memory will be forever present throughout the show, and her death does help formulate the atmosphere or whatever, but that doesnt make it any less gut-wrenching. the most recent example of this would be when that girl died in Rideback, ep10. she was just soo damn buoyant and cheerful, never did anything wrong, helped impact the characters in a positive way, well, ….. you get my point. and i totally understand what someone posted when they said that after reading the manga and reading this part, that they didnt want to read on for a while. i mean, i want to continue to watch this show, but i am probably going to have to watch a good helping of Basquash! and maybe even re-watch Minami-ke before i can get up for the next episode.

  • April 9, 2009 at 1:05 amGGear0323

    not to mention that they had to go and have her put her little birthday list of things she wanted for the future …….. dammit, i just got even more depressed. i HATE you Wakaba, why couldnt you let that little kid drown, he wasnt even part of the cast for this story. use some common sense next time! …… well, i guess there isnt actually going to be a next time …….

    …. i’m going to bed.

  • April 12, 2009 at 3:12 pmFai

    Wow, I never even planned on watching this series, but after reading your first impression on it, I’m glad I did.
    That was fantastic, I’ll sure be following this one.

  • May 12, 2009 at 2:33 pmDoc

    CG is great. At last an anime with great script writers. Go anti-cliche-squad!

  • June 28, 2009 at 4:46 amMikapon

    I finally gave this series a chance, and I love it.
    Actually I’m a big fan of Adachi’s works, but after H2 I didn’t feel like watching any more of Anime adaptations. (I liked H2 manga, but the Anime didn’t even come close)
    After reading some positive reviews on blogs like this one, I gave it a chance, and am glad I did.