Cross Game – 24

So, after way too long a disappearance, Cross Game is finally back on UNMEI KAIHEN! Wish I had a good reason for not blogging the series for so long, but I don’t. At least I am writing about it again, though, right?

This episode is mainly set-up for Kitamura and company’s first taste of the Koshien. It will be interesting to see exactly how far Seishuu will go; I don’t think they will win this Koshien, because they have another year remaining, but the school could still make a strong splash in the tournament, so there is at least some suspense in wondering exactly when the team will lose. Even though the show is setting up this first opponent — and the player in particular that Azuma remembers — as really tough, I doubt Seishuu will eat it in the first round, but it could be a decent shocker if they do.

In a weird way, this is actually a nice episode to watch after not seeing a Cross Game episode for a couple of months. It hits on a lot of the show’s major themes and stories: The relationship between Kitamura and Aoba (the moment where Kitamura knows to show up on the practice field to catch Aoba’s pitches is really sweet), the frustration and alienation Aoba feels at not being a true part of the baseball team, the growth of each player since arriving at the high school, the strength of Azuma’s trust in Kitamura and so on. Cross Game hammers a lot of these points home, and it can be a bit much at times, but it’s good to get some familiarity to ease myself back into this world.

Cross Game doesn’t really have an edgy sense of humor, and it can be corny at times, but there is something nice about it that usually gets me to laugh. Ichiyou giving Junpei’s gift to her cat instead of wearing it on her apron is actually kind of mean (especially since she has shown signs of liking Junpei), but Ichiyou is so upbeat about that it comes around to being funny. The pretty boy pitcher is funny as well. It could be read as an attack on girls who swoon at any hot guy around, but I see it just as much a dig at fairweather fans who latch onto whatever is popular without really knowing who or what they are cheering for. It’s a common ritual when a team wins a championship or something — how many people suddenly became lifelong New York Giants fans after they won the Super Bowl a couple of years back?

So, yeah, not an out of this world episode, but it’s enough to get me excited about the upcoming tournament. Definitely looking forward to seeing where Cross Game goes from here!

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