|Ko and his dear friend/childhood sweetheart/birthday buddy.|
These two makes me smile together (screenshot from ep 1).
Still, by this time, Prince of Tennis had already showed me the potential of sports anime, and I was hungry for more. So I tried Cross Game, and I liked it a lot. I wrote this recommendation on Anime-Planet:
Obviously, I've widened my horizons since I wrote that in November 2010. At the time, I was still surprised that I could like an anime like Cross Game. I mean, it involved realistic elements like tragedy and grief. There was even a little bit of romance!I don't really like sports, and have never seen a live action movie/show about sports that I considered worth watching. But the Prince of Tennis and Cross Game are amazing! The Prince of Tennis is easily in my top ten anime, to the point that I've watched the first hundred or so episodes twice.I admit, the two shows have their differences. The Prince of Tennis has a lot more humor and goes, I believe, three times as long. Cross Game includes some light romance and deals with the mourning process. Even I came very close to shedding tears. But Cross Game still has its humor.Another thing: many slice of life, romance, drama, and so-called "comedy" anime bore me. These two most certainly don't.
Normally, I wouldn't have touched this kind of thing. But Cross Game had an advantage over other great anime dramas: it involved sports.
And so I tried it. It started a little slowly, and it was a lot more realistic than Prince of Tennis and most of the other anime I liked at the time. But it made me smile, laugh, and, at times, swallow the lump that grew in my throat. I enjoyed watching the main character, Ko, grow as a baseball player. I even enjoyed the relationship between him Aoba—she's one of a handful of girls in sports anime whom I actually like.
I'm not sure what else to say. I'm trying to avoid giving an outright spoiler about what happens in the first couple episodes.
I'll end with this: Cross Game really is a cross between the sports and drama anime I've come to enjoy. It includes wise young players with an eye for talent (including, of course, a catcher), talented pitchers (including Ko and Aoba), games and practice routines that are fun to watch, and an abundance of determination. But it's also thoughtful, realistic, and occasionally tear-worthy. Anime-Planet users have rightfully recommended it to fans of Anohana.
It's 50 episodes long. I probably finished it in about a week the first time I watched it, during my binging days. It will take me a a lot longer this time. I'll enjoy savoring it between episodes of Ace of the Diamond and Haikyuu!! over the next month or two.