I haven’t seen many sports anime. I’m not planning on watching any more in the near future either, and I’m especially averse to shows with more than 26 episodes. So, the experience of watching Cross Game was, to me, an exceptional experience in many ways. It was just… so easy to watch. Sure, it has a good hook, but it just continues being enjoyable all the way to the end, and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often, at least not in my experience. And it’s not like it’s a directionless slice of life show that just coasts along on sheer character and humour, because Cross Game has a really solid story. Most interesting, however, is the fact that Cross Game doesn’t spend much time on building up a ton of antagonist teams. Instead, the story focuses mostly on how the protagonist team trains.
And I really liked that part of the show, because over time I came to love almost all of the characters on the protagonist team. Which is kind of ironic, then, because the characters were also the only thing in the show that occasionally ended up being a real weakness. In particular, it was the characters that were introduced approximately halfway through the show that I had issues with, because I felt like they were really awkwardly written and served only the purpose of artificially “mixing things up” with regard to the character relationships. And that’s something I usually don’t appreciate.
Overall, though, I was still impressed by Cross Game. I’ve since been told that Mitsuru Adachi’s other works, particularly Touch, H2 and Nine, are better, and I do intend to eventually read those manga, but I still think Cross Game is a great “starter anime” for people who maybe want to watch sports anime but don’t have the patience for most of them. Because Cross game is easy to watch, and it’s easy to follow. And I actually learned a bunch of baseball terminology, which is a nice bonus. And now I kind of have a desire to watch more sports anime(such as Big Windup), which is probably the best feeling a show can leave me with.