I have never had any problem with people and the hobbies of their choosing, from kite-flying to skydiving to model creation. I can only admire people’s dedication and passion for what they like. Besides, I personally don’t think my avocations are socially accepted compared to other methods of whiling away time: I love anime, and I love obtaining unique and antique video games. They’re not exactly basketball, women-watching, or cars (although I also love basketball). I thus wasn’t the least bit surprised when my friends (all men, of course), joked about my wastage of money: I did buy an expensive video game, and to most people it’s just considered as such, and nothing more. History, the appreciation of the past, and the role of the Super Micro in the evolution of video games to them seems like flatus vocis – empty air. They told me that I could play Othello practically anywhere, and their argument to my spending was rational and justifiable: there is no way around the fact that I saved 250 dollars and asked help for 100 more. For that amount I could have bought the newest version of the PSP, or the Nintendo DS: why would I even spend my money earned through thrift and miserliness in that manner?
Despite its target audience and simple drawings, Cross Game is one of the more complex series of the previous year, and one of the best ones at that. While the baseball parts are done tastefully, it’s with the interrelationships of the characters that this series really shines. Let’s take our two protagonists, for example. (A word of caution: I watched all 47 released episodes in the span of three days, so while everything is quite vivid to me I cannot remember specifics for the most part.)
The viewer can easily see as early as the fifth or the sixth episode that Aoba has a lot of respect for Ko. It is simply easier for her, however, to hide what she truly feels towards Ko because of her sister. When they were young, Aoba and Ko were antagonistic to one another, and this was primarily because of Wakaba’s love towards Ko. Instead of being able to hog her sister all to herself, she had to share it with Ko and eventually the time they spent together was significantly lessened. As a consequence, she directed her frustrations and hatred to a reason that could be her scapegoat: this reason was Ko. Their bickering continued until Wakaba’s death, and even continued afterward, simply because she was such a palpable presence even beyond her death: the flashbacks were important because both of them treasured the words of Wakaba. Aoba took it to heart when her sister told her that Ko was hers even if he was able to obtain 160 km/h with his pitching. With every move they made, the spectre of Wakaba loomed near. The dreams that she had for her sister and lover surrounded them and pervaded their every move because they both wanted to make her happy. Read the rest of this entry »