Cross Game 5
July 29, 2015
Mitsuru Adachi – Viz – 2011 – 17 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 10-11
Huh. I wrote up volume 6 and realized I hadn’t covered this one.
The first half contains some bittersweet baseball. I love the games in this series. Though, to be fair, the games tend to be exciting in all sports manga. But I love baseball best, so I have a special fondness for this series. After all the buildup, all the stress, all the little details… Well, I guess the same thing happens here that usually happens halfway through any sports manga. But… somehow this series rolls with the punches. It feels more like a part of life than soul-crushing, as it can in other series. Everyone played their best, and these things happen.
The second half is the resurrection of Wakaba. I talk about this more in the next volume, but I’m not the biggest fan of this character. A new store moves in next door to Kitamura sports, and the daughter is the same age as Ko. She also looks and acts exactly like Wakaba, to the point where everyone in the neighborhood has to meet her to see. One of the things I’ve always wondered is if Ko doesn’t date Aoba because it would be a betrayal to Wakaba (or, perhaps because she’s too much like a little sister). I feel like, after building up Wakaba so long, it’s weird to have her doppelganger show up and everyone’s okay with it. It’s not Akane’s fault she looks like Wakaba, and I do like that nobody holds it against her. It still rubbed me the wrong way.
On the Aoba/Ko angle, I also wonder if Aoba’s obvious attraction, and Ko’s arms-length distance, just didn’t have a reason? It could be a betrayal to Wakaba, and she may just be like his little sister. He may just not feel that way about her, too. Cross Game is like that, which is somewhat more life-like than most manga. It always feels like there should be something more between Aoba and Ko, but maybe there just isn’t, and that’s just how it is. As much as I would like to see them together, I like Cross Game a lot for not going there, and for not explaining why.