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cross game by adachi mitsuru [Nov. 8th, 2011|09:34 pm]
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I had bought the last five volumes of Cross Game by Adachi Mitsuru earlier this year but had left them still in plastic wrap until now. I think I was a bit unhappy that the series ended at 17 volumes and didn't want to finish the series so quickly. One night I started flipping through the volumes, going from 17 to 16 to 15 and so on, until I realized I obviously should just read in order. So I dug out the entire series and started from the beginning. I finished at 2 in the morning and felt wonderful (I was on such a high I didn't feel like crap at work the next day, too!). Oh man, this series was satisfying. It has a lot of loose ends and odd bits, but the emotional satisfaction overcomes it all for me. As I've said time and again, baseball the game bores me to tears but it makes for such great drama in fiction. Especially Adachi and her pitcher/batter battles with a good dollop of catcher appreciation thrown in. I love Azuma commenting that he's jealous of another batter of his caliber they are playing against because that batter can go up against Kou. ♥

I loved that Kou continued to buy birthday presents for Wakaba and lied about doing it to Wakaba's dad. So cute! I wonder if he'll buy the engagement ring for Wakaba when he turns 20 and lock the box away? I loved all the flashbacks showing how cute they were together when they were young. I liked seeing a young boy not acting like all girls have cooties.

I kind of liked that the series ended with them winning the game to get to Koshien. It's an odd place to stop, but it felt right. Wakaba's dream remains a dream to us, even though we know that they do play in Koshien for at least one game (unless there was a tragic shinkansen accident en route to the game...^^;).

I wasn't really happy with the existence of several characters. They felt...hanging. Like Mizuki? He felt oddly useless. There were only two scenes I really enjoyed him in. When he answers the door to the delivery man during one of Kou's games and acts all aggressive with the guy since he thinks everyone at the home would be at the game, and when he reads through Aoba's (very conveniently labeled) diaries and finds out that all she's ever done was complain about Kou. How closely has she watched Kou all these years?

So does it mean that she liked Kou even when Wakaba was alive? Or was it just pure jealousy and animus, and it slowly changed as she saw that Kou was just as Wakaba had always told her and not a total loser?

In any case, back to characters that I was ?? about. Akane! Or should I say Wakaba version 2? I was just irritated by her existence, even though she herself wasn't very offensive. And the will she and Kou get together thing got old quickly. I am ambivalent about the implication that she and Akaishi are getting together. I almost wished she died.

I hate characters like Senda in Adachi series. Why even put in these contemptible comic relief characters? I don't think the main characters need a foil, especially one so obviously inferior in every respect.

Azuma was oddly underdeveloped after a while. I think a bit more time could've been devoted to him and his changing attitudes towards baseball and Koshien. And he was so...un-passionate vis-a-vis his supposed liking of Aoba it just felt weird. But then...he's not very passionate, is he? I guess he was just a flat character?

I love Kou hugging Aoba at the end and Aoba first slapping him then crying on his chest. I love that she fully acknowledges that she "hates" him because he knows her oh-so-well and accepts her as she is. And in the epilogue-ish last chapter how they end up "holding hands." I just hope Aoba matures a bit more sooner than later. Kou is pretty good at giving in at times, but Aoba is still a tad bit too immature.

Finishing the manga series makes me want to check out the anime. Did it end well? I don't think the manga was done when the anime ran...Will have to find out.