Cross Game is my gateway to Adachi, and I’m a fan of the old-fashioned character designs brought to life with modern animation. The colors are vivid without being an eyesore, and the peaceful Kotaro Nakagawa score is a nice departure from his other work (compare with Code Geass or Gun X Sword).
Wakaba was a well-loved character, and serves as a bridge between her childhood friend Kou and sister Aoba. The two don’t get along, but they’re frighteningly alike–probably except for cooking ability (in which Kou is much better, surprisingly). Much of the show is about these two characters coping up with Wakaba’s death. They do a rather good job of it, without the melodrama that often accompanies such things. And then about 30 episodes later…
This is where anime shines. I don’t think you can pull this off with real actors–the prospect of meeting the aged version of your long-dead friend is something hard to swallow, genetics and all. Akane looks just like Wakaba grown up, and shares her seiyuu to boot. But there’s something profoundly different.
Everyone close to Wakaba reacts the same way–they’re shocked, wondering if ghosts age after all. Hearts are thrown into confusion. Even the normally stoic Akaishi is affected. Just when you think the show has reached a comfortable pace, this throws you off the loop.
I feel uneasy myself. Is she Wakaba 2.0, or just Akane Takigawa? Like the characters on screen, I keep on correcting my mind that “this is Akane, this is not Wakaba”, etc. I do this, because Wakaba’s memory has permeated the show so much that it’s as if she’s still living, as if merely out of sight.
Time will tell who Kou will end up with. As for me, I’m willing to witness his every step on the way, baseball or love.