Cross Game 43, Ookami 5, Kimi ni Todoke 17

Last episode Cross Game was all about turning back to the game, but ep43 sputters a bit along the way. Oh, they play a game and watch another, but the shifts in scene and the minor details they always throw in were more annoying this time. Even the weekly Nomo moment felt off. Or maybe I just want them to shut up and play?

The game they do play is almost inconsequential. It’s only amusing for the fact that many of the players swore to do some great feat or other to get Aoba to date them. The only one who makes the target is Kou, and he didn’t even know he did it. And mixed in with this is a photo shoot with Risa, subtle trash talk between Junpei and Shugo Daimon, players buying fireworks, Akaishi walking Akane home because Kou was asleep, and other things that didn’t quite work out. Again, maybe I’m just irritated because I want the games to go on.

The game they watch, between an unknown school and the one Daimon now coaches, is the most satisfying part of the episode. The star is Miki, a character from so far back in the show that I don’t remember him, and he and his team holds off Daimon’s club through sheer guts and will. Satisfying in two ways. First, it’s vindication for Miki, who transferred out because he wanted to enjoy the game, and because Daimon’s team loses and he’s out of the tournament. This took me by surprise, as I was expecting another showdown between our heroes and the forces of evil, but in the world of Cross Game, fully aware that baseball and life are full of surprises, it makes perfect sense. Looking forward to the next game, where Seishu for once will be the heavy favorite, going against an unknown, scrappy team.

In Ookami Kakushi 5 Hiroshi tries to deal with the execution he witnessed the previous night. He’s not the manliest main character in the world, but he’s brave enough not to write it off as a dream.

While he asks around (and is overheard by Nemuru. We still don’t know how she figures into this) the show’s attention turns to Isuzu and Issei’s family. Like last week I was surprised how they turned Issei from a pedophile to a tragic figure, this time they expand the focus and show his plight as a family tragedy, like, say, your brother becomes very sick. I found these scenes of the family trying to cope touching. Something’s wrong with them, but they try to work it out together like any family would.

Of course, we still don’t know what the sickness actually is, though we’re getting more clues. The preview, for example, talks about the hassaku scent no longer keeping the badness away, or something like that. We also learn that the town has its own “vigilence committee,” keeping an eye out for this sort of thing, and that Isuzu’s family used to live in the old town. Still not enough to explain everything, particularly the capsules some people have to take.

It comes together when Issei escapes and attacks Hiroshi. Kaname had told Hiroshi a legend which seems to be true, the vigilence committee shows up, and the scythe girl. Alas, Hiroshi had run away by then (I can’t blame him, but it seems a bit wimpy), so he doesn’t see any of this. Thus he’s in the dark when Isuzu tells him the next day that Issei had been killed. Again, we’re seeing more of the picture than Hiroshi, and I’m wondering just how long it’ll be before he takes any action, if he will at all.

Nothing much happens in Kimi ni Todoke 17; it’s an in-between arcs episode. But the show and its characters have developed well enough to carry it. It’s full of nice little moments. It’s in two parts; in the first, Yano and Yoshida come to visit Sawako, and in doing so meet her parents and allow the tables to turn. Her father thinks the girls are delinquents but fortunately is too spineless to say anything. They win him over in the end. Then it’s talk in her bedroom, and the talk of confessing to Kazehaya comes up.

Sawako can hardly imagine such a thing.

… and the usual Sawako “heart overflowing with joy” moments in abundance. I have a short attention span for these things, but fortunately Yano and Yoshida are there to break things up a little.

The comedy improves when the gang is called over to tend to a sick Pin, who thinks Sawako has cursed him. It’s more of the same little things as they clean up his apartment and mess with his mind a little. Again, nothing much really happens but each little scene is comic in its own right, thanks to the dynamics of the characters. Yano and Yoshida watch Sawako and Kazehaya avoid contact and wonder why they aren’t going out yet. Kazehaya is bothered by Pin’s attentions toward Sawako. And Ryou plays with the dog (When are they going to get to the Yoshida/Ryou relationship, I wonder). It moves cheerfully along and is forgotten moments later. The only “event” comes at the end with Kazehaya’s near kiss of Sawako. But we know how that would turn out, right now.

But it’s time for a new arc. We had a flashback episode and one of filler. Back to work, people!

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