While we're in the midst of a batch of episodes that seems more intent on just fleshing things out a bit rather than making any progress. Cross Game allows us to get to know the characters in a bit more of a leisurely fashion without a lot of stress. Aoba's small arc prior to this was pretty enjoyable overall as we got to see her playing a hard game and doing really well, reinforcing just how skilled she is and the amount of potential she has, as well as how shackled she is by her gender. This episode takes us to Azuma's story a bit as Ko and the others check out a scrimmage and he sees someone he played against once in a different league.
The focus on this player, Keitaro, reveals some interesting background on him with an injury that took him out for awhile. Not much has been known about him since but he's definitely back in the game and has a good starting record, enough so that when combined with what Azuma knows of him from the past, and the way he's almost obsessive about it in an Azuma sort of way, shows that he's definitely someone to take note of. When Ko gets back the research on him and both he and Azuma hear about it along with Aoba, it paints a picture of a player that they need to take some careful consideration of. It's setting up a rivalry pretty nicely here and gives both Ko and Azuma something to think about as they get ready to get back into the game themselves and see what they're going to face.
Read More Click Me!