It’s so easy to let loose and want to shout “OMG YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS!” when you watch an anime that’s so amazing, and you want other people to share in the joy of having discovered a GEM — like when I came across Cross Game and found it to be the BEST that Spring has to offer (I know there’s also Eden of the East, but I’m pretty jaded about it atm, will pick it up again when I’m ready to TAKE IT ALL IN); it’s also as easy to get disappointed when people can’t seem to relate with the OH JOY you’re feeling.
I rewatched the first 3 episodes of Cross Game last Saturday (or in the words of OGT, I went Cross Game-ing), this time with a good friend of mine, didinskee
who wrote for the blog once and never again. While my friend was able to appreciate bits and pieces about the show — the cute aww moments — he didn’t feel the same excitement as I did. It was easy watching for him, but he didn’t really feel compelled to watch the subsequent episodes; Or in his words, he didn’t feel like doing a cartwheel while shouting “THIS ANIME IS AWESOMEEE!!!” after watching it, far unlike me.
WATCH CROSS GAME NOW OR I’LL— never mind.
The aftermath ended up similar to the time I made some of my officemates watch Tokyo Marble Chocolate, where they turned out to be not so giddy excited for it as I was
and me feeling oh so sad and blue because they couldn’t share in my joy and it’s not until later that I realize why, when I snapped out of my delusional mode. The feeling of disappointment this time around was even worse, because I know that Cross Game is nothing short of amazing, a Timeless Classic, and I know for a fact that I’m not being delusional about this. But GAH, I don’t know what to say to make people see that! I thought I did, but now that I’ve come across this stumbling block (or this “gah, what should I do to make you see this anime’s awesomeness D:” obstacle), I dunno anymore. Should I have introduced my friend to the Cross Game manga first so he can fully appreciate it? I also don’t know. This is kinda analogous to that of relationships where the girl/guy realizes that his/her love is greater than the other person and that the feeling is not so mutual… but ahh, I digress.
Come to think of it, it shouldn’t come a surprise that people won’t easily get into Cross Game, or Mitsuru Adachi’s works (or other iyashikei animes), especially those who have been so used to flashy edgy animes with Superb Plots or Awesome Fightscenes where “so many things happen” in the span of one episode. It’s like, one day, after all the Amazing Animes you’ve seen, you come across this seemingly “useless” or oddball anime and wonder, “ok, what the heck do I do with this?… Nothing’s happening… Oh, the guy gets into baseball because of her… Oh the guy and the girl gets into a fight… slowness ensues forever.”
So as I was trying to explain myself and why I find Cross Game to be AMAZING to didinskee (or should I say, Cross Game’s Strike Zone), honestly, I was at a loss for words. Is it because I could empathize with the characters? That’s what I thought, but ‘empathy’ implies that you’re relating to the characters and/or drawing out similarities from your own experiences and I don’t seem to be doing that. I can FEEL them, and whatever they say or do resonates with me and hits me to the core… but again, the question is, why?? Is it because I find the characters to be endearing and I’ve sort-of unconsciously vowed to stand by them till the end of time and serve as a witness to their lives? Maybe, but that’s a bit too ambitious and ambiguous. Is it because I feel a renewed sense of appreciation for Life the more I watch it, as I get to reflect on casual chances in life that I take for granted? Perhaps, but again, that’s too vague and would just earn me a scorn or a “o.O” look more than a “I want to watch that!” nod.
I also thought about how those who get to appreciate Cross Game for what it’s worth are making use of one very important faculty — their heart, and that people will only be able to enjoy it if they let it into their heart — but that’s so eww cheesy www.
Convincing people (who are not really into slice-of-life) to watch Cross Game is about as challenging as convincing people to watch Aria (or Chi’s Sweet Home, Trapp Family, among others), and more so, enjoy it. It’s the kind of anime that’s so “laid back”, not much happens at all, there’s not much of a “plot” or Exciting Events that leaves you hanging at the edge of your seat, begging for MOAR. You’re just a casual spectator who, pretty much like this jiji, gets to appreciate what you see despite its “slowness” — allow the show to let you see the beauty of the mundane, let the characters grow on you, as you bask in the momentary pauses and moments of reflection the show has to offer.
And then I got into thinking… Do I really NEED to convince people to watch Cross Game (or any other anime for that matter), or to understand why they don’t like it the way I do? What will I gain from successfully bringing them to the light side? Badge of Superiority? What will that do to the convincee (if there’s such a word)? One thing I realize in all this (despite my miniscule ‘case study sample size’) is that you can only do so much to convince people to watch an anime, and more so let them enjoy it. The decision to watch and enjoy something has to come from _within_. As ghostlightning-sama has once said: “We will not like some anime because we are not ready for it.” People will be able to appreciate certain animes, in the right time, and in their own time. No one else can know when that will be but the very person himself (despite how it seems as if there are “external factors” coming into play here — time, place, or the person’s mood — it’s actually intrinsic for the most part, because everything is a choice). Also, seeing someone have that little bit of an ‘urge to watch (and get to like)’ a series like this is enough reason to rejoice, because that little spark will most likely lead to something greater sooner or later, if the person so wanted, of course.
More than pimping or “going out of my way” to convince other people to watch what I’m enjoying
and shoving it down their throat, I’d rather enjoy it, talk about what I find amazing about it, and that’s it. It’s up to you to join in the said experience and bask in what it has to offer. If you end up loving Cross Game, yay hurray! If not, well I can’t blame you, because this is exactly the kind of anime that’s so easy to dismiss (though I still hope you’d find it in your heart to revisit it and appreciate it). If you watched it and enjoyed it, and felt your heart move with the characters, props to you, and I can’t be any happier to share in your joy of having discovered Cross Game, or Mitsuru Adachi even