When Cross Game initially aired, the small handful of western Mitsuru Adachi went to work, attempting to spread the word of a bestselling Japanese artist who was an unknown in the west. Touch, a domestic phenomenon in Japan, was cited in tandem with Cross Game as his most influential and greatest work. Although Cross Game is more accessible — especially for western anime viewers — and modern, Touch is Adachi’s magnum opus. Mix: Meisei Story is Adachi’s latest, set in the same universe as Touch, decades later.
It’s impossible to talk about Mix without mentioning Touch, but not for the reasons you may think.
Often neglected when speaking of an animated sports series – or anime in general, for that matter – is the use of sound. Not the soundtrack itself, or the actual sound effects, but the use of them within the specific narrative of a series, in tandem with the visuals.
In episode three of Ping Pong: The Animation, Eriko Kimura turns in one of the more impressive pieces of sound direction that both supports and amplifies Masaaki Yuasa’s visuals and Taiyo Matsumoto’s story. The moment is Smile’s coming-out party.
My first days of college were hardly a reflection of what the rest of my college career would be. Forced into orientation groups named after colors – if memory serves – energetic and intoxicated upperclassmen herded us around in groups, until we learned to herd ourselves. Those weeks, we traveled in packs, first grouped by floor, then grouped by interest or field of study, and finally, grouped with those whom we truly could call friends. As it so happened, one of my orientation group-mates ended up in my group of friends. It was a friendship born of similar interest, namely the sport of rugby, and although we grew to be mere acquaintances by the end of our respective college lifetimes, I always enjoyed spending time with him.
Attending a small college – for reference, my graduating class consisted of about 300 students, mirroring my high school graduating class size – is a uniquely insular experience. I received an excellent education; however, the social alliances, friendships, and relationships that were formed were instantly broadcast throughout the school. If something happened, everyone knew a version of the event within 24 hours of its occurrence. These events were not divisive, but my class was certainly split into specific groups of people. This changed during our senior week.