Visual novel review: Cross†Channel

CrossChannel_015

Time for another visual novel review. I honestly should have written this post a while ago since I finished the game over a month ago. I’ve decided I am going to write a post whenever I complete a visual novel to share my thoughts on it. The idea being that hopefully people will end up trying a visual novel because of one of my reviews, and if they find something they really enjoy because of that, then I’d be pretty happy about that.

Cross†Channel is a visual novel developed by FlyingShine, originally released in 2003. I’d always only heard good things about Cross Channel so it had been on my backlog for a while. It was written by Tanaka Romeo, who I have heard described as the Shakespeare of eroge writers. (Or something like that. I can’t remember the exact words used, but the point is that he writes in a way that flows well and is beautiful to read.) Unfortunately the English translation doesn’t manage to give his writing justice. It’s understandable since it was one of the translators early projects, but when I learn Japanese I’m definitely going to come back and reread Cross Channel to experience it for myself.

Story

Cross Channel’s protagonist is Kurosu Taichi. The story starts off with Taichi and his friends from the same club returning to the city after a camping trip that was meant to fix some of the damaged relationships between the club members. Unfortunately the camping trip ended in failure, only damaging the relationships even further. When they arrive back in the city, they find that all the people and any living creatures have vanished.

They all attend Gunjo Academy, a facility for isolating students who are unable to adapt to society, so all the characters have some sort of issue where they can’t get along with other people in a normal way. Even after everyone disappeared, the main characters still attend school as usual. They attempt to build a broadcasting station to attempt to contact anybody who is possibly still alive. Taichi spends his time trying to repair his relationships with the other members of the club in between helping build the broadcasting station.

Characters

The characters in Cross Channel are really good. One of my favourite parts about Cross Channel is how it starts after everything has gone to shit and you know nothing about what happened to make it end up that way. Taichi’s interactions with the other characters always hint at stuff from the past but you never find out all the specifics until you complete that character’s route. Having all the pieces all fall together is pretty satisfying and emotional.

CrossChannel_083

Taichi is pretty perverted so that may put some people off, particularly during the first 1-2 weeks. He’s definitely a likable character though, and his perverted nature is easy to get used to. The way this game deals with issues such as relationships and how hard living can be, is done really well, and is very interesting to read.

Sakuraba is the best character in the game.

H scenes

Almost all of the sex scenes are decent, they aren’t needlessly long and they fit into the story well. I don’t remember any of them advancing the story at all, but for the most part they came across as important and didn’t seem out of place. There isn’t much else to say; none of the sex scenes are really memorable or special in any way, but there wasn’t really anything major to criticise them for either.

Sound

I found the sound to be one of the weaker aspects of Cross Channel. I’m listening to the soundtrack while writing this review, and while it definitely gets the job done when its used in the visual novel, a few of the tracks just don’t sound good to me.

The voice acting was pretty good, There are a couple of characters with annoying voices, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. Overall I think all the voice actors did an excellent job of voicing their respective characters. Although I think the recording noticeably sounded a bit dated, if I remember correctly.

CrossChannel_013

Overall impressions

A very enjoyable read. Even with the poor translation it still worked really well, I think it is likely that my score will go up when I reread it in Japanese one day. It covers some very interesting topics, and as long as they can stomach some of the heavier content, I would probably recommend Cross Channel to anybody who has the time to read it. If there is ever an anime made I would be very interested, but I don’t think it’s likely.

Final score: 8.5/10

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About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on March 15, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’m…well, i’m hesitant to give Cross Channel a go. I’m probably going to have to because of all of the praise it gets, but the fact of the matter is that i’ve found every single other work of Tanaka’s to be ludicrously overhyped.

    Still, it’s reassuring to see another positive review. Have you played any of his other visual novels (Kazoku Keikaku, Yume Miru Kusuri, Rewrite), and if so how did you feel about them?

    It’d be cool if you could put up an index on your menu so people can look up all of your articles without having to scroll through the front page ^_^

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    • The only other visual novel I’ve played of his is Rewrite. I liked it, but I think it could have been better. If it helps, I looked up what parts of Rewrite Tanaka wrote and I think those parts I did enjoy more. (Part of the common route, Kotori, Akane, Moon and Terra routes)

      I checked your vndb profile and noticed you have played like triple the amount of visual novels that I have, so you probably have a pretty accurate idea of what you would like or not like before starting a visual novel.

      Cross Channel had a few interesting ideas and most of it I really liked, but I found that it wasn’t as story driven as the stuff I usually like. If you have time to play it I’d definitely at least give it a try, I think it starts getting interesting after you clear the second week so I recommend at least getting up to there (If you do decide to try it that is).

      I also noticed you gave F/SN a high score but haven’t played Fate/hollow ataraxia yet. So I’d probably recommend that instead since you already expect you won’t find Cross Channel that good. Although it might be worth waiting until they finish the voice project they are working on.

      Thanks for the suggestion about putting up an index on the menu, that does sound like a very useful feature. I’ll set it up before I write my next post.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, if you still haven’t tried Cross Channel by the time I get round to reading Tanaka’s other works I’ll give you my thoughts on them as well. That might take a while though, since they are quite far back on my backlog.

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      • While i’d like to think I have a pretty good idea about what my tastes are, i’m always worried about missing gems that might surprise me (I mean, no one ever talks about Dengeki Stryker and I really enjoyed that).

        I’ve got quite a long list of visual novels to get through and Cross Channel is still on it, so i’ll get around to it eventually. As you say, though, i’ll be eagerly awaiting Fate/Hollow Ataraxia’s voice patch to play through that (though I’m a little sad that it’s not a more serious sequel). Speaking of the patch, do you know if there’s one being worked on right now? A quick google search didn’t turn up anything useful.

        That’s absolutely fine. His writing’s apparently very enjoyable to read in Japanese, so it’s a shame that, for me at least, that doesn’t come through well in the translations of his works.

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        • Yeah I’m like that too, there’s stuff that I know I will like, but there’s always stuff I never thought I’d like which turn out to be something I really enjoy. So I’m always curious to try things I’m not sure of just in case.

          So Dengeki Stryker is good then? I haven’t played it yet, but it’s in my backlog atm so I’ll hopefully get to it soon.

          Moogy recently answered this question by somebody http://ask.fm/moogy0/answer/125261864660 about Romeo’s works, so it does seem that Cross Channel is meant to be among his best. Saihate no Ima doesn’t have a translation so I guess I won’t be able to see if that is any good for a while.

          Here’s a link to the voice project for Fate/hollow ataraxia http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/5657-Fate-Hollow-Ataraxia-Voice-Project, I doubt it will be completed for a while but at least we know it’s being worked on. And here’s a link to the completed patch http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/5046-Fate-Hollow-Ataraxia-Translation-Patches just in case you didn’t have it already. Personally I wouldn’t try waiting for the voice patch to be completed, but it’s up to you. Fate/hollow ataraxia’s main story is something I highly recommend.

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          • Thanks for the links! Thankfully i’ve got so much in my backlog that I can afford to wait for the patch ^_^ A quick look at Moogy’s blog reveals that we share some opinions and completely disagree with others. One place where we disagree is regarding Romeo’s work in Rewrite, so Cross Channel will probably stay lower on my list >.<

            Liked by 1 person

          • Was trawling through your older reviews while responding to your comment about Majikoi and figured this would be a good place to talk about Cross Channel.

            I finished it and…well, the results aren’t pretty! This may upset your taste comparison between us XD

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            • I’m glad you gave it a go, at least. It’ll be interesting to hear about the specifics in a review if you can ever be bothered. (I know that writing about something you really didn’t like can be really annoying so don’t feel pressured to write one.)

              I’ll just treat Cross Channel as an exception for now. I’ve taken a quick look over your scores again to try and find something that I couldn’t stand but you gave a high score but nothing really stood out. (Not that I’m specifically going to go out of my way to find something to read that I don’t find enjoyable just to make a point. That would be dumb.)

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