Visual novel review: Cross†Channel
Posted by FabledHunter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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