Review: CROSS†CHANNEL

Hey, Kaushik here back to review a recently finished visual novel. Released in 2003, this one’s pretty old, but of course it has no bearing on quality. It details the story of the 8 members of the Gunjou Academy Broadcasting Club, with the main character being one Kurosu Taichi, over the course of a one-week period. I’ll just throw this straight out: I didn’t enjoy this story that much. While the ending was somewhat satisfying, the journey to get there was boring to play through. Why’s that? Well read on, friend~

Title

The setting for this game isn’t your normal, everyday, slice-of-life school-life situation, though it may seem like that at first. Gunjou Academy is actually a school for all the societal pariahs out there. Entrants to the school take a test, which determines their adaptability coefficient with the rest of society. If they score too high, they are shipped off to Gunjou. I suppose therein lies my first problem with this visual novel. For the most part, none of the characters are all that likable. There were efforts made to that end as the story came to a close, and while that part was enjoying, it felt like too little too late. I may have enjoyed the characters somewhat by the end of the game, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they were unlikable and boring throughout the bulk of the game.

This game is split up into “weeks”, for a total of six by the end of the game. The first week is probably the most normal, as the reader has no idea the true story behind Gunjou Academy and the plot about to occur. However, after the first year, a major event occurs, in which the entire population (minus the 8 students of the Gunjou Academy Broadcasting Club) of the earth suddenly disappears. It’s a little ironic that the only people left on the planet are these cast-offs from society, but that’s how it is. From that point on, Taichi repeats the week over and over again, trying to figure out just what’s going on (and living his life in the process).

The cast (minus a Hasekura Youko). From the left, Sakuraba, Tomoki, Miki, Touko, Kurosu, Misato, and Kiri.

The cast (minus a Hasekura Youko). From the left, Sakuraba, Tomoki, Miki, Touko, Kurosu, Misato, and Kiri.

Because of the way the game is set up into weeks, there aren’t really any “routes” in the traditional sense. You do find out the story behind every girl, as is generally the case in these kinds of games, but since the game is broken up into these “weeks”, you do essentially go through everyone’s route every time. As Taichi goes through each girl’s route, you find out more about the girls, and more importantly, Taichi himself. Essentially, why each person is “locked away” in a school like Gunjou.

So why don’t I like the characters? Well, let’s start with the main character, Kurosu Taichi. He’s an unlikable asshole, and a pervert to boot. It’s odd, since I’ve probably liked similar characters in other works of fiction, but for some reason I just can’t seem to enjoy Taichi, personally. With an adaptability coefficient of 84%, he’s likely the least fit for human society, so that may have a part as to why I dislike him. Despite what I said, he does actually redeem himself in the final week of the game, Week 6. And while that was the most enjoyable part of the game, it doesn’t take all that much away from the journey to get there.

Kurosu Taichi. He looks pretty normal considering how unfit for society is.

Kurosu Taichi. He looks pretty normal considering how unfit for society is.

Besides that you have the girls, Miyasumi Misato, Kirihara Touko, Yamanobe Miki, Sakura Kiri, and Hasekura Youko. They each have their own story, and for the most part, aren’t that interesting. Their personalities are kind of boring and/or abrasive (it feels like Kiri and Touko are very similar). Week 6 fortunately adds a lot to each character’s story, but it came a little late. For a game like this, I feel like the heroines are a really essential part in enjoying the game and story, as “picking a heroine” and running with it is a big theme of Visual Novels a lot of the time. Unfortunately, it’s hard to really grow attached to any of the heroines until just before the end of the game. Not enough of their story is explained. The only character you truly have time to get attached is Taichi, and I’ve already explained my feelings on him.

Nanaka, the mysterious girl Taichi sees sometimes. She does weird things, but she has a reason?

Nanaka, the mysterious girl Taichi sees sometimes. She does weird things, but she has a reason?

I don’t normally bring this up as a point, since it’s really not my area of expertise, but I felt like the voice acting was quite sub-par as well. A lot of it feels like it’s lacking feeling or emotion, or otherwise too much emotion is put into non-pivotal moments… For the most part, it feels like the voice acting is inconsistent and all over the place. On the flip-side, the music was actually quite good and very enjoyable, with the notable exception of the main theme music. I wasn’t a fan of the vocalized version, but a lot of the BGM was great.

Pros:

— The final week was a satisfying ending and the best part of the game.

— The BGM is quite good.

— The setting is interesting.

Cons:

— Pretty much everything besides the final week is boring and uninteresting.

—  The characters either don’t have enough time to grow on you, or aren’t very interesting to begin with.

Rating: 2.5/5

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

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