The railroad crossing point serves as a meeting point for a lot of people. As they wait for the train to cross, they are often left with no other option than attempting to socialize... or be left behind with nothing but their most fervent inner thoughts.
Short anime is... an interesting prospect to write about, particularly ones that aren't really centered around a core cast of characters, as is the case with Crossing Time. With a runtime of around three and a half minute, what we get are twelve episodes of strange meetings and the sometimes bizarre conversations that come from it.
By and large, you could call the show comedic. The standout episodes tend to enhance the sometimes bizarre situations people find themselves in, some of which should by right come across as kind of creepy. Episode 6, for instance, finds a high school girl encountering a (presumably) middle-aged Japanese salaryman not wearing pants. Because of that, he's hiding in the roadside grass and, in his predicament, implores said high school girl to help him get out of this with at least some semblance of his dignity intact. Yet the resulting dialogue between the unnerved girl -- she isn't as much worried that the man will actually do anything as put off by the absurdity of the situation itself -- and the man without pants is actually quite funny.
As is the poor attempts at conversation between the unnamed and somewhat serious-looking sensei and high-school girl Kurobe, who, after a hilariously high-pitched "YAHOOO" from sensei, is trying her damnedest to contain her laughter. Somewhat aware of how tall and broad-shouldered he is -- and with Duke Togo's stone-faced expression to boot -- he is nevertheless not as... off-putting as he thinks he is, and the resulting burst of Kurobe's dam of tears from laughter is almost endearing.
That's not to say that Crossing Time hits a home run with all of its comedy, though. The meetings between high-school girl Eriko Mashima and high-school boy Tanishi serves as the more aggravating attempts at comedy from this show. Unlike most of the other characters, the two of them don't really converse all that much, mostly because what we hear is mainly Tanishi's inner monologue, which is more of a stream-of-consciousness diatribe about how "ero" she is. It's not entirely off-putting, but his role seems to be a standin for the overactive imagination of hormonal teenagers, which is... not always my favorite topic of choice. But to Crossing Time's credit, it does at least not.... uh, cross the line on the topic. There's also the whole double-segment with the two siblings who seem to converse solely through text and picture messages on their phones, even when they're standing right next to each other. And while that worked wonderfully in Laid-Back Camp, due to the girls conversing through scenery pictures and funny banter, in Crossing Time, these segments consists almost solely of the sister antagonizing her brother quite abrasively. Even better, she does this to hide her own feelings, as if we somehow haven't outgrown straight-laced tsundere jokes even now. And while I can't tell for sure, it almost feels like the show wants us to think she loves him that way. How scandalous.
On a thankfully much better note, Crossing Time has it in itself to jab you right in the feels whenever it wants to. You will occasionally meet the same cast in more than one episode, and one of these are centered around an older man reminiscing about a girl he pined for in his high-school years. In a nice turnaround, he seemed like more of a rough sports-event kind of guy, yet it was a girl reading a book that got his attention. His last action regarding her was to run up to her and hand over a letter containing "his heart, as it is" -- no, really, that's what was written on the envelope -- and that was the last he saw of her... until many years later, when he met a girl that looked almost just like her on that very selfsame train crossing spot. While it wouldn't take a Sherlock Holmes or a Poirot to figure out who this seemingly unaging girl really is, the resulting conversation between the two of them still managed to put a big ol' smile on my face.
The same goes for the way that Crossing Time chose to end its run. The show started out with two girls -- Ai and Tomo -- who chose to "live their youth" by screaming the name of the person they loved at the top of their lungs just as the train passed. Which is to say that Ai sort of tricked Tomo into shouting it, which sort of backfired when she shouted the name of the other party, and they both learned that the train apparently wasn't loud enough to drown out that particular revelation. The first episode ended on a comedic note about the whole thing, but when they returned for the last episode, it's clear that things had gotten quite awkward between the two. Yet, Crossing Time ended by letting the more boisterous and seemingly immature of the girls resolve the situation with a lot more maturity than we credit teenagers sometimes. And with a rather large amount of respect for homosexuality on top of it.
The art style is a bit "standard anime", though very light on MOE-ish tendencies. Animation is fairly well done for being a short, although, again, this is a show about people standing around and having conversations, so it's probably a fairly unchallenging show to animate. Still, Crossing Time does a good job with everyone's expressions and general body language, so I don't really have anything to complain about.
Honestly, aside from the occasional miss on the comedy side, Crossing Time was time well spent. It hit the ground running by being quite amusing from the get-go, and despite the occasional stumble, the way it snuck in some really cute moments left me feeling pretty good by the time the last episode rolled around. We've been trained so long by anime to think that what really matters is the large journey to whatever goal we set for ourselves, but I still love it when a show comes along to remind us that we shouldn't ignore or forget these small moments. Maybe THAT'S what youth is all about, even if I've left mine. Quite some time ago, too.
Funny and cute, just like these short moments should be. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: As befits a slice-of-life, there is no violence whatsoever outside of text message suggestions of "go commit seppuku" or "die", and fanservice is so mild as to be nearly nonexistant. Show also seems quite friendly on LGBTQ issues.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Crossing Time © 2018 Ekachi Epilka, Big Owl.
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