Posted by psgels on 18 April 2014 with categories: Ping Pong

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond telling a story, you have so much more to worry about: correctly animating characters, giving live to them through cuts and motions, using your music correctly, pacing the story right for the amount of episodes you’re given. Being good in one medium is no guarantee that you’re also good in the other. Consider what would have happened if Seiji Kishi or Shinbo got their hands on this series. Really, this would not have worked at all!

What makes Ping Pong amazing is not its story, but the way in which it’s told. The purpose of this episode was to slightly draw Tsukimoto out of the closet he kept building around himself (whether they’re also symbolizing THAT closet, I’m not sure yet, but even it if were the case that would not matter, because it’s part of his character). The way they do that is perfectly built up throughout this episode. And the animation just brings it out really well.

I feel the Osamu Dezaki-style cuts really work in this series, and finally there’s another guy who uses them. They’re a very interesting way of bringing these characters to life: the way in which the direction keeps showing different sides of the characters during the ping poing matches, ranging from simple shots to exaggerated, to flashbacks, to symbols. That’s how you bring characters to life. My only complaint is the use of CG: it stands out at times. Though thankfully they don’t use it in the important moments.

14 Responses

  1. Hogart says:

    To be honest, this episode bored me. It felt necessary but unspectacular. It was no secret that he’d have to come out of his shell, but the way they got from point A to point B was tedious. They spent half the episode wallowing around and then he had a match with an annoying 70 year old man. Aside from the amusing “robot” animations and sounds, it didn’t really convey much emotion to me, and it felt like nothing would have been lost if they just use the similar first episode to bring him out of his shell by having a match against China instead. In fact it felt quite “Shaft”, except the visual flare complimented the important scenes, instead of just being there to distract us from how boring everything was.

    • Puran says:

      I completely disagree. I thought it would be interesting even without the visual flares and the robot. It’s about a guy who is timid and wants to be left alone. The first half of the ep gave us some more characterization and some backstory about him and peco (I’m guessing the closet thing is related to peco somehow as well) and the second half was the payoff.

      • Caph says:

        Agreed. Characterisation =/= A Bad Thing. If anything, with the current trend of anime, it’s a scarce commodity.

  2. Flawfinder says:

    I’m guessing your reaction to seeing Shinbo’s new thing wasn’t a good one.

  3. Reverse Vampire says:

    I’ve read the chapters that covered this episode. Mild spoilers, the manga went into the teacher’s backstory and how he ended up teaching and received this nickname of his which can be seen at glimpses during this episode. I’m crossing my fingers whether the part will be animated next episode. I’m really hoping that it’ll be shown.

    Still, back to this episode, it feels one sided for me who has read the manga. The manga shows both sides of the story but I guess I’m not feeling the punch of the match between Smile and Mr. Koizumi.

    • Puran says:

      I read a few chapters of the manga as well. I guess they will add the teacher’s backstory at a later time. There were a couple of shots referencing it a bit in the ep and they only make sense if they include the backstory at a later time.

  4. chaoslimits says:

    Mr. Koizumi is one of the most hilarious characters I’ve seen in a while. I was laughing the entire episode. Nonsense!
    Ping Pong, and Mushishi, has replaced HxH as my most anticipated shows each week.

  5. kero says:

    Just started watching Ping Pong, and I’m loving it.

    This episode made me laugh a lot, and I loved watching Tsukimoto break out of his shell, although he broke out of it by assuming another persona… it kinda made me think of Abed in Community.

  6. TLM says:

    This drew me in way more than ep 1. Getting insight into Smile’s character, though him KOing a 72 year-old with ping pong isn’t the nicest way to develop. Hoping to see more of Wenge next ep, as well as maybe Peco playing again. Oh, and an actual OP animation would be nice.

    Only problem I had is one I would probably have with other sports stories too, if I ever watched them: I find it hard to understand why a character’s skills are so special. Everyone can tell Smile is good, but I don’t really get why. Probably cause I have never been skilled at any sport ever.

  7. ajin says:

    ofcourse, everything posted here is of your choice, and which anime you review and which you don’t is up to you, but don’t you think you gave up on some of the anime too quickly? for example Hajime no ippo or Golden Time? You did have few complains about them, but I never thought that you disliked those shows. Just want some insight, not attempting to argue, as i preffer reading your reviews before trying out a show.

    • psgels psgels says:

      The reason is simple: I agree that they had potential, I just couldn’t work up the motivation to continue watching them alongside the other shows that I’ve watched. It’s a combination of being too busy with real life and there being other, more interesting sounding series. That’s all, to be honest.

      • ajin says:

        thanks for replying. I’m quite younger than you so i can’t say i understand what your life is like, and so i can only ask you these things because i only know as the one who made this blog, which is amazing by the way. which leads me to a few other questions, why didn’t you write a review on Attack on Titan and Space Dandy? and for kill la kill, which i didnt start yet, i was wondering why you stopped following it when there were just 3 episodes left?

        • psgels psgels says:

          Thanks for your reply :) It’s the same thing: a lack of time and motivation. I really want to write more reviews, however my life has changed a lot in the past few years, and I’m still trying to find the right schedule to crank out posts. It’s as simple as that. ^^;

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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