Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches.
I’m currently thinking of a character that it ignored… and I can’t seem to find one. Oh wait: the beach guy is the most shallow of the bunch. Apart from that, every character here is relatable (or as much as you can do with that with a guy who is supposed to be a human robot). Smile being a human robot as a main character has an interesting effect: the entire series revolves around him, but there are enough other things going on. I especially liked how Kong Wenge has completely changed now that he botched his goals of trying to get back to China as fast as possible. Ota became very sympathetic with the inclusion of his parents’ job (this guy is working hard for his future!)
The climax here was Peco though. Because of that it was the most cliched of the bunch, however I still found it offered some interesting perspectives. You don’t often see main characters with lots of talent developing into spoiled brats: that’s usually reserved for rivals, and even then those rivals usually always put in lots of effort. Peco however has always got everything handed to him, which succenly changed when everyone started practicing really hard and putting in effort. I’m not sure whether I understand the decision of the creators to make him have this sudden realization after a near-death experience though, though let’s see what they can do with that.