Admittedly, this is the first sports anime I have checked out even though I am actually a sports fan. I recall watching anime in college and wondering if they ever made sports anime only to get replies on message boards that sports and anime don’t really mix. So the somewhat recent boom in sports anime has been a bit surprising.
Around the time Ping Pong came out, there was a behind the scenes clip online of how they got some of the animation to look the way it did. Check it out below.
The Interface/program they are using is Flash, the same program I used in college for traditional animation. While at Anime Detour earlier this year, I checked out a panel on the works of Masaaki Yuasa. After seeing a range of works in his style, I decided I needed to check out Ping Pong.
I was kinda skeptical at first. Mostly because I never checked out sports anime but I also was concerned if I would get tired of the art style or if it would lose impact over the course of the series (11 episodes). Not to mention, I also didn’t know much at all about Ping Pong.
After the first episode I noticed something interesting in the credits. They had a team just for advising on Ping Pong. This isn’t uncommon, but I was pleasantly surprised. It really paid dividends for the series and making it realistic from a game standpoint.
Ping Pong follows a small group of characters, all from various regions and different playing styles. The series starts with a tournament, the middle portion is the summer/start of a new school year and wraps up with another tournament, with all of our characters a year older.
So should you check out Ping Pong? YES! I initially intended to marathon Ping Pong in an afternoon but I didn’t, instead doing about 4 sessions of 2 or 3 episodes. I wish I had marathoned it. I found myself eagerly waiting for the next viewing session to see what happened next.
The characters are very unique and I am pretty certain there is a character for you to get behind and pull for. In my case I had two favorite characters, Peco and Kong.
Artistically speaking, the artwork didn’t get old as the series went on, I never felt like it was a novelty that had overstayed it’s use. The extreme movements in sports anime lends itself to this art style and I thought the team used this style extremely well. It really shows off in the matches.
From a story perspective and even character development, I don’t really have much to critic. I actually wish there was another episode or two to develop the characters outside of Ping Pong a bit more but it wasn’t needed. I especially enjoyed the series and how it progressed after the initial tournament.
The final episode was really special. Not every anime pulls off the final episode and I felt Ping Pong did an amazing job. Anytime I can walk away from a series with a smile (no pun intended) on my face, I can’t complain.
I highly suggest checking out Ping Pong, I know it is a series I will go back and watch again soon. Ping Pong is available from FUNimation.
You can also read more about Ping Pong on CartoonBrew.