Ping Pong simulwatch [RS] (3rd November start)


Pokémon Master
Ping Pong
MAL Link
[Part of the Renegade Simulwatch]

Start date set to Weds 3rd November, finishing on Sun 14th of November :)

This is currently available for streaming on Funi.

This has been on my radar for a while to watch so very interested to see how this one plays out. From the same director as Tatami Galaxy so I have an idea to expect something kind of whacky.

Table of episodes/dates below:

DateEpisode #
3rd November1
4th November2
5th November3
6th November4
7th November5
8th November6
9th November7
10th November8
11th November9
12th November10
13th November11
14th NovemberLive Action Movie (optional)
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Episode 1
Seems like there's a bit of knowledge required as the main cast get introduced with their grip style, but that went straight over my head.
The 2 main characters seem complete opposites which makes it hard to believe that they are friends with Ping Pong being the only thing that they seem to have in common.
The Chinese guy seems like an antagonist with his attitude and the way he blew Peco away. And where does get off with the "land of Ping Pong" line, I'll have him know Ping Pong was invented in Britain 😜
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sniiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffffffffmhaaaaaaah....... Yeah baby, that's it. The facial expressions, the personality-establishing voice-acting, the infectious opening, the beautiful soundtrack... that's ping pong, baby.

Team dynamics are established, main characters are presented, visual metaphors shown... This series has pitch perfect pacing. Not a second wasted, not a useless line in this. It went by in a flash, it's ridiculously good.

The small moments of better animation are remarkable, like Peco playing with the ball while trying to get a read on Wenge, the shots of the ball going over the table in that same match or that great bit of the ball rolling against the fabric barrier. The split screen bits are always used to great effect and to save on establishing shots or showing emotion, no cuts needed. It's so stylish.

I find it funny how I didn't remember the old lady's proposition to Smile, to see if he wanted to teach kids, ahah.

This is early days yet and none of the main characters have awoken to their passion for the sport or for the competition, but we get a lot of important and, most importantly, well delivered exposition. Wenge and his trainer getting a read on Peco and Smile's match tells us more about Smile but it also informs Wenge on the kind of player he may yet find in Japan.

Speaking of Wenge, and this is a new read on the scene for me personally, but I wonder if his frustration wasn't also a bit of projection ? Not sure, but I think it could be. Smile understanding the general gist of what Wenge says when speaking to him while Peco is all hype is another great bit of character writing and the fact that Wenge took the "It would only end in defeat" line so seriously gives us an idea of what to expect from Smile later on.

I just feel like smashing through the first disk, as I almost always do.

"Breathing outside the womb for an extra year sure makes you big shots" never fails to make me laugh, what a great line!

Oh, how could I forget. Koizumi. Beautiful man.
Episode 1

As a first time viewer this was a very interesting watch, I don't yet have the ping-pong addiction that @João Gomes has, but I am sure with time and consumption I will develop it :)

I will state for el record that I used to play a little ping-pong, or as we call it here, table tennis. I have always enjoyed playing it, but I have never been exceptional, we have a table at work, and I could hold my own against most people, but as the episode tells us, "there is always someone better than you". Even in my small circle of colleagues who played I was not the best player.

For @D1tchd1gger and a bit of background, China is considered a top contender on the world stage for table tennis, and they are well known for using a different kind of grip than we might use here, where they have their hand over the back of the bat instead of just on the handle. I am not sure why it's considered better or worse than the regular grip, but I believe there are two common grips, handle, and the one the Chinese players use (pen hold or whatever they call it).

The artwork is loose but I am kind of used to it with my previous watch of Tatami Galaxy under my belt, I am no stranger to loose artwork. As @João Gomes also mentioned they did at times boost the quality and you could really tell, I think it's easier to do that when the base quality is a bit more raw like we saw here.

We get introduced to our main characters who don't seem to care about the rules too much, Smile and Peco (or Peco-San to you), who do appear to be an unlikely duo. I enjoyed how Peco turned the whole Senpai-Kouhai thing on it's head. Being born a year earlier != superiority in some way.

I was hooked on that game against Wenge in the 2nd half of the episode, that was really good! I loved how they could hear the flow of the game from the rooftop as well, and the obvious challenge to Wenge going unanswered with Smile's "Defeat is certain", but for whom?

Looking forward to Episode #2 :)
China is considered a top contender on the world stage for table tennis
I know. It was a joke, hence the 😜 They won all, or nearly all, the gold medals in Olympics for table tennis.

EDIT: All bar the mixed doubles, which went to Japan. China got silver in that one:

And 16 golds from 31 in the Paralympics:
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@D1tchd1gger is this your first watch? I also don't know what most of the technical terms mean (only those that you end up understanding through context) but I never felt like I missed anything meaningful because of it.

@Lordhippos that's actually cool that we have a resident ping pong player for the simulwatch! I'll be sure to ask any questions I may have, thanks in advance and such

I came across that viral clip of the 2017 world table tennis championship the other day and it was exactly the same strategy Akuma uses later in the series. I was leonardodicapriopointingfinger.jpg at that thing.

Being completely ignorant of the sport as I am, I thought it was something that would theoreticaly be possible but not something you'd actually see in a professional game.

Lo and behold

Definitely obscure meme potential by putting Akuma's theme playing over the clip 🏓
I came across that viral clip of the 2017 world table tennis championship the other day and it was exactly the same strategy Akuma uses later in the series. I was leonardodicapriopointingfinger.jpg at that thing

For the sake of not spoiling it for myself too much and not really remembering the video, I will watch it after the episode, let me know when it's safe to do so! :)

Rules for table tennis are generally pretty simple at least, serves have to go diagonally and have to bounce once on your side of the table then once on the other side of the table. After that rallies just have to land on the opponents side of the table with the back and forth more or less.

Think most games are played with first to 11 or 21, and you have to win by 2 points clear, it's 1 point per serve/rally.
Watched the first episode last night and really enjoyed it. A lot of my thoughts you guys have already voiced. I too dabbled in some table tennis at school (at a very amateur level and back when games were played to 21 points!) so it was really nice to see the "action" scenes which were very well animated with the multi-panel cut-ins. I was also a bit lost with the character intro terminologies. The writing and voice acting are brilliant with that comment on 1 extra year experience out of the womb, getting excited/angry just being a waste of energy, etc all hilarious. Not personally a fan of the Yuasa crude animation style in general, but I do feel that it allows for great facial expressions and dynamism in the action sequences. Wenge's retort to Smile's throwaway defeat is certain comment was very telling and foreshadowing indeed! The character's personalities are nicely established and inner dilemmas demonstrated or hinted at. Also liking the music along with the opening and closing credits.

Great start and very interested to see how this develops and how far we can go with the characters' stories (hopefully with the anime not ending at the local championships only). Now I have a craving to hunt down some paddles to whack around some tiny balls with.
Episode 2

I liked how they didn't seem to realise that Smile and Peco were challengers from another school. Genuine laugh out loud moment when Wenge asked for the glasses chopper and the rotund gentleman appears who is clearly not who he wanted.

Smile has turned himself into a machine incapable of enjoying himself or feeling hurt, but he needs the drive to win, and the one to do it his love interest sensei.

For me the highlight of both episodes so far is definitely the matches they play, that sensei dude is rather deadly even at the ripe old age of 72. There is no bed on the floor though so no time for lying down 🤣

Another good episode I think, this is a good show so far, I am enjoying it.
"Yes! Love!"

And thus begins Koizumi's love affair with Smile, as it were 🌹

This is maybe my favorite episode in the series? Not sure, but Koizumi's whole demeanor is so endearing to me, the writing so sharp and to the point and the voice acting so convincing that I can't help but love him. My favorite character in the series 🦋

Smile's classmates giving him shiit for having Koizumi set his sights on him was so funny and felt so natural, another good example of how strong the writing is.

Also as an aside, here starts another recurring bit I love which is Peco's unsolicited commentary on sweets/snacks lol

And so all throughout the episode sweet Koizumi shows Smile the depths of his affection climaxing in the match between both. And what a match. I love how the teacher is deadset on dragging Tsukimoto out of his shell and knows exactly what he has to do to achieve it.

The storytelling in this is excellent, mixing visual motifs with flashbacks, instrospection, multiple cuts and use of music to further the depth of these characters and situations.

Seeing Smile accepting that his hero can't protect him from everything through the robot metaphor is so cool and they didn't neglect a couple of beautiful animation bits. The light breaking into the locker being one of them.

What a fcking great episode, my lord. Koizumi's theme is my cellphone ringtone and has been for years, I love it deeply. The soundtrack in general cuts very deep right to the core of whatever it is that makes me feel things. Ushio is giiiiifted.

Shout out to Yuasa's prowess in general but his ability to make mundane moments like walking around eating squid and watching the sea feel so grounded and endearing between two friends. It makes me feel childhood nostalgia and it's something that has happened before with his work. I want to have lived and grown up in this place!
"It's just to kill time. Ping pong & English vocab are both just ways to kill time until I die".

Smile and his lackadaisical indifference are legendary. @João Gomes you've literally said everything I was thinking of with this episode already heh. Another fantastic bit of writing and animation and amongst a fair few great characters, Smile is easily my favourite (he had me at last episode's "smiling, getting angry -- that stuff just makes me tired") and the focus on him, and the hilariously & indomitably spirited Sensei (Koizumi is totally a duuuude as well! Naaaansensse!!), really make this episode. I didn't realise Ushio was behind the soundtrack and that explains the quality. I'm loving this so far and now hoping that Funimation do a nice CE for it, seeing as they seem to be on a roll with some great ones coming up.

I think I actually quite like peanut sometimes, like with M&M's
I can't get enough of the artery-clogging Reese's cups myself!