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

João Gomes

Hunter
"Let's go, partner."

I just feel like sticking disc 1 into the player again and start over lol it's ridiculous how much I love this thing.

The buildup to the match is so well done. You can feel the expectation and excitement in the air. Hand-drawn phone chats complete with food emojis seal the deal.

After all we've seen of Peco and, particularly, Smile's childhood, it is only now, in the present time, that Smile accepts himself as being human after being treated as an emotionless drone by those shiitty little shiits for so long.

The harm was done and lasting but Peco insisted actively on helping Smile and making him accept himself. Ping Pong was the means through which he achieved that; he made Smile feel normal and like he belonged.

The flashlight bit was the kind of innocent sweetness only a kid is capable of; really, really beautiful moment. Seeing Smile breaking his mecha armor and having bright red veins on the inside is touching, as is the tone of validation in his voice when he tastes his own blood. What a beautiful friendship.

The montage with the kid versions of the main players playing ping pong to the tune of that chorus of children culminating in Tsukimoto crying of happiness is just special.

We even got a reunion scene between the older generation trio; that was cool.

Things get wrapped very satisfyingly. I love that Koizumi is looking for the pot like a father would when his son comes to visit after a long time and he wants to please him as much as possible; Kazama has a different outlook on life and you see he's much more relaxed, even when reminiscing on his father; Akuma has a stable life together with his family; Kong has gotten the Japanese nationality and now plays for the Japanese national team along with Peco, who sees his lifelong dream realized (probably), both trained by Kaio's old trainer and cheered on by Egami. And Smile totally has a girlfriend ahah. Amazing ending to one of my 🐐 s!

@Lordhippos truly happy you enjoyed, I think you know that I most certainly did! I enjoyed your insights about the sport and your experience and they made this even more interesting, thank you!

Yeah, the Eva references were funny and there was also a Getter Robo keychain in there somewhere!

And I'm eager to watch the movie tomorrow and see where it differs from the series! Curious about the soundtrack because Ushio destroyed that shiit in the series and it elevated the whole thing considerably.
 

João Gomes

Hunter
Page 4 is Kong getting into the JP national team levels of victorious!! ⭐

lol I just googled that substance and it can be found on sale online here! I would've totally ordered it for a little private, forum-bound, joke between an extremely limited number of individuals 🥤

May order eventually, just to taste!
 

Lordhippos

Vampire Ninja
It's been a pleasure following along with the rest of you, especially your insights @João Gomes (I'm using @ because it's easier than typing your name with the accents! 🤣).

There's a lot of small nuances that I expect you pick up on with repeat watches, how many times have you seen it now?

I can't remember the last time I actually drank IRN-BRU, I think it's like the Scottish national soft drink or something.
 

João Gomes

Hunter
It's been a pleasure following along with the rest of you, especially your insights @João Gomes (I'm using @ because it's easier than typing your name with the accents! 🤣).

There's a lot of small nuances that I expect you pick up on with repeat watches, how many times have you seen it now?

I can't remember the last time I actually drank IRN-BRU, I think it's like the Scottish national soft drink or something.

Don't worry, I can't find the accent myself easily on a French keyboard which is qwertz (ew), so I can relate!

I've watched it 6 or 7 times, I think? Maybe more. Yeah, in particular if you found the characters atypical, rewatching it may just allow you to pick up on new things in what is said or shown since you already know what to expect from the cast!
 

Lordhippos

Vampire Ninja
Live Action Movie

I don't have loads to say here as a lot of this was the same as the series, with some noticeable differences.

For one, we missed a lot of the Kaoi backstory, no Yurie, no pushing sales of the special shoes from Poseidon for the floor mats, no showing the awesome equipment/facilities they had, or really even trying to get Smile interested.

For two, there is no Egami off on adventures to find himself.

For three, Demon doesn't save Peco from drowning himself.

A lot of the story is the same though, with the noticeable difference that they play to 21 here instead of 11 like they did in the show.

What is the history here between the live action and the anime versions anyone? which came first? was one based on the other, were both based on a manga?

I definitely enjoyed both but I think I'd give match point to the anime over the live action version, although I would say that it was interesting seeing a live action thing set in Japan as I mostly wind up watching Korean based foreign stuff (if not watching anime).
 
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Neil.T

Titan
Live Action Movie

I don't have loads to say here as a lot of this was the same as the series, with some noticeable differences.
I'll have a bit more to say about the film because (unlike the anime, I'm afraid) I really like it.

As just a quick post-and-run for now, though, IMDb has the live-action movie down as a 2002 release:

MAL tells us that Yuasa's anime version aired much later, in 2014:

Both are based on the 1996–97 manga by Taiyō Matsumoto, who also wrote and drew Tekkonkinkreet, which was itself adapted into an anime film in 2006.
 

Neil.T

Titan
So, Ping Pong the movie...

I dug out an old post of mine about the film, which is probably more interesting than anything I could write now, so I'll just drop that in here.

Ping Pong (live-action film)

I thought this beat the anime adaptation hands down.

For starters, I actually liked the characters in this! Peco came off as cheerful and quirky as well as cocky — but this time (almost annoyingly!) endearingly so. Sakuma was particularly engaging as a character. I recognised his voice early on; he's played by Kouji Ohkura, who also voiced nori-browed Amarao in FLCL.

Director Fumihiko Sori took the bold choice of having his cast play cartoon characters in a live-action film. It's a gutsy move that pays off in spades: I found myself watching gripped by a kind of giddy excitement pretty much from the very start, and it never let up until the very end. Sori's stylistic direction with the actual ping-pong scenes is another genius move for me: he elected to shoot his actors without the presence of an actual ball — those were added later on using CG (and for the most part you really wouldn't know). That allowed the actors to leap and run around and deliver theatrical, high-octane performances, which are interspersed with some dramatic slow-motion cuts too. Also, the final match, in Sori's hands, with the musical selection and editing, turns into something very moving indeed.

As a footnote, I also felt that this film handled the timeskips infinitely better, despite having less running time to play with.

I don't often rewatch live-action films like I do with animation, but this one I definitely will be revisiting. I would highly, highly recommend it.

I'm sure Masaaki Yuasa's anime version is no doubt the more faithful adaptation of Taiyou Matsumoto's original manga, but this live-action alternative is the one I enjoy most. A surprise hit.

Just for the sake of adding something new, I must say that I really enjoyed Akuma again in the film. I think he's just such a relatable character — someone who tries his hardest at what he does but is ultimately defeated by the frustratingly low upper ceiling on his level of ability.

No amount of effort can ever really overcome one's own inherent limitations, sadly.
 

Lordhippos

Vampire Ninja
So, Ping Pong the movie...

I dug out an old post of mine about the film, which is probably more interesting than anything I could write now, so I'll just drop that in here.



Just for the sake of adding something new, I must say that I really enjoyed Akuma again in the film. I think he's just such a relatable character — someone who tries his hardest at what he does but is ultimately defeated by the frustratingly low upper ceiling on his level of ability.

No amount of effort can ever really overcome one's own inherent limitations, sadly.

Interesting about the balls being added in post didn't realise that!

I did like how watching the film also reinforced some of the ideas previously seen, so it was kind of like re-watching the anime version but with a few twists.

I kind of miss playing the actual game though, was definitely one of the most fun sports I've played.
 

João Gomes

Hunter
matthew-mc-conaughey-alright.gif

OK, so. I had to watch this over three sittings, over two days because Real Life®™.

SPOILER : we won't see eye to eye on this, @Neil.T lol

There are a few things to consider, but first off, I enjoyed it alright. I think it reinforces that the source material must indeed be extremely strong, because the core story is still very appealing.

And I know we can't compare two hours of runtime a movie has with the multiple hours of a series. I think the movie team adapted to the limitations of their runtime as best they could but so much is lost.

Peco's performance was at once convincing, as a larger than life character, and jarringly artificial a good deal of the time. Every other character is an accessory to Peco's tale. I felt like every single one of them lost what made them special in my eyes. The visual metaphors, the flashbacks, their present day lives and hardships, the people around them.

In the series, they get to breathe, to be actual characters that feel like people, even if Peco and Smile didn't exist. Koizumi has only a few minutes and what feels like a small montage where he's with Smile. Smile exists to show how Peco is the hero. Kong is a plot device who doesn't long for home, has no real relationship with his trainer and goes nowhere.

Kazama has 0 buildup; we're just told this guy is good so gotta go with that. The problem is that when the match comes, he doesn't feel like a menace. Yurie, Michio, Sanada, the trainer... All gone. The old trio is a duo and the scene between them at the end felt strange and served no real purpose.

I enjoyed the movie in spite of that, but that's mostly on Tayou Matsumoto and I didn't even read the manga (yet).

The direction felt timid. You've got two more artistically daring scenes, those being the Butterfly Joe isolated with his butterfly wings and during Kazama vs Peco where they have a heart to heart away from the confusion of the tournament. But since the movie is so straight they kinda feel out of place? Other than that, there's way too many flat shots and a lot of silence.

I want to read the manga to see what, if anything, did Yuasa add that wasn't in there already.

Next up: Scotland's national softdrink review and don't forget: let me know what you think in the comments below, subscribe to my channel and click that bell notification to know when I upload new content 👌
 

Neil.T

Titan
SPOILER : we won't see eye to eye on this, @Neil.T lol
Hahh, we're on totally opposite ends of the Ping Pong spectrum, João. 😆

It's crazy, because the things you like about the series seem to be things I admire about the film, and the things you dislike about the movie are things that I take issue with in the anime. It's brilliant how two people can watch the exact same things and have almost entirely opposing views of them.

Interesting about the balls being added in post didn't realise that!
I wondered myself, actually, where that info came from, and I have no idea, unfortunately; it's not in the Wikipedia article. 🤔

The only thing I can think of is that it was maybe on the commentary track for Appleseed, a CG anime that director Fumihiko Sori was involved with.

I kind of miss playing the actual game though
I've played table tennis once ever. There was one time in secondary school where my class were let into this outbuilding on the school grounds that I'd never been in before because it was raining, and there were tables inside. I have no recollection at all of how the paddle felt to hold; all I can vaguely remember is that the ball was too light for me to be able to control.

Yet another thing I turned out to be cackhanded at. 😬
 

João Gomes

Hunter
Hahh, we're on totally opposite ends of the Ping Pong spectrum, João. 😆

It's crazy, because the things you like about the series seem to be things I admire about the film, and the things you dislike about the movie are things that I take issue with in the anime. It's brilliant how two people can watch the exact same things and have almost entirely opposing views of them.

Yeah, it's weird but also funny and I think it scientifically proves that we'd both probably love the manga?

Science🔬🥼⚗️🧪🧫Science

Regardless, this was a blast as every other simulwatch I've done here, only this time with one of my favorites and the movie! 🏓
 

Lordhippos

Vampire Ninja
I've played table tennis once ever. There was one time in secondary school where my class were let into this outbuilding on the school grounds that I'd never been in before because it was raining, and there were tables inside. I have no recollection at all of how the paddle felt to hold; all I can vaguely remember is that the ball was too light for me to be able to control.

It's definitely the kind of game that practice can make anyone better at, you will start off barely returning the ball, but when you can get the returns going it becomes a lot of fun. The ball being light means if you're good you can hit it pretty hard and with some spin, it will dip and land on the opponents side.

It's also the kind of game where raw talent really takes you a lot further, I think I was always fairly good when I played (compared to the people I played with anyway) but I'd be squashed like an insect against a real player! :)

Regardless, this was a blast as every other simulwatch I've done here, only this time with one of my favorites and the movie! 🏓

It's been great fun having you guys along too!

My next one up is Ergo Proxy which I was hoping to book into December. @Neil.T do you have any plans to do any between now and then?

If not I may see if we can get a cheeky film in later this month!
 

Neil.T

Titan
this was a blast as every other simulwatch I've done here, only this time with one of my favorites
And the page count is even double that of the previous Ping Pong simulwatch. Objective achieved. 💪

It's also the kind of game where raw talent really takes you a lot further
Ah. That would be a problem for me, then: I don't have raw talent. Like, generally. 😅

Sounds neat to be able to play at a competent level, though. 👍

My next one up is Ergo Proxy which I was hoping to book into December. @Neil.T do you have any plans to do any between now and then?

If not I may see if we can get a cheeky film in later this month!
Hey, go for your life, man. No plans in place from me; Ergo Proxy was already the next thing on my radar.

Now there's an anime that I should find plenty (too much) to say about.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
Finally finished watching the anime and though I had to drop out as @João Gomes said, because Real Life®™, I loved this anime for all the reasons that you guys have been stating. I could not wipe off the paralytic smile on my face whilst watching the last set of episodes, really beautiful stuff. Though I'm sad I couldn't add my thoughts, I'm pleased to see they've all been very nicely covered already. A few points:

  • I too want to get straight back into watching this again, and would've had I not got a fair few others to try asap before the xmas sales, to try and convince myself to not go broke in the process of trying to buy everything...
  • irn-bru is good stuff! And now I want some...
  • as much as I have in my youth enjoyed (and now very much miss) table tennis, I too had no idea about these robots, nor the paddle rubbers heheh
  • all the aspects of the anime are masterfully constructed, even the loose animation as I do feel that it contributes to capturing the dynamism of the game, but I would in particular like to highlight the sound design (I'm reminded of Eizouken here!) which easily gets full marks from me: I'm sure @Lordhippos will agree that it was spot on and probably the reason I've been on a nostalgia trip with every episode.
 

João Gomes

Hunter
🤖 ONE OF US 🤖
🤖 ONE OF US 🤖
🤖 ONE OF US 🤖

Happy you enjoyed this @Geriatric hedgehog, because how I could I not be? The messages contained in it are so beautiful and life-affirming, the way they're depicted so enthralling and exciting.

I'm also watching a few other things between here and the Xmas sale, but I'm mostly trying to move on with my Clannad watch. I hope I don't fall into the bad habit of rewatching an old favorite instead of a new one from the backlog when I'm eventually done with that...


In for Ergo Proxy and if the movie is something I have, why not that, too?
 
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