This was incredibly well-written! You can really see the influence of Masaaki Yuasa’s previous works in here. The scene when Smile was in the locker room the first time and Peco is there to get him out, right out from Kemenozume! That match between Mr. Koizumi and Smile was so fast paced!
Tsukimoto [Smile] is a really interesting character that wants nothing to do with society yet has so much potential that his anti social tendencies get in the way of his ability to perfect his pong skills. At least so I thought was the case. He’s an enigma in this series from what I’ve seen of him. He has some of the qualities that Oreki Houtarou had in Hyouka. Using potential is a wasted and exhausting effort, and having conversations, helping others in various tasks is a bore. Here we have a slight difference in these two characters that makes a world of difference to how they are portrayed within an anime series. Directing.
I really noticed here that it wasn’t just Yuasa’s vision in art direction, sound and music that pulled Smile out of his rut during the match but the author’s original story. The scene cuts were done brilliantly here, and they made great use of the angles of the pong tables from each perspective, but all in all it was Taiyo Matsumoto’s writing style that helped push this forward. The dialogue was so psychologically draining against both sides, just as Kong was against Peco last episode. Here we had a different sort of inspirational rivalry more so one sided than anything else. Mr. Koizumi.
A coach that wants nothing more to unlock Tsukimoto’s great potential in this game. We saw that first hand when Kazama secretly wanted Tsukimoto to leave the cage and join Kaio Academy. Koizumi knew of how much greatness there is in Tsukimoto and that’s why he talked him up to Kazama towards the end of their conversation. Really, this show doesn’t feel like 24 minutes just went by.
I want to see more series be this dialogue heavy with the bantering back and forth, and psychological attacks with words! Take more risks like this series has done! This series would have been doomed completely if Hideki Tachibana or Seiji Mizushia directed this. Granted Mizushima did a fine job with UN-GO, there is just no way he would have been able to create the kind of pace and hearty intensity that Yuasa has done for this series!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10