Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin should really learn from Ping Pong The Animation in how to tell a story. Noitamina you sure picked a great series to air here. This programming block is known for airing obscure series but as of late they have had their share of generic shows. Guilty Crown, Black Rock Shooter, Galilei Donna are just a few. It would be nice to see an episodic romance series, cannot recall one that has ever been done before. Every episode Ping Pong has had has been astounding and individually it gradually builds up and gets stronger with its pacing, its storytelling, and its characters not to mention its music as well. If it had not been for Mushishi having a second season this spring season THIS series would be my favorite anime to air! Ping Pong and Mushishi are without a doubt the two best anime this season at delivering stories that are fundamentally solid and are an absolute joy to watch. Both shows continue to leave such big impact especially in its music. The difference here is that Mushishi are individual tales whereas Ping Pong has a continuous plot to develop throughout 11 episodes. Table tennis is boring seriously I was searching on youtube the other day on matches and they can be lackluster. Yuasa is really a genius of his craft in bringing the game of pong to life! Ping Pong has paid off with his hard work. Not to mention all the other talented creators behind this series.
This episode proved how brilliant this series is with its art direction. We finally got a look at life outside the pong schools and what a lively view we received here! As you watch this series you can clearly tell this series doesn’t have a huge budget to work with, and this episode emphasized that. It may not have a pretty picture overall but it is what can be seen between the lines, the heart of the plot, and its direction that makes the anime so unique. Murata showing up at the beach was a pleasant surprise as that was where we left him last in episode 3. His loss with Tsukimoto in that episode proved to dismantle any care he had so going to the beach is always nice. Ha! That seiyu is really incredible!
This episode once again stated that this series isn’t about ping pong in fact its about life. They really allowed for this theme to really carry over here with such a fluid transition between the beach to the city, to an office, and back to the schools. The conversations in those scenes allowed for dynamic development outside of just pong.
Sakuma had more screen time here than even Tsukimoto! He was hell bent on revenge here. Dreaming that all your hard work will pay off in becoming acknowledged by your own role model only to be left dissolved allowed for a pretty convincing change in Sakuma. He wanted to be noticed with his skill by Kazama. When Kazama told the reporters that his team at Kaio was lacking talent that they should learn from Katase High’s Tsukimoto left the Kaio team in complete disarray. Now as soon as I saw this scene I thought oh crap they are going to be pissed yet the episode director here still managed to move along this outcome quite skillfully. Yes the team is upset about what Kazama said to the reporters, but they talk amongst themselves in a reserved manner, the only one up in a tizzy here was Sakuma. WOW. Towards the end there I thought we were going to have a fight break out between Sakuma and Tsukimoto! Tsukimoto gently laid the hatchet to rest here while dominating Sakuma in their match when Tsukimoto said he didn’t have the talent to play table tennis. This broke him completely. All of his hard work and determination only to be shot down by a guy whose a first year and acknowledge by another school’s master player. I thought the aftermath here was rightfully justified for Sakuma’s character. He left utterly broken and took his anger out on person walking along the crowd of the city. The consequences of this illustrated how frustrated Sakuma was.
This wasn’t all that was astonishing this episode. I had to rewind those scenes with the guy with the tan and long hair. Peco?! WOW! This was quite a change here too! After he lost his match with Sakuma he drastically changed into someone that just wanted to give up pong all together as we saw in that final scene of this episode! So much character development in 24 minutes!
This makes me really want to see what Yuasa has in store for Episode 16 of Space Dandy even more! Oh the ED song was an alternate version than what we’ve been hearing and it sounds just as good as the original! I like this song very much and the animation by Eunyoung CHOI was a perfect choice for this! Also the commercial for Poseidon that Yurie did was a really nice touch! Colorful scene there!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10