The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. "Peco" Hoshino is a brash, arrogant player, determined to turn pro. He taught his quiet, nerdy...
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The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. "Peco" Hoshino is a brash, arrogant player, determined to turn pro. He taught his quiet, nerdy childhood friend "Smile" Tsukimoto. Smile frustrates his coach and rivals, who recognize his talent for the game since it is just a game to him. To teach him, his high-school coach learns that coaching is more than just training the students to be good ping-pong players. Ironically, as Smile begins to develop his game, Peco undergoes a severe crisis after his defeat by rival players and is unable to play well until he rediscovers the original reasons why he plays ping-pong. Written by
This was one of those movies that I really had to force myself to watch and ended up loving.
It's a story more about the nature of friendship than the actual sport of ping pong.
As with a lot of Japanese cinema, the movie takes a while to get moving, but don't let this deter you. The special effects are fantastic. Basically, I didn't even know there were special effects until I'd finished watching it.
There are a few laugh out loud moments, although some of the humour requires a knowledge of Japan. My favourite moment is the boy who doesn't want to play in the tournament because his opponent is Chinese.
While I should have found the ending schmaltzy, I actually found it quite touching. I have no hesitation in recommending this movie to anyone.
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