Starting Ping Pong, I was a bit unnerved by the unorthodox animation and scene portrayal. Not that it was bad by any means, but more so that it was just so different as compared to almost any other anime.
The show follows the journey of 5 distinct high school ping pong players each having their own struggles inside and outside of the game. The most fascinating part of the storytelling is that it does not really have a "main character", and with that the anime doesn't really have a central theme. Via the eyes of Sakama it can be seen as a tragedy of the loss of love for a sport; whereas through Smile's eyes it is an antihero's journey. Through Kong a humbling journey of self realization, through Kazama tragic downfall, and finally through Peco a heroic triumph. Sympathy can be drawn for every character at all parts of the show, including ones not aforementioned such as Egami and Sanada. The show does not cut any corners when it comes to realistic life challenges and obstacles, and portrays them in as human a way as possible.
Along with the incredible storytelling comes the animation and action sequences. Because of the art style of the show, complex emotions can be difficult to portray on the faces of our characters; as a result the show resolves to prevalent use of symbolism and music to further the plot-line. Intense matches often dissolve into abstract symbols (most notably the "hero") and intense music beating in the background. The music is so intelligently used at times of heightened emotion that as the track is repeated it evokes that same feelings on top of what is happening currently. From the "Heroes Theme" to "China" and even to "Peco", the soundtrack for the show is absolutely pristine and in my opinion one of the most beautiful OST's ever created.
Altogether, the show is a representation of coming of age and the harsh realities that come with adulthood. Dreams that once were, innocence that once was, and hopes that might be all dissolve with the inevitable responsibilities of age.
Ping Pong the Animation is my favorite show/movie of all time, and if you are in any way shape or form someone who enjoys a heartfelt and real story, I implore you to give it a chance.
Favorite Character / OST Track : Kong / China
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