Annotated Anime: Ping Pong episode 2


Time for training!

The focus switches from Peco to Smile this week, as he is about to be swept into something he doesn't want to be a part of. His coach wants to bring out his skills, but as we all know, Smile doesn't want to make that effort. Let's jump in and see where everyone is headed this episode. No matter what happens, we're going to get some Yuasa goodness.

This episode was great for two main reasons: one, the scripting was well-paced, teasing details and revealing the next bit at just the right time, and two, the visual metaphor. Let's jump into those.

Regarding the script, we're introduced to several plot points. Right away we're reminded that Wenge is still out to get Smile -- he really wants to play the guy. This refreshes the threat in our minds and will sit in the back of our heads for the rest of the episode. Next, we start to see the perceptive nature of the coach, who attempts to bring Smile out of his shell. This is backed by Smile's memories of getting shoved in a locker and the hero's chant he tries to muster. These two elements come to the fore in the next thing I'll mention: visual metaphor.

Obviously, if you've seen the episode by now, you know what I'm talking about. The robot comes out in Smile, the text becomes mechanical, and his arm transforms into a robotic one. It's a great moment that illuminates his emotions and also gives us a visual treat. It's a smart melding of storytelling and animation, even if it isn't very subtle. But it works!

All-in-all, it was a solid episode that set up Smile's arc, introduced Dragon, and reminded us of the threat of Wenge. I'm still in love with the rough art and fluid, stretchy, character animation. Plus, it's all backed up by writing that engages. Let's go, Ping Pong, I'm strapped in for the ride.

Also, Coach X Smile OTP.

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Ben Huber
Ben HuberContributor   gamer profile

I'm the managing editor of Japanator by day, and a roving freelance graphic designer by night! /  more + disclosures



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