Annotated Anime: Ping Pong episode 4


It's time for a BOSS BATTLE!

After the intense matches of last week, we get a second dose of climactic battles, this time between Peco and Akuma, then Kong and Dragon. We're still fairly early in the series, so I don't think it's much of a surprise to say that the people you might be rooting for don't get very far. Or maybe you're rooting for someone else?

We jump right into old rivalries with Peco and Akuma, and the show tells us briefly about their childhood before starting the match, revealing Peco's slightly arrogant side. Akuma has been practicing since they last played, so Peco isn't ready for the new playstyle he's bringing. He returns all of Peco's shots by sending them far up into the air, extending the length of the match greatly and frustrating Peco to no end.

It's here where Peco is defeated again and yup, he ends up crying. I wonder when his turn to buck up and improve his skills will come?

The real star of the show is the match between Kong and Dragon. Suddenly, we see why Dragon is so revered and feared. His speed and skill is unmatched, and even Kong can't find a hole in his defenses. He's able to hold on barely, but is eventually defeated soundly. The real question is: will Kong continue to play, or is this defeat enough to knock him out?

The visuals during that match were fantastic. Even though this was a cheaper-looking episode than the last three, it still impressed when it needed to. Dragon's purple fire and dragon imagery, combined with his larger-than-life presence and imposing technique really drove home that he is in total command of the game. Everything that's happening on that table is sanctioned by him.

I also wanted to quickly mention the music as well: the soundtrack is really starting to stand out here, and there were several excellent uses in this episode. The scene in which Kong reflects on his future was definitely elevated because of the music.

Keep up the good work, Tatsunoko! Hopefully the rushed production schedule and budget concerns won't hurt Ping Pong anymore, but I still worry a bit. That said, Ping Pong could just be uncolored storyboard panels sliding around on screen with dialogue over it and I'd still probably watch it. And enjoy it.

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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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