Ping Pong the Animation

Ping Pong the Animation ★★★★½

Anyone that’s seen the anime has to read the manga, and anyone that’s read the manga has to see this anime; and hopefully that’s everyone. Not just because they’re both once in a lifetime masterpieces in their respective mediums that you’d be doing yourself a HUGE disservice by not reading/watching at least once, but together they serve as a perfect case study for how depending on the execution even the exact same material can feel completely different. The manga tells a story about ping pong but most importantly the very human story about ping pong and how these vastly different characters whose only thing they have in common is ping pong each overcome their obstacles, in a somber, melancholic tone that’s more akin to something like Kids Return; while the anime tells the exact same, very human story but does so in a completely different manner with Yuasa going full Yuasa mode on the insane visuals and getting you hyped AF which is NOTHING like Kids Return and more Throw Down if I had to draw a comparison to Kids Return.

Only reason this isn’t a 5/5 is because if I had to choose, it’s still gonna be the manga for me and maybe it’s because I read manga a lot slower, but the characters in the manga feel a lot richer and have more time to develop whereas in the anime it feels a bit rushed; you don’t really get a sense of who these characters are until the last few episodes but in the manga their arcs feel a lot more natural. And being an adaptation there are some questionable additions and exclusions, mainly additions because there’s a certain character in the anime who wasn’t in the manga at all and I’m not sure if she serves much of a purpose; other than to take up the already limited runtime for adopting this 5-volume manga masterpiece into a barely 4-hour long anime.

But then they added the Christmas Karaoke scene which is so beautiful and wasn’t in the manga at all so you know, all is forgiven.

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