Ping Pong the Animation Episode 8 – “The Hero Appears”

Ping Pong the Animation focuses on two high school ping pong players: Makoto Tsukimoto (aka Smile) and Yutaka Hoshino (aka Peco). Peco starts out being overly confident in his abilities and constantly skipping practice until he’s dealt a crushing defeat by a Chinese player named Kong Wenge during the first episode. Smile, meanwhile, is an aloof and rather gloomy guy; however, he has a raw talent for ping pong.

Episode Eight focuses on the singles qualifiers for the championships. Ms. Tamura, the old woman who runs the dojo, talks to Coach Koizumi and gets him to register Peco for the upcoming qualifiers.

At the singles qualifiers, Kong is up against someone from Kaio. Kong ends up winning that match. Then, it’s a battle between Kong and Peco. Thanks to Peco’s recent training, this ends up being a much closer match than when they played against each other the first time. Peco is actually able to beat Kong, which causes a major upset in the singles qualifiers. Smile also has a match in this episode, and he easily wins it.

Before the singles qualifiers, Peco gets to see pictures of Ms. Tamura, Coach Koizumi, and Kazama’s grandfather when they were young. We also learn that Ms. Tamura is concerned about Peco’s knee injury because it was a knee injury that made her quit table tennis.

There was also a little bit of a focus on Kong before the qualifiers got underway. We see that he expects to do well during the qualifiers, but he also has kind words to say about his team to his interpretrer.

There was also an emphasis on the mat shoes that Kazama’s grandfather’s company, Poseidon, has been pushing. When the players arrive at the qualifiers, they see that there’s a mat that’s been laid down. A number of the athletes start freaking out, and then they realize the mat shoes are being sold outside. There’s a flurry of sales of the shoes. However, the main characters don’t fall for the hype; in fact, Kazama, who has been starring in a television ad for the shoes, won’t wear them during the qualifiers. What do you want to bet that grandpa’s not going to be too happy with Kazama’s decision?

It looks like the qualifiers will be continuing into Episode Nine. At this point, I’m wondering if there’s going to be a way for Peco and Smile to end up competing against each other to decide the singles victor. The only way that would happen is if Peco is able to defeat Kazama, since they are scheduled to play against each other in the semifinals.

Ping Pong the Animation is a decent series, but I’m still feeling as if the story’s being rushed. Because of how rushed it’s been feeling, the major characters don’t seem to be getting quite as developed as they should be. And since the characters aren’t getting as developed as they could be, there are times when I have a hard time truly rooting for anyone.

From what I saw at MyAnimeList, it looks like there’s only three episodes left of the series. It’ll be interesting to see how those final episodes are utilized to tell the rest of the story.

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