P2! -let's Play Pingpong!-
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|P2! -let's Play Pingpong!-|
Cover art from volume 1 of the manga P2! -let's Play Pingpong!-
|ピーツー レッツ プレイ ピンポン
(Pītsū Rettsu Purei Pinpon)
|Written by||Tatsuma Ejiri|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Original run||September 2006 – November 2007|
P2! -let's Play Pingpong!- (ピーツー レッツ プレイ ピンポン? Pītsū Rettsu Purei Pinpon) is a Japanese shōnen manga sports series written and illustrated by Tatsuma Ejiri and serialized in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from September 2006 to November 2007.
The series is about Hiromu Aikawa, a small yet slightly unathletic middle school boy. Finding himself with a competitive streak that forces him to embarrass himself, he attempts and fails to join twelve separate sports clubs with little success. However as he is about to give up, he wanders into the practice area for the school ping-pong team, which inspires him to at least make another attempt into a sport. Although he nearly fails, his courage and determination in front of the club heads allow him to join the club and start playing ping-pong.
Kuzekita North Middle School
The school (located near Kuse city, a former port city) where the majority of the cast attends, the Kuze ping pong club gained notoriety when it overthrew the Ohka Haou, or "Supreme Kings". After that, the three major players, Kawazue, Asobe, and Tetsuo, were given the title of "Ripping King".
The ping pong club is somewhat free range aside from conditioning, practice and improvement is really left up to each member to find for themselves. Although the older members are available to answer any questions, it is not their obligation to help newer members improve. Still, despite its independent approach, it appears to be under a strict foundation, with Kawazue at its head.
- Hiromu Aikawa
- A small, sensitive, athletically challenged boy, Hiromu starts off the story trying out for 12 different sports, and being rejected by all of them. He despairs at being short, although he is a somewhat capable artist. Still, he failed at that pursuit as well in the past, and finds himself drawn to the ping pong club, which seemingly do not require strength, running speed, or height to play. Despite realizing he is wrong, he finds that he enjoys playing the game, and is accepted into the club. Hiromu has a strong desire to improve in the game, and works relentlessly at it. He has developed quite decently, though his serving and balance needs some work. Though it is not certain, Hiromu has a talent for copying other player's moves, including Tetsuo's rising shot, and Kawazue's counter shot.
- Saotome Otome
- Labeled in the first chapter as a bully, Otome is a swimmer who is naturally gifted in all sports, unlike Hiromu. She is quite shameless, and seems to enjoy teasing Hiromu about his inability and even their height difference, but as a childhood friend, she shows that she cares about him as well, and is willing to defend him passionately. However, she likes to talk big, and makes challenges with others at stake instead of wager herself. That doesn't mean she's a coward though; she is willing to fight a live bear head on (although it turned out that it wasn't actually a bear). She doesn't like Kawazue, and constantly argues with him, though she sympathizes that Tetsuo never listens to him (or anyone else for that matter). Usually, she is mistaken for the manager, and it becomes confusing for people when Kawazue tells her to get out.
- Kawazue Ryo
- One of the members of the "Supreme Kings", Kawazue takes the game of ping pong, as well as its club, very seriously. He understands people's misconception about ping pong, and does not tolerate disruptive people or those without spirit. As an initiation to the ping pong club, Kawazue plays all the first years. With the exception of Aikawa, not a single first year has managed to take a point from him. After seeing Aikawa's determination and focus, he begins taking an interest in teaching him. Kawazue can be very strict, and very irritable when it comes to Asobe, Tetsuo, or Otome. His parents own the hospital that Aikawa is admitted into when he becomes injured. He has a little sister, Akira Kawazue. When they were little, Akira, Asobe, and he often went to ping pong club. Akira and Ryo had a match there, but he lost and from that, he quit ping pong for a time.
- A second year student and vice-captain of the ping pong club, he claims to be the "ally of beautiful girls" and is quite informative about the game of ping pong, along with its rules and tactics. Unlike Kawazue, he loves joking around, and is very accommodating to the newer players. However, he is also very deterministic and would do anything he can to lead the ping pong club to victory. Although he seems friendly and creates a relaxing atmosphere, Asobe is also a member of the "Supreme Kings".
- Mashiro Yuuya
- A first year and proclaimed prodigy whose reputation precedes him, Mashiro has a high opinion of himself due to previous successes in ping pong tournaments. However, because of his natural talent and lack of discipline, he is the type of person who does not give his all to win a match, but rather put forth a minimal effort to succeed. It is witnessing Aikawa's hard work that is always driving Mashiro to try harder. He has a grudge against his father for what happened 2 years ago that he'll do anything to take revenge using tennis. He becomes good friend with Aikawa and doesn't want him to see dark side. Has detailed information regarding other players around him, especially first years and the Kings. Is well known for talking a lot.
- Iwakuma Tetsuo
- Known as the strongest "Ripping King", he is known to be even better at the game than both Kawazue and Asobe. Two years ago, the ping pong club survived due solely to his efforts and abilities. However, he had been sidelined for the initial weeks of the season, and hadn't even shown his face due to an injury. Like Asobe, he seems fun-loving and a little relaxed. So much so, that he seems to follow a one-track mind, and only hears what he wants to. For some reason, he masquerades in a bear costume. Right now, much to Kawazue, Mashiro, and Hiromu's shock, he set up a "friendly" match against Okha.
- A first year and a vegetarian, Mashiro never took the trouble to remember his full name.
- Kuonji Shingo
- Mashiro makes note of Kuonji as an impressive first year. He comes from a shrine, and thus has polite manners. Although fairly accurate, his cut shot is slow and deemed unusable in a real match.
- Yamagura Tasuku
- A second year with a habit of slapping people on the back. Despite his small size, he is able to generate a considerable amount of power, though with that power he loses accuracy.
- Kyou Shuuji
- A second year, Kyou is quite grounded with regards to his abilities. He is able to place an immense amount of spin on his cut shot, but like Tasuku, he loses accuracy when doing so.
Ohka Middle School
A school well known for their sports teams, their ping pong club had 22 conclusive victories within middle school, and were the 12 time all-Japan winners. Their club regulars were known as the Haou, or the "Supreme Kings", before they were defeated by Kuzekita.
- Kawazue Akira
- Kawazue Ryo's younger sister. Everyone thought she was a boy because of her appearance. A knowledgeable ping pong player that Mashiro and Aikawa meet at a ping pong place. She seems courteous enough to strangers and opponents alike, and is willing to offer advice to newer players. However, she also has a competitive side when it comes to school rivalries, and can be quite harsh with her words. Mature and collected, she knows the difference between lacking talent and lacking experience. She seems to know quite a bit about Kuzekita's players, and even knows of Aikawa's one point victory over Kawazue. Like her attitude, Akira's playing style is somewhat quiet, complementing Tougo's attacks with a solid defense. She becomes interested in Aikawa's development as a player.
- Hiiragi Tougo
- A first year player, Tougo is very arrogant, stubborn, and condescending, only acknowledging talented people. However, his talents seem to lie in singles, as he appears to be an incompatible doubles player. Like his attitude, his playing style is pretty aggressive, playing with an ability that belies his age.