Cover of the first volume of Ping-Pong Club
(Ike! Inachū Takkyū-bu)
|Written by||Minoru Furuya|
|Original run||1993 – 1996|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masami Hata|
|Written by||Sukehiro Tomita|
|Music by||Katz Hoshi|
|Original run||April 1995 – September 1995|
Ping-Pong Club (Japanese: 行け!稲中卓球部 Hepburn: Ike! Inachū Takkyū-bu?, lit. Go! Inahō Middle School Ping-Pong Club) is a Japanese manga by Minoru Furuya about the members of a middle school ping-pong club. In 1996, the manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.
It was adapted as an anime television series in 1995. The anime series was released in the U.S. by Central Park Media. Some episodes were first released on VHS in 2001, but it was never fully released on VHS. Later that year it was released completely on DVD in individual volumes, with both an English dub and the original audio track with subtitles. In 2002 was also re-released as a box set.
- Somewhat the 'leader' of the Ping Pong Club. He has a strange demeanor and enjoys any conversation or subject involving his glorious 'ass', of which he is very proud. Contrary to the belief that his strange and perverted attitude would repel girls, it actually attracts them (as well as his good friend Izawa). Voiced by: Kōsuke Okano (Japanese), Jimmy Zoppi (English)
- Hiromi Izawa
- Izawa's strange hairstyle is constantly the 'butt' of many a joke in the series. He is a kind and caring person, although quite perverted at times, and he lives his life by the laws of chivalry. He is a huge boxing fan and wears his shoulder length hair in the style of Joe Boxer from the popular manga Ashita no Joe. He and Maeno constantly play little games in which Izawa almost always acts as the woman, be it a mother, child, or love interest. His relationship with Maeno can be debated. He is pretty much Maeno's very close friend but he has a very strange adversity to Maeno's getting a girlfriend and he even went so far as to dress up as a woman to repel Maeno's soon-to-be lover. He is also the only one in the show who has freckles. Voiced by: Takumi Yamazaki (Japanese), Buddy Woodward (English)
- One of Ping-Pong Club's two 'pretty boys'. Takeda has a bowl haircut with short bangs, and he is also the crush of female character Kyōko. He even has a whole episode devoted to him fondling her breasts (in which Maeno, Izawa, and Tanaka are all hiding naked in a locker). Voiced by: Tsutomu Takayama (Japanese), Mark Percy (English)
- Yūsuke Kinoshita
- The quintessential "pretty boy" out of the two in Ping-Pong Club. He, like Izawa, has hair down to his shoulders and is the most popular and cool guy in the whole school, constantly having girls chase after him. In one episode however, Maeno and Izawa dress him like a girl and it's now Tanaka who's chasing after him. In the English dub of the series, Kinoshita is shown as having a slacker 'surfer-boy' accent. Voiced by: Susumu Kaseta (Japanese), Hans Brikfeice (English)
- A tiny little pervert coming from a long line of "Panty Masters". Under his clothes, he has a very shapely feminine body that is mistaken for that of a girl's from the back in an episode. He is constantly tricked into playing along with Maeno and Izawa's schemes. He also constantly refers to girls he likes as "Mommy". Voiced by: Yasuhiro Takato (Japanese), Gil Goujons (English)
- Mitchell Gorō Tanabe
- Half American and half Japanese. Hairy, blond, and blue-eyed, Tanabe is always looking out for people in trouble and for ways to help his good friend, Tanaka. He is gentle and helpful as well as being very sensitive. He is known for his exponential stench and bad B.O. The only thing that has been able to destroy his horrible smell is pool disinfectant. Voiced by: Masato Amada (Japanese), Jack Bean (English)
- Kyōko Iwashita
- She's a tough-as-nails, and landed the managerial job because the principal of the school hoped it would be a way to keep her out of trouble. She barely tolerates the antics of the room of adolescent boys trying constantly to get in her panties. In the episode "the Burning Spirit," she proves to have incredible motivational skills for the boys when she offers a "sex pass" to the best player on the team: "The holder of this pass can do anything they want with my body for a month!" The offer powers the below mediocre team into the city finals. Voiced by: Sakura Uehara (Japanese), Cookie D'Goodie (English)
- Chiyoko Kamiya
- Shows up in later episodes as a shy girl who has a crush on Kinoshita, and figures if she can improve her ping pong skills, she'll catch his eye. A good plan, but her mistake is going to nerdy freak Izawa to unquestioningly enlist him as her ping pong sensei. Izawa's fondest dream is to have a beautiful girl that obeys his every word, and not abusing his new-found position of power proves to be impossible. Voiced by: Nanami Kurosaki (Japanese), Paula Brown (English)
The episodes in Ping-Pong Club are actually split into 12-14 minute segments, combined together to form a typical 25 minute single episode. Seeing that there are 26 full episodes, when in fact all are split to a total of 52 episodes released on 5 DVDs.
When localizing the Anime for release in North America, Software Sculptors neglected to follow the 52-Episode numbering, deciding instead not to count the five two-part episodes as two separate episodes. Their official episode count on the DVDs is instead 47. Also, volumes in the series have had name changes when re-released, with Discs 4 and 5 in the series being renamed from "Ping Pong Club - Goes for Broke" and "Ping Pong Club - Assorted Shorts" to " Ping Pong Club - Goes Too Far" and "Ping Pong Club - Rots in Hell".
Disc 1: Make Way for the Ping Pong Club
1. School Boys/Evil Plot
2. Half-Baked/The Worms
3. Maeno Germ/Seductive Snob
4. The Purchase/Hot Summer
Disc 2: Love & Comedy (Die! Die! Die!)
5. Training Camp/Curse of Takeda
6. Sixty Years/Burning Spirit
7. Inachu Vs./Sex Ticket
8. Love & Comedy/Love & Comedy Part II
Disc 3: Ping Pong Club Goes For Broke/Goes Too Far
9. First Love/Loser's Community
10. Dress-Up Dolls/Ultra Tanabe
11. Winning the Lottery! Part 1/Winning the Lottery! Part 2
12. Shibazaki's Plan/Survival
Disc 4: Ping Pong Club Losers' Club
14. Saturday Hare/The Wimp
15. The Outcast/Shorty
16. Dr. Maeno Part I/Dr. Maeno Part II
17. Find Happiness/Sheds His Skin
18. Partner? Part I/Partner? Part II
19. The Unfortunates/May I Have It?
Disc 5: Ping Pong Club Assorted Shorts/Rots In Hell
20. A River/Retirement
21. Loan King/Flaming Perverts
22. The Invasion/Into the Big Sky
23. I've Got Guts/A Dramatic Photo!
24. Fake Drunkard/Takeda Fondles
25. Wanted Part I/Wanted Part II
26. Dandy Principal/The Drifters
- Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21.