Ping Pong (manga)

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Ping Pong
Ping Pong manga.jpg
Cover of the first volume of Ping Pong
(Pin Pon)
GenreComing-of-age,[1] psychological,[2] sports[3]
Written byTaiyō Matsumoto
Published byShogakukan
MagazineBig Comic Spirits
Original run19961997
Anime television series
Ping Pong the Animation
Directed byMasaaki Yuasa
Music byKensuke Ushio
StudioTatsunoko Production
Licensed by
Original networkFuji TV (Noitamina)
English network
Original run April 11, 2014 June 20, 2014
Episodes11 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Ping Pong (Japanese: ピンポン, Hepburn: Pin Pon) is a manga series by Taiyō Matsumoto about table tennis. It was serialized in Shogakukan's seinen manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 1996 to 1997 and collected in five tankōbon volumes. It was adapted into a 2002 live-action film. An anime television series adaptation produced by Tatsunoko Production and directed by Masaaki Yuasa was aired on Fuji TV's noitamina block between April 11, 2014 and June 20, 2014.[4] The North American anime licensor Funimation streamed the series on their website.[5]


Despite having drastically different personalities, high school boys Peco and Smile have been friends since childhood. Now, they’re both talented members of table tennis club of Katase High School. Peco gets decisively defeated by a Chinese student and thus becomes so devastated that he quits practicing. Meanwhile, Smile's personality always prevents him from winning against Peco. Coach Jō, however, discovers Smile's potential and tries to motivate him to overcome his psychological obstacle.


Main characters[edit]

Yutaka Hoshino/"Peco" (星野 裕/ペコ, Hoshino Yutaka/Peko)
Voiced by: Fukujūro Katayama, Mitsutaka Nishida (child) (Japanese); Aaron Dismuke[6] (English)
One of the protagonists and Smile's childhood friend. Peco is loud, cocky, and carefree. He is initially considered one of the best players on the Katase team, but begins questioning himself after a couple of surprising losses. Peco is frequently seen snacking on various junk food items.
Makoto Tsukimoto/"Smile" (月本 誠/スマイル, Tsukimoto Makoto/Sumairu)
Voiced by: Kōki Uchiyama, Hiroshi Satomura (child) (Japanese); Micah Solusod[6] (English)
The second protagonist, Smile, is quiet and reserved. He is nicknamed Smile because he seemingly never does. Smile is an exceptionally skilled player, but often lacks the drive and ruthlessness to win. Nevertheless, his talent is recognized by many, including Koizumi, Kong, and Kazama.
Ryūichi Kazama/"Dragon" (風間 竜一/ドラゴン, Kazama Ryūichi/Doragon)
Voiced by: Shunsuke Sakuya, Waku Sakaguchi (child) (Japanese); Marcus D. Stimac[6] (English)
Kaio's team captain and star player. Kazama is a pragmatic individual who values winning above all else. His skill and power tend to overwhelm even high level opponents. Kazama attempts to recruit Smile to the Kaio team upon noticing his potential.
Kong Wenge/"China" (孔 文革/チャイナ)
Voiced by: Wen Yexing (Japanese); Alan Chow[6] (English)
A transfer student from China who was kicked off the national team. His original goal was to return to his home country after redeeming himself abroad. Kong exudes an air of confidence that belies his feelings of shame and resentment.

Supporting characters[edit]

Jō Koizumi/"Butterfly Joe" (小泉 丈/バタフライジョー, Koizumi Jō/Batafurai Jō)
Voiced by: Yusaku Yara (Japanese); Mark Stoddard[6] (English)
The elderly coach of the Katase team. Though his behavior is sometimes silly, he has a deep sense of commitment to the sport and can be demanding of his players. Koizumi takes great interest in Smile and decides he will force the young player to realize his potential through any means necessary.
Manabu Sakuma/"Demon" (佐久間 学/アクマ, Sakuma Manabu/Akuma)
Voiced by: Subaru Kimura (Japanese); Anthony Bowling[6] (English)
A childhood rival of Peco's and a member of the Kaio team. Sakuma lacks natural talent but tries to compensate with hard work. He has an aggressive nature and is fixated on beating Peco as well as proving himself.
Obaba (オババ)
Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Pam Dougherty (English)
The elderly chain-smoking owner of the table tennis dojo where Smile and Peco learned the sport as children. She cares for the two young players, despite her outwardly tough, jaded persona.
Ota (大田)
Voiced by: Takanori Hoshino (Japanese); Tyson Rinehart[6] (English)
Team captain of Katase, known for his unusual hairstyle. He helps run the family appliance store and is often occupied with odd jobs after school.
Masayuki Sanada (真田 昌幸, Sanada Masayuki)
Voiced by: Kenji Hamada (Japanese); Ian Sinclair[6] (English)
The second-best player on the Kaio team, who quietly envies Kazama and hopes to rival him.
Shuji Nekota (猫田 修二, Nekota Shūji)
Voiced by: Kenta Ōkuma (Japanese); Clifford Chapin[6] (English)
Another top player from Kaio.
Ryū Kazama (風間 竜, Kazama Ryū)
Voiced by: Shinji Ogawa (Japanese); R. Bruce Elliott (English)
Patriarch of the Kazama family and President of Kaio, a shrewd businessman who does not tolerate failure. He is Ryuichi's grandfather.
Taku Kazama (風間 卓, Kazama Taku)
Voiced by: Akihiko Ishizumi (Japanese); Bill Jenkins (English)
Yurie's father and Ryuichi's uncle, coach of the Kaio team.
Yurie (百合枝)
Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese); Lindsay Seidel[6] (English)
Ryuichi's fashionable cousin, who has feelings for him.
Michio Tamura (田村 道夫, Tamura Michio)
Voiced by: Takahiro Shimada (Japanese); Jeremy Inman[6] (English)
Obaba's son, who trains professional table tennis players.
Egami (江上)
Voiced by: Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese); Eric Vale[6] (English)
Recurring side character, a wanderer with a restless soul.



Ping Pong is written and illustrated by Taiyō Matsumoto and published by Shogakukan. The manga ran in Big Comic Spirits weekly magazine from 1996 to 1997. The chapters were collected and released into six bound volumes from July 1996 to August 1997.[7][8] The manga was re-released and reformatted into three volumes between July 14, 2012 and August 10, 2012.[9][10] Shogakukan re-released the manga again in two volumes on April 1, 2014 under the new title, Ping Pong: Full Game No (ピンポン フルゲームの, Pin Pon furu gēmu no).[11][12]

Original release
No.Release date ISBN
1 July 30, 1996[7]ISBN 4091847366
  • 01. "Smile" (スマイル, Sumairu)
  • 02. "Peco" (ペコ)
  • 03. "Kaze no oto ga jama o shite iru" (風の音がジャマをしている)
  • 04. "Konuenga" (孔文革)
  • 05. "Hero" (ヒーロー)
  • 06. "Rōjin to shōnen" (老人と少年, Old Man and Boy)
  • 07. "Dragon" (ドラゴン)
  • 08. "Wakamono-tachi" (若者たち, Young People)
  • 09. "Butterfly Joe" (バタフライジョー, Batafurai Jō)
  • 10. "Otoko wa do konjōda kan yo" (男はド根性だかんよ!!)
  • 11. "Seinō" (性能, Performance)
2 November 30, 1996[13]ISBN 4091847374
3 February 28, 1997[14]ISBN 4091847382
4 June 30, 1997[15]ISBN 4091847390
5 August 30, 1997[8]ISBN 4091847404
No.Release date ISBN
1 July 14, 2012[9]ISBN 9784091962416
2 July 14, 2012[16]ISBN 9784091962423
3 August 10, 2012[10]ISBN 9784091962430

Live action film[edit]


An anime television series adaptation produced by Tatsunoko Production and directed by Masaaki Yuasa premiered on April 11, 2014 on Fuji TV's noitamina block. The opening theme is "Tada Hitori" (唯一人) by Bakudan Johnny and ending theme is "Bokura ni Tsuite" (僕らについて) by Merengue.


No. Title[17] Original Airdate[18]
01"The Wind Makes It Too Hard to Hear"
"Kazenooto ga jama o shite iru" (風の音がジャマをしている)
April 11, 2014 (2014-04-11)
Two old friends go to spy on a new table tennis champ at a rival high school, but meanwhile their own team is falling apart.
02"Smile Is a Robot"
"Sumairu wa robotto" (スマイルはロボット)
April 18, 2014 (2014-04-18)
Coach Koizumi has started working Smile hard, who definitely doesn't appreciate the extra attention.
03"Staking Your Life on Table Tennis Is Revolting"
"Takkyū ni jinsei o kakeru nante kimigawarui" (卓球に人生をかけるなんて気味が悪い)
April 25, 2014 (2014-04-25)
All the teams gather at the prefectural qualifiers, and China gets to play Smile at last.
04"The Only Way to Be Sure You Won't Lose Is to Not Fight"
"Zettai ni makenai yuiitsu no hōhō wa tatakawanai kotoda" (絶対に負けない唯一の方法は闘わないことだ)
May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02)
Peco learns a hard lesson from someone he never took seriously enough, and then we finally see how Dragon earned his name.
05"Where Did I Go Wrong?"
"Doko de machigaeta?" (どこで間違えた?)
May 9, 2014 (2014-05-09)
Dragon's obsession with Smile prompts Akuma to do something rash.
06"You Love This Sport More Than Anyone!!"
"Omae dare yori takkyū-sukijan yo! !" (おまえ誰より卓球好きじゃんよ!!)
May 16, 2014 (2014-05-16)
Five athletes have five very different Christmas Eves, and Peco gets a wake-up call.
07"Yes, My Coach"
"Iesu maikōchi" (イエス マイコーチ)
May 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)
Players, coaches, captains, and their families.
08"The Hero Appears"
"Hīrō kenzan" (ヒーロー見参)
May 30, 2014 (2014-05-30)
Smile, Peco, Dragon, and China begin another prefectural qualifier. Will the results be different this year?
09"Gonna Cry a Bit"
"Sukoshi naku" (少し泣く)
June 6, 2014 (2014-06-06)
In the third round, Dragon has an unexpected visitor, Sanada questions himself, and Peco scares lots of people in lots of ways.
10"I Thought You Were the Hero!!"
"Hīrōna nodarouga!!" (ヒーローなのだろうが!!)
June 13, 2014 (2014-06-13)
Peco and Dragon tackle the question of whether only birds can fly.
11"Blood Tastes Like Iron"
"Chi wa tetsu no aji ga suru" (血は鉄の味がする)
June 20, 2014 (2014-06-20)
The final match is on.


  1. ^ Nicoletta Christina Browne. "Ping Pong:The Animation". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "Ping Pong the Animation". Funimation. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ping Pong the Animation - The Spring 2014 Anime Preview Guide". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Kick-Heart's Yuasa to Direct Ping Pong Anime for Noitamina". Anime News Network. January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Funimation to Stream Ping Pong the Animation". Anime News Network. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Michelle Lee. "English Cast Announcements for Ping Pong the Animation and Wanna Be the Strongest in the World". Blog. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
  7. ^ a b ピンポン 1 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  8. ^ a b ピンポン 5 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  9. ^ a b ピンポン 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  10. ^ a b ピンポン 3 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  11. ^ ピンポン フルゲームの 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  12. ^ ピンポン フルゲームの 2 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  13. ^ ピンポン 2 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  14. ^ ピンポン 3 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  15. ^ ピンポン 4 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  16. ^ ピンポン 2 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  17. ^ "Funimation Ping Pong Episodes". Funimation.
  18. ^ "Ping Pong episodes" (in Japanese).

External links[edit]