Ping Pong (manga)

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Ping Pong
Ping Pong manga.jpg
Cover of the first volume of Ping Pong
(Pin Pon)
Written byTaiyō Matsumoto
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
MagazineBig Comic Spirits
Original run19961997
Volumes5 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Ping Pong the Animation
Directed byMasaaki Yuasa
Produced by
  • Yuka Okayasu
  • Yōhei Shintaku
Written 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)
Live-action film
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Ping Pong (Japanese: ピンポン, Hepburn: Pin Pon) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated 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 and June 2014.

In North America, Funimation streamed and licensed the series in 2014. Viz Media released the manga in 2020.


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.


Makoto Tsukimoto/"Smile" (月本 誠/スマイル, Tsukimoto Makoto/Sumairu)
Voiced by: Kōki Uchiyama, Hiroshi Satomura (child) (Japanese); Micah Solusod[4] (English)
Played by: Arata Iura
A quiet and reserved teen. He is ironically nicknamed Smile because of his stoic nature. 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.
Yutaka Hoshino/"Peco" (星野 裕/ペコ, Hoshino Yutaka/Peko)
Voiced by: Fukujūro Katayama, Mitsutaka Nishida (child) (Japanese); Aaron Dismuke[4] (English)
Played by: Yosuke Kubozuka
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.
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[4] (English)
Played by: Shido Nakamura
Kaio's team captain and star player. Kazama is a dedicated and intimidating athlete 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.
Manabu Sakuma/"Demon" (佐久間 学/アクマ, Sakuma Manabu/Akuma)
Voiced by: Subaru Kimura (Japanese); Anthony Bowling[4] (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 a combative streak and is fixated on beating Peco as well as proving himself.
Kong Wenge/"China" (孔 文革/チャイナ)
Voiced by: Wen Yexing (Japanese); Alan Chow[4] (English)
Played by: Sam Lee
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.
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[4] (English)
Played by: Naoto Takenaka
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 achieve his potential through any means necessary.
Obaba (オババ)
Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Pam Dougherty (English)
Played by: Mari Natsuki
The retired chain-smoking owner of the table tennis club where Smile and Peco learned the sport as children. She cares for the two young players, despite her outwardly tough and jaded persona.
Ota (大田)
Voiced by: Takanori Hoshino (Japanese); Tyson Rinehart[4] (English)
Team captain of Katase, known more for his unusual hairstyle than his athletic ability. 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[4] (English)
The second-best player on the Kaio team, who secretly envies Kazama and hopes to rival him.
Shuji Nekota (猫田 修二, Nekota Shūji)
Voiced by: Kenta Ōkuma (Japanese); Clifford Chapin[4] (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, President of Kaio, and Ryuichi's grandfather. He is a shrewd businessman and former professional player who does not tolerate failure.
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[4] (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[4] (English)
Obaba's son, who trains professional table tennis players.
Egami (江上)
Voiced by: Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese); Eric Vale[4] (English)
A player around the same age as Smile and Peco. He is restless by nature and tends to give up easily.



Ping Pong, written and illustrated by Taiyō Matsumoto, ran in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits from 1996 to 1997. The chapters were collected in six wide-ban volumes, released from July 30, 1996, to August 30, 1997.[5][6] The manga was re-released and reformatted into three volumes between July 14, 2012, and August 10, 2012.[7][8] Shogakukan re-released a two-volume edition, Ping Pong: Full Game (ピンポン フルゲームの, Pin Pon Furu Gēmu no), on April 1, 2014.[9][10]

In North America, Viz Media announced in May 2020 that they have licensed the manga for English language release.[11] The two volumes, based on the "Full Game" edition, were released on May 19 and September 15, 2020.[12][13]

Original release[edit]

No. Release date ISBN
1 July 30, 1996[5]4091847366
  • 01. "Smile" (スマイル, Sumairu)
  • 02. "Peco" (ペコ, Peko)
  • 03. "The Sound of the Wind Gets in the Way" (風の音がジャマをしている, Kaze no oto ga jama o shite iru)
  • 04. "Wenge Kong" (孔文革, Kon Wenga)
  • 05. "Hero" (ヒーロー, Hīrō)
  • 06. "The Old Man and the Boy" (老人と少年, Rōjin to shōnen)
  • 07. "Dragon" (ドラゴン, Doragon)
  • 08. "Kids" (若者たち, Wakamono-tachi)
  • 09. "Butterfly Joe" (バタフライジョー, Batafurai Jō)
  • 10. "'Cause Guts Make the Man!" (男はド根性だかんよ!!, Otoko wa dokonjō dakan yo!!)
  • 11. "Performance" (性能, Seinō)
2 November 30, 1996[14]4091847374
  • 12. "Old Man2/Boy2" (少年/老人, Shōnen/Rōjin)
  • 13. "Inter-high Boys' Singles Table Tennis Qualifying Trials" (インハイ卓球競技予選会 男子シングルス, Intāhai takkyū kyōgi yosen-kai danshi shingurusu)
  • 14. "Boy Gets Angry" (少年怒る, Shōnen okoru)
  • 15. "Take Him Down from the Start" (前で捌く, Mae de sabaku)
  • 16. "Absent Hero" (ヒーロー不在, Hīrō fuzai)
  • 17. "First Game" (First Game)
  • 18. "Second Game" (Second Game)
  • 19. "Third Game" (Third Game)
  • 20. "Peco vs. Demon" (ペコVS.アクマ, Peko VS. Akuma)
  • 21. "Neptune" (海 王, Umi-ō)
  • 22. "Five Table Tennis Players" (5人の卓球選手, 5-Ri no takkyū senshu)
3 February 28, 1997[15]4091847382
  • 23. "Autumn" (, Aki)
  • 24. "Dissonance" (不協和音, Fukyōwaon)
  • 25. "Winter Approaches" (冬が近い, Fuyu ga chikai)
  • 26. "Abandonment Blues" (おいてけぼりブルース, Oitekebori burūsu)
  • 27. "Robo-Smile" (スマイルロボ, Sumairurobo)
  • 28. "Wishing on a Star" (星に願いを, Hoshininegaiwo)
  • 29. "Struggles of Youth" (もがけ青春, Mogake seishun)
  • 30. "Trials on the Road to Becoming a Hero, Part 1" (ヒーローになるための試練その1, Hīrō ni naru tame no shiren sono 1)
  • 31. "Question 1: What Does Tsukimoto Need Now?" (問1・月本誠が今、必要としているもの, Toi 1・Tsukimoto Makoto ga ima, hitsuyō to shite iru mono)
  • 32. "My Coach" (マイコーチ, Maikōchi)
  • 33. "Wishing on a Star (Continued)" (続、星に願いを, Zoku, hoshininegaiwo)
4 June 30, 1997[16]4091847390
  • 34. "Do You Understand?" (Do you understand?)
  • 35. "Tricks of the Trade" (裏 技, Ura-waza)
  • 36. "Spring" (春。, Haru.)
  • 37. "Enter the Hero" (ヒーロー見参, Hīrō kenzan)
  • 38. "Let's Play Table Tennis" (卓球しましょう, Takkyū shimashou)
  • 39. "We Are Ping Pong Players" (We are ping pong players)
  • 40. "See You Later" (再 見, Saiken)
  • 41. "Monster" (モンスター, Monsutā)
  • 42. "Smile Monster" (スマイルモンスター, Sumairumonsutā)
  • 43. "A Straw Shows Which Way the Wind Blows" (一葉落ちて天下の秋を知る, Ichiyō ochite tenka no aki wo shiru)
  • 44. "Best Four" (ベスト 4, Besuto 4)
5 August 30, 1997[6]4091847404
  • 45. "A Tale of Hot-Blooded High School Sporting Spirit" (學園熱血スポーツ根性物語, Gaku-en nekketsu supōtsu konjō monogatari)
  • 46. "Trials on the Road to Becoming a Hero, Part 2" (ヒーローになる為の試練その2, Hīrō ni naru tame no shiren sono 2)
  • 47. "Kazama's Heart" (カザマノココロ, Kazama no kokoro)
  • 48. "Stars, Moon, and..." (星と月と…, Hoshi to tsuki to...)
  • 49. "Play" (Play)
  • 50. "Fly" (Fly)
  • 51. "High" (High)
  • 52. "3:30-4:00 PM" (PM3:30~4:00)
  • 53. "Resurrection Drama" (復活劇, Fukkatsu-geki)
  • 54. "Ping Pong" (ピンポン, Pinpon)
  • 55. "Spring Ends" (春が終わる。, Haru ga owaru.)

2014 re-release (Full Game edition)[edit]

No. Original release date Original ISBN English release date English ISBN
1 April 1, 2014[9]978-4-09-186089-7May 19, 2020[12]978-1-9747-1165-9
2 April 1, 2014[10]978-4-09-186090-3September 15, 2020[13]978-1-9747-1166-6

Live action film[edit]

A live-action film adaptation directed by Japanese filmmaker Fumihiko Sori was released in 2002.


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.[17][18][19] The opening theme is "Tada Hitori" (唯一人, lit. "All Alone") by Bakudan Johnny and ending theme is "Bokura ni Tsuite" (僕らについて, lit. "About Us") by Merengue.

In North America, the anime has been licensed by Funimation.[20][21]

Episode list[edit]

No. Title[22] Directed by Original Airdate[23]
01"The Wind Makes it Too Hard to Hear"
Transcription: "Kaze no Oto ga Jama o Shiteiru" (Japanese: 風の音がジャマをしている)
Yūdai KubotaApril 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 disintegrating.
02"Smile's a Robot"
Transcription: "Sumairu wa Robotto" (Japanese: スマイルはロボット)
Hideki ItōApril 18, 2014 (2014-04-18)
Coach Koizumi has started working Smile hard, who definitely doesn't appreciate the extra attention.
03"Devoting Your Life to Table Tennis is Creepy"
Transcription: "Takkyū ni Jinsei Kakeru nante Kimi ga Warui" (Japanese: 卓球に人生かけるなんて気味が悪い)
Masatsugu ArakawaApril 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"
Transcription: "Zettai ni Makenai Yuiitsu no Hōhō wa Tatakawanai Koto da" (Japanese: 絶対に負けない唯一の方法は闘わないことだ)
Fumihiro UenoMay 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?"
Transcription: "Doko de Machigaeta?" (Japanese: どこで間違えた?)
Masaki UtsunomiyaMay 9, 2014 (2014-05-09)
Dragon's obsession with Smile prompts Akuma to do something rash.
06"You Love Table Tennis More Than Anyone Else!"
Transcription: "Omae Dare yori Takkyū-zuki jan yo!!" (Japanese: おまえ誰より卓球好きじゃんよ!!)
Yūdai KubotaMay 16, 2014 (2014-05-16)
Five athletes have five very different Christmas Eves, and Peco receives a wake-up call.
07"Yes My Coach"
Transcription: "Iesu Maikōchi" (Japanese: イエス マイコーチ)
Ryōta ItōMay 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)
Players, coaches, captains, and their families.
08"Enter the Hero"
Transcription: "Hīrō Kenzan" (Japanese: ヒーロー見参)
Hirayasu KyoMay 30, 2014 (2014-05-30)
Smile, Peco, Dragon, and China begin another prefectural qualifier. Will the results be different this year?
09"I'm Gonna Go Cry a Bit"
Transcription: "Sukoshi Naku" (Japanese: 少し泣く)
Ryōta ItōJune 6, 2014 (2014-06-06)
In the third round, Dragon has an unexpected visitor, Sanada questions himself, and Peco scares many people in many ways.
10"You're the Hero, Aren't You?!"
Transcription: "Hīrō na no darouga!!" (Japanese: ヒーローなのだろうが!!)
Eunyoung ChoiJune 13, 2014 (2014-06-13)
Peco and Dragon tackle the question of whether only birds can fly.
11"Blood Tastes Like Iron"
Transcription: "Chi wa Tetsu no Aji ga Suru" (Japanese: 血は鉄の味がする)
Masaaki YuasaJune 20, 2014 (2014-06-20)
The final match is on.


In 2015, the anime received the Grand Prize award for Television Animation of the Year at the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival.[24]

In November 2019, Polygon named Ping Pong the Animation as one of the best anime of the 2010s,[25] and Crunchyroll listed it in their "Top 25 best anime of the 2010s".[26] IGN also listed Ping Pong the Animation among the best anime series of the 2010s.[27]

In 2021, the manga received an Eisner Award nomination in the category Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia.[28]


  1. ^ Nicoletta Christina Browne. "Ping Pong:The Animation". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "Ping Pong the Animation". Funimation. Archived from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Official Website for Ping Pong". Viz Media. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b ピンポン 1 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 30 July 1996. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  6. ^ a b ピンポン 5 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 30 August 1997. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  7. ^ ピンポン 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 14 July 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  8. ^ ピンポン 3 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  9. ^ a b ピンポン フルゲームの 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on June 15, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  10. ^ a b ピンポン フルゲームの 2 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. April 2014. Archived from the original on June 15, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  11. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (October 4, 2019). "Viz Media Licences Fushigi Yūgi: Byakko Senki, How Do We Relationship?, Mujirushi: The Sign of Dreams Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Ping Pong, Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Ping Pong, Vol. 2". Viz Media. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  14. ^ ピンポン 2 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 30 November 1996. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  15. ^ ピンポン 3 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 28 February 1997. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  16. ^ ピンポン 4 ビッグ コミックス スペシャル (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 30 June 1997. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  17. ^ "Kick-Heart's Yuasa to Direct Ping Pong Anime for Noitamina". Anime News Network. January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  18. ^ "noitaminA Adds 'Ping Pong' Anime For Spring 2014 Season". The Fandom Post. January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  19. ^ ""Ping Pong" Manga to be Adapted as Spring Noitamina Anime". Crunchyroll. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  20. ^ "Funimation to Stream Ping Pong the Animation". Anime News Network. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  21. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (November 8, 2014). "Funimation Adds Ping Pong, Tokyo Ravens, Puchimas Home Video Rights". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Funimation Ping Pong Episodes". Funimation.
  23. ^ "Ping Pong episodes" (in Japanese).
  24. ^ Saabedra, Humberto (March 22, 2015). "Masaaki Yuasa Wins TAAF Award For "Ping Pong The Animation"". Crunchyroll. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "The best anime of the decade". Polygon. November 6, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  26. ^ Wolf, Ian (November 27, 2019). "Crunchyroll Names The Top 100 Anime of the 2010s". Anime UK News. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Best Anime of the Decade (2010 - 2019)". IGN. January 1, 2020. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  28. ^ Mateo, Alex (June 10, 2021). "Spy x Family, Remina, I Had That Same Dream Again, More Nominated for Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 10, 2021.

External links[edit]