Graphic Novel Review: Ping Pong by Taiyou Matsumoto
Posted on October 7, 2021 at 6:11 am by Gene Ambaum
Ping Pong Volume One by Taiyou Matsumoto. Translation & English Adaptation by Michael Arias. Viz Signature, 2020. Publisher’s Rating T / Teen “…and is recommended for ages 13 and up.” 9781974711659.
Ping Pong Volume Two by Taiyou Matsumoto. Translation & English Adaptation by Michael Arias. Viz Signature, 2020. Publisher’s Rating T / Teen “…and is recommended for ages 13 and up.” 9781974711666.
Makoto Tsukimoto is nicknamed Smile because he never does. He’s overly serious, but too empathetic to win ping pong matches. Yutaka Hoshino, nicknamed Peco, is the original big-talking, snot-nosed kid. He’s undisciplined but brings passion and a real desire to win his matches. This is the story of them both trying to improve and striving to win. Smile’s coach takes him under his wing and really makes him work, turning him into a deadly rival for other ranked opponents including a well-known Chinese exchange student. Peco’s passion backfires for a while, and sends him away from the game, but when he comes back and starts to play again, he seems destined to play Smile in an epic match.
Worth noting: This manga series is complete in two volumes. The books are full of action, and embrace the sports genre (manga of this type probably has a cool name) while ultimately, I think, defying it in creative ways. And as in Matsumoto’s Tekkonkinkreet the slightly rough art seems perfect for the subject matter. This is one of my favorite sports books ever.