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The boys' table-tennis club consists of earnest captain Takeda, school dreamboat Kinoshita, and four deadbeats who constantly goof off instead of practicing. Their coach, Mr. Shibazaki, is a pushover for all the other teachers. The girls' club is a large group of dedicated, gifted young athletes, whose coach, Mr. Tachikawa, despises the boys' club and covets its premises. But the clubroom is about more than just ping-pong; it's a refuge for a group of misfits, no-hopers, and adolescents trying to cope with the petty pains and embarrassments of growing up. To keep it, the boys will have to find that old fighting spirit they all seem to lack-a plan helped by the pretty Kyoko, who offers a personal "sex pass" to the highest scorer.

It's hard to describe this short series, based on Minoru Furuya's 1993 Young Magazine manga, as anything other than insane. The raging of teenage male hormones and the nonoperational status of the related brain cells is conveyed in a fractured visual and directorial style, complete with a Lupin III pastiche, mom-and-pop gags, enka and taiko, male impersonators, crossdressers, St. Francis Xavier, the legend of Momotaro, volcanic eruptions, smelly foreigners, feats of Endurance, and every conceivable offensive reference to sexual habits and bodily functions. There are more naked penises in this low-rent "buddy movie" series than in many erotic anime-falling out of shorts, stuffed into bird's heads for a Swan Lake ballet skit, accidentally revealed during exercise-and all the tropes normally used to peek at female nudity, but there's hardly a hint of any real possibility of sexual action. The overall effect is as directionless and futile as the average teenager's life, but it's hard not to feel a creeping sympathy for its hopeless, dogged solidarity with those facing hormonal challenge and social failure.

The throwaway nature is so determinedly pursued as to obscure the solid track record of its crew. This isn't a team of young punks talking dirty to their peers (see Bite Me!: Chameleon), but a rack of seasoned professionals with an instinct for video sales. Their work is full of knowing nudges and winks, entirely unashamed of itself. Despite the multitude of monocultural references, the overall Beavis and Butthead atmosphere would have spoken loud and clear to legions of hormonally challenged males too young to get most of the cultural digs, but that's hardly the audience for the subtitled version that was released in the U.S. No relation to the 2002 live-action movie, written by Kankuro Kudo and directed by Fumihiko Sone, which was adapted from a different 1996 manga by Taiyo Matsumoto. LNV

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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Ping Pong Club
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Romaji: Ike! Inachu Ping-Pong Club
Publisher ?
Start Year 1995
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Aliases Let's Go! Inachu Ping Pong Club Make Way for the Ping Pong Club
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