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Sahaqiel, 3 Jun 2011
Posted 30 Jul 2015
I forgot everyones names ok
I wasn't talking about his name, I just meant his hair is white
DETAILS YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT. GET CORRECTED
NAH MAN, FACTS AND OPINIONS ARE BASICALLY THE SAME THING ANYWAY
Posted 31 Jul 2015
Tasty Genos. Doesn't really show much of the action, but there's a little bit. It seems alright, I guess.
Posted 2 Aug 2015
Anticipating art college, where I might stand to potentially go into animation or illustration (with a module on comic books), I've been thinking about character building. Leading off from my renewed BoJack Horseman hype, I've been doing deeper thought into characters, and I've put that energy back into thinking about Ping Pong. Ping Pong is one of the rare shows that I feel I can really be able to appreciate. The Tatami Galaxy is great, but I care a lot more about the characters in it than TTG. TTG is pretty much a story about character depth, rather than a story about deep characters, so it's similar yet different.
I started writing up with Peco, and while going through it I feel like I'm actually starting to get how insecure he really is. Having never really done much character study before, I wouldn't have been able to notice this kind of thing before. I've taken things at face value for so long.
Peco is the 'hero'. Since a young age success has come readily to him, such that he expects it of himself. When he's defeated first by Kong, and then by Sakuma, he is disillusioned. He sees the limit of sheer talent alone, and it scares him. Sakuma, who he could so easily defeat in his younger days, defeats him with intense training, and it grounds Peco. He's stripped of the warmth of his delusion, and is shocked horribly by the cold reality that life isn't as easy as he expected it to be. His confidence depended for so long on his proficiency in ping pong, and suddenly that security is at serious risk. Peco's other source of self worth is his relationship with Smile, whose dependence and lack of confidence helped Peco to feel better about himself. Smile's emotional dependence gave Peco that needed boost, but when he sees Smile excell under the supervision of Koizumi, he gets bitter. He remarks in a way that reveals how little he respected Smile. He never ever expected Smile to be a threat to him, which is part of what made Smile such a comfort to him in the first place. He becomes bitter and resentful, and spirals into depression. He quits ping pong, he acts out, and he gains a lot of weight through overindulging in sweets and not doing any exercise. It's only after a long time does he remember his dream, and then remembers what he meant to Smile, having seen the way that Koizumi's training warped Smile's outlook on life and other people. He saw that Smile needed him, and that was enough to get him back in the game. He knew that if he could get to that stage where he could play a good game with Smile again, he would be able to be the hero Smile always thought he was. And that dream was what got him out, what sent him to training, and got him to where he was in the end. In the end his self worth still relied on near-universal acceptance, but at the same time, Smile's admiration could be enough for him to feel stronger. It's an unhealthy dependence, but it's a co-dependence so it works.
I feel like I could speak just as much about any other character. Breaking down the series' four young players; Peco, Smile, Sakuma, and Kazama, into the themes of Inherent Talent, Work, and Motivation, you can get a lot out of studying their character.
Peco to begin with is all talent, no work, and riding on the ego which winning maintains.
Smile is talent, no work, and motivated by the acceptance of Peco.
Sakuma lacks the inherent talent, having poor eyesight himself, and compensates for it with work. His motivation is to overcome his own weakness, and this causes him to be a bitter rival to Peco and Smile. Being defeated though, he sees his limitations, and gives up fighting his lack of talent. He becomes a markedly more pleasant person after this.
Kazama is very talented, and works very hard, and so he's the most advanced player at the beginning of the game. His problem is in his motivation. I'm not sure what happened to his father, but to be it seemed that suicide was suggested. Standing on the ledge, speaking about flying, and then the shame that it brought on his family, which he used his talent to try and counteract. He bore family pride on his shoulders, refusing to grieve properly for his father. When Peco battles him, his persona is stripped away, and it allows him to remember the joy playing the game again, which came first from his dad, who I imagined was unhappy enough that his father's smile while playing made a large impression on him growing up.
Taking the impact of the final matches further, there are other players besides Smile and Kazama who were effected positively by Peco's joy for the game. Imagine the intensity of all the other matches; people with hard motivations, suffering with bitterness and resentment in their matches, and then for Peco to bring joy to the field. It would be a very refreshing change from all the serious players to go before. The guy who wanders around aimlessly looking for a purpose is great. I see him as being a kind of lost character in an identity crisis. Ping Pong was his thing before, and it was torn town in a very brutal way while Smile was going through his own dark path, and it sent him spiraling out into the world to find something else that can make him feel as comfortable and at home. He suffered a major rejection in that loss, and it wasn't for a long time that he realised what it was that made him feel at home. To me he seemed like a symbol for the hobbyist, for whom the pursuit of success isn't as important as just playing the game. In the air terminal he gets briefly interviewed about why he's back in the country, and he puts all his effort into it to seem enthusiastic, and then scoffs to himself that they'll never use it. He preempts that rejection in a cynical way, quick to doubt the intentions of others. "No matter how nice I am to this interviewer, it wont matter to him", you know? He took Smile's rejection hard, and the guy carried that weight with him wherever he went. I really like this character.
Also, I don't know what Obaba's relationship with Peco was. This is one detail I need to look out for while rewatching it. Peco's parents are never seen or mentioned to my memory, which goes the same for Smile for whom I think it was shown clearly that his parents were pretty much absent. Peco's main maternal figure is Obaba. Smile has Koizumi, though I feel like Koizumi was wrong to push Smile so far, even if it was important to the arcs of Smile and Peco that Koizumi take that interest. Peco ends up drinking by himself and wandering around at night, which suggests absent or indifferent parents. His lack of discipline is somewhat indicative of that as well, and the fact that he spent a lot of time at the dojo. He might have made a comment about his parents taking him to competitions though, but I can't remember.
Taiyo Matsumoto has a lot of coming of age stories. He deals with delinquents and the paths taken by children with little parental input. Tekkon Kinkreet has two homeless kids dealing with the trials of life on the streets. Ping Pong has Smile and Peco, and deals more in the involvement of surrogate authority figures than parents. Sunny is pretty much the same; about a lot of kids in a foster home, and their emotional troubles in relation to their absent parents, and their relationships with their carers. And I can't remember much about GoGo Monster, but that was about troubled adolescents too. Taiyo Matsumoto has this theme in most of his work which I'm aware of.
You make me want to rewatch Ping Pong more and more with each post.
It's always nice to read your insight and opinions on the story and characters.
I think I said it the last time it was brought up, but I still find it crazy that people dismiss it just for the artstyle. I was even talking to my friend a month or two ago about it and he said it was a comedy. It hurt me inside, but I guess he liked it, so. If only people could enjoy it as much as we did, although I think you've gotten at least 10x more out of it than I have considering all your lengthy posts about it.
I think it was mostly just the hype of Taiyo Matsumoto being an author I followed and enjoyed, and Masaaki Yuasa being the same for anime. Those coming together, and then reading the manga in anticipation, as well as the show doing justice to the manga, and then some, all allowed for my OTT hype and appreciation for the series. The characters are all so well developed, though now I wonder how well developed characters are in other TV shows and stuff. Like this whole character analysis is kind of new to me, so I enjoy it a lot.
Posted 9 Aug 2015
Been watching Dragon Ball Super. It's cute. I almost like the filler stuff more than the fighting. It's a cute show and full of nostalgia.
I've only seen the first one, I'm gonna have to catch up on the 4 new ones. Nut i enjoyed the first one.
Dragon Ball shenanigans are way better than the fighting
Dragon Ball fights can be pretty great, but the story does have a definite charm during the down time.
On a different note, I recently started watching Magic Knight Rayearth. Seen the first three episodes and enjoying it a lot. Rayearth is from that period of anime going from the late 80's through the mid 90's where stylistically TV shows don't tend to hold up so well, even though the animation itself was improved from much of the 80's. I know there are people who hate the look of some anime from this era, but I think it can be pretty charming. It's interesting seeing these early CLAMP designs in motion.
Posted 11 Aug 2015
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