Ping Pong is a very serious sport in the original manga, live-action film adaptation, and upcoming anime adaptation of Ping Pong.
The Noitamina programming block on Fuji TV ran a 30-second commercial yesterday for a television anime adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto's manga Ping Pong. Masaaki Yuasa, known for his work on The Tatami Galaxy, will direct the anime adaptation.
Two friends have been playing ping pong for years. Smile, nicknamed as such for how rarely he smiles, has natural talent and Peco has less skill but more passion. The two meet other skilled ping pong players, one of whom thoroughly beats Peco in a match 21 to 0. Peco continues to struggle and must train to get back on his high school ping pong team. Meanwhile, the club's teacher takes an interest in Smile's talent and works to change his attitude toward the sport.
The five-volume manga was adapted into a live-action film in 2002. The film was licensed and distributed in the west by Viz Pictures in 2007.
Yuasa has also worked on not as well known, untraditional anime such as Kaiba, Mind Game, Cat Soup, and most recently Kick-Heart. Kevin Aymeric, art director for Kick-Heart will be the background director for the series, and Tatsunoko Productions will be in charge of the animation.
Ping pong is generally a sport few people actually pursue seriously, and the seriousness over a sport can cause several giggles over the plot, but at heart it's a story common to other underdog sports stories.