Ping Pong Club Vol. #1: Make Way For - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ping Pong Club

Ping Pong Club Vol. #1: Make Way For

By Chris Beveridge     August 24, 2002
Release Date: August 13, 2002


Ping Pong Club Vol. #1: Make Way For
© Central Park Media


What They Say
Dirty jokes, girl trouble, and other dumb things — these are the trials and tribulations of the boy’s Ping Pong Club. Join these not-so-lovable losers as they face their worst enemies – themselves!

The Review!
After starting the release of this series with volume 4, CPM has gone back to the beginning and is getting the rest of it out. Who knew there was a market for this stuff?

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While not an old show, things here are very much dialogue based with it being comedy oriented. Dialogue is mostly through the center channel and comes across without any noticeable distortions or dropouts. It's a fairly typical soundtrack.

Video:
Originally airing back in the mid 90's, Ping Pong Club has it's own style. The animation looks a lot like Urusei Yatsura at times in how its done, which is generally cheap. But while this serves the shows humor, it doesn't make for a striking looking disc. The transfer is decent with hardly any cross coloration and minimal shimmering, there's a bit of softness to it and some slight fuzziness. It's a good serviceable looking transfer.

Packaging:
The cover provides a rather creepy image of Maeno getting ready to launch his own special attack as lightning cracks against the dark clouded sky. This segment in the anime is among the more twisted things in there to be sure. The back cover has a couple of animation shots and a little summary of what the show’s style is. The discs features and technical aspects are clearly listed. The reverse side through the clear keepcase provides the chapter listings on one side with another look at the front cover while the other does dual language cast listings and general production information.

Menu:
The menu system is fairly typical CPM, with a hard piece of animation/menu selections being themed, this time with the ping pong images, while some animation plays through the window. Selections are nice and fast and moving around is laid out pretty well.

Extras:
There’s some… interesting extras here. The plain nuts opening and closing credits are both provided as textless extras here as well as a trailer for the show’s US release. What’s truly creepy is a 12 minute segment that’s done as an audio commentary by the English voice actors of Maeno and Izawa, talking as Maeno and Izawa, talking about episode five. It’s pretty indescribable.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having started near the end of the series and then going back to the beginning, it’s interesting to see how things all came together early on. The club starts off pretty much in trouble right out of the gate, with just the six male members being threatened with closure of their club by the girls ping pong coach. Tachikawa is insistent that the boys team must be removed so that his girls can achieve victory.

So Tachikawa goes to various lengths, all within normal reality realms, to try and do this. The members of the club fight back in their own way, which means a variety of costumes, sick jokes and general malaise until things get really serious. A lot of these episodes is simply dealing with getting to know the regular jokes and routines, such as Tanaka’s continual fantasizing (I admit it, I loved his Sea of Asses fantasy) and Tanabe’s intense stench. Maeno and Izawa get most of the whacked screen time as they cosplay various roles and go the extremes.

Of particular extreme is Maeno’s sneak attack during Ping Pong, where when he leaps up into the air and his shorts prove to be just a bit too short, proving that he leans left. It’s just a headshaking moment that you can’t believe they got away with on broadcast, repeatedly. Never mind what the female teacher Tachibana does with it!

Ping Pong Club is in many senses what they try to push it as, a Japanese South Park of sorts. There’s the same insanity, though a bit more grounded in reality, with eighth graders instead of fourth graders. Toss in a few more culturalisms and some different broadcast standards, and you do get something eerily similar at times. In the end, there is something strangely compelling about it though.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Audio Commentary,Textless Opening & Closing,US Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 7:13:03 PM

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