Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: C+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 180
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Ping Pong Club
Ping Pong Club Vol. #4: Loser's Club
By Chris Beveridge
October 09, 2001
Release Date: October 09, 2001
Ping Pong Club Vol. #4: Loser's Club
What They Say
© Central Park Media
Just because you're the biggest geek on campus doesn't mean you can't get the girl. And Maeno, the club's sorest loser, intends to prove it - by cooking up a scheme to play Doctor with every girl in school! But instead of helping, his teammates compete over who can be the shrimpiest guy, proving to the world that "Loser" is more than just a name - it's a way of life.The Review!
Often compared with South Park, the Ping Pong Club is a show that makes you simply sit there and wonder why it was made, who thought it up and who funded it. Then you wonder who watches it. Then you watch more episodes. Then you stop wondering and just keep laughing.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:
One look at the front cover and you've definitely got an idea of what to expect from this series. The art really does border on the ugly side and essentially has one foot dangling over the line. But it's true to the show, and that's scary enough in itself. The back cover provides a slightly smutty looking picture alongside the shows summary. Technical features and extras on the disc are clearly listed. There's no insert in the disc, but it's got a reversible cover. The reverse side show some more artwork on one side with the chapter selections while the other side lists the voice actors for both languages. Menus:
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:
Since this is a TV series, CPM's given the opportunity to put out a textless opening, which they've done here thankfully. The meet the club segment is your typical character introduction and the Ping Pong Club trailer is just the promotional trailer for the show.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
How do you describe a show like this?
This disc is the first release of Ping Pong Club, and it's at an odd place. Vol. #4? Yep, roughly starting around episode 25 of the series. Thankfully, like most sitcoms out there, it's easy to drop right into this show without knowing who is who and just simply stare in disbelief or laugh uproariously.
The opening itself is just an amazing sight. It makes no sense, having the characters dance around with a mix of Japanese and English in various poses and costumes, singing lyrics such as "this sunset is really pissing me off" and the like. It's completely nonsensical but it really puts you into the mood of the show. It's just weird.
The show centers around a group of junior high school misfits who make up the schools ping pong club. The club is sort of a cover for just getting their own club space and doing what they want. Each of the members is decidedly weird looking and have obnoxious traits. They're your basic junior high school kids to the extreme. Each episode is self-contained, often with two different halves as well. Dropping in on the first episode and not knowing who anyone was didn't hurt at all, and once we got into the episodes, the characters quickly became familiar and amusing.
The show plays things like a sitcom, with misunderstandings causing most of the problems or members of the group just trying to outdo others. The first episode has one of the members swiping the clubs dues so he can go and buy food. One of the others sees this, and follows him. Apparently the food that's bought is to feed some stray dogs. The other club member finds himself in tears over this and vows to not report it. We then flash forward slightly and see the original thief club member, now completely naked, covered in oils and food, and the dogs licking him all over.
You've got episodes that deal with an old man whose one love, his ventriloquists dummy, gets smashed by some of the club members by accident. Feeling guilty for once, they offer to help out (hence the scary cover), but that only ends in disturbing ways as well. A visiting Chinese doctor, fluent in the 4000 years of specialized medicine, is due to arrive at the school to check the students out. Two of the craftier members abduct the doctor, dress up like him, and then perform all the physicals for the girls in the school, and administer some cures.
I couldn't help laughing. It's hilarious watching this stuff go down much in the same way South Park both offends and delights.
I can't wait to get my hands on more of this to check out as well as hope that CPM goes back and releases the first three collections so I can check this out from the beginning. Checking out any disc will likely give you a clue as to what the series is going to be like, so I wouldn't hesitate in picking up #4 without any of the earlier ones. It's easy to get into, and why deny yourself these almost obscene episodes?
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Meet the Club,Textless Opening,Trailer
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.