Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, or also known in English, Scorching Ping Pong Girls comes from a studio called Kinema Citrus, who have animated such notable anime like Barakamon, Code:Breaker, and the piled mess that is Black Bullet.
The manga was published in 2013 and three years later, here is the anime. Now, I was excited to have another ping pong anime because I feel like we don’t have enough of other “lesser-known” sports. Still waiting for a badminton anime. I’m looking at you Smash! Why didn’t you do good enough? Or why aren’t you doing good enough?
WHAT IS THIS ANIME ABOUT?
Obviously, it’s about table tennis. Doesn’t that sound better to some people instead of saying ping pong? Anyways, this anime comes after a sudden change in the world of ping pong tournament where the school that’s been winning all these years have been beaten. This then begins the age of rivalry. It follows a middle school ping pong club where a new transfer student, Koyori, decides to join.
She really loves ping pong. Not only that, she’s pretty good. And with her, this may give Suzumegahara Middle School a fighting chance for the upcoming tournament.
Before I get into the review, I just want to point out that yes, these girls are indeed sweating like their clothes got mini saunas installed into them. And yes, it does look like they’re having orgasms while playing ping pong, but you’re telling me you’ve never experienced such a wonderful feeling that you’d just keep wanting to continue?
This is more of a nitpick, but I don’t understand why openings have to show a preview of what’s going to happen in the episode. I mean, I’m watching it right now, why do I need a preview of what I’m about to watch?
Anywho, Shakunetsu is–if I had to compare–a bit like Saki. You know… that one anime about mahjong and where most people didn’t exactly understand what the hell is going on but they still watch it because yuri?
Technically it’s shoujo ai, but it’s shorter to say yuri.
The main gripe that I have with this anime and the one thing I want to get out of the way, are the first year students. Goddamn are they annoying. They flock over to anybody who seems the strongest and it feels a bit too leechy to me. They do kinda get better towards the end, especially with the last two episodes, but I wished we didn’t have so much screentime of ‘em.
The other complaint, but not really a complaint, that I have with this anime is the fact that it’s a sports anime. I’ve said this many times, it follows a template. It has a path that it follows and the outcome is extremely predictable. If it’s not the story that captivates you, then it has to be the other things. The characters, the animation, the music, the voice acting, and… gay people, I guess?
Going with the characters, I’d have to say that these characters do have a certain charm to them. If you’re thinking I’m going to say yuri, you’re probably right. But I don’t think that’s it. I can’t seem to put my finger on it, so I’ll have to write it down in the description. I do have to say that the art isn’t exactly to my taste.
By the way, let’s talk about Koyori. At the time when she had the ping pong match with the death girl, she told her that she wanted to give her some ecstasy. That’s when it hit me. This is why Koyori has such droopy eyes. It’s because she’s always high on ecstasy and she wants to share it with other girls!
When they go to check each other’s paddle, she’s probably rubbing some ecstasy on it to get her opponents feeling it after every stroke. I don’t think that’s how ecstasy work, but let’s just roll with it. And let’s also move away from that.
I liked the animation and music for this. The EDM really gets your blood pumping, that or it’s the ecstasy, I don’t know yet. Although I’m not a big fan of the opening and ending song. Also, I do wish they have more wide shots of them playing table tennis, but I get it, it saves money and time to have closeups instead. And for the voice acting, I usually don’t have a big expectation unless it’s extremely noticeable.
What can I say? I’m easily entertained. I don’t even know why I set up a list for myself.
I liked that they stayed on the technical side and not delve into fantasy land, well, that was until the practice match. I do have say that I like the enemy team a lot, and during those matches, the writers are giving their all to flesh out these girls we’ve just met. One of the best part for me has to be the girl with the contact lenses. Fantastic.
It is open ended to a second season, but at the same time, it’s an invitation to tell you that you probably should read the manga because there might be no chance for it to have a second season. I liked that it went with the flow and it didn’t spend any time to elongate any scenes to make it fit within the 12 episode slot.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
I sure would! This is an enjoyable anime. If you’re looking for something that isn’t heavy on mood or plot, this will do the job. Unless you somehow hate yuri and girls in general or you’re one of those people who think ping pong is a ridiculous sports… well… I don’t know what to say to you, honestly. Rather than… don’t watch and complain?
But for other people, I still recommend it. If you’re on the fence about it, give it a couple of episodes and if it’s not your thing, then it’s okay. I won’t hunt you down.