Ping Pong The Animation Episode 11

Yuasa and his animators really went all out with the camera movement for this finale. The video below is only the warm up. It starts with a medium shot of Smile and Peco in their stance to establish the anticipation. Then cuts to a close-up and extreme close-up that ratchet up the tension as the match begins. Around the 00:13 mark there's a steady-cam like movement where the camera rotates behind Smile then zooms into the ping pong ball. At 00:31 mark we see a really quick push-in shot on Smile which cuts to a reverse tracking shot as Peco slams the ball. This was a frantic combination of camera movements and quick cuts that creates the initial excitement.

This frenzied start was a quick glimpse of Smile being brought out of his shell by Peco. A long-awaited moment. This feeling of fulfillment is encapsulated by the last shot, a close-up of Smile smiling as the camera pulls away to show him absorbing the moment, the cheers of the crowd and the fun that is Ping Pong.


The next video is where the camera movement and animation really shine. It begins with the imagery of Smile finally breaking out of his robot shell, as excitement and emotions overwhelm him. From the 00:29 to 00:37 mark, the hectic exchange between Smile and Peco seems to have been done in one shot but it wasn't. Close-ups of their paddles and quick left and right lateral tracking covered up the cuts and cleverly created a seamless exchange. At the 00:40 mark we finally get a full shot of the competitors. The constant pushing and pulling of the camera accentuates the exchanges between the two and engages the audience to the intense match.

Again it ends with Smile smiling. The desaturated image of him enveloped with light gives a calming sense of self realization. He's not a robot, he's human, he feels, he sweats, and he bleeds. Poignantly he then says "My blood tastes like iron."


Images of the beach were spread throughout the finale. I believe it's an image to express the feeling of calmness as all the characters, at some level, found peace within themselves. Although in the end scene Kazama feels uncertain about his life, the big difference now is he's expressing this uncertainty instead of bottling it up. 


And now lets end with this.


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