The fourth display of Ping Pong Girl is somewhat of a bore, as it mainly serves to introduce the eccentric captain of the team without much action.
There isn’t much actual ping pong in this episode due to the focus on the captain, Kiruka’s, introduction. Being captain, she’s obviously crazy good at this game. She wants some excitement and with the excuse of picking a team for the upcoming tournament, she takes on all of the club members and even gives them a handicap because she’s too cool: it’ll be a five point match and scoring even one point against her will be her loss and a spot in the team. And as expected, Kiruka blows away everyone without a sweat. It gets boring since no one even stands a chance against her; until Agari’s turn, that is.
Kiruka’s style employs the backspin as opposed to Agari who focuses on generating topspin. Returning these spins isn’t easy if you play them normally which is why everyone loses since they’re unable to figure out how to return these shots and just make the ball go in the strangest directions. Agari has chances of winning since topspin is a good counter for backspin, but then again, Kiruka and Agari are almost equals in this game so it’ll be interesting to see how this match plays out. Koyori will obviously win her match because she specializes in countering everything. It will however be interesting if Kurika turns out to be an all-rounder: being good at everything with backspin only being her favorite. That should be enough to spice things up a bit.
One thing we see here is that Agari is improving and winning against Koyori; they’re more or less equals right now with the top spot switching between the two every day. Agari winning against Koyori is thanks to the extra effort she’s putting into her game because she plays to win; she is having fun while playing, but that’s only an additional reason for playing this game. Koyori on the other hand, only plays because she likes to and doesn’t have any high ambitions to be the very best or anything. As a result, she isn’t putting in as much effort into improving her game as Agari is, thus Agari is seen to be approaching Koyori fast. This is most likely what Munemune refers to in this episode; Agari will eventually leave Koyori way behind because of their reasons for playing. Koyori’s technique is perfect as she’s able to counter any playing style, but her growth rate is slower as she probably doesn’t give table tennis much time outside school.
But it’s hard to imagine that she got this good without practicing much. Her skills could possibly be a result of her having more experience playing against stronger opponents and therefore learning not to restrict herself to one playing style because of the variety of players she goes up against. We don’t know much about how Koyori became this good and this is one of the intriguing bits this episode touches upon. We’d like to see more about Koyori and how she reached this level in future episodes.
The comedy was pretty consistently lackluster; Kurika is a rather eccentric foot and animal ear fetishist who likes Munemune’s breasts, but the humor involving her weird behavior didn’t come off as funny enough to incite some laughter. There really wasn’t much to look forward to comedy-wise in this show anyway so this isn’t such a surprise.
With the lack of table tennis action this week, episode four was pretty boring and uneventful—it goes to show that Ping Pong Girl only has its exciting matches to carry it forward. Character interactions were hardly fun to watch and seriously lacking in the cuteness department too thanks to those somewhat unattractive character designs. This episode does set up a possibly thrilling match between the best players in this school, but given the amount of still frames in the previous episode’s high profile match, it’s best not to be too hopeful.