The practice match starts in this seventh episode of Ping Pong Girl along with introducing the rather weird bunch of Mozuyama middle school.
A major chunk of this episode is everything but the main attraction i.e the match. We have Koyori getting some new rubber for her racket, introduction of sorts to the amusing opponents and the ever important question being put forward about Koyori’s reason behind playing this game.
Was this inquiry really necessary? Didn’t Koyori already say her reason for playing before? Isn’t it quite apparent based on whatever we’ve seen in these past six episodes anyway? And besides, do we always need some deep reason to play table tennis? Turns out we do and Koyori isn’t so sure about her reasons. We’re going to have to wait another episode for them to waste some time in stating the obvious.
One really surprising thing here is that this episode was actually somewhat funny. Shocking, right? The reason behind this relatively humorous outing lies in the opposing team; they’re all a bunch of weirdos. The captain is a klutz, the vice captain is a yandere, there’s a girl who’s swaying for no reason, another girl with a permanent wink, and a girl who can’t stop eating, with only one relatively sane girl who is only slightly behind the rest of her team in weirdness. And this whole team isn’t the slightest bit tense or nervous about the game. In fact, they aren’t even cheering their own teammates on because they don’t care about this practice match.
Are they looking down on Suzumegahara? The captain doesn’t look like she is, at least. Are they like this in every match? It wouldn’t be surprising if they really were.
The first match is Hanabi against Sasorida. We get the expected still frames here and there’s no point complaining now anyway. They even skip entire games here which is understandable since it’s pointless showing games which play out in the same way again and again; although it would have been better if they had shown more than four or five points which really isn’t asking too much. The focus of the episode should have been the match itself and they should have cut down on the pre-match stuff which was largely unimportant.
We get another surprise here in the form of animation. Ping Pong Girl is on fire with two back to back surprises in one episode. Although the match has no more than two minutes of animation, it’s still welcome mainly because these small moments look pretty neat.
Hanabi starts off with the upper hand, winning two games in a row. That is, until Sasorida makes her comeback; losing two games was all part of the plan as it tires out Hanabi. The Suzumegahara girl’s play involves speeding up the game by staying close to the table. So the way to counter her is to send her away from the table. And that’s what Sasorida does here. But she does more than just that; she pushes Hanabi away from the table and then suddenly plays a drop shot or a smash to score.
Sasorida is the opposite of Hanabi; the former slows down the game while the latter speeds up things. Her follow-up drop shots catch the opponent off guard; Hanabi can’t tell when a drop shot is coming. Sasorida uses the opponent’s skill against them and then adds in her own unexpected shots for good measure and wins her matches. Having more stamina than the other girls further aids her in her victory.
Overall the match is pretty interesting since this new girl is quite different from those we’ve seen so far. Everyone had predictable moves up till now where you could tell what was coming your way and when. Sasorida has unexpected moves working in her favor here; you can’t tell when she’s going to use her move at all.
The next girl also seems to be way better than Hokuto as the spinner has lost the first game. How she lost is left for next week and if this girl is similar to Sasorida then this match should be another interesting one. We also have the doubles, Agari’s and Koyori’s matches to look forward to here. It will be interesting if Koyori and/or Agari lose their respective matches. We also have Koyori’s obvious answer to the yandere’s question coming up next week.
This episode was standard Ping Pong Girl quality; nothing too remarkable but still entertaining enough. We can, however, do well enough without the nonsense question about Koyori’s reason to play and stuff. That is totally unnecessary and is simply a waste of time especially since the answer has probably been told before too. But they had to put in this cliché sooner or later. This episode ends on something resembling a cliffhanger; if the next games play out similarly then we can expect another interesting match coming our way.
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