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May 14, 2012 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Taiyo Matsumoto's original five volume manga Ping Pong was one of the most surprising and gripping experiences I've had this year. But a huge reason for that is the artwork: he packs more kinetic energy into a single drawing of a shoe skidding across a floor than any real shoe has ever had. So it was with some trepidation that I saw posters for this adaptation going up in stores around Japan. Fumihiko Masuri is a first time director (not that you'd know it), with a background in computer effects. He seems to have directed this mainly because he's a really big fan of the manga too. On the film's website, they've placed images from the manga next to photographs of the actors in the film, so you can see how obsessive compulsive they were in matching faces. Not only faces, but movements, playing styles, and shot composition is all straight from the book, as if they'd used the manga in lieu of storyboards. Even the occasional surreal touch; a boy growing butterfly wings, a dragonfly landing on the net, is right out of the page onto the screen. -- Midnight Eye review; subtitled movie in 12 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
posted by filthy light thief (22 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the film's website, they've placed images from the manga next to photographs of the actors in the film, so you can see how obsessive compulsive they were in matching faces.

Could someone who reads Japanese point me to this section of the website?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:40 PM on May 14, 2012


Once you get past the intro(s), there's a more-or-less static page, with INTRODUCTION, STORY and STAFF CAST on the left-hand side. Click on STAFF CAST, and then China's profile is present. Another layer will pop over that, showing Peco, Smile, China, Dragon and Akuma. Move your cursor over each actor's face, and another layer will pop up, probably with more bio info, and the actor's face will be replaced with a picture of the character from the manga.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:48 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am not ashamed to admit that the movie always makes me tear up for reasons I have never been able to adequately explain to myself.

It also has a fantastic soundtrack, bolstered by 3 Supercar tracks:

Yumegiwa Last Boy
Strobololights
Free Your Soul
posted by Panjandrum at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief: "Not only faces, but movements, playing styles, and shot composition is all straight from the book, as if they'd used the manga in lieu of storyboards."

I haven't read the manga or seen the movie, but this seems like a horrible idea. They're different media, adaptation is needed.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:22 PM on May 14, 2012


Thanks, flt.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on May 14, 2012


I have said, been roundly mocked for saying, and steadfastly maintain that Ping Pong is my favourite sports movie of all time.
posted by Shepherd at 1:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The movie is fantastic and I'd put it on my "top ten must watch movies from Japan."

Shepherd, it might not be my number one sports movie of all time, but its definitely top three for me. It captures something about the joy of competition that you don't find in most sports movies.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:25 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shepherd: Absolutely agree. Ping Pong is a great, great sports movie. I've shown it to many sports-oriented friends, and they're always blown away at how much the goofy film has to say about how nuanced and sophisticated its orientation w/r/t sport is.

There are some things only a hack player knows.

There are some things you can only see from the top.

Also, filthy light thief: Great post.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:28 PM on May 14, 2012


Ha ha wow that's what I get for rewriting a sentence in the middle of composing it.

But seriously, great movie.
posted by Sokka shot first at 3:10 PM on May 14, 2012


I have to admit it. Me and my brothers bought a ping pong table soon after watching this movie. We played every single day for the summer we got it. Damn, I should call one of them to play today.
posted by weewooweewoo at 3:41 PM on May 14, 2012


Tangentially related, Minoru Furuya's 行け!稲中卓球部 [Ike! Inachū takkyū-bu] (or simply Ping- Pong Club in English) is an excellent manga series, although probably on the more juvenile and surreal tip.

He's since moved on to much darker stuff, but for crazy stories and well-executed artwork you can't go wrong.
posted by brappi at 4:14 PM on May 14, 2012


Oh, Ping Pong Club, so weird and wacky.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:29 PM on May 14, 2012


This looks fantastic, thanks for the post.
I'm not seeing any subtitles, though. I looked for a subtitling option like I've seen on other youtube videos, and tried the closed-captions button, but still don't see them. Am I missing something?
posted by $0up at 5:22 PM on May 14, 2012


$0up: Do you have annotations disabled?
posted by Redfield at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2012


Redfield: I did not have annotations disabled, but after checking and then going back to the video page, I found the CC button still enabled and the captions are showing now. Guess I just needed to refresh the page. Thanks for the help in any case.
posted by $0up at 6:32 PM on May 14, 2012


Some of the Chinese movies I watch on YouTube use annotations for English subtitles (which seems impractical and time-consuming), so I thought maybe the same went for this movie.
posted by Redfield at 6:49 PM on May 14, 2012


This is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. I'm always desperately trying to get other people to watch it!
posted by whitneyarner at 9:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


For me, part 1 was captioned but the rest were not.
What's going on? Now I gotta go rent it.

21 point games in 2002? How retro.
posted by MtDewd at 9:52 PM on May 14, 2012


I haven't read the manga or seen the movie, but this seems like a horrible idea. They're different media, adaptation is needed.

Except they aren't and it isn't. Most films are created with one crucial step in common: storyboarding, which looks exactly like a comic book/manga. When you adapt from comics, it's like having the storyboard already in hand. Additionally, especially in recent decades, many comics have explicitly referenced filmic technique, Watchmen being a good example. Many single panels of a comic book will have already distilled the necessary elements of a shot or scene. In other words, I don't think these media are as far apart as you do.
posted by dhartung at 1:06 AM on May 15, 2012


MtDewd, the captioning was weird for me, too. To be honest, I think it would be better viewed on DVD. Otherwise, you could try to reading through subtitles (part 2), though there is no indication of who is speaking which line.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:36 AM on May 15, 2012


I was simply astonished at how much I enjoyed this movie when I first watched it many years ago. A well-used copy sits in my DVD library, and there is a very clear picture in my mind of the over-the-top reaction and sulking displayed by Peco-san when he gets skunked. Bravo for making the post, hopefully a few more walk away from it as fans.
posted by undercoverhuwaaah at 10:51 AM on May 15, 2012


One Outs - read it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:29 PM on May 15, 2012


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