Ping Pong the Animation is quite possibly one of the most unique series that has been released in recent years, mostly for its eye catching and iconic animation and art style. Ping Pong the Animation also rightfully earned its position among the top anime of 2014. Through its excellent adaptation of its manga source material, coupled with the fantastic directing of Masaaki Yuasa, this anime is a shining example of how a sports anime should be done, as well as how to adapt a manga to keep it entertaining as an anime. This show encapsulates perfectly the best aspects of the sports and psychological genres, and how be unique and iconic while doing it. From the bond of friendship that rests at the core of it’s story, to it’s themes of growing up and maturing, this show proves that a great sports anime doesn’t need to sacrifice character development and motivation to keep the audience entranced in the story. While there are not many shows out there quite as unique as this one, here are 6 anime like Ping Pong The Animation.
Similar Anime to Ping Pong The Animation
1. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 23rd, 2010 - July 2nd, 2010
Another fantastic show from Masaaki Yuasa, director of Ping Pong The Animation, Tatami Galaxy is not afraid of using its interesting and avant garde style to it’s fullest potential. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei follows the life a third year college student who comes to the realization that he has wasted the last 2 years of time in his university. He has been able to make only two friends: a cold and calm female first year student named Akashi, and a pale faced, scary looking, yet good friend named Ozu. Luckily for our protagonist, through a chance encounter with the self proclaiming “God of Matrimony”, he is given the chance to relive his ideal college life and take up opportunities he let slip by before, specifically, joining clubs.
The story revolves around the nameless main character going through his life trying to find where he belongs, and working towards reaching his goal of achieving the “rosy campus life” he yearns for, as well as hoping to gain the affection of a “raven haired girl” he dreams of meeting. We watch as he tries to fit into clubs, hoping to achieve his ideal life, with each episode having him try again. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei and Ping Pong The Animation contain many similar story elements. The main characters struggle with growing up and maturing. The relationships of the main character are also key aspects of the show. Besides the story, the avant garde and unique style of both shows further solidify their similarities, which makes it a great recommendation if you are looking for something reminiscent of Ping Pong the Animation.
The Tatami Galaxy Trailer
2. Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume (Scorching Ping Pong Girls)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 4th, 2016 - December 20th, 2016
This Fall 2016 seinen sports anime, adapted from a webcomic by Asano Yagura, is a fantastic entry into the sports genre. It tells a story that walks on a thin line between bright and light hearted, and exciting and adrenaline pumping. Following the story of the adventures of a Japanese middle school’s all female ping pong team, it connects us with cute characters, a charming story, and enthralling matches of ping pong goodness, which helps it stand out in the genre of sports anime.
Following the middle school life of ping pong fanatic Koyori Tsumujikaze, Koyori is a transfer student to Suzumegahara Middle School where she hopes to take part in the school ping pong club with hopes to become a national champion. She makes many friends who all share a similar passion and drive for the sport as her. The determination Koyori to become the best is admirable, coupled with her love for the sport, and we can’t help but hope that she becomes the champion that she is striving to be.
With this story following the same sport as shown in Ping Pong The Animation, Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume introduces a much more light hearted world of ping pong with many similar aspects of its story. This is a story about strong bonds of friendship in a high energy environment of competitive ping pong competitions with the protagonists struggling to achieve their dreams in the sport they have a deep love for. This story is not only a fresh take on the ping pong sport, but it also will manage to satisfy the cravings of people searching for more great anime centered around the sport.
Shankunetsu no Takkyuu Musume PV
3. Hajime no Ippo
- Epiodes: 75
- Aired: October 4th, 2000 - March 27th, 2002
This long running sports anime series, adapted from a manga by Morikawa Jyoji, has gone down in history as one of the greatest sports anime of all time, and rightfully so. This anime captures everything exciting about the road to professional boxing; and does so while taking it’s time to flesh out all of it’s stories characters. While many anime fans nowadays will pass this show up due to its dated art style, this show holds up just as well nowadays as it did back then. This is why it has been deemed as a classic by many.
This anime follows the story of Ippo Makunouchi, an initially weak and shy boy who is often beaten up by people around him. He spends his time running errands for his family’s business when he isn’t being picked on.Until one day in the middle of being bullied he is rescued by Mamoru Takamura, a middleweight professional boxer. Mamoru takes the injured Ippo to the gym that he practices at, introducing Ippo a world of possibilities for self improvement, which he has always desired. We root Ippo on as he slowly betters himself through working to become a better boxer, and see his passion for the sport grow along with him.
Hajime no Ippo and Ping Pong The Animation share numerous similarities in their story elements, such as their focus on sports and the main characters of the story sharing a love for said sport. The friendship between Ippo and Mamoru reminds me of the bond between Yutaka and Makoto. Both series also involve the main characters growing in a sense, and learning more about themselves while working to achieve their goals. It is these similarities that make Hajime no Ippo worth giving a chance if you are looking for something similar to Ping Pong The Animation.
Any Anime Like Ping Pong The Animation ?
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 13th, 2007
This anime film adapted from the 1993 manga series of the same name, is definitely on the unique side of the spectrum when it comes to anime films. From it’s jarring yet somehow smooth animation, to it’s spectacular voice acting. Tekkonkinkreet is often overlooked when compared to other anime films that were coming out in the late 2000’s, but after seeing it it’s far from forgettable. The way the film perfectly blends Matsumoto Taiyou’s iconic art style with smooth animation is almost breathtaking, and only further helps make this film even more memorable.
This story follows two orphans named Shiro and Kuro, who take it upon themselves to oppose the many evil forces around them in order to protect the decaying city they call home, Treasure Town. It is up to Shiro and Kuro to fight off rivaling gangs who wish to reshape Treasure Town into what they believe it should be like, and entrepreneurial villains who wish to simply make a profit off the city.
The main similarities to Ping Pong The Animation stem from the fact that it is adapted from works from the same mangaka, so a similar art style is used in these adaptations. Many similar themes can be found in both these works, such as the strong bond between two main characters, the characters progressively learning more about themselves throughout the course of the story, and the main focus of the works being the characters struggling to achieve their goals. For all these reasons we believe that Tekkonkinkreet may be something you enjoy if you are looking for another anime like Ping Pong The Animation.
Tekkonkinkreet (Subtitles) - Trailer
5. Baby Steps
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 6th, 2014 - September 21st, 2014
Another fantastic sports anime entry from the Spring 2014 season, Baby Steps covers many of the same story elements as other shows listed here, but it finds a way to seamlessly integrate romantic themes into it’s story. Offering a unique perspective on what it’s like getting into professional tennis. We see the passion and drive of the characters in the show, and makes them relatable to many people who are always working hard to achieve their goals. This helps make the scenes where characters we connect with succeed even more emotional, making this series
Baby Steps’ story follows Eiichirou Maruo, a perfectionist first year honor student who ends up joining the Southern Tennis Club while trying to start getting more exercise. The more he practices and plays with the tennis club, the more his love for the sport grows. With the help of fellow club member Natsu Takasaki, he progressively improves in the sport and helps him find something that he truly cares about.
Besides the obvious commonalities between Baby Steps and Ping Pong The Animation, which is that sports are a major aspect of their stories, they also share many similarities in their story. A few of these similarities are their focus on extremely well choreographed movements during their competition scenes, their use of a close friendship formed between two main characters, and both stories have main characters portraying growth as people, or self betterment. This all makes this anime definitely worth a recommendation.
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 5th, 2011 - March 28th, 2012
The final entry on this list comes from another sports anime adaptation, this one being released back in the Fall 2011 season. Chihayafuru is a very unique entry to this list, since it’s story does center around a sports themes, yet it has more slice of life elements than most other show on this list. Despite this, it does not slack when it comes to providing high intensity scenes, especially during scenes of karuta matches. These aspects allow the show to be both heartwarming and heart racing.
This story follows a girl named Chihaya Ayase, a girl who develops a deep love for the game of karuta, after being introduced to it by transfer student she befriended in her class named Arata Wataya. Chihaya spends her childhood playing karuta with Arata and her friend Taichi Mashima, until suddenly they are all forced to go separate ways. Chihaya’s love for karuta sticks with her until high school, until she forms a club for competitive karuta playing at her school, with hopes to become the best in all of Japan in the future.
The similarities between Chihayafuru and Ping Pong The Animation are not found in the slice of life aspects of the show, but rather the sports centrism of each work. Both shows have friendships based around each respective sport, as well as themes of characters striving to improve and to become the best at their sport. It is for these reasons that Chihayafuru could be just what you are looking for, if you are looking for something similar to Ping Pong The Animation.