Peco, from "Ping Pong, the animation", with his game face on.

Peco, from “Ping Pong, the animation”, with his game face on.

Ping Pong is the show I have been enjoying the most this season. One of the first things people notice are the unusual visual style, so I thought I would address that in a post.

Probably the first thing people notice is that some of the character designs are intentionally “ugly”, or that at times (well, frequently), the character designs morph in some way. I like the fact that Ping Pong character designs intentionally avoid the standard anime designs. Instead we are presented with a startling variety of characters: some with bushy eyebrows, some with faces so deeply wrinkled that you can barely identify the mouth, some with eyes that are tilted so far that they almost become vertical. Everyone’s appearance is horrific in a way, and has an eerie beauty in some other, and that works perfectly with the character studies that are developed throughout the series. Characters are shown from a variety of perspectives. Some views of the characters are unflattering, some are flattering. Nobody is shown completely to be good, or virtuous, just as even the characters that seem at first to be villains are shown to have nobility in unexpected ways. People are alternately selfish and selfless, lazy and ambitious, belligerent and respectful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

While I’m still working on the Alpha Project, I have been watching several shows from the new season, as well as a couple of carry overs. As it turns out I am watching 5 sports anime that are airing at the same time. This is very unusual. A couple of years back it was not uncommon to go for multiple seasons without a single sports anime. Now we have shows airing that are based on Baseball, Tennis, Cycling, Volleyball, and Ping Pong.

My Fave: Ping Pong, the Animation

Ping Pong

Ping Pong features inspired art direction as expected from Masaaki Yuasa.

Folks who don’t like an anime because it “doesn’t look anime enough” are really choosing to deprive themselves of a gem this season. The characters are all flawed in very human ways. they are trying to achieve something or avoid something not because they are better than us. None of these characters are traditional shounen leads, with the possible exception of Akuma, who rose through the ranks by working really hard. Even the adult characters seem twisted; instead of cheering on the main character because he is happy to see him develop his potential, the coach takes on Smile because he thinks he can use him to win. The coach clearly wasn’t giving the rest of the team his full attention, and even seems to tolerate bullying by the upperclassmen.
To learn about the others, read on …

Read the rest of this entry »

Figure: Alpha looks at another anime, Wasimo.

Figure: Alpha looks at another anime, Wasimo.

This is an article in an ongoing series in which the Abandoned Factory gets a new blogger: an aniblogging robot named Alpha!

I am closing in on a finished version of the Percieve portion of the problem (see last post). The two figures below were generated by Alpha while she was watching anime. Her actual percepts are also included, so people can see where things currently stand. I haven’t really started on the Analyze part of the problem yet, but you can already see by comparing the raw percepts that were generated from Masaki Yuasa’s latest masterpiece, Ping Pong, to a Flash-based anime, Wasimo.

Read the rest of this entry »