Welcome, one and all, to the fourth first round match-up of Crunchyroll of the Dice 2018! Today, we’re looking at two very different shows: Scorching Ping Pong Girls and New Game! That’s right, it’s table tennis vs gaming in … The Battle of (E)Sports!
Scorching Ping Pong Girls
Studio: Kinema Citrus
- We open with a very serious match, presented to look fairly epic. It was well done, to be fair. Though the loser was pretty whiny. It does mean that the opening feels a little off in tone to how the episode opened though. The match itself made it all seem like a straight up sports drama, while the opening is more cute-girls-doing-cute-things. It’ll be interesting to see how this comes across as the episode progresses.
- And the fan service starts already.
- The animation in the opening wasn’t fantastic, but it does feel like it’s stepped down a little now that we’re meeting the primary cast. That’s a shame. It is nice to see how they’re all taking the sport seriously though.
- New girl Koyori is incredibly nervous. I’m hoping she loosens up a bit. She seems to get in the zone when she starts playing, at least. Looks like we’re setting up a friendly rivalry between her and Agari. That’s fine. They’re both already good, so I’d assume much of their growth would be personal; Agari losing the focus on fame and Koyori losing the nervousness.
- The background characters love doing a bit of the old hero worship, it seems.
- This is a very sweaty show. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much sweat in an anime. I’m surprised the floor isn’t slippy, there’s that much.
- Anyway, the end sets up the rivalry a bit more and we get a peppy ending theme.
- That didn’t drag or anything, but it felt like a confused show to me. Like, at times it seemed to want to be a serious sporting thing, but at others, it just wanted excuses for fan service. Still, not really what I’d call bad, so that’s good.
Studio: Doga Kobo
- Very pretty scenery at the start. Our lead, Aoba, is very bright too. All the characters are in fact. No opening credits by the look of it. Random fan service from Aoba’s co-worker Ko. It’s going to be that sort of round, it seems.
- Quite a big core cast being introduced. They all come across quite differently though. That’s one bulky cat they have too! Wait, where was Umiko hiding that airsoft gun?
- Everything is being introduced quick-fire style. It kinda fits given how fast-paced business days seem to be in Japan, but I’m possibly going to struggle to keep up initially here.
- There are some fun and games with Umiko and Nene. Or I hope it’s fun and not straight-up stalking. There’s an interesting conversation between the two and the importance of bugs in programming. The idea that it’s worrying not to find any is actually a real business practice, and not just in game creation.
- Aww, I like Takimoto’s hedgehog.
- A business meeting with Aoba turns into a question about why there are no males on the team, which in turn leads to Rin getting downtrodden about the idea of someone snatching Ko away. One by one, we get a little snippet from each member, giving us another look at their personalities. Umiko seems to have a real knack for hiding guns.
- The team have arranged a cheery blossom viewing. I’m surprised that they had no prior arrangement for who brings what, but they all brought different food. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen in the real world. There’s a lot of potential ships going on.
- This is a very light-hearted, good natured show overall. That ending song is really catchy too. I’m not sure if the show succeeds as a straight-up comedy for me, but it’s enjoyable.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be:
- Best Character: which character, whether leading or background, drew me in, or at worst annoyed me the least?
- Best Individual Scene: which scene stands out the most in my mind?
- Best Art And Animation: which show did the best job in terms of overall art quality?
- Best Soundtrack: which show shone in the sound department?
- Best Opening Episode: which show did a better job of creating intrigue or setting up the series going forward?
So, let’s see who excelled at what …
BEST CHARACTER: This is interesting, because neither show really gave us a complete picture of anyone. In the case of Scorching Ping Pong Girls, I thought that Agari stood out. She’s obviously driven the need to be liked, and the set-up gives plenty of wriggle room to shake that. For New Game!, there were so many characters introduced that it’s hard to focus on any one in particular just yet. No one was unlikable though, so that’s good. If I had to choose, I’d say that Umiko seems to have a nice balance of grumpy and crazy with an underlying soft side. She was a little more interesting than Agira too. So … THE WINNER IS: Umiko (New Game!)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: This is one of those weird situations where neither show really had a true stand-out scene for me. Neither did anything that was terrible, but neither gave me anything to really latch onto as a memorable moment. For that reason … THE WINNER IS: Draw
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: This one is easy. Scorching Ping Pong Girls is what I would call ‘serviceable’. The animation was at its best during the table tennis matches – which is to be expected – but even then, it wasn’t as smooth as some series. The character designs outside the named characters were also very samey. New Game! was a lot more fluid in terms of animation, and despite having a larger cast, managed to offer far more variety in design. That means that … THE WINNER IS: New Game!
BEST SOUNDTRACK: New Game! definitely had the best closing song. I think that neither really went above and beyond in terms of background music o even ambient sounds though. Scorching Ping Pong Girls kinda threw me because the opening felt averse to the feel of the opening scene. For having a song that got stuck in my head though … THE WINNER IS: New Game!
BEST OPENING EPISODE: For all its faults, Scorching Ping Pong Girl did a good job here. We got to meet our primary leads, and the rivalry between the two was set-up competently. Meanwhile, New Game! also did a good job of introducing to the cast and their goals. Both shows are very different and had different things to set-up, but both did a decent job. As such … THE WINNER IS: Draw
Final Scores: Scorching Ping Pong Girls – 2 points, New Game! – 8 points
I remain unsure what sort of show Scorching Ping Pong Girls wanted to be. It’s a shame, because it’s not without potential. And sweat. New Game! was an enjoyable ride though. It was interesting seeing how the cast interacted with each other, and everyone (at the very least) did enough to make me want to know more. A deserved win.
What about yourselves? Have you seen either show? What did you think? Do you agree with my final scores? Let me know below!