Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume – Anime Series Review

7 comments

Episodes: 12

Genre(s): Sports

Aired: Oct 2016 to Dec 2016

Also Known As: Syakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, Scorching Ping Pong Girls, 灼熱の卓球娘

Summary: The world of middle school girls’ ping pong enters an age of heated rivalry as the throne at its apex is surrendered…

Tsumujikaze Koyori, a girl who loves ping pong, has just transferred to Suzumegahara Middle School. Along with her friends who strive to be the national champions, can Koyori bring the winds of change to the school?! The curtain is about to rise on a scorching hot tale of girls who love ping pong!

(Source: Crunchyroll

Review: You know when something is better than how it looks on paper? When the sum of its mediocre parts come together to somehow form an interesting product when you were expecting an utter disaster? That’s what Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume is in a nutshell.

One of the aforementioned issues is the animation. The show does take shortcuts when you don’t think you’re paying attention, such as spending several seconds alternating between the same two images as the camera zoomed in on their faces. Fortunately, the animation usually isn’t as low-effort during the actual ping pong games and rallies, which probably is the most exciting part of the show, but there are times when it seems a bit choppy (and faces in the background aren’t properly rendered because the studio hopes we’re only paying attention to the girl who is the foreground either swinging at the ball or losing the point).

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They literally spent
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several seconds
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switching back and forth
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while zooming in on
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Agari’s determined face
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and Koyori’s flushed face.
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You’ll see a lot of stills like this throughout the show.

 

Then there’s the matter of pacing. The first five episodes were spent introducing all the members in the Suzumegahara table tennis club. The sixth episode was a bit of a breather with Koyori working part-time in a table tennis shop. And then the next four episodes were spent on a practice match against another school while the last two episodes focused on a training camp. There’s all this talk about the girls reaching and aiming for the national championship, but we don’t even get to see them play in the district qualifiers for said nationals! The end result has the viewer thinking not much happened after 12 episodes.

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“You take that back, you fraudulent blogger!”

I can’t really fault the studio too much, though. They tried their best to rush through matches while giving us juicy bits regarding the players’ mentality and playstyles and so on. But when all’s said and done, the events that happened within an episode can be described with a single sentence.

As this is a show about cute girls doing things, well, you can expect there to be cute girls. They also happen to be rather zany and one-dimensional (except for Agari, I suppose, but she also happens to be a textbook definition of a tsundere and her initial drive to be number one may cause viewers to dislike her). Still, they’re entertaining gals who always made me laugh!

Something that other viewers may take issue with is how sweaty the girls get during their matches. Some may say it’s overly erotic, especially considering that the characters are all in middle school. I for one don’t really mind the sweat (since I can relate to sweating excessively), but I do find the camera focus on the bosoms and bottoms to be a bit much.

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Wow, that’s a lot of criticism! The series certainly had more than its fair share of issues – and yet I kept looking forward to the show week after week. Shakunetsu never failed to charm me. I could count on the show to deliever exciting matches which would get me fired up. I guess they don’t have the word, “scorching,” in the title for nothing, folks!

It probably has something to do with Saki, a series which has more or less defined my life, haha. Schoolgirls trying their hardest in competitions always have me sold as a result. The characters in both Saki and Shakunetsu also learn important life lessons while they put their all into mahjong / ping pong, which I always consider to be great. Learning something that you could potentially apply to your own life while you watch these girls struggle for glory and victory is two-for-one, isn’t it?

 

The OST was amazing. I listen to the OP and ED every day. And the instrumental pieces were so unique compared to the other ones I’ve heard. Matches definitely benefited from the sick beats that were being dropped.

As for the yuri…well, it seems like it’s a rule that a girl has to show interest in another girl if she wants to be any good in ping pong. Lots of blushing, lots of talk about heart racing (mostly in regards to playing ping pong with others, but Koyori has a way to make it sound like she’s not talking about ping pong) happens. Not much ship-to-ship combat here, folks, since the pairings seem almost predeteremined, but there is a little bit of subtext between rivals from different schools.

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The show had a lot of flaws, but Shakunetsu kept me entertained every week. It’s an underrated show that gets a lot of flak for its subpar animation, slow pacing, and quirky yet flat characters. But the drama, the tension, the emotion, the humor…all the juicy stuff is in here and makes every table tennis match look awesome. Give the show a shot if you’re all about the schoolgirls turning a sport into serious business. You might even learn a bit about ping pong along the way!

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7 comments on “Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume – Anime Series Review”

  1. Damn, you pelt these out fast. It takes me ages to type up a review.

    Y’know, I wasn’t expecting much from a show called ‘Scorching Ping Pong Girls’ but from your review, it seems like it’s not as bad as it could be, butt shots of middle school girls aside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It usually takes me a while, too, but I’ve been thinking over how to defend Shakunetsu throughout the entire season since a lot of people just drop it or say it’s not to par from the blogs I’ve browsed. That and my one-sided rivalry with another yuri blog that is much more established than mine usually serves as good motivation for me to churn out reviews, haha. But it’s probably not the best mindset.

      Yeah, not a fan of the butt shots. And the girls are rather stacked for middle schoolers which seems to explain the focus on the ta-tas, as well… It’s got flaws for sure, but this show was probably the show I looked forward to the most this season after Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s nothing wrong with some healthy motivation born of rivalry. I think.

        That reminds me of Prince of Tennis having middle school boys that looked like college students. Realism what realism.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a bad habit for me to get competitive. But yeah, I’ll try to keep it under control.
        It’s all those GMO food. The youth grows big at an accelerated pace (not a good enough explanation, but I guess it’s better to stare at sweaty boys who look like college students rather than endure seeing sweaty boys who look like middle schoolers?)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To be fair, in PoT, the moves are ridiculous enough to distract from anything else. Black holes and craters are involved. The lack of active sexualization helps though they make up for that with enough ho yay to launch a thousand ships. So yep, it’s good that they look older.

        I haven’t actually watched anything with just middle school girls (you know my aversion to cute people being cute together) so I can’t compare but I imagine the ho yay in this show is on the same level with the unfortunate addition of fanservice.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s true. The impossible moves they pull off sound very distracting and entertaining. Maybe a little frustrating if you expected some degree of realism…
        Mmm good call. It’s the GMOs, I’m telling you.
        I think you’re on the money about this particular cute girls show. Impressive considering you tend to avoid these sort of shows! But the girls aren’t pulling moves that are as crazy as PoT (for better or for worse) and there is a plot which just moves at a snail’s pace.
        Sorry for the late response. We were talking back and forth so well yesterday and then I fell asleep. And then work happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I didn’t mind at all so it was 100% entertainment. Though I doubt I’ll find real tennis interesting ever again.

        It’s fiiine, since I have no idea what the time there is, I tend to assume you went to work or fell asleep or got sucked into the blackhole of real life in some other way. Just like I’m about to be. Wish me luck.

        Like

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