Story - 9
Two childhood friends play pingpong. I have no idea how to describe the masterpiece I just saw beyond that. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a sports anime with all the necessary qualities of one (teachers, rivals, tournaments, etc). It's a coming-of-age story about them and everyone around them. Not the most original, but it doesn't have to be when it does it SO well.
Art - 7
The art is phenomenal in its own way. It's watching a parade of highschool sketches coupled with a distorted realism that you probably haven't seen elsewhere. Characters are portrayed as ugly, imperfect, and exaggerated. The art is therefore very hit-or-miss, and mainstream viewers will likely be turned off by this.
Sound - 8
Sound is for the most part excellent. There are pump songs, melancholic songs, etc, and they are played mostly expertly. One particular theme song annoyed me due to its simple and repetitive nature, but it fit the narrative so *shrug*. Of note is the fact that the Mandarin (there is mandarin) is spot and if you can understand it, that's definitely a plus. The Engrish on the other hand...more cringey and a little forced, though that could have been by design as well.
Character - 10
Here's where the meat is. The characters begin as established archetypes. It is when they clash that the beauty of the show comes into play. Characters meet, play, grow, and change. I can honestly say there weren't any characters I was unsatisfied with by the end of the show.
Enjoyment - 9
I watched this show in one sitting. I opened it up expecting a sports anime where I'd feel pumped for the matches. I left with little beads of wetness in my eyes as my favorite character suffered a defeat. There were no cartoon villains here, only people.
Overall - 10
I have no idea what they could have done to make the show better. The choices were acceptable, dialogue wasn't cringey or forced. It was just...great.