Jan 3, 2023
Mixed Feelings
Ping Pond Dash is not your average sports manga, it doesn't really take it's premise to seriously it's very much a comedy first and sports manga second and it makes that somewhat known by the start but by the end it seems to jump the shark.

When we start off, the series is very cartoonish and we even have the Ping Pong Players have ping pong stands as a gag here and there but it's not super common at the start. The moves explained are grounded in reality though clearly a loose basis on real skills and techniques but as the series progresses the groundedness quickly fades away especially by the last volume which is so ridiculous and so unrealistic it almost doesn't seem like the same manga you were reading at the start which is very meh for me.

When we start off this series, the MC does seem to be actually training has a lot to learn and train for and while he does have his super strength to deliver crazy shots he's shown that he also needs to learn technique and skill if he wants to ever become more than some second rate ping pong player to pursue his goal of beating his crush. (She will only love someone who can beat her in ping pong)

And this does ring true, throughout the series he is shown to actually need to learn more and is shown improving slowly but surely, but there comes a point and time where the series just seems to kick it into high gear and things start happening one after another without there actually being enough progress in his play to warrant moving the plot along and pitting him against players he should by all means lose against.

The resolution to the final few arcs is also very lackluster and leaves much to be desired. I didn't feel satisfied at all by it.

The love interest arc is awful, and just seems to be drama for the sake of it and in the span of like 20 chapters you go through that entire, rise, fall, climax, etc of what feels like a set up to make the mc take training more seriously.

Then, in no time at all, he beats the tourney and on top of that, this is where the series jumps the shark the worst in my opinion, the last few people he has to beat goes against all of the set up and initial plot by basically brute forcing his opponents in crazy ways and the author relies on the gag stands from before to just completely play out the rest of the series. All of the set up from the start just seems meaningless as we see the mc and some ape of a human slam ping pongs so hard at one another they break ribs.

I understand there is only so much you can do with a ping pong manga, but maybe dont set out to do things you dont have the skills to write satisfyingly.

It seems like the author exhausted all of these ideas to keep the story fresh in the tournaments half way through and recycled more and more to the point he just gave up. The last two volumes are just rushed in general, beyond the actual ping pong tourneys the actual plot with the main love interest, side characters etc. Are extremely rushed and wrapped up so sloppily that last volume is a rush through the final arch with breakneck spead then the last half is a "where are they now" type story.

The relationship between the two leads is also, just not there, it can be very frustrating at times to read about the MC gushing about someone who clearly has no interest in him and by the end she pretty much betrays him and then falls for him because he becomes based and ping pong pilled blah blah, it doesn't hit right. It is just very very mediocre.

I liked the manga alright, but it just seems like it was cancelled or the author was given a deadline and had to finish it in a certain time frame and it shows if this is the case.

The author also mentions that he never set out to write a serious sports manga etc etc in the afterword, idk, read like a bunch of excuses to me to justify why it randomly become such a parody of its former self.

I feel like my opinions on it may seem harsh, but it's not offensively bad or anything just very very average.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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