Let's Go! Inacchû Ping Pong Club

4/5/1995 - 9/27/1995 TV series 26 episodes Kitty Films/TBS
Series Director
#16 part A & B: Doctor Maeno
Based on a manga by Furuya Minoru (serialized in Young Magazine, published by Kodansha)
Series Structure: Tomita Sukehiro
Character Design: Tanaka Jôji

Based on a 17-volume manga about the adventures of a middle school table-tennis club, Inachu marks Hata's return to comedy, and holds the distinction of being the uncontested king of gross-out anime.

Scrupulously reproducing the distinctive drawing style which was the essence of this cult manga, Hata succeeded in transferring the parodic atmosphere of the manga to the screen, and Inachu is his triumph of the 1990s.

The manga artist's genius for charicature is reflected in the anime, where the faces of the characters are manipulated to great effect in the many tirelessly imaginative stunts and parody sequences which litter each episode. Combined with this visual prowess is a vein of humor the likes of which has never been seen before in anime, by turns sarcastic, shockingly distasteful, usually extremely funny. Inachu was released in part in the US, where it met a surprising degree of success among more adventurous fans. DVDs of the rest of the series now appear forthcoming.

The quality of the scriptwriting went down a little near the end, near which two episodes appear to have been written by someone who never read the manga, but otherwise this is a very funny series which maintains a high level of quality and shines on still today as a beacon of eccentricity.

There is what you might call the Hata trademark in the one episode Hata storyboarded: a sequence of stills taken from earlier in the episode flashed by at a quick clip. The same effect can be seen in episode 9 of Gokû's Big Adventure broadcast back in 1967.

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HOME© Benjamin Ettinger