Q&A with Ping Pong's Masaaki Yuasa

pingpongLast month we asked fans to submit questions for Ping Pong – The Animation director Masaaki Yuasa. We sent over a few of our favorites and director Yuasa took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer them. Take a look below!


Sylverstone14 asked: “Which of the characters resonate with you the most, and why? (For me, I’d say Smile because of his demeanor.)”

Y) That’s constantly changed over the last 18 years. But it’s chiefly Akuma, Dragon, and Egami.


LiuwdJelly asked: “What made you decide to use split-screen reaction shots? What was the hardest part of adapting the manga’s visuals?”

Y) The medium of manga has its own expression of frames (such as how you can compare each frame to the one that came before it, and how multiple frames can make up one overall picture), and I wanted to try my hand at doing that in the anime medium. Also, for this particular show I wanted to use art from the original manga while preserving the exact same meaning it had there. In manga, you can switch angles whenever you want, so there were many cases where even if I’d wanted to use that material as-is, it didn’t follow the laws of video.

LiuwdJelly also asked: “How did you wind up working on Adventure Time? What was the most different about working on a Western cartoon vs anime?”

Y) I met a Kick-Heart backer who was on the Adventure Time staff, and that’s what led to me working on it. I would say [the differences were] that it wasn’t in Japanese, and that I didn’t do each and every stage of the art throughout the process after character design, art boards, and storyboarding. Instead, I did very thoroughly just the parts that I did.


MrMonitor asked: “What pieces of media, in any format, have been most important in shaping your outlook on the creative process?”

Y) The anime I saw when I was little, like Lupin III and Dokonjo Gaeru, influenced me. Watching my sempai at AJIADO and SHIN-EI ANIMATION work, and also my own experience, are mainly what shaped my ideas about the process.


B0bduh asked: “What do you hope people will take away from Ping Pong?”

Y) That the best thing to do is enjoy yourself.


Kelsey Ridnor asked: “out of all your works, which work was your favorite?”

Y) I like all of them about equally. I think the one I’ll be most deeply attached to is yet to come.


Lee Jackson asked: “If you had the chance to ‘re-animate’ one classic anime series/film in your style, which would you choose?

Y) Probably Pyun Pyun-Maru or Humanoid Monster Bem.


Lee Jackson followed his question with: “Artistically, what (or who) is your biggest inspiration?”

Y) Daily life, I think. Life itself.


Reuben Baron asked: “Your art styles constantly vary, but are always different from the standard ‘anime’ look. Have you encountered resistance because of this or do you always get the freedom to go as wild with your animation as you want?”

Y) I think over how much freedom I want to take and when to apply the brakes, and I decide those things for myself. Encountering resistance isn’t really a factor.


Al Alryo asked: “Mr. Yuasa what aspect of animation is for you the most enjoyable?”

Y) I think the most enjoyable time for me is probably when viewers watch and enjoy it. In terms of while I’m making the anime, the early stages are the most fun.


We greatly appreciate this opportunity to have a Q&A session with director Yuasa, and we hope that you enjoyed seeing his answers to your questions! Watch episodes of Ping Pong – The Animation, available now on funimation.com/ping-pong




Despite having drastically different personalities, high school boys Peco and Smile have been friends since childhood. Now, they’re both talented members of a table tennis club—but what happens when these sports lovers have to go up against each other in tournaments? Prepare for truly epic matches in this new series from the director of The Tatami Galaxy!