The ultra-competitive Peko and the talented but retiring Tsukimoto are best friends and rivals in the high-powered sport of ping pong.
Hollywood may be going through a phase of remaking Asian films at the moment, but it's unlikely we'll be seeing a glossy reworking of this everyday story of table tennis pros, adapted from the Japanese manga.
Like most sports movies, it's not really about the sport itself, but the people who play it in this case two immensely talented table tennis players with radically different outlooks: Peko (Kubozuka) plays to win, while his childhood friend 'Smile' (Arata) is just killing time. In the inter-high school championships and in the tradition of such films both will learn something about themselves and the nature of the game.
First-time director Fumihiko Sori is right to focus on the characters and themes, but you can't escape the feeling that the matches themselves could have been more richly staged.
A quirky drama with finely drawn characters and some kinetic ping-pong action.