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Tsukimoto Makoto
01smile
General Info
Aliases Smile, Robot
Age 16
Year 1st, 2nd
Technical Info
Team Katase High
Specialty Chopper
Paddle Right shakehand grip, pips-in/long pips-out

Tsukimoto Makoto/Smile (月本 誠) is the main protagonist of the series Ping Pong: the Animation by Taiyō Matsumoto. He is a first year student at Katase High School, and is the team's most renowned player aside from Peco. He supposedly received his nickname, Smile, because it is something he rarely ever does. Smile tends to look down on those who take ping pong seriously, as he claims only to do it as a way to pass the time. Though he lacks motivation to win, he is recognized as a skilled player by many, including Koizumi, Kong, and Kazama.

History Edit

Smile was a quiet, emotionless boy when he was young. He earned the nickname "Robot" from his classmates, who continuously bullied him for his passionless nature. Peco stood up to Smile's bullies and prevented them from doing him harm.

After Peco introduced Smile to ping pong, he fell in love with the sport. He aspired to become as talented at table tennis as Peco was, always following in his footsteps. They trained under the care of Obaba, the owner and coach of the hall where they both played. It is revealed that this is where he earned the nickname Smile; he only ever smiled while playing ping pong.

Young smile

A young Smile speaking to Peco.

He and Peco learned table tennis alongside of Manabu Sakuma (nicknamed "Demon" in the manga). Demon was constantly envious of Peco's talent, but extremely persistent in his training. He vowed to defeat Peco one day. Instead, he challenged Smile to a match during his first year of high school, and was bitterly defeated. Smile said Sakuma didn't have a talent for ping pong.

Smile joined the ping pong team at his high school, Katase, but he had grown to be seemingly disinterested in the sport. Even so, after visiting another school, he catches the attention of Kong Wenge, a transfer student from China. Kong accuses Smile of "losing on purpose" when he plays a match against Peco. When they finally meet on the court, Smile allegedly "loses on purpose" again, this time to Kong. Kong is angered by Smile's apparent uncaring attitude towards ping pong, as it is something he has given up everything for.

Ryūichi Kazama , or "Dragon", from the renowned table tennis academy of Kaio, repeatedly asks Smile to join his team, seeing his potential and believing he's wasting his talent by playing at Katase. Smile refuses again and again, which only seems to make Dragon more persistent.

Riding off of Dragon's fame as well as his own merciless skill, Smile climbs the ranks and becomes a fearsome opponent to even the most elite high school ping pong players in Japan, helped by the tenacious training from his coach, Koizumi. The better he gets, the harsher he acts towards his teammates. They quickly grow tired of his superiority complex and turn a cold shoulder to him. Due to Smile's tremendous results, the team at Katase is taken up in its ranking and is made to play against better schools, and subsequently better players. Smile keeps providing wins, and furthering the school's ranking. The other club members who had originally joined for fun can no longer keep up, and are frustrated with Smile.

His heartlessness fades when he sees Peco return to the great player he used to be. During their second year preliminaries, Smile faces off against former opponents until finally getting the opportunity to battle against his lifelong friend in the final, whose skill has improved immensely with the help of Obaba and her son. Smile lives up to his nickname after all these years, becoming nearly euphoric during their match, happy to see Peco giving it his all.

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