Childhood friends Makoto "Smile" Tsukimoto (ironically, he seldom smiles) and Yukata "Peco" Hoshino are capable and aspiring table tennis players of Katase High School. Coach Jō "Butterfly" Koizumi has high expectation to both of them, but when Peco gets decisively defeated by a Chinese student he becomes so devastated and stops practicing. Meanwhile, Koizumi discovers Smile's potential and tries to motivate him to overcome his psychological obstacle.
Why You Should Watch This:
I know it is a relatively recent anime, so maybe it does not fit the requirements for the section fully, but this anime, besides Mushishi, saved anime 2014 for me, and i decided to recommend it, especially because i got the impression that it was highly overlooked and underseen in this forum.
The first thing that drew me to the anime was reading that Masaaki Yuasa directed the show. For all those that do not know, he is the guy behind Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy and Mind Game among other things, so i knew that the anime would be weird and artistically appealing. If you have not seen anything by him yet, you might feel a bit alienated, especially since the animation is sketch-like, reminiscent of Togashi on a good day , it´s weird for the sake of weird but it also celebrates the brilliance of animation in almost every scene it produces.
More importantly though, you will encounter some of the most compelling and best developed characters in anime who are basically the focus of the show while the sport ping pong, used mostly as the connection between the characters, seemed ten times more interesting after watching the anime because Yuasa understood how to make every match dramatic and to inject the matches with the character´s thoughts, fears and motivations.
And yeah, the OST is pretty awesome as well, really watch it and do not be too negative about the art style.