Welcome to the Ballroom – Eps. 7-9

Doing another multi-episode post for Ballroom this time around. I generally feel a little bit bad when I write one since it’s a telling sign that I fell behind (in this case, three weeks). That being said, I can’t deny that Ballroom has been pacing like any other sports anime. The competitive matches take a really long time. We’re not even done with the Tenpei Cup! That makes it a little bit tricky to talk about episodes individually if an entire episode is largely about one round. Then again, sports anime paces like this for a reason; you don’t want to rush through the excitement or suspense of the sport. And I won’t lie: the Tenpei Cup has gotten me glued to the seat. I just find myself rooting for Tatara and Mako even as the odds are stacked against them and their last dance was just stunning.

I really got to commend Tatara’s perseverance in these three episodes. I frankly don’t get why Sengoku thought him challenging Gaju would be a great idea. Despite his potential, Tatara is still new to all of this. His ability to replicate techniques and improvise programs is impressive but Tatara still lacks the skills and stamina to keep up with dancers who have been doing this their whole lives. It also doesn’t help that Tatara is still learning important aspects of dancing. Like, why didn’t Sengoku explain the “Flower and the Frame” to Tatara? That seems awfully important when so much of your performance hinges on your chemistry with your partner. And while Tatara gets horribly exhausted and frustrated, he still keeps on dancing for Mako and Sengoku. That kind of fortitude is extremely impressive.

In the end, I think Tatara made the right decision of following Kiyoharu’s advice and let Mako take the spotlight instead of himself. Tatara is simply outclassed by Gaju and while needing Mako to dance better than Shizuku is also a tall order, it’s the best strategy he could possibly execute. The only caveat is that this strategy may have cost Tatara and Mako their victory. The crowd loves it but judging from the judges’ reaction, I can’t imagine they can give points to a leader who let his flower overshadow his frame.  Still, Tatara did what he told Gaju he would do: prove Mako’s individuality and talent as a dance partner. If Gaju ends up winning, he can accept that victory all he wants; he would still lose to Tatara.

I won’t lie: I really am shipping Tatara and Mako as a couple. They just work so darn well together! As punchable as Gaju and Sengoku are, they’re not wrong when they think Tatara and Mako act like a couple. The way they dance together, work together, and apologize to one another is just adorable. It really does speak to their chemistry if Mako is able to tell Tatara what she wants him to do as a leader, something she couldn’t do with Gaju. These two just understand each other extremely well. I just wish that this is the pairing that Ballroom will stick with but if there is anything years of anime has taught me, it’s that you should always be cautious when you ship characters together.

Other Thoughts:

  • There is no way Sengoku is 23. I refuse to believe that.
  • I’m not fond of Gaju’s personality but I really can’t deny that Gaju is a really good dancer. The animation reflects the gap in talent and skill between him and Tatara really well.
  • It’s interesting that Kiyoharu advises Tatara to focus on beating Shizuku than Gaju. I want to say he did that out of spite towards Shizuku (he probably did) but he’s also been interested in Tatara’s growth as a dancer.
  • Something I noticed is that a lot of people point out that Tatara occasionally copies Kiyoharu. That obviously stems from Tatara learning better through seeing how others dance but I get the concern that Tatara sort of lacks a distinct identity as a dancer. I’m curious to see where this part of Tatara’s character will go.
  • Boy, Shizuku can be antagonistic when the story necessitates it. She sure acted aggressive towards Tatara this arc.
  • Also introduced in this arc is Kiyoharu’s mother Marisa. There seems to be some history between her and Sengoku so I’m curious if she has a somewhat prominent role in this show.
  • I love the little touches being done to the ED; showing Tatara and Mako dancing together in their ballroom outfits while Ep. 9 has Mako dancing alone to reflect Tatara’s decision.

 


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