「四本足」 (Yonhon Ashi)
“Four Legs”

You know, one of the key measures of a series is whether or not it improves as it progresses – we don’t always get that even from excellent shows (admittedly because they sometimes start out so strongly), so we should appreciate it when we do. And Ballroom e Youkoso is definitely improving, and steadily too. it started out quite well and has never been less than thoroughly enjoyable, but the training wheels have come off the writing in a quite perceptible way now. This is more common with shounen (especially by young mangaka) than other demographics, but it’s still nice when it happens good.

I noted last week that Welcome to the Ballroom is quite distinctly a product of shounen tradition (which was not intended as either insult or compliment, just an observation). But it’s also striking – as episodes like this bear out – that it’s dealing with some rather subtle and complicated issues in competitive dance. This balance between partnership and leadership, between inclusiveness and old-school gender tradition – it’s obvious through this series that it’s a matter many dancers continue to struggle with even after years competing at the highest levels. And I’m not sure we’re going to get many easy answers, because I don’t think they exist.

While the Shizuoka Grand Prix didn’t end up being the total disaster I expected for Tatara and Chinatsu, to say that it was a mixed bag was an understatement. In the first place neither the Gaju-Mako or Hyodo-Shizuku pairings were present, as they were off competing in Germany – which threw Tatara-kun off his game considerably. As if that weren’t enough both Kugumiya-san and Akira-san were competing, which further got into Tatara’s head (and Chinatsu’s too). The performance was a mixed bag, and ended up with a withdrawal after the first round. All in all, a seeming debacle.

But that said, the most important thing that came out of Shizuoka wasn’t the result, but the fact that Tatara had an epiphany – for the first time, he came to understand what it felt like to be a leader in competitive dance. This “four-legged” sensation may or may not be how real dancers feel it but for novices like me, it’s a good way to illustrate the point. This wigged out Tatara so badly that he and Chinatsu ended up pulling out of the competition, but even in the moment he seemed to sense that this was a good thing on some level – that he’d unlocked something powerful that had always eluded him.

This is one of the fascinating contradictions of Ballroom – our instincts tell us that Tatara’s collaborative approach is the right one, but when he felt his partner “disappear”, that’s when he became a true leader. And it was enough to get him full marks from the judges (though he didn’t learn that until Gaju told him later). As for Marisa-sensei, she of course knew what went down in Shizuoka before Tatara and Chinatsu ever confessed – and she was more angry that they’d withdrawn than that they’d competed in the first place. She declares that she’ll choose their next competition, and that they’ll win it – and invites them to come to a weeklong training session in Karuizawa (a ritzy mountain retreat about two hours from Tokyo).

It’s only upon arrival at Marisa’s fancy vacation house that the pair realize that this is really a training camp, and that it includes the Gaju, Hyodo and Kugimiya pairs. Marisa tells Tatara and Chinatsu their next competition will be an A-Class event in Tokyo, and that if they win they can enter the Grand Prix – but that becomes considerably more complicated with the news that Kugimiya and Akira will both be entered as well. Marisa seems to have taken the approach of breaking this pair down and building them up again – trying to stress them out to the point where Chinatsu will have no choice but to rely on Tatara whether she wants to or not. But that’s a hard lesson for anyone, and the notion that Tatara and Chinatsu might be more receptive to advice from a colleague (Hyodo-kun) than a coach is an interesting one. If Hyodo takes the bait, that could prove to be a very interesting turn of events.




    1. I kind of agree with you there. I love Chinatsu as a character but the anime didn’t give us deeper understanding of her. There are many good scenes from the manga that didn’t get adapted. I still like and look forward to this anime every week, but I think they should make BeY anime to a 3-cour series instead.

      1. 3-cour…

        It is a thing to know the future. Will the Anime here be successful to become (or earn) 3-cour running?

        For all love of Anime, they do not do this for free. Not the TV Stations, not the Time Slots, not the Animators, not the Rent for the Studio and so on.. They all want their salary

        So, Anime is not for free.. When you see for the first time the animations of episode 1, then they already have invested 6 or more months for that…

        We can Dream, but dreams do not fill your belly

      2. @worldwidedepp

        No shit.

        They were just saying that to do the manga justice the anime would have needed more episodes to cover the same amount of chapters. They could quite easily have released it as one-cour, gauged popularity and then potentially split the current arc into two cours (one at a time, or both at the same time if financially viable).

  1. Dear manga-ka,

    If the Anime is about to overtake the manga, then do it like “Claymore”

    ask if some of the Animation team can be your “new” Teammate. There is surly someone in the Anime production line that need to dray the “Storyboards”, or Keyscenes.

    Why not go there and ask or hire this persons to draw for you, so you can focus on the Story. Just “look” at the Claymore Manga, how it changed when it turned into Anime…

    Perhaps your Workload will be lighten and even Illness can not break your Rhythms, also Deadlines are easier to shoulder on more person

    Try it, you still have full control over the Story. You became like an Director, just for Manga, and 24 Frames per Second is not your concern.

    1. Yeah I was going to say the first face is the face you make when you’ve just seen a murder. If I was ever able to make that face in real life I’d ask my doctor about anxiety medication.

  2. Ep 17:

    The pacing so far is doing good (in my eyes)

    Well, the main focus here in this Episode was more “fighting”.

    Do they get now separate ways and an other Female partner will fill the gap?

    Watch it!!


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