「表現者」 (Hyougensha)

You know, objectively speaking I think Ballroom e Youkoso is a fairly easy series to pick holes in. It’s a bog standard sports shounen in many ways, for starters, with the requisite reliance on cliche and tropes when something fresh would better serve. It can be quite clumsy at times as well, narratively speaking – I don’t think it’s especially difficult to pick it out as the work of a first-time mangaka. In short it’s a long way from being perfect – and it’s always easier to pick out what’s wrong with a series than what’s right with it.

But I’ll tell you what – the deeper we get into this show, the more what becomes important is that which makes Welcome to the Ballroom special, not what makes it flawed. And there’s a lot about it that really is special. I marvel at the way it’s able to allow each of the characters to be expressed as an individual, warts and all. All of the major cast here are flawed, but they all feel very important to the fabric of the story. There are three main female players here, and at various times in the story I’ve thought each of them might be the best partner for the protagonist – both on the dance floor and in life. That’s highly unusual, especially for a show that’s focused around a sport rather than around romance.

Perhaps as much as anything about Ballroom, I’ve become impressed with the way it attacks the issue of gender politics in competitive dance head-on – especially given that it looked for a while as if they’d be glossed over. That was never more apparent than this week, when Chinatsu came right out and said it – she bridles at the inherent unfairness of the sport’s rules and expectations. Chinatsu is a difficult person to get along with (and she knows it), but she’s strong-willed and forceful – it’s no wonder that she’d chafe at the idea that her only path forward is to become a supporting player to someone else’s lead.

That’s all the more true because her partner, Tatara, doesn’t take naturally to the role of leader – he’s as mismatched with the sport’s expectations as Chinatsu, even if it’s for the opposite reason in some sense. A lot of energy can be put into trying to figure out whose “fault” it is that this pairing is struggling, but I think that’s sort of beside the point. Right now they simply don’t fit – and that makes Mako’s recollection of Tatara as the perfect partner all the harder for Chinatsu to take. Fact is, Tatara was the perfect leader for Mako at that point in their careers – she needed a partner who would bring her out of her shell and let her express herself on the floor. The problem is, that’s not a path to success for a young man in competitive dance.

Nothing seems to be working for Tatara and Chinatsu at this point, even Marisa-sensei’s latest gambit of putting them under Hyodo’s direction and letting him try and get them back on the rails. They fail his rhythm test, where each plays out the routine in their heads and raises their hand when it’s finished (as you’d expect, Chinatsu was several beats faster). Blind dancing is a disaster – Chinatsu is clearly nowhere near ready for that. Gaju’s attempt to lighten the mood by heading out into Karuizawa as tourists fares no better, as Tatara and Chinatsu never stop squabbling. Maybe they need to get all this out of their system – Marisa certainly thinks so – but it’s damn stressful to watch.

I think my favorite scene of the episode – and maybe of the series so far – was Shizuku inviting Tatara to practice with her. She’s an unsung figure, a quiet one – but really, it was Shizuku’s presence that drew Tatara-kun into dancing in the first place. Shizuku is comfortable with her role in partnership with Hyodo, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have strong feelings of her own. It meant so much to Tatara to have her acknowledge him – to say that he was a mystery, and that his dance had become a part of her dance. Of all the relationships in Ballroom e Youkoso I think this one is still my favorite, though it gets relatively little oxygen these days. In could be argued that Tatara dances, as much as anything, to make an impression on Shizuku – so what she said to him was in a way his ultimate validation as a dancer.




  1. Chinatsu is, as you said

    Chinatsu is a difficult person to get along with (and she knows it), but she’s strong-willed and forceful – it’s no wonder that she’d chafe at the idea that her only path forward is to become a supporting player to someone else’s lead.

    So she is frustrated that her “leader” is not on the same Level as her in the past. She wants an good leader or better. She wants to TRUST the lead with closed eyes (the first steps was taken here), and i bet in the next Episode we see some scene where she close her eyes, put up her best fake smile that this time is real and Trust full (perhaps just for this dance) the leader, just to impress her rival

    They are really become one (as a pair)

    1. They fail his rhythm test,

      Let some Recorder play the Music, and repeat this test. Perhaps the external Audio stimulation will get their timing better. Perhaps both “Metronome” run different (Music Veterans should know what an Metronome is all about)

      … You surly watched some “behind the scenes of Idols training in front of an Big Mirror” Videos, right? You surly heard that someone if counting loud? thats their kind of Metronome. Timing is important. Timing is the base. If you have no feeling for the timing you should quit

      1. Also, for starters from pairing… and simple fair test

        If you are the male, and you touch first time you female partners hands, and even have body contact… If you grown an bonner you really should think what dancing is all about for you.

        1) excuse to touching just girls?
        2) while dancing, have some sort of fanatsy scenes in your mind?
        3) you want to “laid” your Partner so badly?

        if all of these 3 define you as a Male leader, you doing the wrong approach

        imagine: female “Are you always that hard or are you just happy to touch me, pervert?”

        So, get rid of this first…

        What is Dancing with an female for you?

  2. Yessah Ballroom for this week!

    Not only all the best girls are in one set, this could be my most favorite episode to boot (yay character developments, onsen fanservice and hanging out time). Their dancing routines were gorgeous, especially Shizuku’s; i mean, shes my best girl in Ballroom but i think this week they intentionally made it feel more sensual when shes around. I freaking love how they continued challenging Tatara and Chinatsu’s pairing and chemistry and one thing i admire about Ballroom e Youkoso is the intimacy between their dancing partners. Leading and following is never an easy thing to pull when youre someone who has strong personality like Chinatsu. Unlike our sensual Shizuku or our diabetic Mako, Chinatsu is fiery and sharp. I especially hail her when she questions the equality right (yay feminism!) in the world of dancing. I know nothing about dancing lol but this series is stunning and im so happy how detailed the animations are! So many good details and nice drawing. Maybe its because there were no crazy dancing moves or scary dancing faces thats why the animation quality is on point. Ahh thank you for the gorgeous visuals Production I.G

    That said, its kinda suprising how tons of little moments were left out from the original source. Tatara’s backstory kinda sting my kokoro a little after checking out the manga :'(

    Onion Warrior
  3. Chinatsu and Tatara both have a strong connection to each other reading the manga for me the fact that they do not get along is proof that they have some feeling between the two .Tatara in the presence of Chinatsu assumes a Tsundere personality and she does the same not wanting to bend over.

  4. In the part where you say that Tatara only dances because of Shizuku, I do not think that’s why Tatara always felt that something was missing and when she saw Shizuku and Hyoudou dancing, he discovered what was missing. In the conversation he had with Shizuku, he does not just want her to see him dance, he wants to impress Hyoudou and I do not see anything romantic about it.

      1. Actually, in the manga, tatara says “I wanted to impress YOU”. The anime changed it to include hyoudou for some reason. I’m not a fan of tatara x shizuku but I’ll admit there is a special connection between the two. The anime has cut several scenes between them. If you like the pairing, I’ll recommend the manga to you.

  5. I’m sure it’s been stated over and over, but can we all just take a moment to look at these necks? The last screen capture for the preview is uncomfortably eerie looking. I would really like to know if anyone knows why they did that. This can’t have been done on a whim. This was a calculated decision by people trying to make art and money. It just blows my mind.

    1. It’s about Dancing. Not “how fast he get her into the Bed!”. I am okay with that. As long they have more time and Budget, if they get an Blu-ray Disk…

      TV Production is a race against time and many other things

    2. That’s not her normal face though. Anyways, chinatsu isn’t intended to be that good looking. She is just a normal looking girl with big forhead. On the other hand, shizuku, marisa and chizuru are supposed beautiful/attractive in the manga. Aren’t marisa, shizuku, chizuru and mako good enough for you? I’m actually glad chinatsu isn’t a walking fan service. It’s quite rare to see so many people calling an average looking flawed female character “best girl”.

  6. Ep 18:

    Like they said in the Episode themselves.. Yes that’s the Spirit and the “secret” of the Tango…

    You know Flamenco? Tango is nearly the same? it’s just both has the pride and need to “dance it out”…

    But, all dancing messages aside, would this really be okay in the “bigger dances”?

    As i said, i am not an Dancing expert, but the emotion is real. Look for yourself.. if you have not that much time.. Watch Part B and you get the “secret” of this Anime

    Rating Ep 18:

    10/10 with max tilt on the Top…


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