「背番号13」 (Sebangou 13)
“Entry #13”

I’m very pleased with the development of Ballroom e Youkoso. I feel that way for a bunch of reasons, but primary among them is simply that it’s continually getting better. Obviously over the course of 18 episodes you can’t have a perfect record of every ep being better than the last one, but the trend here is unmistakable – this series gets deeper, more complex, and darker And in time, it tackles a lot of things head-on that you earlier found yourself wishing it would. I know the mangaka has had serious health issues and there’s some concern about when we might see more of the anime, but it’d be a real shame if it comes to a halt after this season, because one senses that things are just going to keep getting more interesting.

I still don’t like Chinatsu, if I’m honest. I don’t hate her or anything, but in general she’s not an agreeable person in my view – she defaults to anger and is rather self-obsessed. But she’s proof that you don’t have to like a character for them to work in a story, and to be an effective vehicle for moving that story forward. Frankly I think Shizuku and Mako were both better partners for Tatara, and he was a better person when he was partnered with them. But Chinatsu might just be the partner Tatara needed to force him to leave behind parts of himself that are holding him back.

This A-class competition certainly starts out better for the Tatara-Chinatsu team than the last one did, though there are still warning signs of trouble ahead. Tatara and Chinatsu are getting by in the early rounds thanks to their technical ability, but they’re still competing with each other as much as dancing with each other. To some extent this is each of their fault, though the most obvious cause of friction is that Chinatsu has a mindset that’s simply incompatible with success in this sport – even if it may be perfectly admirable in everyday life. Chinatsu is a leader in her own head, which is all well and good – but in a dance team, there can only be one leader.

Is this an irresistible force proverbially meeting the immovable object? Well, no – it’s really worse than that, because Tatara-kun isn’t nearly immovable enough. In order for this pair to mesh as a team I think they have to go through the even more painful (and where they’re at is painful enough) phase of flat-out butting heads – because that will mean that Tatara has finally had enough and decided to assert himself. That moment when the pair of them each come up with a different tempo when they were playing out Hyodou’s test in their heads comes to mind here, because it’s telling in a symbolic as well as literal sense.

Do I think Tatara is a “coward”, as Chi-chan tells him after he admits he hasn’t told his family he’s dancing? No, I don’t – but maybe it isn’t the worst thing if he does. It’s surprisingly the encounter with Mine-san (Hoshino Takanori) – who turns out to be a really nice guy despite his fierce looks – that hammers home the point. He hasn’t told his family that he’s dancing with Akira – though pretty much everyone’s families have ended up at the event, much to their universal dismay. The one exception is Tatara, but he does have his dance family there – Hyodou. Shizuki and the Akagi siblings have come to cheer him on.

It probably isn’t a stretch to say that Tatara-kun expressing his emotions through his dance, as Hyodou says, is the key to his evolution as a dancer. I hope this means his family is looped into the story more, but I think it also means he finally has to say “enough” with Chinatsu – enough with being kicked when he pauses, enough of being badgered into dancing at her tempo rather than his own, enough of being nothing more than the frame. The moment when that happens will be when the irresistible force that is Chinatsu meets the immovable object, and its probably going to be spectacularly ugly. But it’s also the moment when this story can really move on to the next level, and I think it’s coming very soon.




  1. I’m definitely in the minority but my sentiments are the exact opposite: each episode has gotten more disappointing to the point where I’m considering dropping this. Tatara and the rest of the cast are just too unlikable for my taste, and the way the show glorifies the alpha male is a turn-off for me.

    1. I don’t get it.. The main character is super beta male, and all the alpha males are fascinated with with his beta’ness… Are we watching the same anime? or are you obssessed with the whole taming of Chi-chan being sexist?

  2. >I still don’t like Chinatsu, if I’m honest. I don’t hate her or anything, but in general she’s not an agreeable person in my view – she defaults to anger and is rather self-obsessed.

    Yeah I don’t think that has ever been what Chinatsu was. It’s like people forget how she actually is the one who is trying to pursue what Tatara wants, only that she is having a hard time herself because she unconsciously is clamming up herself while Tatara is also doing that to her.

    Tatara was not a better person with Mako or Shizuku for the simple fact that they were much more enticed with how mysterious he is than what he is as a dancer that he is as a person.

    Mako was all about “He’s an amazing partner” why? Because she made him bloom. Shizuku was more “I want to see more, because you’re mysterious to me”. It was more self-serving with them as well, more than Chinatsu was. If he was still with either with them he would not improve at all. That’s the meaning with why he also left the studio of Sengoku.

    Hyoudou said so himself. Chinatsu has been carrying the burden of being the leader for so long, while being the girl, that it has warped her tendencies. She wants to follow, she herself said that to Akira. But because of her headstrong past, she is having a hard time. That’s not being self-obssessed. Because if she was, she wouldn’t feel guilty or bad when she messes up and also when she is conflict with Tatara.

    Tatara is totally at fault as well. He’s thinking is so twisted that he thinks he’s being considerate, when he’s actually not. Can’t blame when someone gets angry about that. Hyoudou called him out on it, Marisa as well.

    It might feel good being with Mako or Shizuku, true. But that won’t last. Especially of how Tatara was in the beginning.

    I’d take a character who a MC buttheads with in the beginning, but at least you can see that that person actually is trying as well because he/she wants to improve what both have.

    1. Tatara can be more, he just need someone that push him in this direction, and seems like she is the right one. because until know he just dance how it seems fits. Tournaments are not only to have joy, this is also hard work

      Both needs each one. But at the current time in the USA using this “Horse and rider” comparing would get you into trouble…

  3. We need to keep in mind that Tatara is someone who expresses his feelings through dance. He’s never really been open about himself at all. Which is why Chinatsu couldn’t understand or trust him as a lead. Or why he never told his family about dancing. Tatara inadvertently runs away from his problems and doesn’t face them. That is what makes him a coward. And Tatara is knows that he is, because he’s aware of his flaws. So it’s not like Chinatsu said it to be mean, but she wants him to be able to open up more and not be a pushover.

    If Tatara kept dancing with Shizuku or Mako, then he would have stayed the same and let them get all the spotlight with no room for him to grow. Tatara and Chinatsu are together to help each other grow and develop. Chinatsu helps him be a better lead, while Tatara is supposed to help her be a good follow. Essentially, he is a better person when he’s with her, because he’s able to do the things he originally lacked.

  4. I still don’t understand why some people say that mako and shizuku are better partners for tatara. What did they do for tatara? In my opinion, his pairing up with mako was the worst. It was not good for him as a dancer because he literally faded in the background which is the worst kind of leader could be. His dancing also sucked so he came in last. As a person, it made him even more of a pushover/meek person. The only one who benefited from the pairing was mako. He literally hid behind mako and shizuku.

    Chinatsu is the one who made him come out of shell and face his problems with his dancing and personality. Call this sport sexist but the man has to be dominant and lead the woman. If he paired with mako or shizuku, he would never improve. Chinatsu constantly challenges to improve which passive mako would never have done. Chinatsu is his partner as well as his rival. Remember hyoudou also treats shizuku as his rival? Which is she was pushing herself to get better.

    I think the anime skipped the part where marisa tells hyoudou that tatara’s dancing had improved since tenpei cup because his new partner was having a good effect on him and they have an amazing potential as a couple if tatara ever tames her. This is even before tatara joined marisa’s studio. And then after he joins her studio, chinatsu helps him with the new dances like latin etc that he hadn’t learned before. I don’t know why the anime keeps cutting these parts. After their disastrous debut as a couple and tatara avoiding her, chinatsu blindly follows whatever tatara tells her like going to shizouka tournament. What happened there? Tatara chickened out and broke her trust. The anime didn’t show it but chinatsu was crying when they had to drop out because of tatara.

    I can write on and on whats wrong with tatara but hyoudou and, marisa were already hinting at tatara’s problem but its chinatsu who straight out says it to his face which finally works. Btw chinatsu didn’t only call him coward because he didn’t tell his father. Chinatsu was having a hard time understanding tatara but when tatara mentions this, it clicks to her what the problem with his personality. Tatara wasn’t opening up to chinatsu, he was hiding his real dancing by following his partners instead and he was running away even though he knew what was his problem was. He has low self-esteem and doesn’t trust his own dancing then how can he expect chinatsu (who is a better leader/dancer than him) to rely on him? She can’t see the conviction behind his leading so she can’t gasp it. Even kugimiya (who is also good at following), was confused whether tatara was trying to lead or follow him. Tatara himself admits what chinatsu said about him is true and says “if I show my own dancing wouldn’t everyone know how horrible I really am?”

    Chinatsu not only helps in improving his dancing (like marisa said and hyoudou who mentioned tatara could get a workout from her) but also his personality issues (make him face his insecurities and be more assertive). Shizuku and mako are pleasant partners to be with but tatara needs someone like chinatsu if he wants to reach sengoku/hyoudou’s level.

    One last thing, if you didn’t notice tatara and chinatsu bicker just like sengoku and chizuru. Chinatsu is a mini chizuru who also has strong personality and had to be tamed by sengoku.

  5. Make no mistake: I AM enjoying this show, but as a person who did ballroom lessons casually for a total of 3 years, this second season has quite a few things that don´t make sense (I could be wrong tho).
    The whole concept of leading is a lot more physical and mechanical (as illustrated by the one time he was led around by that scary senpai in Marisa´s dance studio) and less about convincing the woman to go (she pretty much has no choice on this matter); it´s all about the connection:
    – The arms are connected and there´s pressure from both sides (man and woman) to keep them like that through the rest of the dance
    – If the man moves his torso forward, SHE IS GONNA FEEL IT and will have to move backwards (plus, there´s the pressure from the left arm pushing her)
    – The weight distribution also gives her a huge hint as to what moves can be performed next (is the body weight 100% on the left leg and the right leg kinda suspended? Then that´s the side which is gonna move and so on; is it 50/50? Then there´s only a few possibilities…)
    – Did he stop dancing suddenly? No worries, as there are special moves both can do to intentionally make the dance look pretty while standing still: like, for instance, moving the “suspended leg” (a leg w/ zero body weight on it, even though it still lightly touches the ground) drawing circles on the ground and/or tapping lightly on the ground w/ the fingertips (to maybe show impatience or finesse).
    So basically if Tatara was trained to exhaustion in terms of grip, body language and posture, there´s NO WAY his partner wouldn´t feel his lead. His only struggle would be on the creativity sphere.

    1. yes, your right. But to keep Anime interesting, you go here and there over the borders and add some Anime magic to keep the fans “curious”.. This is not an real dancing lesson, as you said. They need fans to watch the Anime

      So, Anime Magic is there to keep it fresh, curious and “fantasy” like. So “overlook” this for the sake of this Anime

      1. The “Way of Tatara become an Dance floor ACE!” is the target. Not to see how he wins all Tournament Cups.. The way from an beginner to an Ace, with all his emotions, too. It was Ballroom e Youkoso is about.. It’s about the Way, not become Nr.1 at the Championship. he just want to dance on the same floor with the persons he admire.. Also his first Sensei, could appear here and there hidden as an watcher (well he was the one that introduce him into this World, right?)

        Well, this is what the essence of all Animes. Keep it curious and not just an Anime copy of the manga.. But do not get overboard with it. Curiosity to watch it tomorrow or next week again

    2. From what I understand, it’s Chinatsu who’s resisting the lead (whether consciously or unconsciously).

      -Many characters have noted that Chinatsu is a tall, fit girl and possessing a body type often seen in foreign dancers. She’s taller than Mako (obv) and more muscular than Shizuku from what I gather. And I think her strength is on par with Tatara’s due to her many years of leading. I imagine Tatara will have to assert a lot of force in to physically make her go a certain direction, which doesn’t really fit his personality. In essence, what often happens is a constant pushing and pulling or Chinatsu “trying to follow” but is still obviously moving on her own (a lack of unity).

      -Also, from Hyoudou’s rhythm test, it was clear that Chinatsu imagined a faster routine than Tatara. Thus, when she does her own thing instead of properly following, she’d frequently be ahead of Tatara (note: she often complains how slow he is). Previously, we’ve seen her physically pushing Tatara to hurry up.

      -Finally, Tatara’s “considerate” type of dancing. I think although he understands that he needs to lead in his head, his physical cues probably still come off as not assertive enough. This is why Hyoudou says Chinatsu has a hard time trusting Tatara’s lead (in addition to all her other psychological reasons). Chinatsu previously said that Tatara follows even better than her, and from his dance with Mako, I think Tatara is very keen to physical cues. When he’s too busy thinking about his partner (or in Chinatsu’s case, distracted by his partner’s movements), he can’t show his own dance, like he did when he was dancing with Shizuku.

      I could be wrong as I don’t have any experience in ballroom dancing, but from the above and my layman’s POV, I think the plot is fairly logical.

  6. I think this was the episode I had been waiting for. It was fantastic!

    “But she’s proof that you don’t have to like a character for them to work in a story, and to be an effective vehicle for moving that story forward.”

    “But Chinatsu might just be the partner Tatara needed to force him to leave behind parts of himself that are holding him back.”

    Absolutely agree with your statements. I do enjoy the dynamics of the pairing and I will give credit to the fact that Chi-chan is not a tsundere, as she is neither soft-spoken or tactful.

  7. From my point of view:

    Mako likes Tatara because he put her on the spot. She was Tatara-prime (“I’ll do whatever you want”) before Tatara partnered with her. Now she’s more assertive (or trying to be).

    Shizuki is interested in Tatara because this virtual nobody brought Mako to a level above Shizuki herself, which is even above Mako’s expected potential. It’s like having some Olympic coach a nobody to beat Usain Bolt in the 100m dash, even if it was just at an exhibition event. This type of surprise will attract attention from people, no matter the sport.

    Hyodou is just at a level where can detect raw potential before they’ve been manifested like Sengoku (which is typical expected in Shounen).

  8. You make it sound like Chinatsu is the problem in the relationship when it’s Tatara that won’t open up to her. Everyone seems to point out what he’s doing wrong, and that’s what is making him frustrated. It’s not “enough” of Chinatsu. It’s more so him saying he’s had enough of his meek character and being told by Kiyoharu and everyone else that he’s doing something wrong.

  9. Gotta agree with some of the comments above.

    I like Tatara and how the seiyu portrayed himself in his characters, but sometimes its frustrating to see how Tatara being unable to grasp the very foundation of dancing. I mean, we cannot blame Chinatsu for being upset with him. Hes only been dancing for less than a year comparing to all of them who have started since young; i thought it was just him being a slow learner for the sake of the story but as the episode goes by, there were some points where Chinatsu pointed how Tatara didnt dance according to the music (correct me if my memory is all wrong). Maybe its talent or maybe its just Tatara isnt an artistic person after all because this actually makes a huge different with how he processes the art of dancing (left brain and right brain). Surely hes got an athletic body now, but does he understand the art of appreciation? Does he appreciate the classical music he listens to when he dances? Its totally different from how much you memorize the steps and expresses yourself in your dances compare to those who embodies the music and feeling the emotions with their bodies. Its just like me who loves music but i cannot play the instruments at all. I tried memorizing the notes and all but still, its still kinda impossible for me to actually to play with feelings rather than to follow the steps i memorized through theory. So personally for me i think Tatara is skipping all these steps to go where his friends are now to be at their levels. I can clearly see Chinatsu is always with her earpiece and dances to background music whenever she hears it. Plus, Kiyoharu’s visual test clearly stated that Tatara is imagining the steps with his memories rather than following the rhythms given.

    But hey, its just me. My personal feat about Tatara and his whole partners thinggy. Im glad someone like Chinatsu showed up and actually proved how serious the world of dancing is. Surely he can have fun with Mako and Shizuku but for a serious athlete like Chinatsu, that boy gotta step up his game or else. And yes, it baffled me when he suddenly got stunned in the middle of the competition and got angry when Chinatsu kicked him. I mean, i’d do the same shit man. We’re here to fight; and it was Tatara that wants to be on the same stage with his friends and Chinatsu was there to be his partner (even though she got her personal reason as well). She tries to adjust to him but eh, Tatara gotta lead the way man.

    onion warrior

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