「扉(ドア)」 (Door)

I suppose it’s no revelation, but in many ways Chinatsu and Tatara are the worst possible pairing one could imagine in ballroom dance. That’s always been the elephant in the room during the second cour of Welcome to the Ballroom, with an explicit expectation that there was some underlying factor that would eventually make them an ideal pairing (frankly, after this much foundering anything less would be a letdown). The seeds of it have always been hinted at, certainly – I’ve written about them in prior posts – but damn, Ballroom is certainly taking its time in sprouting much from them.

Maybe, at last, we’re starting to see the worm turn here – though not before Tatara has been the victim of yet more highly dubious “help” from those he has no choice but to rely on for it. It’s a truism in sports that the most gifted competitors usually make bad coaches (the best baseball managers are frequently former second-string catchers), and the likes of Sengoku and Hyoudo are certainly doing their best to prove it in Ballroom e Youkoso. Hyoudo’s cavalier attitude can be pretty infuriating at times, and no matter how it works out, he did Tatara no favors by experimenting on his body – with zero explanation – literally in the middle of a competition. It may wind up helping (that would be the shounen thing to do) but I hate to see dumb behavior that like rewarded.

That said, that there are much deeper problems with this pairing is obvious at this point. This series can get pretty theoretical when it comes to dance, and this episode may have been the most striking example. The idea that the tall, elegant Kugimiya pair would excel in standard a while the more dynamic (by necessity) Tata-Natsu pair would have a better chance in Latin makes a lot of sense. As Hyoudo-kun notes, however, that kind of rivalry game really only matters when the skill sets of the two pairs are at a comparable level. As to Mako’s assertion that standard people are like dogs and Latin people are cat-like, well – I can sort of see where she’s going with that, but I certainly know some cats and dogs that would dent the metaphor.

In order to become an ideal (or even serviceable) pairing, I think Tatara-kun and Chinatsu need to figure out what sort of pairing they intend to me. It’s telling that not even the dance press (it exists, apparently) knows the name of Kugimiya’s partner (it’s Idogawa-san, for the record, and I don’t know if it’s been mentioned at all in the series). That works for him – whether it works for her has not been shown to be relevant yet. For Sengoku and Chizuru it’s quite different – they fight like, well- cats and dogs, but on the dance floor they mesh. Chizuru was a partner who had a clear idea of how she wanted to dance – and had no patience for a leader who had no clear path in mind.

It’s not difficult to see which model makes more sense for Chinatsu and Tatara – but getting there certainly isn’t easy. The metaphor the series uses for this is fitting – a young and brash Chinatsu towering over a smaller and meekly affable Tatara who has no idea how to “open the door” for her. A boy who can’t assert his own personality through his dance and a girl who can’t abide the thought of following someone else’s lead – again, it’s hard to imagine a worse partnership. Each of them has to effectively become something they’re not in order for this to succeed, which from the perspective of making them confront their respective weaknesses might make sense. But in practice, can that really work?

Maybe these two really can meet in the middle (empathy is the key) but we’ve never seen an example of a dance partnership that works that way apart from possibly Sengoku and Chizuru (and I’d argue that dynamic is quite different). I suppose it almost has to end up working out that way or we don’t really have a story, but Ballroom e Youkoso can certainly never be accused of making it look too easy…




  1. The difference between Tatara and Chinatsu is that She is an Average or better dancer, because of her past (we saw her Dancing Lifeline) Tatara is still an “fresh beginner” compared to her. So of course there will be some gap. But looks like Chinatsu has now the will to Win this thing and start somehow to support the “pair” in her own way. an middle between following and leading… and do not forget we are still in the middle of an Anime. So there should or could be the well known “Magic”

    So Chinatsu is perhaps Class C or D, where Tatara is still D. In the Scala where S is the best and F the lowest

    also if this Anime play it right, perhaps here and there some watchers and fans begin to interests for Dancing.. But do not go there with false Hope. This is not the right place to “pick up” Girls or Boys.. First get yourself an partner.. Then all other things come with time

    1. Chinatsu is definitely way higher than class C/D. The anime cut the part where shizuku is intimidated by chinatsu. If chinatsu is so average, there is no reason for a great dancer like shizuku to feel threatened. “If the pampered ones (followers) aren’t careful, they’ll be overtaken in an instant”. The manga showed chinatsu overtaking shizuku and mako during jogging (or race) both of whom are running out of breath.

      Dancers like chizuru and chinatsu are scary because if they can outshine their own leaders then they can easily outshine the other female dancers (partners) who are already overshadowed by their leaders. She got nothing but praises from her coach, akira, marisa, and multiple times in case of kiyoharu. As akira pointed out frequently chinatsu’s level is way higher than tatara’s. So you can’t just put her on the same level as tatara.

      She is not a good follower but her dancing skills are really good and she’s an amazing leader. She’s struggling because she and tatara are good at each other’s roles. Akira was pissed at tatara’s leading and even said that chinatsu is much better than this. Tatara was pulling chinatsu down so kiyoharu gave him massage to loosen him up. If she paired up with a strong leader like sengoku or kugimiya, she would have been able to dance more freely and show her real strength. Anime did cut some parts that showed chinatsu is a great dancer and definitely at a higher level than tatara.

  2. I really liked the Chizuru’s past segment; it really gave credence and weight as to why Chinatsu admires her so much (and gives a bit of foresight of her potential given their similar dance upbringing).

    It was a good “Ahh, I get it!” moment for me.

    1. In the preliminaries, the scoring is based on the aesthetics and leader’s dancing skills. If the leader nails the basics then they will get the full checks. Marisa specifically taught them things that would earn them full checks from the judges. Also, your question was already answered by kiyoharu. When gaju was freaking out over their messy tango, kiyoharu told him to look at tatara’s perfect foot work and their counter balance which will be enough to get them to the next round. Their basics and dynamic dancing saved them in the first two rounds but they lost a check in the third round.

      However, in the semifinals, the scoring will be very harsh. Like kugimiya said its zero-sum game. The points are limited and will be divided amongst the couples. Now making blunders in the semifinals is dangerous. Not gonna spoil the results for you.

      The couple as a whole is judged in the finals.


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