「俺、もうバレエ踊っていいんだッ、ぜっ」 (Ore, Mō Barē Odotte Iin da, ze)
“I Can Do Ballet Now”

Ah, yes, the monotony of practicing the basics. It doesn’t the field-some of the hardest parts are not so much the advanced stuff, but when you have to do repetitive drill practices to get the basics. When you see experts in a field, their hard work is (and rightly so) glorified, but you don’t see the hours of gritty work that had to go into making their work, well, work. Junpei is feeling the growing pains of discovering that things are not as easy as they look.

Junpei’s cocksure impatience is so authentic for a typical 14 year old who believes he can and should do everything. Chizuru has no qualms telling it to him like it is- you’re not ready yet- go practice more). Adults can often become jaded and cynical because life happens and shit and broken dreams along with it. That sometimes leads to adults crushing children’s dreams or not taking them seriously because they forgot what it was like to be that age and have grand visions. I am glad Chizuru takes him seriously, encouraging him to follow his dreams (even if she does get a good laugh in). It is such an amazing feeling-being honest with yourself about your dreams, taking steps towards that future, and discovering it fits with your natural gifts and experiences. As typical shojou-esqe is it was having sparkle explosions, it truly conveyed the magic that happens when you become in tune with your dream.

Things for Luou are both completely different from and the same as Junpei-it is sophisticated storytelling in how they offset each other. Luou butts heads with Chizuru about the “conditions” for dancing-she will get him the golden ticket (foreign competitions) to foreign education. Luou has to attend school and rank high enough in the upcoming competition. Luou just wants to get straight to the competitions without all of the build up to it-parallel to Junpei’s wanting to get straight to the choreography without the barre exercises. Luou has the same cocksure impatience as Junpei-but he’s less bombastic about it. Chizuru is right-they both need to practice, even if they don’t feel it. I can remember being their age and how tough it was realizing when the grown-ups were right. The last thing you wanted to do was admit they were right, but if you didn’t, you weren’t going to get anywhere.

Junpei isn’t afraid to dream big-that’s all a part of youth. I remember when I was his age, having some pretty bombastic dreams of my own-some of which have come true, some are which are in the process of happening, and others which will never see the light of day. It can’t hurt to have grand visions for the future-you never know where life will lead and if anything, not dreaming wide enough can limit the opportunities you try for. Junpei’s determination is fierce, practicing every day. I have no doubt that he will make it far- if not to Russia (which seems a bit too high of a goal), then at least to the top of Japan. It reminds me of a line from Blue Period “People with determination are unstoppable” or something along those lines.

With how much he’s practicing, I’m surprised he hasn’t hurt himself or strained his muscles. While it’s feasible to practice every day, I’m not so sure about all day and night with four hours of sleep like Junpei’s been doing-there’s a limit to how much the body can take before straining a muscle or two. (But then again, I’ve never been a trained dancer, so I could be wrong.)

At first, it seemed a mis-cast to have Luou as Rothbart and Junpei as the Prince. But now it makes total sense, as it is a parallel to the story playing out-a play within a play, so to speak and that story is told from Junpei’s perspective. Because Junpei is the protagonist of Dance Dance Danseur, competing against Luou for both dancing prestige and Miyako’s heart parallels the prince fighting against Rothbart for Odette. As Junpei realized, that dance with Miyako did not need any acting. From Junpei’s point of view, Luou is the rival, the “enemy” to be taken down, making him a Rothbart- even if Luou’s gracefulness is princely.

I feel for Luou-he spent so many years practicing ballet and endured a lot of trauma in the process to get to the high level of ballet he is at now. But only to have his position threatened by the young upstart (Junpei). The flashback of being abused by his teacher/grandmother was painful-I winced and almost curled up in a ball, it hurt so much to see/hear that. I have a feeling that we’ve only just scratched the surface with his relationship her her-it clearly was not a healthy one but is one that is still important given how her postcards are displayed in his room.

That scene with Junpei’s raw honesty, admitting how much Luou impacted him-what a way to end the episode. Especially since pride and image are of prime importance to him (and really any other normal teenager), so to see him put that all aside and wear his heart on his sleeve like that was truly moving. Throughout the episode, I went from excitement for Junpei embracing his ballet passion to gut-wrenching pain with Luou’s flashbacks to relief with Junpei’s confession. This series really knows how to set you on an emotional rollercoaster, but without feeling contrived. In a way, I feel that is also being true to the teenaged years where emotions are on a roller coaster with the brakes torn out.



  1. You’ve come around to see that Miyako is Odette, instead of Odele.

    Just to kick up your interest to read the manga after this season of the show ends, here’s a link to a cropped screenshot of an older Junpei as he is now (latest manga chapter 203) to show his new dashing looks from the “wild monkey” that he was at 14 years of age and practicing a pas de deux – https://i.imgur.com/ULEAsWi.png I’ve made sure that the pic does not show anything more than need be to minimise any spoilers.

  2. Yes, it took some time, but I have come around to that view! I love how the series continually builds more on the characters so you come to understand them more bit by bit, rather than revealing it all at once from the outset.

    Wow-he definitely did grow up-thanks for sharing! Not too surprising, since I feel like most people go through the awkward, lanky “wild monkey” phase in the teen years. I am definitely very interested in reading it-hopefully I can find some time over the summer to do so!

    Princess Usagi
    1. Junpei doesn’t just dance classical ballet but also contemporary dance/ballet as well. If there are further seasons of this series, the dances that he performs will be exhilarating (that is if MAPPA continues with what they have shown here so far).

      1. I would love to see those dances animated (so long as the animation is in good form-if the animation quality drops partway through the series, then it’s probably best left on the manga pages)! With how flexible Junpei is, I can see contemporary ballet offering him more versatility and less rigidity on how he can move.

        Princess Usagi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *