「ひぃ〜、もうっ、恥っ」 (Hī, Mō, Hazu)
“Ah, I’m So Embarrassed”
There were a lot of little details in the animation that went a long way in making a big impact. For instance, the way the art played with shadows. Or even the very slight movements in Junpei’s foot when he was struggling to balance- characterizing him as the newbie amongst the experienced ones. I really am impressed at the consistently high quality of animation.
One of my favorite parts was seeing Luou gradually emerge from his shell. The way he spoke up for himself and Junpei to Misaki (Amasaki Kouhei)
took a lot of courage, especially with his trauma with anger. He even did the most un-Luou like thing at the Romeo and Juliet ballet and shouted “Bravo”. (I can’t blame him for that-those were some exquisite dance scenes).
I couldn’t help but compare this time at the ballet with Junpei’s previous time. He still wears the same T-shirt and jeans (not sure if it’s because his mom can’t afford a lot of new clothes or because he doesn’t have a dad to help him figure out that stuff). But his attitude couldn’t be more different. He is more attune to what’s happening on stage and I didn’t see that cell phone out once. The bonding time between the boys, gorging themselves on ramen, dancing (I’m kind of surprised they could dance without puking after that much food), and sharing dreams was precious.
That part at the end where Luou speaks up and utters Junpei’s dreams that Junpei can’t speak for himself, but are at the same time Luou’s dreams-wow. Luou thinks he’s more suited than Junpei for the Bolshoi because he’s been at it longer. It’s true that he has more experience, but Junpei is determined enough and has the raw talent to catch up to him, provided he buckles down with training. It will be interesting to see where the competition between the two boys takes them.
I love Junpei’s imagination, envisioning himself in Romeo and Juliet while doing barre exercises. This captures the essence of his personality-his determination to learn and imagination that propels his passion. I honestly saw a lot of myself in Junpei with the countless times I’ve used imagination to get me through boring, menial tasks.
What a tough spot for Misaki to be in, having something he desperately wants to do, but is jeopardized by finances. If that scholarship is the only way he can continue with ballet and Luou and Junpei stand in the way of that, no wonder he’d feel threatened. Misaki’s family’s money situation was a very real and uncomfortable situation that anime often glosses over. I can so relate. As a kid, I desperately wanted to do dance, but my parents couldn’t afford classes, so I could only look on in envy as my friends got to do all of the dancing I wanted to do.
Once again, Luou shows his talent for shutting up his opponents through the magic of dance. I love how Junpei went from being a bitter foe at the beginning of the series to now Luou’s most ardent supporter. And how Luou is coming to support Junpei in turn, sticking up for the both of them in front of Miyako and even putting himself into the crowd’s attention to save his and Junpei’s skins.
I feel bad for Luou, he can’t stay anonymous-his foreign appearance on top of his skills make him stick out and the Google searches that always ensue reveal more than he wants anyone to know. I was expecting Misaki to show everyone what he found about Luou-nice fake out with the ramen calories. Misaki is either decent enough to leave Luou alone or he’s planning to use it as an ace in the hole later on to blackmail Luou out of the scholarship. Given how Luou is learning to take a stand for himself, if the latter be the case, I doubt Luou will back down. We find out something more about Luou, though-apparently he doesn’t know who is father is. A tough past to grapple with-an infamous mother, a missing father, and an abusive grandmother.
Luou is coming to terms with his past, realizing it helped shape who he is today. It takes a lot of strength to do that, rather than outright rejecting ballet and his grandmother. It in no way excuses his grandmother doing what she did. I’m hoping his successes become something he can be proud of for himself, rather than a justification that the grandmother was right because of where it got him. It seems like each week, we get a deeper glimpse into Luou-kun’s past and how he internalizes it. For Luou, I get a clearer picture of the strength and resilience he possesses in facing his past and standing up for himself and his future.
I want to know more about Chizuru. They keep dropping hints about her having known Oikawa, dancing overseas, and causing trouble. She certainly seems like a force to be reckoned with based on her interactions with Junpei. I really like how they reveal character tidbits in this show. With both Luou and Chizuru, they don’t reveal everything all at once in one long explanation or episode. They drop tidbits here and there from google searches and word of mouth. It feels a more holistic way of storytelling, one of the many highpoints for this outstanding series.