「あ―もっかいやりてぇーっ！！」 (Ā Mokkai Yaritē)
“Oh, I Wanna Do It Again!!”
Thus far, the episodes have been focused on the male perspective- understandably so, given that Junpei is the MC. I found it refreshing to get things from the female side of things, though, with an undercurrent of gender expectations on the women. Given the rigid gender roles in classical ballet, I was hoping they would question some of that on the women’s side of things. I think they brushed on it a little bit, with Natsuki’s observation that as a danseur, Junpei’s role is to support, not outshine the ballerina, not the other way around and the teacher scolding Natsuki (Fukuen Misato) for standing on her own while praising Junpei for protecting her.
I am hoping we get to see some of the frustration of the female dancers having to dance within the rigid roles of the princess supported by the prince. Natsuki, for one, is determined to go far in ballet-but will she find the role of being supported rather than the supporter, the tiptoeing princess rather than the leaping prince restricting?
I quite liked how they handled the tropey “girl accidentally falls on top of guy”. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen that act and it not feel tropey at all-yet another shining example of the brilliancy of this series. Rather than focusing on any kind of sexuality, they turned it around to question gender roles. Junpei is praised for “protecting” Natsuki, when it was unintentional on his part and Natsuki with her talent and determination is clearly not a fragile princess in need of protection.
I love the reversal of gender roles with Miyako. Miyako played the “male” supportive role in supporting Junpei to look his best rather than the other way around. There’s also Miyako’s childhood statement that she will be Luo’s “princess and always protect him”. Normally it’s the prince that’s associated with being the savior, not the other way around- again, turning the whole idea of gender roles upside down. For the past several episodes, I feel like Miyako’s been in the background and I was worried she would be relegated to the role of “love interest”. I’m glad they’re expanding upon her as a character in her own right, touching upon her own bombastic dreams of becoming a prima ballerina and endeavors to protect her cousin.
I love the parallels they’re drawing between Miyako’s, Junpei’s, and Natsuki’s passion for ballet. Miyako aims for prima ballerina even though she’s not as good as some of the other dancers, echoing Junpei aiming for star danseur in the best ballet companies. Natsuki so determined to be the best, she practices until late at the barre- mirroring Junpei’s determination to be the best and practicing at the barre at all hours. Also how Junpei was so nervous at seeing ballerinas in skin tight leotards, then forgetting about sexuality in the heat of the dancing. Pairing off in that stunning duo with Natuski where they mirror each other drives home the point that physical differences though there are between guys and girls (an especially awkward point for a strapping young teen such as Junpei), that seems to disappear when sharing the same passion and determination as one another.
They parallel Junpei’s progress in dancing with progress in his own personal life in a very sophisticated way. His unrestrained way of dancing when he really lets himself go, is an outpouring of his unrestrained, unfiltered reactions (which are entertaining to watch). Finding common bonds in passion and determination for ballet with Natsuki and dancing in sync with her parallels finding a common interest in each other with Miyako and getting their feelings in sync. Natsuki and Junpei crashing into the window at the end of their dance-such an awkward, reckless teen thing to happen. It beautifully portrays how what looks silly or strange from an adult’s perspective (goofing off during a lesson) is actually a game-changing moment in the inner life of a teenager.
The love confession between Miyako and Junpei was at once awkward and adorable. Miyako’s response “you like my dancing” was funny, but the awkward dance the two of them were doing around their feelings were also realistic of trying to figure out emotions and romance at that age. As was Junpei’s impulsiveness in going in for the kiss. It’s refreshing they didn’t beat around the bush too long as is the wont with many anime involving high school romance.
I feel bad for Luou, getting the assertiveness (well, at least for him) to try to stake a claim on Miyako in the face of competition from Misaki and Junpei, only to be left out in the cold. That was kind of mean on Misaki’s part, conspiring to push Junpei and Miyako together during the group outing, then convincing Luou to go on the group date with the idea that Miyako would be there (when Misaki knew she wouldn’t be). To be fair, I guess there would be no other time for Mikayo and Junpei to be alone together since Luou is always with one or the other of them.
I can’t really blame Miyako for transferring her affections to Junpei-he does play the part of the natural prince, charming and forthright, whereas Luou is closed off. I almost get the sense that Miyako’s affection for Luou was a mixture of childhood crush with unconscious pity, knowing first-hand the abuse he suffered and wanting to rescue him. Miyako definitely hasn’t forgotten about Luou-heck, she even brings him up in conversation right after she and Junpei kiss and confess. I see the strong possibility of a love triangle popping up in the near future. If Luou becomes a wedge in the relationship if he won’t back down and Miyako keeps trying to be the protective princess at the expense of attention to Junpei. Again, the competition between Luou on Junpei in ballet mirrors their competition in love.