「都は、あいつの側に……いてやんなきゃ」 (Miyako wa, Aitsu no Soba ni……Ite Yannakya)
“Miyako… You Need to Be by His Side”
They really took a nosedive into melodramatic waters. Luou-kun threatening Miyako with overdosing if she doesn’t return (shows that sadly, he learns more than just ballet from his exalted grandmother because where else would such a young child learn to do that). Grandmother running off to have a golden child with a Russian dancer. Was all of that necessary? They leaned awful hard into Grandmother as the evil hag angle. Don’t get me wrong-she is a terrible person, but less is always more and up until now this show had been taking such a subtle angle to characterizations. It’s a little disappointing that they suddenly went all heavy handed.
Everything gave off of the faerytale vibes- from the old, overgrown European-style mansion with the crows circling overhead, Grandmother’s hag-like appearance, and the Seven Dwarves’ door. Of course, to the young Miyako, Luou’s whole bizarre situation would have looked like something right out of a storybook- the handsome prince possessing a great magic held captive by an evil witch. There is even a bit of Hansel and Gretel with the whole sweets thing. Although in this case, the princess rather than the witch is luring the prince with sweets outside of the mansion and towards a love of ballet. I do like how they connected Luou’s obsession with snacks back to Miyako.
Even Miyako’s name has a connection with royalty. Miyako is the word for the imperial capital (formerly Kyoto). There is also ballet royalty, with a talented ballerina IRL named Yoshida Miyako who, no doubt, was an inspiration for Miyako’s name.
Speaking of dancers, the ballerina Miyako mentioned, Morishita Yoko, was a star Japanese ballerina who even danced with an American dance company. A prime example who proves Grandmother wrong about Japanese dancers being no good.
We learn that Luou’s dream of becoming a star dancer in a Russian ballet corps was inherited from Grandmother. Even though Grandmother failed, there have been a few Japanese dancers who have become stars in Russian ballet-the first being Iwata Morihito with the Bolshoi ballet in the 90’s.
It is so symbolic that Grandmother delays teaching Luou jumps, but he jumps in secret with Miyako. Miyako, for her part, is also metaphorically ground-bound. She falls into the trap of comparison-comparing herself with Luou and taking to heart Grandmother’s words, believing herself to be a failure of a dancer. Even though, according to others, she is not. Heck, even her dance teacher says that because she’s Chizuru’s daughter (in Grandmother’s eyes, the daughter of a failure), she has potential. Which makes it significant that her dream she mentioned an episode or two back was to become a ballerina-she’s finally able to face her potential and start moving past her hang-ups from Grandmother.
That whole “let’s break-up to heal Luou” bit-what teenager thinks like that? They have no reason to feel guilty for dating or even kissing (and at least they aren’t kissing cousins). It’s not like Miyako and Luou were dating and Junpei stole her from him. All’s fair in love and war-especially when your rival never really put himself forward as a serious contender anyway. They are under no obligation to break up for Luou-that is really a bit silly. Up until now, they’ve dodged being overly-dramatic. I don’t know what happened, but they’ve stepped in it this time. I sincerely hope they wipe it off by next episode, I would hate to see such a phenomenal show go downhill at the very end.
I find the perspective shift so interesting. We went from seeing Luo-kun from the young Miyako’s perspective as the faery-tale princess trapped by the evil witch, possessing a great magic to seeing him from the older Miyako and Junpei’s perspectives, as the Rothbart who steals away their happiness.
It puts a new perspective on Rothbart-Rothbart as the villain is a one-sided perspective from the audience who stands on an outsider’s point of view looking in. Looking from the inside, Rothbart is misunderstood-a suffering soul. The couple is broken apart by agreement, to save Rothbart, not Rothbart greedily wedging into the relationship.
That scene with the grandmother was a gut-punch. We see as clear and bright as the sun streaming in the background that all along, it was mostly about Grandmother- about going pro to gain her recognition. Luou-kun will sell himself, impersonate his mother, if it meant getting praise from her-even though it was praise by proxy under his mother’s name.
It was a striking parallel to what happened with his classmates at the beginning of the series, pushing him on stage in his mother’s uniform. Junpei’s words were powerful, urging him to find a place where he can be recognized for being himself-that’s really what he’s needed all along. Like he has with other past opponents, will Luou-kun be able to silence his Grandmother in his heart and in the flesh with his own dancing? At last, we are at the final boss battle.
At last, a reviewer who understands it:
“It puts a new perspective on Rothbart-Rothbart as the villain is a one-sided perspective from the audience who stands on an outsider’s point of view looking in. Looking from the inside, Rothbart is misunderstood-a suffering soul. The couple is broken apart by agreement, to save Rothbart, not Rothbart greedily wedging into the relationship.”
While Miyako bears the scars from the emotional blackmail from Luou, she see herself as the last anchor that emotionally scarred Luou has. Junpei, in turn, deems Luou not just as a rival but as a friend and a fan of his ballet skills. They both want to save Luou. They are teenagers who want to save their cousin/friend. It would look like the wrong decision from the outside looking in but for those in the inside see it as the difficult but right decision.
I’ve withheld from commenting on this episode until it fully plays in the next episode because I knew that a lot of people viewing it have not stepped into their shoes to understand what is really happening. The Swan Lake performance of the trio doesn’t end with this episode. It continues into the next.
The next episode preview spoils it a little on what happens next outside of the trio.
I’ve really appreciated how the story of Junpei, Miyako, and Luou are framed within the narrative of Swan Lake-it adds a certain beauty to the otherwise painful and awkward teenage life. It really hits home that ballet is more than just the dance, it is about how the dancers find themselves in the story, in the roles and how the audience finds themselves in the dancers, just like how Junpei finds that magic spark with certain dancers. I’ve really enjoyed the new perspective it’s given me on Swan Lake, seeing it through the eyes and story of the MC.
>That whole “let’s break-up to heal Luou” bit-what teenager thinks like that?
That’s why i have my problems with this Show, i can not succeed to see myself in these pre-teens Girls and Boys. Perhaps i am just to old now
I wonder what target viewer this show want to reach, or is it just the love of Ballet the spring of all of this?
The other Dance Anime in the past, we know their destinations. but here? These pre-teen emotions roller-coasters are hard for me to predict and understand
Well, for the most part, this series has been actually quite true to the typical teenage experience, at least as I see it, especially when it comes to the raw emotions. The emotional roller-coasters of Junpei and friends are part and parcel of that-no one can predict emotional high or low a teen will be on next. While I do think that the whole break up for Luou bit is far-fetched, I can see how their individual traumas would inform their emotional reaction differently from what one might deem as typical behavior.