Ballroom e Youkoso: Episode 4&5
Episode 4: Dancer’s High
In the previous episode, Fujita danced with Shizuku taking Hyoudou’s place. My worries came true since switching partners during competition gives penalties to the pair. Thus Shizuku and Hyoudou are banned from entering any competition for 6 months. The sentence is a bit harsh but Hyoudou does not seem to care much about sanctions but seems extremely pissed at Fujita when he enters the dance floor. Sengoku explains it is because earlier, Fujita stole Hyoudou’s choreography and partner. Wile you can’t blame Fujita for doing his best and trying to not ridicule himself it is quite understandable that Hyoudou would be angry at him. Therefore Fujita is afraid and feels guilty for what happened.
While dancing Tango Hyoudou was super intense and looked threatening despite being hurt. He seemed more involved, more fierce. He was engaged, made innovations in the choreography and got the whole the crowd to cheer for him. Which is pretty impressive since, you know, there are other pairs on the dance floor at the same moment. But this time, Hyoudou was the center of attention. At the end, when the crowd does a standing ovation for him, Hyoudou falls from exhaustion on the floor, as he was dying, with a smile on his face, Joe Yabuki style.
Fujita feels really guilty about the whole affair and wants to apologize to Hyoudou at the hospital but he isn’t here. Instead he meets with Iwakuma who is bringing fancy fruits to Hyoudou. Turns that that guy did not do any wrong and certainly did not push Hyoudou down the stairs.
Fujita finally gets the chance to explain himself with Hyoudou when the latter comes to his house. Even if he acts all Tsundere-ish, Hyoudou has realized it was a bit thanks to Fujita that he danced such an amazing Tango and found himself a new motivation to dance. On the other hand, Fujita discovered the feelings you can get while doing ballroom dancing and is more motivated than ever to train in order to stand on the dance floor again. Thus the episode offered the last part of motivation Fujita needed to take Ballroom dancing seriously and to dedicate himself to it. There’s also a cliffhanger about Hyoudou asking Fujita to take care of Shizuku for him, which has probably something to do with the two character that show up at the end of the episode.
In terms of animation, CGI models were at it again (sadly). Some parts during the dancing sequence were a bit floppy but it was to be expected, to be fair I’m not really surprised. But that was just some of them, some other dance movements were pretty well handled. Also, those still images were as always, beautiful. We can tell the studio was trying his best to create the impression of passion and involvement Hyoudou had while dancing. I’m especially thinking about those frames involving flamesand those drawn with a lot of heavy dark strokes that reminded me of these spiking scene in Haikyuu. The Tango track was mixed with some epic chorus that contributed to make the atmosphere even more intense. Over all, the animation art style and soundtrack blended so well it turned the dance floor in a real battlefield for a moment.
Finally it was cool to see Hyoudou showing more emotions, exposing his issues and slowly transforming into a real character, something other than the “Talented Bishounen Gives Zero Fucks” archetype I’ve talked about in a previous review. Good, good Hyoudou, now not only are you a delight to watch you are also interesting.
Episode 5: Partner
Two new characters are introduced in this episode. The first one is a pretty girl named Mako and the second one is her ginger brother Gaju, who like his hair suggests, has an explosive personality and shouts a lot. He also has an obsession with Shizuku and wants to become her partner. He’s a pretty offensive guy who talks way too much in my opinion. Even Fujita who is sweet sweet child remarks the guy is kind of a dick.
Shizuku accepts to dance with that Gaju guy a bit and they dance pretty well together… I think… Actually, nobody said anything about them dancing so I guess everyone was thinking that they are a nice pair. Which is not a good thing since Shizuku’s partner is Hyoudou. Or… everyone was thinking they suck but couldn’t come up with a word to describe how bad they were… which I don’t think is the case.
The most interesting character is of course Gaju’s little sister, Mako. Fujita pairs with her for a bit, they try dancing a slow fox trot, but fail and fall on the floor. I guess this show likes to make his characters fall on the floor huh.
There is a bit of character development for Shizuku who finally has the chance to talk about her feelings and how she felt betrayed and abandoned both by Hyoudou and Sengoku who are hiding everything from her. She says “fuck” to Hyoudou and pairs up with that Gaju guy maybe to get revenge or something. Shizuku’s decision also leads to Fujita pairing with Mako even if apparently it was Mako who asked to be paired up with Fujita. According to Sengoku Fujita has some sort of natural instinct when it comes to leading his partner. Sengoku explains that girl’s brother is a dick who thinks she can’t dance well and abandoned her for Shizuku. So both Fujita and Sengoku are pretty pissed at this guy and Fujita swears he’ll guide Mako and accompany her on her journey to become worth of her brother’s praise. So it was nice to see Sengoku siding with Fujita and showing he has a good heart after all. Although he remains a pretty sketchy person since he is always scheming something in secret. Who knows if his apparent anger at Gaju was not an act and he was not plotting something else behind the scenes? I like this guy but I do not trust him.
So this episode highlights the complexity of working as a pair, of being in unity. Furthermore, a new challenge arises for Fujita, as he now has to learn how to properly lead and help Mako becoming a partner that can rival with Shizuku in order to make Gaju shut his mouth.
With the introduction of two new characters, you know there is room for upcoming drama as well, which has already started. This episode had less action than the previous one but was crucial to make the plot advance. However, the dancing scene in the park was pretty intense, the kind of intensity that lifts your heart a bit. Mako and Fujita were pretty cute together. I can’t say I ship it, but close.