Episode 15 of Welcome to the Ballroom is all about making Tatara a good leader for his partner and that includes some dancing with guys and some decisions that made my heart feel heavy. On one hand, I applaud him for making such a hard decision. On the other hand, however, I don’t want him to end his peaceful days. The road to fame and success is a rocky one and I will try to follow Tatara until the end.
Japanese title: じゃじゃ馬ならし
Heat 15. Taking the reins
After Marisa told him during the last cup that he let the girl do all the work, Tatara heads toward Hyodo’s dance studio to talk to her about what he should do. It took him some time to take himself out of the slump she threw him into with her opinion, and during his bad times, he even suggested Chi-chan that they practice separately for some time. At the studio, he gets a one-on-one lesson with the winners of last week’s competition. As it turns out, they are Marisa’s students and are back after a forced break due to injury. Even though Kiyoharu is there to offer him a dance lesson, Kugimiya jumps in, triggered by Kiyoharu’s interest in Tatara. After he was ‘lead’ by Tatara, he is utterly disappointed and shows him how a real leader should guide his partner and what power a good leader has. While everybody is impressed with Kugimiya and his talent, it seems that Tatara isn’t too happy with the leading style everybody thinks is perfect…
I don’t care too much about random shipping of guy characters. Just let me say that I really ship Kiyoharu and Tatara as friends and that I was hoping to see the two of them dance. I want Kiyoharu to be the one person to guide Tatara, to motivate him and tell him to get his s…tuff together, and maybe teach him some dancing. Here we had the chance and this scary Kugimiya guy took it from us. But I was still happy to see Kiyoharu. Also, did he get older? I feel like Kiyoharu looks different. More mature. I just like him!
The question of all questions: What is leading?
It seems like they are trying to figure out the biggest of all dance-questions. What makes a good leader? Are good leaders like Tatara, who disappear and make the girl shine, try to have a balanced relationship and cherish the girl they dance with? Or are they like a manly man who can juggle and throw his partner around however he likes, because he is the man of the pair and is able to because of his testosterone? I think for this arc, there is no in-between. You either are like sweet Tatara or manly Kugimiya. In any case, if you ask me, this question comes in a bit late, as well as the revelation that whatever Tatara thought he was doing so far, it was not leading. I mean, I laughed about it during the show, but it seems a bit strange to come with this kind of issue in Episode 14-15. No matter if I like it or not, this was the highlight of the episode and it was hilarious.
Tatara doesn’t like being a girl
Once more, Tatara feels how it is to be thrown around. While he is not the manly-man kind of guy that throws around his partners and makes them take a certain step with pure muscle power, it still is nice to see that he is not okay with that kind of relationship in dancing. I like how he has this cute little angry face when he realizes how he is being lead by Kugimiya’s pure strength. Just like I loved his face when he realized that Chi-chan lead him by pressing her leg into his leg.
I felt that this episode represented by Tatara. He voiced many of my thoughts when he didn’t like Kugimiya’s dance or when he said that he didn’t think that the partner was doing less or simpler things. This time, I bow before our Tatara, because he made me feel like at least one person in this series was sharing my opinion.
I don’t know where this came from, but it was a big surprise for me. Tatara is leaving the school that took him in and goes over to be taught by Marisa. I can see his reasoning behind it, because if Sengoku really is traveling the world to win prizes, it will be hard for him to teach Tatara anything. Somehow, in the way they presented it, though, I felt like Tatara was also starting to see Sengoku as a rival and maybe more clearly as his idol. Maybe a bit like an unreachable star. So he realizes he has to leave him to be able to reach him. I just wish he could have stayed with Sengoku a bit longer, because I love Sengoku… He was amazing, breaking the tension between him and the close-to-tears Tatara, joking around with some of the worst jokes ever.
Off to the next cup!
Last, we are off to the next cup and I think Tatara is insane for not telling Marisa anything. While I think there is no hurt in losing some cups and just going there for the experience and the practice, I think he should have talked with his coach. It was still great to see him step up. And that Chi-chan is absolutely okay with it is nice, but I wonder why? Will Aki-chan be there? Did she know and agreed for that reason?
Themes and Trivia
Trains: The first scene in this show had me laughing out loud. Where did he get a train that empty? Aren’t they supposed to be in Tokyo? Sorry if I am wrong, but even if not: after school, there is no way that a train could have been this empty. The reality in Japan is that there is hardly ever a train that would be considered empty if you are from any country other than China, South-Korea, or India. The trains are always full. If he went on that train right after school, then they should have shown him in a fully packed train. But let me assure you, the trains in Japan are amazing! In the mornings, the most busy lines are coming every minute. As soon as one packed train leaves the platform, they are already announcing the next one and you can feel the wind from the approaching train. It is amazing and strange at the same time, because how full can a train be that arrives every minute.
Tatara and his…feet (?) of gold
Everybody knows how precious Tatara is. There is Marisa, who liked how cute he is when he worships his partner. Kiyoharu and Shizuku instantly recognized him as a good rival and great dancer. Sengoku accepted him as a student because he was intrigued. And Kugimiya is fighting over Tatara with Kiyoharu. It was subtle and cute, but the scene was my highlight. The way Kiyoharu offered to dance with Tatara. ‘I want to know how he leads,’ and then Kugimiya jumped in, because, if Kiyoharu likes that guy, he had to find out what was good about him. Serve the fan-girls, I don’t mind, I am totally on board with the Kiyoharu-Tatara friendship. They can be an all-male pair, if you ask me. I wonder who else will recognize our tensai Tatara. There are only 9 episodes left, so I think we know most of the characters.
Is it just me or did they stop animating any of the dance scenes? Do they have time issues? Now we have music in the background but we don’t see them dance most of the time. I had to laugh at the squeaking and swooshing sounds in the studio the other time. What was that? I can’t even wholeheartedly say that they are getting lazy with the animation, because there still is enough stuff to do, but I just realized that we didn’t see some of the dancing and I wondered why…
Hopes for the upcoming episode
In all honesty? There is nothing I hope for, except that they do not drag this out.
For Tatara on the other side, I have many hopes. I hope he doesn’t get into trouble for not telling Marisa. I also hope that he won’t be utterly defeated and ends up disappointed. Last but not least, I hope he will find a really good balance with Chi-chan and somehow figure out how to be a good lead.
Aside from Ballroom, did you already watch some of the new series this season? My personal favorite so far is The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which we also review, so maybe take a look! Since I also wrote on many anime for our first impressions article, you are also invited to come to our forum and discuss your opinions with me! I would like to hear which ones you liked most so far. We’ll meet again next week for the Episode 16 weekly anime review of Welcome to the Ballroom!