Episode 8 of Welcome to the Ballroom marks the second part of the Tenpei Cup and Tatara is struggling through this episode. Of course, a beginner like him will face many problems, thus putting us tensai Tatara fangirls onto this never-ending roller-coaster. Come and join me when we are going downhill and up again in this episode!
Japanese Episode Title: 現実
Heat 8. Reality
Sengoku seems to have lost all his calm with Kiyoharu appearing at the venue. And thus, he somehow misses to give Tatara the advice he needs to make winning possible for a newbie like him. Tatara does the only thing he knows and dances with all he’s got… Which is harder than expected, as there are multiple rounds throughout the day and Tatara can feel how his body starts to rebel. Sengoku realizes his mistake too late. The only thing he can do now is tell Tatara to not do the quickstep variation he taught them, because his body wouldn’t be able to take it. The couple dances a simple quickstep, his steps get flatter and it seems like all is lost for this pair. Will there be another miracle for pair number 23, Tatara and Mako-chan?
To err is human
So far, I felt like Sengoku is one of those perfect senpais and a super-character in the story. I thought we wouldn’t get to see that much insight on him, but here he is, making a mistake. Tatara doesn’t get advice and has some problems in the semi-finals. And Sengoku notices and realizes and is unhappy about it. He tries to fix it. It is a great scene to see him flustered for once, to see him think about how much this must have cost Tatara. I especially liked the flashback to his own dancing, where he mentioned he would lose 2 kg in one day if there was a long tournament. Which sounds crazy to me, but also leads me to my second highlight.
Life is short
What makes a sport a sport? It’s the endless training that goes into it, the blood, sweat, and tears. There is passion and love and you move your body. You have to put all of yourself into it, if you want to become a professional. If you start too late, others are further ahead. They might have danced for years already, they might have parents who introduced them to dancing or might have discovered it in a playful way, through children classes they chose themselves. Anyway, in this episode we see the bitter regret of someone who found something he loves in his life and wants to do it professionally, but can’t see how he would ever be able to catch up to someone who already got to practice for years. I really felt his tiny meltdown. It was like the producers were sending out a really good message: do it now! I started going to dance classes after this anime, because I actually love dancing. This anime made me go look for a dance studio – not ballroom dance, but music clip dancing – and join classes. Because if Tatara can do it, I can do it, too. If I wouldn’t have joined the studio back then, this one would have pushed me over. Go and do the stuff you want. Life is short, and you should go and be able to do anything you want to do. Don’t end up like Tatara, ‘Why didn’t I discover dance much earlier?’
Dancing is wonderful training for girls. It’s the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it
All my ranting about only the boys dancing and the girls not getting a say in anything in the reviews before was finally heard by Kiyoharu. He went out there and told Tatara, ‘Don’t dance alone anymore!’ As it seems, the key to win this competition is to be good with your partner. And Tatara/Mako are perfect for each other, while Gaju/Shizuku might both be really talented, but I feel like they aren’t made for each other. His moves are so different from hers, and she herself said that she couldn’t follow him because of his big movements. And he didn’t even notice! So yeah, it seems like the girls finally get to be important as partners, not only as characters that tell us how the dance is going. So far, I felt like they were more like spectators. Additional audience, who could see that Tatara is losing his poise when I couldn’t and whatever other problem there was. And aside from my complaints hopefully being over (at least for the next episode), isn’t our Mako-chan cute? ‘Please make me bloom!’ What a beautiful way of saying it! And who would be better for this job than Tatara? Next episode can only be dramatic and magical. Did you notice the beautiful flower art hanging right behind her? That’s why it will be magical, I promise.
Themes and Trivia
Girly or not?: Dancing seems like a really girly anime theme. But there are all these beautiful girls, and all the boob action. If really boys where the target group of this series, then I can understand why the dancing partners are less important. Because this whole issue of the guy being the lead makes it so much cooler. And in this episode, it just became even clearer to me, how hard they try to make this whole series manly. I am sitting here and flailing over the magic and the colors and the glitter, while the makers of the series might be fighting for the attention of male viewers. And then this episode, they gave me the ultimate hint, ‘Become her frame.’ My heart is skipping a beat, because the guy complimenting the girl and making her shine, while working hard in the back – isn’t that great? Of course the woman has to do her best as well and work hard, but the guy being the frame instead of the center piece was just such a beautiful saying. Who else could have said it but Kiyoharu. So yes, be manly, Tatara! Become her frame and make her bloom! Boys, come and watch this manly sports anime!
Marisa Kiyoharu, who is that woman? What was that with her in front of her son, being all touchy with the Tenpei grandpa. And how dare he even hint about touching her boobs in front of her son? He was drinking green tea, not beer, so he wasn’t drunk and what other explanation was there for that? What kind of sane man goes around, grabbing the breast of a woman who is with her son? If that guy is in reality Kiyoharu’s dad or something, like the other guys in the room wondered, then this is a very, very tasteless joke. And I didn’t like this scene, because it hardly had any meaning and only took away from the rest of the good quality of the series.
But aside from that, I am very happy with everything. Kiyoharu was the senpai Tatara needs. It was so cute when he gave him all this advice. Maybe some things were cruel in front of Shizuku, but she also needs to learn a lesson. I think Gaju is a bad influence.
I also feel like I missed something about the tragedy with Kiyoharu being at the cup. Why did Sengoku freak out so much? What is the problem with him sitting there, seeing Shizuku dance with Gaju? It’s not like he can dance now and she is allowed to join with someone else, right? Maybe this is just another thing that gets lost with me, because I don’t think it’s bad if she goes to dance with someone else instead of waiting for him. Cultural differences?
Hopes for the Upcoming Episode
MAGIC! I want a beautiful, blooming Mako-chan. There has to be even more glitter, more of those beautiful still cuts they sometimes enter instead of animated dance. I want to see her brothers creepy smiling face on her instead, because she enjoys herself so much in Tatara’s arms.
I can’t say I want to see Shizuku fail, but I want her to be scared. I hope we can see her be thrown off for just a second, because she sees what Tatara makes of Mako-chan. She could question herself and her decision to dance with Gaju instead of following her partners advice and let Tatara ‘take care of her’. Seeing Gaju loose wouldn’t be bad, but I guess that can’t be done without Shizuku loosing, so maybe they can still win. But Tatara has already made impact, so I hope they will rank good as well. And that they get to show their quickstep variation again. Tenpei wasn’t there in the first round, she he will be ecstatic to see it! With less couples on the dance floor, there should be less of a chance to bump into anybody as well, so chances are good it works out this time!
If you liked this review and love Ballroom as much as I do, please do come to the MANGA.TOKYO forum to chat about it! You can also check out our reviews for other series this season. I would be glad to hear from you!