This episode of Welcome to the Ballroom reminded me of Captain Tsubasa, the main character sprinting across the soccer field for a whole episode, thinking deeply about what he has to do, attempting to shoot a goal and then the episode ending without getting to see if he scored a goal, not until the next episode. One minute of dance filled a whole episode…
Japanese Title: 花と額縁
Heat 9. Flower and Frame
It is time for the finals. Each pair gets to dance for alone for one minute on the dance floor to show off their talent and give the judges a chance to concentrate on them. Mako asks Tatara to make her bloom and Kiyoharu gives Tatara the advice to not win against Gaju but against Shizuku. He has to make Mako-chan stand out. Instead of the quickstep, Kiyoharu’s mother pulls some strings and all the pairs have to dance waltz. Tatara and Mako-chan are up second and then they take to the floor, completely unprepared because they were counting on the quickstep, and the only thing Tatara can think about is becoming a frame for Mako-chan…
The only highlight in this episode was the beauty of the dance segment. It lasted the whole episode, so I was happy to see it, but at the same time, I was a bit disappointed because nothing else happened. Mako-chan was so beautiful. The flower petals at the end were magical, her dress being yellow and her smile and the eyes, her poses… Everything was so beautiful and magical and glittery. I loved it, and I was totally satisfied with the way things went. It was amazing. She did bloom and he did become her frame, even if nobody noticed. The art and atmosphere were perfect.
Themes and Trivia
Sports series and how they stretch time: Let me take you on a short travel through different sports series and their epic way to make time stretch and turn 30 seconds (or 3 minutes) into a full 25-minute episode. Like I mentioned in the beginning, Captain Tsubasa and any other proper soccer anime probably has a field that stretches over kilometers and kilometers instead of the regular 100/110 meters. Or is it just that Tsubasa and the others are running so slow? In any case, many people did actual math on that matter and the length of the field is ridiculous. Because Tsubasa is running for the whole 25 minutes in one direction, thinking about how to fight someone off or how to shoot and then he is in front of the goal and gives his best shot. And when his shot is fired and the goalkeeper happens to be Kenzo Wakabayashi, then we get to see what the guy is thinking for three minutes, before he catches the ball or at least defends the goal etc. And like this, the whole episode is over.
In Prince of Tennis on the other hand, we see them shoot incredibly fast shots, one trickier than the other and what normally would take 20 seconds in the real world, takes 25 minutes in anime. Which is fine. Because hearing their thoughts and those of other people is fun most of the time and explains a lot. Especially if we don’t know much about the sport. And in Kuroko no Basket I heard they even use magic eyes and magic-ish powers to make the sports even more exciting.
I haven’t seen it yet, but I wonder how they did it in Yuri on Ice? How long does one dance take there? Because in Welcome to the Ballroom, the dance wouldn’t have to be stretched for a whole episode. Before Tatara and Mako-chan started dancing, it was said that they had one minute. I checked the last episode, it was 24 minutes long including the opening, ending, recap and preview. And they started dancing at minute 6. That makes it a veeeery long minute, if you ask me… The issue here is that we got to see some of the scenes up to three times (‘Please make me bloom!) and that made it a bit boring. But I did enjoy the thoughts of Marisa, Kiyoharu, Shizuku and sometimes even Tatara’s. Because in this episode, he was just a tiny ball of stress and a bit annoying.
The whole episode was about a single dance and what people thought about it. It had little story or progress. We don’t know what Marisa is up to, and we don’t know how Tatara will do in the next part and how Gaju and especially Shizuku will react. We only saw Mako-chan bloom…for at least 15 minutes. While I enjoyed the magic, I could have lived with less of it. And isn’t our tensai Tatara amazing, becoming practically invisible, making the judges look at Mako-chan instead of his sloppy self? He is a natural after all. Sometimes it makes one wonder if he isn’t too good for the short amount of time he has trained. That they changed the dance from the quickstep to the waltz must have been surprising, and I know for sure I would have panicked if they told me one minute before that I had to think of a new routine… Anyway, he is our little tensai and everybody agrees on that. As long as Mako-chan was as happy as she looked, it’s fine.
Hopes for the Upcoming Episode
Well, I did get to see Mako-chan happy, even if she didn’t carry her brother’s creepy smile. But then again, I was already hoping for Shizuku and Gaju to dance in this episode, which obviously didn’t happen. So I’d have to repeat half of my wishes again. Shizuku doesn’t have to fail, but Gaju should wake up and realize that he was an ass to his sister. From the short scenes we get to see in the preview, next episode is loaded with flashbacks. Seeing them all when they were still babies made me squeal. And since we also saw young Kiyoharu and Shizuku, I guess not only Gaju will flashback, but also Shizuku (or Kiyoharu?). I hope Gaju realizes he could make Mako-chan the flower she was with Tatara. And then he could crush them, because he could dance like a maniac and become the frame for Shizuku. I would have hoped that Shizuku herself somehow feels challenged by Tatara, but as she is simply the ‘partner’ and the only thing partners do is smile brightly and follow the amazing lead of the guy, she probably won’t have any major influence in their dance. But we will see…
This week’s episode of Ballroom didn’t leave much to talk about, but you can still come and complain with me in the MANGA.TOKYO forum! You can also check out our reviews for other series this season. I would be glad to hear from you!