Around Akiba proudly presents Welcome to the Ballroom anime review episode 12, “Meeting.”
Kōhai on the Dancefloor…and Kōhai on the Schoolyard
After a dispiriting but ultimately rewarding last-place finish at the Tenpei Cup, Tatara falls back to a universal pain of civilian life: the first day of high school. It’s not a good day, either.
Our hero believes that ballroom dance has improved his self-confidence, and while certainly true on the dancefloor, this doesn’t translate to the schoolyard. The mysterious redheaded girl we saw in last week’s coda laughs when Tatara introduces himself to the class as a ballroom dancer. The emasculated Tatara then finds himself fetching drinks for three bullies in the alley, and when one reaches back to punch him, another mysterious redhead flies in to save the day.
Except he’s no mystery: he’s Gaju! Conveniently attending the same high school as Tatara! And he doesn’t even live in Tokyo!
Tatara and Gaju then exchange contact information, because apparently, they’re friends now. Though this sudden friendship seems contrived, their truce at least builds on Tatara’s hesitation to introduce himself as a dancer to a classroom full of strangers. Gaju feels the same stress: he looks away and blushes when he asks for Tatara’s phone number, seeking solidarity with his rival not because he likes Tatara, but because according to him, “we’re both dancers.”
Tatara, arsonist of the dancefloor
Later at the Ogasawara dance studio, Shizuku reveals to Tatara that he not only rekindled a passion for dancing in Hyōdō, but in herself, as well. Sengoku also takes the competitive floor for the first time in a year, presumably because Tatara’s passion in the Tenpei Cup reignited the flame in his fiery teacher. Though he still isn’t much of a dancer himself, Tatara sure gets everyone else dancing. He’s like the song of the summer.
Warning! Spoiler alert in the OP
Even though Shizuku wants to compete against Tatara, she tells him that she and Hyōdō will give him only one year to find a partner and climb the national rankings. Will Tatara partner with the redheaded girl whose name we have yet to discover? The new (and not improved) opening credits already spoil that, so yes, she will. And if you need confirmation, Tatara’s collision with said-girl in Sengoku’s post-competition groupie line at the end of the episode should do it.
Ballroom starts its next heat not with a flashy entrance, but with some necessary setup for a hopefully more engaging plot in the show’s second half. The setup also foreshadows some social commentary, as well. Tatara’s entrance into a masculine school environment will surely address society’s gendered views of ballroom dance, and perhaps this will spill into some commentary on the patriarchal scoring system within ballroom dance itself.
Or maybe we’ll just get some romantic conflict with Shizuku and the mysterious redheaded girl. That’s fine too, as long as Hyōdō gets involved somehow. Why does he keep on disappearing?