Around Akiba proudly presents our weekly Welcome to the Ballroom anime review
“Line of Dance:” Filler and Symbols
When we left off, Mako’s feet fit perfectly inside Tatara’s glass slipper as they danced as a pair for the first time, setting up Tatara’s inevitable blossoming as a dancer. But who knew it would only take one episode?
Fed up with Gaju’s selfish behavior, Tatara challenges he and Shizuku to compete in the upcoming Tenpei Cup, with the caveat that if Tatara and Mako outperform Gaju and Shizuku, each of the two would return to their original partner. Gaju accepts the challenge, and then for some reason, Sengoku decides to choreograph Tatara and Mako’s entire routine (very little about this show makes sense if you haven’t noticed already).
And that’s about it. The rest is filler and symbols. A short list:
- Gaju’s red forehead, representing his hot temper
- The rollercoaster, representing the quickstep routine Tatara and Mako learn
- Tatara’s clumsiness, going against the flow of a typical dancer
- The crowded ballroom, goading Tatara to force himself into the dancing world
- Tatara’s blisters, representing his new struggle
- Mako’s blisters, representing her empathy for Tatara
- Gaju’s nosebleed, because boobs and butts
- The darkness in Tatara’s house, representing an emotional vacuum
- Tatara’s glowing face, representing his newfound confidence
Tatara, a ballroom dancing genius?
About that last one: at the end of the episode, Sengoku declares that Tatara now has all the tools it takes to be a competitive dancer, which happens rather suddenly. We know that Tatara has a preternatural ability to learn steps, but we haven’t seen him put work into anything besides a box step and a waltz. Where exactly did this confidence come from? And how does this setup anything but Gaju’s butt-whooping in next week’s episode?
Despite the slow pace, some nuance does appear for two characters. Gaju’s gushing nose and romantic soliloquy informs us of his intention to marry Shizuku, which isn’t that abnormal, but at least gives the show’s first antagonist a concrete goal. More importantly, we learn that Tatara’s absent mother isn’t dead but rather divorced from his father, allowing Tatara to take up the cause of keeping couples, dance or otherwise, together at all costs. Tatara tells this to Mako over his late-night phone call, and though she sympathizes with him, she may not want to return to Gaju based on her body language with Tatara.
The animation still rocks, and with not much story development, this week’s episode leaned heavily on colors, motions (heck, even emotions) and action. But it might not be long before that luster starts to fade away, and we’re left wondering when Hyōdō will come back. Where is he again, anyway?