(Spoilers in this review)
Tatara subs in for Kiyoharu who seems to be injured his leg, during a competition and dances with Shizuku. The man is always competing with a handicap, it seems! The episode ends with Kiyoharu grabbing Tatara by the collar and demanding him to “give it back.”
With excellent management of tone and punctual comedic timing, Ballroom e Youkoso continues to be a very enjoyable underdog story. Such a narrative can become trite if not carefully handled, but the series knows when and how to make the viewer laugh or tense up (due to drama or emotional scenes) which keeps the viewer engaged and entertained. Maybe the studio (and the writer) had that in mind. Either way, the writing for the series is better than what it needs to be, which is only a boon for the viewer.
Next episode could elaborate on Kiyoharu’s “threat” towards Tatara. The phrase, “Give it back,” is so wonderfully vague. Does he want the time Tatara spent dancing with his partner back? Is he upset that Tatara did an inferior version of his own choreography? Is he jealous of how Tatara was able to smile despite being in such a stressful situation?
A common setup in these sort of the stories has the enthusiastic (but less skilled) performer being compared to a diligent yet embittered genius. Kiyoharu is undoubtedly the genius in question, but could it be possible that the two haters in the mens’ bathroom had a point about Kiyoharu? After all, the camera focused on how he essentially forced a smile on before dancing. Furthermore, the camera pans to Kiyoharu’s shocked impression after showing Tatara’s wide smile. And finally, the screen showed Tatara’s smile once again before Kiyoharu grabbed Tatara’s collar. Is Kiyoharu just going through the emotions as he mechnically dances?
Next week’s episode can’t come soon enough!