(Spoilers in this review) So I’ll just summarize what happened in a numbered list and give my impressions of the episode in a bullet point list.
- Tatara, with support from Sengoku and Mako, challenges Gaju (and Shizuku by extension) to an upcoming minor dance competition. If Tatara wins, then Gaju is to go back to Mako. If Gaju wins, then he will keep dancing with Shizuku. Gaju accepts after the two boys get confrontational.
- Gaju and Shizuku make for a strong team. Apparently it was true that Mako was holding him back.
- Sengoku tells them that the judge for this competition loves flashy dances, so the key dance in this multi-routine competition will be the Quickstep (which allows for the flashiest movements). After watching Sengoku dance with Tamaki, Tatara is able to replicate Sengoku’s movements. However, he ends up bumping into Gaju.
- Sengoku points that this was Tatara’s fault for not reading the floor. The couple is taken to the largest dance studio but Tatara struggles to read the line of dance (which is basically the flow of the dancing couples. In this case it’s clockwise).
- We get a flashback detailing how Gaju first learned about Shizuku’s existence back when they were little kids.
- Tatara has a heart-to-heart with Mako over the phone where he reveals that he got fired up over this current situation because his parents are divorced (which explains why he yelled about considering the one left behind) and that he sees Kiyoharu and Shizuku as his ideal dancing couple (so he doesn’t want them to break up).
- Mako in turn apologizes for not being able to dance properly due to blisters on her feet, thanks him for being considerate of her while dancing, and says that he should look at himself and not at others since he has more potential than he realizes.
- Apparently the phone call was all that was needed since Tatara starts looking like a real dancer when he and Mako dance in the large dance studio again.
- While it’s true that Mako was holding him back due to their extreme difference in height, I feel like Gaju is bothered by how Mako is not good at responding or answering back. Maybe there’s more there.
- Likewise, the divorce between his parents seems to have affected Tatara quite a bit. It was enough to make him yell at Gaju after all (then again, it’s Gaju). I wonder if this will come up again.
- This whole underdog angle Tatara has got going for him seems to get weaker and weaker since he’s actually superhumanly gifted to the point that he’s basically a protagonist in an action series. Since he’s so good at copying people’s movements through observation, he might as well have a sharigan. Sengoku looks like Zoro from One Piece and Yoshinori looks like Juumonji Katsuto from Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. Alright, I’ll stop with the superficial comparisons.
- Getting to look at Gaju’s thoughts made me like him even less, holy moly. This competition between Tatara and Gaju is very black and white and I can only root against Gaju since he’s so unlikeable.
- We don’t get any insight into Shizuku’s mindset at all. I don’t think she even said a single line in this episode. This just makes me pay attention to her even more. Is she truly okay with this? What is she thinking?
- Why is Mako calling Tatara’s house again? Who gave her his number? Ah, well, at least it conveniently allowed Tatara and Shizuku to interact outside of just dancing. It’s all about communication or something.
- The animation for Ballroom e Youkoso remains laughable with the plethora of still frames. Maybe we’ll see some actual dancing in the actual competition.
- Everything has been set now – the teams will soon face off and our protagonist is actually innately gifted and is straying away from being just an underdog. Now all he has to do is grind and gain experience before he wins because he’s simply not an asshole like Gaju. Very typical shounen fare, but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained despite the show’s adherence to a true-and-tried-and-tired road.