(Spoilers in this review) This episode marks the day of the Tenpei Cup where Tatara and Mako will be competing against Gaju and Shizuku. The first half of the first round goes about as well as you think it would – T&M start off scared whereas G&S are just coasting as a strong pairing. However, Tatara and Mako pull of Shizuku and Kiyoharu’s routine, which pisses off Gaju. Sengoku is impressed that what happened in his first competitive dance with Shizuku didn’t traumatize him, but Tatara is Tatara and that sums up most shounen anime ever.
The second half of the first round has G&S dancing with passion while T&M are back to being scared. However, Mako’s breast pads spill out and cause everyone else to slip. Since the judges are judging by comparison, Tatara and Mako are able to slip by since everyone else simply aren’t dancing.
The first half of the second round has Tatara being in despair over how no one is watching him and Mako – they’re all paying attention to Shizuku and Gaju, who happen to be in his heat this time.
The second half of the second round has both rushing to secure territory during the Quickstep. They end up colliding, but Gaju just throws a fit while Tatara and Mako continue dancing. Gaju continues being a jerk and ends up causing Mako to punch him and run away. Shizuku overhears Tatara defending Mako (by saying that she can dance better than Shizuku) and in response tells Tatara not to underestimate her (dancers are prideful, it seems).
Tatara actually ends up taking Gaju’s words to heart (the punk told Tatara that he’s just imitating Kiyoharu and it looks awful) and tries to stick to what Sengoku told him. Kiyoharu’s mom, who just arrived as one of the new judges, watches Tatara with great interest. Both Sengoku and Shizuku become worried upon seeing Kiyoharu’s mom, as well. As Sengoku tries to hide from Kiyoharu’s mom, he comes face to face with Kiyoharu, who is interested in seeing Tatara’s dance.
It’s fairly straightforward, but I wanted to stress that I’m impressed with Tatara’s response to Gaju’s behavior. A lot of shounen protagonists seem to have trouble sticking up for themselves, but Tatara gives as good as he gets. Gaju did bring up a good point – Mako and Tatara seem like a better pair, so why are they trying to get Mako back together with Gaju? However, Mako probably has her reasons and Tatara is trying to help Mako (while juggling several other reasons such as hating Gaju’s behavior and trying to keep his promise of Kiyoharu).
Mako is also standing up to Gaju (finally) and she even switched to the same region dialect that her brother speaks. He deserved that punch for belittling her ability!
The Breast Pads Explosion is a high level technique that somehow goes unnoticed by check judges and will give you a considerable advantage against your competitiors. Many have likened the strategy to using a spiked blue shell in M*r*o K*rt.
All in all, it’s just another episode. Things have improved but is it enough to be worthwhile? The animation was actually there, hooray! Slightly less still frames! And while Shizuku is no longer a mute, the viewers still don’t quite understand what’s going on through her head. “Broadening your horizons” is a sloppy excuse that’s used by married adults who are living the swingers lifestyle and, more often than not, signifes the collapse of a marriage. But I digress. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to see, as usual.