Dance with Devils
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Dance with Devils ?
Community score: 4.0
Oh, the magic of dance. It expresses our innermost feelings, brings disparate people together, and allows pastel-colored fantasies involving rainbows, stars, a unicorn, and, for some reason, a golden retriever to form a background to a cheesy love song between Ritsuka and Rem. This week's musical number is right up there with the chorus of pomeranians for sheer absurdity – seriously, the only things missing were hearts and pudgy cherubs. It's a cotton candy moment in an episode fraught with absurdity, even for this show, which presumably is intended to make the very serious finale to the episode more of a shock. That kind of works, but it would have been more successful had the last couple of weeks not tried to make the character involved a bit problematic where Ritsuka is concerned, at least in terms of true friendship without ulterior motives.
But to go back to the beginning, this week is the equivalent of the requisite school festival episode. Ritsuka's insanely posh school is having its decadent festivities, involving a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round (another nod to carnivalism), and while Ritsuka is allowed to go, it's not without her brother's mandate that he and/or Azuna must be with her at all times. For Lindo, this means watching creepily from between a couple of stalls. Azuna agrees to tell him to cut it out, and of course the minute she takes her eyes off of Ritsuka, our brilliant heroine is running off alone. Not that she's going far – Rem, in an interesting move, has lied and told Shiki, Mage, and Urie that Ritsuka does not have the grimoire, and the three devil boys decide to apologize to her for having been creepy stalker kidnappers. (This leads to an awesome scene where they all sniff her, Shiki having noticed that she smells less magically alluring.) While Lindo and Azuna of course show up to ruin the moment, this scene, along with the one where Rem flat-out lies to his demonic buddies about the grimoire, sets the stage for the actual non-disturbing romance plot of the show: the boys all clearly like Ritsuka for herself, not just as the key to the book they all desire. This is mostly borne out with Rem – his lie seems less designed to get the grimoire for himself and more to protect Ritsuka from the other three. He's not entirely comfortable with his decision, but he also appears unable or unwilling to reverse it, as we see when he and Ritsuka are “crowned” king and queen of the school dance in a stunt that no responsible educational institution would ever permit: they find tiny crowns in the bottom of their glasses. (All I could think was, “choking hazard!”)
Watching Rem be uncomfortable is a lot like watching Rem be anything else – the boy does not emote well. (Except in the pastel wonderland of the duet – he actually smiles!) Nevertheless we do get an idea that he's not averse to dancing with Ritsuka, and the moment she actually grips his hand and looks at him, we can see him let go of some stiffness, the Rem equivalent of melting. It's one of the more effective scenes, and I'd argue for it being more emotional than the episode's Big Moment at the end. That Lindo sees it too is abundantly clear, and their rivalry is most definitely going to heat up next episode.
In fact, it's looking like next week is going to be uglier than the coats all the guys wear to the dance where Rem is concerned: the vampires are ready to make their move, Lindo is aware of the blossoming romance between Ritsuka and Rem, and I'd bet that the other three devils now know that Rem has lied to them. Add to that the fact that Loewen is missing and has possibly gone back to his former master and things are shaping up to be pretty bad for our presumptive Prince Charming. The show has increased its pace over the last couple of weeks, and it looks like that is going to continue to be the case as the show enters its final quarter.
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