Welcome to the Ballroom
Episode 3

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Welcome to the Ballroom ?

I think one of the best parts of this week's episode of Welcome to the Ballroom is getting to see Tatara in his natural setting – at home with his family. It allows us to see him unstressed, without the wide-eyed stare he tends to wear at the studio or the star-struck gaze of the yearning novice dancer. At home, he's just a kid who has to narrate sumo matches to his vision-impaired grandmother and put up with his dad's questions about whether or not he's going out with a girl on Sunday. We know Tatara's determination through dance, but seeing him with his family, we get to know a little bit about who he is as a regular person.

Of course, there wouldn't be a show without that determination, so the focus is understandable, and in the case of this week's events, very important. The event Tatara tells his dad he's going to is a dancesport competition, the Mikasa Cup, and Sengoku wants him to see Hyodo and Shizuku competing. Most dance instructors' goal would be to have Tatara see the moves as they're meant to be performed, but Sengoku seems to have some “put the whippersnapper in his place” motives as well. Regardless, Tatara is thrilled, and I'm excited to see a bit of Latin dance on the show, if only because, much as I enjoy the foxtrot, the Latin dances are a lot of fun. They also give the animators another chance to prove their skills - the feet during the Cha Cha Cha are really impressive, and you can feel the rhythm of the samba through Hyodo's hips. The Latin dances are also much more overtly sexy, bolstering Tatara's basic misconception of partners as romantic, which certainly makes sense given his lack of interaction with girls and attitudes about physical contact in general.

What he's failed to realize, and what will come back to bite him next week, is that a person's choreography is far more important. Not that the choice of partner isn't, but choreography is your own intellectual property, something you yourself created, and to have someone use it without permission feels an awful lot like piracy. In this week's improbable turn of events, Sengoku thrusts Tatara onto the floor when Hyodo turns up missing, so he ends up dancing with Shizuku and mimicking Hyodo's choreography. Tatara's panicked blankness is generally well done, setting aside the sheer ludicrousness of a beginner being able to pull this off, but when Hyodo limps back to the group, he not only finds that he's missed the waltz portion of the competition, but that some new upstart has taken his place and his hard work as a choreographer. In terms of betrayals, this is pretty complete.

The question then becomes why Sengoku forced Tatara, who is ignorant of dance culture, into this position. We knew that Hyodo had an injured knee (always remember to lock the bathroom stall!), and Sengoku knew that something was likely wrong when not only did Hyodo fail to show up but also had athletic tape in his bag. So what did he hope to prove by making Tatara anger Hyodo? Which of the boys was he trying to prove something to?

Hopefully that will start to become clear next week and the answer won't just be “Sengoku's a jerk.” Hopefully also, the show will stop giving us random animation of that one woman's breasts, because that's some randomness that we just don't need in a series that's already not quite living up to its full potential. At least it remains a good watch nonetheless.

Rating: B

Welcome to the Ballroom is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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