In “Line of Dance”, we see Tatara and Mako truly pair up for the first time as Tatara challenges Gaju to a dancing competition.
The biggest problem with this episode, which is an ongoing issue in the manga as well, is that the girls are treated as trophies or prizes. Shizuku and Mako are literally prizes bartered in the challenge that Tatara issues to Gaju. Never mind that Shizuku willingly paired up with Gaju when she could have told him to get lost; Tatara challenges Gaju that if he (Tatara) wins the Tenpei Cup, Gaju will stop partnering with Shizuku and go back to Mako. Later, Tatara explains that he was so upset by Gaju attempting to muscle Hyodo out of his pairing because it reminded him of his divorced parents.
Still, the girls have been given very little agency so far. This may be a side-effect of ballroom dancing as a culture – where everything seems focused on the male half of the pair – but I’m not familiar enough with it to know for sure. Things do get better, but it’s still frustrating to watch.
However, Mako as a character has gotten more development in two episodes than Shizuku has since the beginning. This is probably down to the fact that Tatara has spent very little time getting to know Shizuku, whereas he will have to become very comfortable with Mako in order to partner with her. Mako and Tatara’s phone conversation went a long way in giving her depth as an individual, rather than just an extension of Tatara.
“Line of Dance” was great for Tatara’s development as well, both as a character and as a dancer. We finally see Sengoku giving him proper lessons – in this episode, it’s about reading the floor. Tatara has always worried about how people see him, but as he becomes more confident on his feet, he starts to care less about what other people think. As Mako pointed out, a lot of people have their eye on Tatara. Tatara is starting to realize what other people are seeing in him – his potential. The final dancing sequence in particular emphasized this well. Tatara is growing as a dancer, and this will aid in his personal growth as well. The same goes for Mako, who suffers from self-esteem issues due to her relationship with her brother.
Now is when things really start to heat up; soon we’ll be seeing Tatara in actual competitions, and I cannot wait to see him and Mako on the dance floor for real.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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