Enter Tatara’s foil: the talented genius who puts our main character to shame.
(Spoilers in this review)
If Tatara is the loser protagonist, then Hyoudou Kiyoharu, a dancing prodigy who has been Hanaoka Shizuku’s dance partner for 9 years, is Tatara’s foil as a talented “rival.” This puts Tatara’s odds at winning her over as pretty low. But hey, Shizuku isn’t his partner. Maybe Tatara will earn his own partner soon. Speaking of which, where’s Sengoku’s partner?
That being said, Tatara isn’t completely hopeless. Sengoku noticed he has a sharp eye when it comes to observation and essentially learns best by watching. However, his body currently can’t keep up with his eyes. Be that as it may, Kiyoharu is still the best of the best. He, along with Shizuku, easily won a competition while nursing a 39°C (102.2°F) fever. The episode also brought up this concept of leaders for dance couples. I’m struggling to imagine Tatara being a leader due to his timid personality, but he has also had bursts of courage and determination. Maybe he’ll surprise us when he does get to dance with a partner!
There were a fair amount of still frames, which have caused people to claim that the animation is “copping out,” but there also were a lot of animated dance scenes. However, (picturesque) still frames evoke a sense of grandeur and tension that isn’t as easily captured in animation.
All in all, the episode was very much enjoyable due to Tatara’s steady progress, the hilarious character faces, and the typical underdog vibes.