Dance Dance Danseur

Title:Dance Dance Danseur
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - MAPPA
Junpei Murao was fascinated with ballet as a child, but in his second year of middle school, his father passed away and he decided he needed to become more "masculine," and he gave up on his aspirations. While still having an attachment to ballet, he takes up the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, and becomes popular in his class. Then one day, a new transfer student named Miyako Godai arrives in Junpei's class, and her mother runs a ballet studio. Miyako realizes that Junpei is interested in ballet, and invites him to do ballet together.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

TV anime that premiered on April 8, 2022.
Animated by MAPPA.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 8 7 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:4462#1552]
Dance Dance Danseur explores the developments of two middle school-aged teen boys in their interests in ballet, with Junpei Murao attempting to overcome his insecurities with taking up ballet due to dealing with traditional perceptions of masculinity he believes men are supposed to have and Luou Mori struggling to break out of his introverted shell to express himself due to trauma from an abusive past. The series does a great job with fleshing out both their characters and exploring the passion both have for ballet through their practicing and performances, as well as working to overcome their personal issues to better themselves as both people and dancers. Their ballet performances make for the animated highlight of the series as they are animated fluidly and also serve to effectively convey the emotions both have in expressing themselves. If there's a shortcoming to the series, it would be how the series usually handles Miyako's connection to the two boys as despite being a significant influence on their developments, there are some questionable ways in which Dance Dance Danseur chooses to handle her bond with them. Beyond that, I'll admit I did enjoy the storytelling offered up with Dance Dance Danseur throughout its 11-episode run in exploring Junpei and Luou's struggles with ballet. Considering the anime's source material is still ongoing currently, I would have potential interest in seeing a second season of this if it were green-lit for production.

Last updated Friday, June 17 2022. Created Friday, June 17 2022.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4462#628]
(Nine episodes watched):

Episode one of D3 left me modestly interested. It can't be easy for a guy--and one who looks sort of effeminate and is sometimes mistaken for a girl--to embrace the 'sissy' art form of Ballet. I hope he really does have some issues that he will overcome rather than this just being a ganbare sort of story. The humor is sublime and more effective than that of most anime. The only problem I had was the mixed signals Junpei is sending us; he must actually love ballet (even if he hasn't fully realized it himself), since he will need that degree of committment to succeed as a dancer. But he insists he isn't really interested. He has the extraordinary good luck to meet Miyako's mother, Suou; Junpei has heard the name before, but doesn't recall the connection--I bet she's a famous ballerina herself. But would she tolerate anyone who wasn't 110% committed to the art, even if he has great physical potential? There may be a romantic triangle building as Suou knows another gray-haired teenage dancer (her son? Miyako's brother?) who she warns to be wary of this up-and-coming competitor. It's too soon to say how sophisticated and engaging this show will get, but so far, so good.

I couldn't think of anything to say about episode two, and therefore felt I really needed to say something about number three. But again, nothing leaps to mind. I guess this is the episode in which Junpei decides once and for all that he's going to give his all to ballet, even if that means breaking up with his sort-of friends. But I can't say that his decision really thrilled or moved me. Maybe I have never gotten to know him well enough to be all that invested in how this works out. I sort of feel greater sympathy for Luou, after he is treated like crap at school. Maybe the problem here is that this show needs a conflict other than whether Junpei will achieve his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. That romantic triangle which I thought I had discerned in episode one hasn't come about as of episode four. We do learn what a 'danseur' is--a best of the best dancer back in Russia, ballet's birthplace. Junpei vows to become nothing less than a danseur himself, but it still doesn't excite me.

I was pleasantly surprised by episode five, however. The actual performance of the Swan Lake act before an audience was somehow exciting and intriguing. Junpei takes some liberties with his performance, which infuriates Suou and threatens to spoil the show. While the audience loves it, a prominent ballet critic is not impressed by their performance, and Junpei gets the idea that he and Suou should sign up for a week long special class at this person's studio. This unexpected change of pace was intriguing. The critic may have had ulterior motives to the critique she offered. It had seemed obvious to me that the other students wouldn't take kindly to this newcomer to ballet, and at first they don't, but before long Junpei has made a new set of friends. The plot seems to bounce back and forth between him being embarassed for amateurish mistakes he has made and wowing others with his enormous raw talent.

The Junpei-Suou-Miyako romantic triangle finally starts to come together in episode eight. Suou has largely remained oblivious to the developing feelings between the other two and it is hard to see how this can end amicably. And apparently there are a mere 11 episodes in this series--that can't be the entire story, can it? Junpei finds that he must choose between the famous Mrs. Oikawa, who has influence and connections, or his old instructor to whom he owes much. A ravishingly beautiful girl appears briefly in episode nine, catching Junpei's eye. The idea is put forward that maybe a distinctly Japanese form of ballet can be created rather than imitating the Russian one. (You may have noticed that my reviews are doubling as plot summaries to help me keep track of where things stand, especially if there is a long break before season 2). In episode ten we learn how Miyako and Suou first met and became friends. Time is rapidly running out for this series, which I understand will be a mere 11 episodes long, so perhaps resolving Suou's feelings for Miyaho will be an arc end that doubles as the conclusion of this show.

Last updated Tuesday, June 21 2022. Created Sunday, April 10 2022.

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