Spoiler Alert: This review contains some spoilers for Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7.
Dance Dance Danseur is a seinen anime produced by MAPPA. Having signed up for summer classes for a chance to win the acknowledgment of their harshest critic, Murao and Luou soon find themselves at odds with some of their fellow students over the reasons why they are attending summer school. But what the show takes from this conflict leaves much to be desired in Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7.
The opening to this week’s story sees Murao and Luou starting to bond with one of their classmates. When Murao gives the young dancer an honest compliment, he invites the duo to attend a ballet performance with him. While the two accept the invitation, upon arriving, Murao becomes worried that he may fall asleep again, as he did the last time he attended a performance. However, rather than struggling to stay awake, Murao is this time enraptured by what he sees.
While some of Murao’s ease of focus during this performance is credited to the more remarkable skill of the dancers, Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 also gives the impression that part of Murao’s greater interest is due to his increased understanding of the mechanics of ballet. Fully understanding the hard work and intricate details of a given discipline always helps someone appreciate it when it is done with great skill.
The only place where the episode’s opening fails for me is during the invitation itself. When initially invited, Luou has no interest in seeing the show, asking, “Who wants to watch Japanese people do ballet?” He becomes eager to accompany the other two when he is informed that the star is a visiting dancer from Russia.
The concept that people from a specific region are intrinsically better at a given craft than others is racist. It is like assuming that a Japanese person is automatically better at martial arts than a westerner. Just because a region may have a deeper tradition with a given discipline doesn’t mean that people from that region are inherently superior at it.
While simply having Luou express this kind of attitude isn’t narratively bad for the show, such snobbery does exist. What troubles me is that there is no questioning of the perception at all. Instead, it is treated as just a standard, reasonable opinion, which disappoints me.
The back half of Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 sees Murao and Luou get confronted by a pair of students when their peers learn they are not attending summer class to earn a scholarship but rather to bring students back to their original school.
Upon learning this, their peers become angry, yelling and stating that they don’t have a place at the summer school, attempting to pressure them into leaving. This leads to a dance-off where losing for Murao and Luou means they must leave and never come back.
Our star duo manages to win the competition on the back of Luou’s amazing skill. Immediately afterward, the two previously antagonistic boys join the now growing group of friends Murao and Luou seem to be building. Unfortunately, while this is a nice turn for the narrative on its face, it doesn’t address a big issue.
While the final portion of Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 sees the boys bonding as a group, their former rivals’ previous bullying and mean-spirited attitudes are never addressed. This feels sub-par for me as it feels like the messaging surrounding such behavior in this episode is: as long as he’s not being mean to me, it doesn’t matter. This obviously is not true. The fact that the two boys are welcomed without acknowledging that their previous attitudes and actions were wrong feels like a huge oversight on the part of the narrative.
The visuals in this episode continue to do an excellent job of imparting the motion and grace of ballet to the viewer as it weaves the dancing through the story’s more prominent plot beats.
So, when all is said and done, Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 delivers a narrative that, while pleasant enough at first glance, falls apart quickly upon deeper inspection. Couple this with the lessons Murao is being taught about why he should pursue an art form, and this series feels like it is starting to fail hard on the aspects that could give it a more substantial meaning.
Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7, "Ah, I'm So Embarrassed"
Dance Dance Danseur Episode 7 delivers a narrative that, while pleasant enough at first glance, falls apart quickly upon deeper inspection. Couple this with the lessons Murao is being taught about why one he pursue an art form, and this series feels like it is starting to fail hard on the aspects that could give it a more substantial meaning.