REVIEW: ‘Dance Dance Danseur,’ Episode 5 – “I Can’t Die Now”

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Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5

Dance Dance Danseur is a seinen anime produced by MAPPA. With so much training behind them, the ballet competition is upon them. But are Murao and company ready for their big day? And while our star may be about to find a new level to his love of ballet, he is also about to find out that an art form can be different things to different people in Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5.

With Murao recently overcoming his struggle to embrace his passion for ballet, the series needed a new central conflict for its protagonist to face. With the school taking the stage to perform Swan Lake, Murao discovers his new challenge. And it is one that artists who create in every medium, style, and era have struggled with.

As Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5 moves through the school’s performance, Murao allows himself to get caught up in the energy and emotion of the experience. As he lets go of himself, his handle on the core skills that his instructor has been battering into his technique begins to slip. As the audience takes in the young dancer’s passionate performance, we quickly see two schools of thought emerge about how he dances.

The bulk of the audience becomes enraptured with Murao’s performance. He sells the struggle of the Prince’s battle with all his soul. They are taken in by the art and the substance of his performance.

However, a smaller sect among the crowd sees only the “wild monkey,” as Luou would say. Those experienced in ballet who see every little technical mistake Murao makes as he throws himself into the moment. They do not feel the performance, and they are too busy finding fault with the execution.

Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5‘s introduction to this conflict between passion and “correct” execution is excellently done. And I can’t think of a better medium for such an exploration to take place than anime.

I’ve spent years in art circles on Twitter, and if there is one thing that never goes away, it is that particular sect of people who will never fail to criticize the aspects of anime art that are “technically” wrong. The eyes are too big, and the hair doesn’t work that way, etc., etc. Those artists who think the value of art is directly measured by how close to reality the artist can bring their work. While they are so busy looking down on wrong body proportions or lighting that has no source, they miss the feeling, passion, and power of the pieces. An anime exploring this situation is perfectly apt.

Like so many artists before him, Murao looks like he is about to face the struggle between the art he wants to make and the art the critics say he should make. I am deeply interested to see how the show ultimately addresses this nuanced issue. Whether or not it can properly explore the various viewpoints without reducing anything to oversimplified generalizations will be interesting.

As the show delivers a new direction for its narrative, the visuals deliver more of what they have in the past, just better than ever. Just as Murao throws himself into the moment, so too do the visuals throw the audience in with him. Even if you are like me, someone who has never really understood ballet or its appeal, you can’t help but be impacted by what it means to Murao.

When all I said and done, Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5 takes the series to a new height of excellence. As it strides towards its newly introduced struggle, I sincerely hope that it manages to handle the nuances of the situation well. Lest this peak of performance be a fleeting thing that has strut itself upon the stage for an episode and is then seen, no more.

Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

When all I said and done, Dance Dance Danseur Episode 5 takes the series to a new height of excellence. As it strides towards its newly introduced struggle, I sincerely hope that it manages to handle the nuances of the situation well. Lest this peak of performance be a fleeting thing that has strut itself upon the stage for an episode and is then seen, no more.