REVIEW: ‘Dance Dance Danseur,’ Episode 10 – “Miyako… You Need To Be By His Side”

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Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 - But Why Tho
Content Warning: child abuse and emotional abuse

Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 is a seinen anime produced by MAPPA. Having discovered that Luou has gone missing, Murao and Miyako rush to the home where Luou and Miyako’s grandmother is living in the hopes of finding him there. While on their way, Miyako enlightens Murao about the life luou had with their grandmother and how they came to be so close.

The bulk of Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 focuses on the unpacking of Miyako and LUou’s history together. While the series has hinted previously about the stern approach to ballet training that Luou’s grandmother took with him, it doesn’t even begin to cover how poorly the woman took care of him in his early years.

Luou is portrayed as spending most if not all of his time confined in his home’s basement ballet studio where he practices ballet endlessly. Once Miyako encounters Luou for the first time, she beings to sneak back when their grandmother is sleeping so she can try to bring some measure of levity into the boy’s life. She is frequently seen playing the piano while Luou gets top dance ballet however he wishes. It is perhaps his only source of joy.

While Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 does a great job of highlighting how much Miyako cares about Luou and the lengths this preteen girl goes to try to bring some light to his light, it also makes it abundantly clear that this kindness is not a two-way street. Luou rarely shows any support to Miyako and even threatens to kill himself if she stops visiting him. While it’s understandable why Luou lacks proper interpersonal skills, given how terrible his upbringing has been, it nonetheless paints the boy in a negative light. Especially as the episode shows how much this situation has been a tremendous weight on Miyako.

Now we come to the part of this episode where the narrative left me seeing red. Having digested all of this information, Murao comes to conclusion. And in case you think it’s something sensible like “Once we get Luou back your mom needs to get him some clinical help” you would be wrong. Rather he decides that since what triggered Luou’s running away was his discovery of their feelings for each other, he has to break up with her so that she can return to being an eternal prop for this boy.

This is so horrendous, I barely know where to begin. The concept that Miyako’s only purpose should be to prop up anyone, let alone someone who shows her little to no actual care or compassion is the worst possible conclusion Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 could come up with. That this kind-hearted person who has finally found someone who makes her happy should have those feelings taken away due to Murao’s bizarre notion that by their making each other happy they somehow become responsible for Luou’s hurt feelings is so… Adjectives are failing me. Partly because thinking about the whole thing has me fuming again and I genuinely don’t know a word to properly describe how stupid this concept is.

What’s worse is that Murao simply decides it. He doesn’t give Miyako any say in how she feels. Doesn’t turn to her to see if she agrees or not. He just removes all autonomy from her and decides this is how it should be.

While I loathed the conclusions this story brings, I certainly cannot fault the skill and style that MAPPA utilizes in its visual delivery. The harsh moments of Luou and Miyako’s childhood land with a ton of emotional impact. But the moment where the visuals truly deliver their gut punch is when the viewer sees Miyako’s face for the first time after Murao dictates her purpose to her. The shine and happiness of the last couple of episodes have vaporized. What’s worse, she doesn’t even look sad. Just defeated and resigned.

So, needless to say, I found Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 to be a story that builds an emotional backstory and then uses it to completely ruin its present story. Given how badly the series has handled other important topics like bullying and why people should create art, it doesn’t surprise me that this is how the show decided to deal with this. It just disappoints me.

Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10
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    Rating - 4/10
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TL;DR

I found Dance Dance Danseur Episode 10 to be a story that builds an emotional backstory and then uses it to completely ruin its present story. Given how badly the series has handled other important topics like bullying and why people should create art, it doesn’t surprise me that this is how the show decided to deal with this. It just disappoints me.