If there was just one thing… something that I could say I love… I could change.
Ballroom e Youkoso, also known as Welcome to the Ballroom in English, originated as a manga created by Tomo Takeuchi starting 2011. It is currently ongoing and has a total of 9 volumes so far. Its manga is being released by Kodansha in its Monthly Shonen Magazine.
The series got more of its deserved attention as Production I.G adapted it into an anime television series since July 2017. The anime is currently running on MBS, Tokyo MX, BS11, and Gunma TV, while Amazon.com have the license for its streaming.
Let’s take a peek into the Ballroom Hall
Ballroom e Youkoso centers on the life of Fujita Tatara. The series opens with him being portrayed as a middle school student who has yet to decide what kind of future he wants for his life, despite being already in third year. Fujita was about to leave the teacher’s office when he notices Hanaoka Shizuku, one of the intelligent girls in the campus who apparently hasn’t decided which school to take too. At that moment, he thought that they were alike.
Later on, Fujita finds Hanaoka-san entering Ogasawara Dance Studio when all of a sudden, a group of delinquents came and targeted him. Thankfully, Sengoku Kaname saves him. Having thought that Fujita was interested in enrolling to their studio, Sengoku-san drags him inside.
He is a pro dancer who takes Fujita-kun as his apprentice. Later on, it was revealed that he is Japan’s one and only world-class dancer.
She is in third year middle school and goes to the same school as Fujita. Shizuku is very dedicated to dancing to the point that even her partner, Hyodo Kiyoharu, considers her to be his rival.
He is a prodigy when it comes to ballroom dancing and is partnered with Hanaoka Shizuku since they were five. He rarely goes to other dance studio to practice since his family owns one, given that his mother is also a coach.
Gaju is a Latin amateur dancer who wanted to be partnered with Hanaoka Shizuku so badly even at the cost of leaving his younger sister’s side.
Mako is Gaju’s younger sister. She has been Gaju’s partner in ballroom dancing since they were young.
Zien’s Impressions on Ballroom e Youkoso:
To be honest, I thought Ballroom e Youkoso was just another Yuri on Ice with a different sport as its topic. Not that it’s bad. Yuri on Ice is actually one of my faves. However, if it was indeed the case, then it means Ballroom e Youkoso doesn’t have any refreshing concepts to offer… that it would be quite boring as it is only created out of the popular anime tropes to secure more viewers.
Nevertheless, I gave it a try. After all, how would I know if I wouldn’t, right? Thankfully, my first impression was wrong. Both series focuses on two different phases of life. While Yuri on Ice focuses on a protagonist’s slump in the middle of his career, Ballroom e Youkoso focuses on a protagonist who is yet to start on his chosen field. It may be hard to stay on your chosen field, but it is also the same when it comes to starting with a blank slate. With this concept, Ballroom e Youkoso successfully made me stay.
Ballroom e Youkoso focuses more on the present. It barely touches any of its character’s pasts. Details of Fujita Tatara was kept to the minimum. Nonetheless, the series does have those flashback scenes for its other characters, such as Hanaoka Shizuku’s and Akagi Mako’s. These, however, are just enough to explain where their thoughts are coming from. In effect, Ballroom e Youkoso forces its viewers to be keener when it comes to details, after getting the feeling of yearning to know. The show then succeeds into making the story stick into the audience’s mind.
Ballroom e Youkoso does not lack anything when it comes to music. The series got very nice opening and ending songs. Maybe the next waltz, it’s ending song, gives off a dreamy rhythm. It was sang by Mikako Komatsu who is also a voice actress aside from being a singer.
On the other hand, 10% roll, 10% romance, its opening song, brings out a great beat that can probably leave a lasting impression to almost anyone who listens. Personally, I thought that the voice sounded very familiar. It reminded me of Kekkai Sensen‘s Sugar song and Bitter step… As it turns out, it was indeed performed by the same band: UNISON SQUARE GARDEN!
A Beginning or An End?
The first twelve episodes of Ballroom e Youkoso are definitely endearing and worth it to watch. The series is very inspirational, albeit the dose of reality presented within the story. Will it be able to remain entertaining on its next arc? Watch and see.