Ballroom e youkoso, Welcome to Ballroom, is a 2017 anime series based on manga. Now, I haven’t read the manga and don’t really care for it. I will explain why at the end.
This anime is a sports series although you may find it quite different from general sports anime because this series does not actually feature training parts a lot. Now, it is about dancing but it is not the kind of dancing you see from music videos or stages. It is the kind of dancing seen from high class social parties where a pair (A man and a woman) dances.
I will be honest with you here. I didn’t know that was a thing until I’ve come across this series.
The MC is Fujita Tatara who is a year away from entering a high school. He is a good lad but has no clue about his future. He has no aspirations to choose a profession. Thus, his teachers nag him to make a choice. He is also an easy guy to walk over and gets picked on by bullies.
Accidently and fatefully, he runs into a ballroom studio where he meets Sengoku, a 23 year-old Latin dancer. Under his guidance, he begins his path to becoming a professional dancer.
He isn’t initially serious about dancing but, after watching a DVD video of Sengoku’s dancing on a professional stage, he gets hooked.
Well, that sums up the overall series without spoiling anything.
What I do like about this anime is that it does not have many of what are seen from sports anime. What are those? Well –
🖐There is much less pressure overall on Tatara.
I mean he is learning dancing. There isn’t a deadline or must-win tournaments. Basically, there is no time limit.
Therefore, the series inserts an artificial deadlines which feels rather weak. Overall, intense pressure seen from almost all sports anime isn’t present, making it a casual watch.
👌 Rivalries, lack of
Again, Tatara is just a beginner, and ballroom dancing isn’t widely spread. There is simply no one around his age to dance with. Therefore, he has no rivals.
The anime does make up an artificial rival which, again, feels weak because the rival is so far ahead of him. Additionally, Tatara never competes with his supposed rival, at least not in anime.
👍No cliche romances.
Because ballroom dancing requires a pair of opposite genders and that the pair must have upmost trusts for each other, a ballroom dancing pair is generally in a romantic relationship and have known each other for years.
This means that Tatara can’t just break up a pair and grab a partner. He must find someone new. This effectively eliminates any kind of romantic triangle relationships in the series.
So, yeah, this was a rather unexpectedly casual and stress-free watch for me. I’ve quite enjoyed watching it.
The anime as whole is Tatara finding his ideal partner which is easier to be said than done because people begin professional dancing from very early ages like ballet, meaning almost everyone is already paired. Those who aren’t have either retired or not interested in pairing up with a complete newbie like Tatara.
He does borrow a partner to start off which is the girl you see above. But she is already paired and leaves after a tournament. He does find an unpaired partner of his age at around episode 12, who initially refuses because she claims to have given up on dancing.
The rest of series is about the new pair trying to learn each other.
I’d also like to mention that I do like the art in this anime. It is way more stylish than the genetic style that’s been going on. Both males and females have very clear variations that not everyone end up looking virtually identical.
There are also artistic expressions throughout the series which makes otherwise boring scenes more watchable.
In the end, the anime ends where Tatara wins his first trophy. It’s a small trophy but everyone has to start from somewhere.
The reason I’ve chosen not to read the manga counterpart is because I felt I’d rather have animation, sound, and voice for this sort of material. I mean, it is about ballroom dancing where those three elements are pretty much mandatory.
So, I’ve chosen to completely ignore its manga.
Finally, this anime handles sports as well as romance in an equal capacity. Now, this aspect is unique to this anime because of the nature of ballroom dancers. As mentioned, a pair must be a male and a female, and they must trust each other deeply in order to pull off moves. No sports anime (that I know of) has dealt both topics in an equal capacity. Always, the sports part has gotten a priority.
Give this anime a shot.