With no paticular dreams or plans for the future, third-year middle schooler Tatara Fujita yearns to find something that he can pursue wholeheartedly. Initially often bullied and extorted for his lack of confidence, Tatara's life changes when he is saved from delinquents by a man named Kaname Sengoku. His savior, a motorcycle-riding dance instructor, proceeds to drag Tatara to Ogasawara Dance Studio, mistakenly believing that the boy was looking at the studio's flyer.
Tatara is then partnered with his schoolmate and skilled dancer Shizuku Hanaoka when he agrees to a trial lesson. The next day after being bullied and only to be saved yet again, he asks the studio to teach him dancing in hopes of changing his image. Now entering a bright and fast-paced new world, Tatara dedicates his time to dancing as he sweeps over the dance hall.
Ballroom e Youkoso was one of nominee works in the 6th Manga Taisho Awards in 2013 (78 points, third place) and in the 8th edition in 2015 (40 points, sixth place). The series placed ninth in the male readers category in the 2013 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi! rankings.
The series has been published in English as Welcome to the Ballroom by Kodansha Comics USA since September 27, 2016.
As a fellow Ballroom Dancer-anime lover I naturally decided to look for a ballroom anime and this manga is the little gem that came up. I was not expecting much since the Japanese Wikipedia doesn't even contain a page for Swing so i just quickly skimmed the first chapter until I landed on page 20. At that moment I realized, damn this manga is actually pretty funny.
At first glance everything about the main character, Tatara, just seems like a robotic version of Touma from A Certain Magical Index. However as the story went on and
the main character actually gets better at each of the dancesport dances he slowly grew on me and eventually even had me cheering in my mind as I read through the competitions. And yes he's a bit overpowered but man does he fit the mold of a good lead.
I guess what impressed me the most is that it actually included and introduces other ballroom and latin dances, not just the waltz! from all my years watching anime I've never even seen the characters do anything but the waltz, almost as if the Japanese people have never even heard of anything but the waltz! Which I'm sure is wrong, pardon my generalization.
For those interested in Ballroom dancing I highly recommend this series. The main leads are all a bit supernaturally talented and you can't actually see a partner's mirage when you watch a guy practice alone but all the technicalities of each individual dance and all the teaching, practicing, are highly accurate. Takeuchi-san's done his research. I'd even venture to say he's quite the ballroom enthusiast himself to make such a great manga.
I'd highly recommend this Manga to anyone even with the slightest interest in Ballroom Dancing and what it really is.
Note: I have had literally no interest in "Ballroom Dancing", which is what the manga focuses on, before reading this. The work isn't complete.
Ballroom e Youkoso is a work that for all intents and purposes, shouldn't excite any sort of interest within most people. While I'm sure there are some enthusiast ballroom dancers around, the premise itself doesn't lure anyone in. However, as I stumbled into the room of Ballroom, I found myself hooked and craving for more.
Of all the categories, the story is the weakest link, however that isn't to say that it is bad. The story follows a formula that is pretty
much been set by many before it. Boy X struggles to find a goal in his life, but somehow finds himself in the world of activity Y and slowly falls in love with it.
While it may be cliché, it does work and was more than enough for what was needed.
With that said, the story so far has been quite enticing and captivating and unless the curve suddenly twists, the score will only go up and not down.
The art is simply amazing, it switches between some standard art and a more artistic and raw style of drawing with great care. Nothing feels out of place and instead, the art makes some rather deep scenes feel even more impressive.
It's really hard to rate characters in general, while it does feel somewhat standard, the story's characters fill the roles perfectly. The most captivating part is the presentation of each character's thirst for competition, which is actually harder to find in most other sport-oriented works. The expressions and feelings given out feel realistic and well-done, all while not overdoing it.
Additionally, the look of the characters in "standard mode" and "competition mode" is one of the most artistically impressive elements I've found in any sort of manga in recent times.
Like I've said, I've never really cared much for dance. However, this work has given me a new outlook on this otherwise foreign physical activity. It has an interesting mix of character growth, competition and admiration. What is released so far made time pass too quickly than I desired and that is the mark of an enjoyable work.
While math would otherwise not be able to give it a 10/10 score, I do feel that this is an overall amazing work and I suggest that you give it a try even if you, like me, have no interest in Ballroom Dancing.
I haven't done ballroom dancing, only ballet. But it's nice to see something about dance that focuses on the hardships, not the whole "dreams come true!" type of thing. We get to see the main character struggle. And it's not as unrealistic as I'd expect: Tatara makes it into not 1st, or even 2nd, at his first competition, but 7th. And he acknowledges the it was unlikely to even have landed there in the first place.
The Story, I give an 8. It's pretty typical, but ballroom, I think, is a first. I haven't seen any manga that focuses on ballroom dancing.
I love the
art, and I give it a 10. The details in some of these places are so... amazing. Perhaps it's because I haven't seen much of anything but Shojo (for reasons unknown...), but there's a special quality to it. I like it.
The characters, I can't say much about, but I like them all. 8 from me.
My enjoyment was a 10. Like I said, I don't get to read much about dancing that relates to any actual dancers. After finding out many of the facts and pursuing ballet, I find that this, which has little of "we can do it!" and more of "work until you're sore all over!". Everything else portrays dance as something that just about anyone can do.
Overall, I say 10 (although math wouldn't add up to that). I loved it, couldn't stop reading.
Although this sports-manga was interesting from the very beginning, it only really started catching my interest to the fullest from approximately chapter ten onwards. The story takes some time to unfold, but once it did you'll be glad to have had a little patience.
Of course the plot seems to follow the usual shounen-pace to a certain extend, since having a main character (Fujita Tatara) who starts from zero and keeps practicing to become a full-fledged dancer. But this doesn't mean the story is flat. On the contrary it's full of exciting ups and downs, getting more exciting chapter by chapter.
This is thanks to the realistic
characters we are introduced to and we can easily symphathize with right away. We get to know Fujita's feelings as he desperately tries to set foot in the world of dancing, struggles through competitions, makes important acquaintances and has to face qruel truths concerning dancing but also himself.
However, this story certainly isn't pure drama. In fact, humor plays a key role here. May it be due to hilarious situations or to the naive but innocent behavior of Fujita itself, the manga often make me laugh like an idiot. At he same time there are countless sensitive moments, when I could really relate to the characters sadness. As the story moves on you can't help but taking the characters, who are all individuals without exception, into your heart.
The feelings of a person are very well expressed through the art here. Just taking a look at their face let's you know how they feel. The most important part of this manga, the dancing-scenes, also gives us a clear idea of how the characters 'sweep over the ballroom', though sometimes their moves aren't fully understandable due to too many speedlines.
Also striking as negative to me, from time to time when dancing is described, several technical terms are used without having previously been introduced to the reader. Sadly these often won't further explained to us as the story continues. So those who haven't dealt with dancing before probably can't experience these scenes to the fullest. However, this fact doesn't pull down the manga at all, since the overall dancemoves actually aren't that complicated and can easily interpreted without further knowledge of dance.
I recommend this sports-manga to everyone who is willing to give a chance to a story about ballroom dancing that is both funny and serious. The plot just unfolds slowly, but those who are patient will be rewarded for sure. Even if you don't know anything about dancing, just like me.