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.
Intro: (THIS REVIEW WILL NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS)
Never in my entire life did I ever have the slightest, most minuscule interest in ballroom dance. Like many others, I thought it was for "old people," where the closest thing I've ever gotten to was when I'd watch "Dancing With the Stars." I didn't respect the art behind it and the effort and passion people really put into it.
Finally, after reading Ballroom e Youkoso, I can say that I still don't really care about dance. Despite, I can respect people who do dance and what it stands
for, where the main reason I'm not interested is because I know I'm not talented enough to do it.
After reading, I found myself looking up "How to: Tango" on YouTube and finally understanding the difficulty behind each of these dances. With that, I can proudly say that Ballroom e Youkoso is one of my favorite mangas, among the likes of Oyasumi Punpun, Akira, Berserk, and Koe no Katachi. There's a lot to say, so let me explain.
Ballroom e Youkoso is a story about a middle school boy named Tatara Fujita, who has no particular direction in life, and doesn't know where he wants to go or what he wants to do beyond middle school. He found himself lured in a dance studio unknowingly by a world famous Japanese dancer, Kaname Sengoku. He then found out he had a great affinity to dance, while still being inexperienced, and declared he'd be a dancer just as great, if not better, than Kaname.
If I were to summarize the entire manga with one sentence it would be, "If Haikyuu was about dancing." The story, while being a moving and inspirational, is really nothing and lacks depth plot wise. Most arcs center around a particular competition, involving a particular dancer that Tatara has to overcome, where he then is able to gain experience from. Just as I say that, the story is far from boring. The integration of timely and balanced drama and comedy makes for a hell of a ride and keeps you interested in the events taking place and the characters involved. You can feel the rush Tatara gets during each an every dance and is just as intense, if not more, than Haikyuu. The story sends off the themes of hard work overcoming talent and many other shounen-like themes.
Art is usually one of my favorite categories in manga and anime alike as much more can be portrayed through art than a paragraph of words. Likewise, Ballroom e Youkoso art shows the artists great knowledge of good paneling techniques, human anatomy, and character choreography. As I said previously, the art only increases the intensity of certain scenes. The art makes it easy to follow each of the dances and are drawn extravagantly. While there isn't much to say about character design, I found their designs fitting for each character's personality. The only thing I found slightly disappointing were the somewhat lackluster facial expressions and backgrounds.
You can tell a good story from a bad one depending on how good a story can portray and develop its characters. Characters with depth go hand in hand with an entertaining story and I must say, I LOVE the characters in Ballroom. Each of them have their own defining quirks, giving them a more realistic appearance. Each character has depth to their actions whether it be Tatara and his struggle to find what he wants to do, or Kiyoharu and Shizuku. (OPINION) I think that Chinatsu is a better character than Shizuku. Fight me
If you're on the border about reading Ballroom e Youkoso I STRONGLY encourage you to read. With an upcoming anime adaptation, I assume people will overlook the manga which is a great composition of an underdog tale. Hopefully if you haven't read it yet and were skeptical, I hope this would've changed your mind. If you're looking for a good manga reader site to read it, I recommend Mangakakalot.
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.