When Kanade was very young, she went to a ballet performance of her neighbour, Lisa, and was overwhelmed by her amazing dancing. She decided then and there that she wanted to dance like Lisa, and her parents agreed to let her take ballet lessons. Ballet is much harder than Lisa's beautiful dancing may have led her to believe, but Kanade is determined to endure and become a wonderful ballerina!
This manga is quite different from what I'm used to read, but I really enjoyed and enjoy it.
I really like the fact that this manga treats of something very realistic, and thus I don't get this imagined story feeling I get from other mangas (which isn't a bad thing in itself). The centre of the plot is not school life, love or anything such, but something that's a first for me in mangas: classic ballet.
Since I dance a bit myself (of course as a hobby, I am nowhere near the level of the characters), I can say that the subject is treated carefully
and the mangaka really put a lot of effort in searching for the different ballets and the different choreographies in each of them. The dancers are also drawn really well, and also the costumes and the pointe and ballet shoes.
You can also clearly see the world of dancers that's hidden from the public. Whenever you watch a performance, you always think "how on earth can they do that as if it's easy-peasy?" But all the professional dancers have hours and hours of training and they suffer a lot to get the level they offer us in performances. You really get the feeling of competition and elitism of this discipline in the story.
But the story still has a clear plot of course! It follows the path of a young girl who wishes to become a dancer. That's why the whole story is filled with ballet elements.
The characters are really realistic, you can see in each of them different aspects of the world of ballet: naturally gifted or training hard, those who failed and those who kept on...
You get quickly attached to all the characters, with their different personalities, their hopes and dreams. I think they really mean something to us, we can relate to them, especially if you're a child or a teenager.
You also get to see the different jobs related to ballet performances: the costumers, the choreographer, the teachers in studios...
What I also find interesting is the fact that since it's taken from the Japanese dancer's point of view, you get to see aspects of ballet you don't when you're in Europe or America, which is the cultural wall that's evoked in the story. Indeed, for us, most of the ballet stories are well-known, since they're part of folklore fairy tales or from famous authors (Don Quixote or Esmeralda for example). And thus, with the ballet, we also get to see a bit of culture (Greek and Latin mythology for example)
I would thus definitely recommend this manga to girls who like arts, but even those who don't will like this story once they get past the different terms used for ballet positions (arabesque, attitude... which are all French terms, thanks to Louis XIV (14th)). It might, however, be a little delicate for boys to appreciate the manga, except if they dance themselves.
The beginning is slow and might repel some readers. It picks up quickly, and follows Kanade Ariya on her path to becoming a professional ballet dancer, along with Shouko, Ema, and Sakura.
It looks like Cuvie did her research pretty well. There are numerous variations (ballet solos) that are included AND named correctly. In addition, I can find just a panel during a variation and find where it is in the actual variation. The author is very diligent with this. In fact, even the steps are named correctly, from simple terms such as pirouette and pointe, to all kinds of ballet terminology. I'm pretty satisfied
Kanade is a little irritating. She's quite shocked to find out that ballet steps are in French. Ballet schools originated in France. I suppose she didn't recognize the accent?
Other than that, it's very enjoyable. The terms aren't too burdening (although I don't speak for non-ballet dancers). Finding out what the future holds is very entertaining. The art is very gorgeous in terms of anatomy. Even little details, such as the required body types (they have those in ballet; that's why it's so secluded), are accounted for.
For me, it was a compelling read. Give this one a shot.
This manga is a tough sell to most people because I tend to recommend it to males, and it's a manga about ballet. But, if there's anything to take away from this review it's that you should give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Grande Scene has a lot going for it. The art is absolutely incredible, Cuvie does an amazing job with all of it, especially the faces and the ballet poses.
The characters can be a little grating at times, but for me this was only at the start and it's since gotten a lot better.
The best part about this manga is
the level of technical knowledge that Cuvie puts into the ballet itself. It's all very close to perfect, if not perfect, and you can tell that she's going above and beyond in the research for it.
Really I'm bad at writing reviews and I don't know what I should say. This is my favorite manga by a long way and I really just wish I could share it with other people, so I strongly encourage you to give it a read