Based on what I noticed on LiveChart, AnimeNewsNetwork, and MyAnimeList, Welcome to the Ballroom seemed to be one of the most anticipated anime of the season. It’s easy to see why. The manga is an extremely liked and popular manga and the anime adaptation is being produced by some of the same people who brought you Haikyuu!!. Personally, I don’t think this is the most surprising or mind-blowing anime premiere of Summer 2017 (so far, I’d give that honor to Made in Abyss) but the signs are still pointing towards a very good sports series with Ballroom.
Ballroom starts off on a low key note. Tatara Fujita (Shimba Tsuchiya) is a Junior High student (way younger than I expected) who has no idea what he wanted to do in life until he is introduced to the wonders of ballroom dancing by pro dancer Kaname Sengoku (Toshiyuki Morikawa) and classmate/crush Shizuku Hanaoka (Ayane Sakura). There really isn’t any fancy dancing going on in this first episode and most of the episode is really Sengoku’s test to see if Tatara is serious about dancing. While the story of the first episode was pretty simple, I do think the characterization shows a lot of promise.
I suppose the socially anxious lead has been done in other sports series but that didn’t stop me from liking Tatara. It’s a perfect trait to contrast with Tatara’s interest to become a dancer which heavily involves showmanship. And honestly, I’m impressed at how he analyzes the box technique considering that he is 100% a newbie in the field of dancing. Sengoku and Shizuku’s reaction to Tatara’s all nighter to perfecting the box also offers insight to their characters. You can tell Sengoku is passionate about dancing but he definitely underestimated Tatara’s dedication. He seemed both annoyed and impressed at the kid and I’m curious if both of those feelings will carry on for the next few episodes. I wonder if Shizuku is going to be more friendly with Tatara since she kind of brushed him aside for most of the episode, only to find that he may indeed become a good dancer. It’ll be interesting to see how she and Tatara interact from here on out.
I mostly like the artwork in Ballroom but there is one thing that bugged me a lot. I’m sure everyone who’s seen the show knows what I’m talking about: everyone in the show has some unrealistically long necks. It’s not super disproportionate but it’s long enough to really stand out and bug you. The most popular appear seems to be that this design choice is intentional since dancing is all about posture and movement and so longer necks help articulate the technique and finesse our characters display. It makes sense but I wonder how long it’ll take until the necks starts to fade into my subconscious as I continue watching the show.
But if long necks is currently the only complaint I have with Welcome to the Ballroom, then I don’t think I’m that worried for this show. This is a lowkey premiere but there’s a lot of potential in the story and characters so I’m definitely very interested in this show. It’ll be interesting to see how this dancing anime will turn out over the next cour.
OP: “10% roll, 10% romance” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN
ED: “Maybe the Next Waltz” by Mikako Komatsu
Thanks for reading!
Watch Welcome to the Ballroom on Amazon