Ballroom e Youkoso
by TAKEUCHI Tomo
Published in Monthly Shonen Magazine by Shodansha.
Licensed in English by Kodansha USA
BUY / READ: Amazon JP, eBookJapan, Kodansha Comics Plus
(English) Kodansha USA (ch1 free), Amazon, RightStuf
My first review on this blog has to be dedicated to Ballroom e Youkoso by Takeuchi Tomo, also known as Welcome to the Ballroom. I found this series during a search for new sports manga, as I wasn’t up to catching up to popular series like YowaPeda, Daiya no Ace, or Haikyuu!! at the moment. I think I fell in love with dance manga after reading Swan by Ariyoshi Kyouko when it was released by CMX in 2005 and I read it at the downtown library. However, this particular manga was nominated in the prestigious 6th and 8th Taisho Awards in 2013 and 2015, which lists the best manga series in Japan for that year.
The mangaka introduces the main character of Ballroom, Fujita Tatara, as an average student who stumbles into the world of sports dance and becomes enraptured after watching a performance by his mentor.
But what is ballroom dancing? Waltz, tango, samba, rumba, jive… various dances that get taught in Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance reality tv shows. Fujita is a complete beginner who starts off with learning the basic steps to the waltz. He advances onto other Standard and Latin dances as the series progresses and he eventually gets his own dance partner, but not without obstacles and overcoming his faults on the way there.
1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3…
Things get wilder as he’s introduced to his main rival, Hyodo Kiyoharu: a dancing prodigy who is partnered with Hanaoka Shizuku (Fujita’s classmate and love interest). Fujita ends up taking his place in a dancing competition when Hyodo is missing and SOMEHOW DOESN’T FAIL! (jk it’s one of his few successes) The arcs of the series follow the training, new characters, failure, competition, and dancing development. Volume 1 and 2 build up the basis for the strong storyline on how Fujita and his fellow dancers are obsessed about ballroom dance and how it ends up taking up every part of their lives. Although the main excitement lays in the performance on the dance floor, discovering new techniques and training to perfection are part of the adventure.
The artwork is gorgeous! Takeuchi-sensei knows how to draw the curves of voluptuous dancers and the energy of a dance set. It looks like the mangaka took lots of reference photos around dance studios and ballroom competitions to get the correct atmosphere. And everything seems to be drawn with love as this is definitely a passion project~
The manga was on hiatus for a year (RIP fellow Ballroom fans) but it was recently announced that it will be continuing it’s monthly release schedule on January 6, 2017. EDIT: IT JUST GOT GREENLIT FOR AN ANIME?!!!
This series was licensed in English by Kodansha USA in Fall 2016. It has 2 volumes out and volume 3 will be available on 1/24/2017. I will be doing a review on volumes 1 & 2 soon!