Ballroom e Youkoso [Review]
“Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something – anything. Unfortunately, he’s about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku’s not the neighborhood watch, though. He’s a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will never be the same.” –Ballroom e Youkoso (manga)
It’s hard for me to pass up on a sports anime, although dancing did have me questioning it. But now Ballroom e Youkoso is one of my favorite anime of all time. The wonderful story told through the eyes of Tatara, our main protagonist, on his walk in the dark to the world of competitive dancing. Though it may not seem like it, saying Ballroom e Youkoso is as intense as Haikyuu is not even an exaggeration. The situation that the competitions take place as well as the learning curve that Tatara goes through makes each and every single dance something to look forward to.
Artwork & Animation:
Visualizations and analogies are common in sports anime to help explain certain actions in a simpler way, so it was expected to see some in Ballroom e Youkoso. But the way it was represented was incredible, to say the least. The colors, the ideology of different dancing methods, the animation, the way it works and blends with the mind and reality. The aesthetics that blends on the screen is captivating and pulls you in. Also the attention to detail in the human anatomy, the way the arms, legs, head, chest, waist, etc. Each body part is articulated in a wonderful way to emphasize the movements that the dancers make.
Tatara is one of the most ideal underdog characters ever written. Although, yes he is a bit wimpy at the beginning, what do you expect from someone who gets pulled into random events in the heat of the moment? The rivalries and relationships that he builds throughout the story build him up as a character and as he grows up the other characters also begin to have their own stories to tell.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
A very neo-classical soundtrack, when in competition, ranging from waltz to tango and everything in between. Most are classics and are well known to most, which makes it easier to listen to for those who don’t enjoy the older style of music. Besides the music played at the competitions, the background music for conversation or dramatic scenes are predominantly piano leads which are accompanied by strums and all pulled together by powerful strings that sink you deep into the emotions.
Every second of this show was either spent laughing or spend clenching my teeth hoping that the characters pull through whatever training or competition that they are participating in. It was an entertaining from start to finish and I hope for another season soon!
Overall: Score 10
Dancing isn’t just a sport, it’s also an art which makes it that much more difficult you make yourself stand out from the crowd. Ballroom e Youkoso does exactly that, with colorful animation and characters and a heart-wrenching underdog story about Tatara, a boy who discovered the world of dance and trenches through the abyss to find the place where he belongs. A wonderful masterpiece that all should give a try.
Best Girl: Shizuku Hanaoka
As the first young dancer that Tatara meets in the show, Shizuka Hanaoka quickly establishes her position as a dominant dancer who doesn’t back down from a challenge. But her soft side that encourages the greatness out of those that she interacts with is what makes her best girl.