Welcome to the Ballroom, or Ballroom e Youkoso as it’s known in Japanese, starts us off with a situation that is all too familiar: Not having any direction when you’re a young teenager. Some people have never felt that, they know exactly what they want to do and how they are going to do. This is a story for the rest of us.
The story fallows Tatara Fujita, a young teenager who has no idea what he wants to do with his life. For many of us this is a problem, or at least it’s seen as a problem. We don’t know what we want to do with our lives at 14 or 15. We haven’t found our passion or drive yet. Tatara is no different.
Unbeknownst to him he’s about to. He stumbles on a dance studio one day and is intrigued but doesn’t think it’s for him. After Tamaki Tsuburaya slips a DVD into his bag for him to watch, he’s hooked.
The next day he asks for them to teach him, but he can’t pay them so he wants to work for them or pay later. After the words leave his mouth he’s horrified and doesn’t know what to do. Tamaki and Kaname Sengoku agree. But, Kaname makes him repeat the same step over and over, thinking he’ll give up. He doesn’t think Tatara has what it takes to be a competitive dancer.
Tatara proves him wrong and practices all night. His feet blister and pop, and sweat covers the floor. Kaname is impressed by this and decides to teach him the next steps.
First things first about this show, the animation is amazing. For a lot of action animes the action isn’t animated that well or animated at the same rate as the rest of the show. The dance sequence is animated very nicely and smoothly. It draws you in and makes you want to keep watching.
As a side note, I’ve always thought ballroom dancing was elegant and impressive. Professional dancers are just as much athletes as any other sports player, and more so in some cases. Having a whole show about it and having it take the sport seriously is honestly really exciting to me. And, I’m a sucker for pretty ballroom dresses. So this is just pretty dress porn for me.
I’m really glad they are taking the more serious approach to ballroom dancing. In a show like this it would have been super easy to do a quick montage of training and be done with it. Or, they could have just made Tatara a natural who doesn’t need practice. But, they’re not. The show is showing the viewer how much hard work and effort goes into competitive dancing. What you need to do every day if you want to be at that level. Also, what it does to your body.
Tatara’s feet were a mess because he practiced so long and hard–because he put so much effort into it. You can’t get that way unless you are dedicated. That’s what you have to do in order to be the best.
If you can’t tell, I’m looking forward to this show. It checks most of my boxes. Pretty animation, interesting story that’s realistic, and nice costumes. What more could I ask for?
Images property of Amazon.com, and Production I.G, Inc.