Dance, an artform, a competitive sport, a form of social interaction, a way of communication, a look at human history and evolution, a way to rediscover a different side to someone you already know, and a way to rediscover one’s self.
Welcome to the Ballroom begins with Fujita Tatara and his quest to find something that he can love and give his all for. The boy is filled with drive and passion but has no means to channel it nor has no way of knowing which direction he can take it. That is until he was saved by a man named Sengoku who forces him to watch a dance class. After seeing Sengoku dance in a DVD that was forced on him, he had found the direction he had so longed for.
Tatara may be a weak-willed guy that has a lot of negative traits about him but if anything, he is a very real person in my eyes. He can be overconfident, a nervous wreck, and a fool but that is just like who we humans are at many points in our life. But the thing that shows us that he can be someone we can root for is that Tatara has potential and even Sengoku and the other very experienced dancers can see it and are often at times mesmerized by his dancing.
He makes many rivals along the way who in turn would also become his friends as they not only respect his ability (though not at first) but they are also infected by his emotions when he is on the dance floor. Tatara can be quite creepy for them as they are amazed by the things that he can do and also the fact that he can’t be trained in a normal way. But once he knows what to do then all he needs is one practice to show that he has the steps down pat which is nothing short of amazing.
Throughout the show, Tatara becomes a couple with a few girls and it is there that he forms bonds with them and on the dance floor he forms bonds with the males in the anime as they eventually acknowledge him as someone to watch out for especially during competitions. When he paired with Shizuku he lit a great fire in one of the greatest young dancers in Japan, Hyoudou (Shizuku’s partner), and it elevated his dancing to new heights. When he paired with Mako, Tatara turned her into a blooming flower at his sacrifice of the leader role into a full support role and it gave her newfound courage and respect from her partner who is also her brother.
In the 2nd half of the series, Tatara finally gets his own partner and it was actually the most difficult partner anyone could ask for as it was like trying to control a wild but beautiful horse but in the end they somehow made it work. It should also be noted that the key characters in the 1st half don’t get as much screen time as they did in the 2nd half as the focuses was less on their issues but changes direction on to Tatara, his new partner, and his new rivals. It should also be noted that there are a few romcom scenes but there really isn’t much of a mention of anything romantic between any of the characters at all though save for one guy but one can easily notice the tension between each one of them.
The anime really goes into a lot of detail about the many types of dances and the techniques and training required in order to execute them. It was also very informative about the roles of the dancers, the leader and follower. For anyone who has an interest in dancing, this anime may be able to give you some pointers should you ever decide to go into that world.
The animation was definitely dazzling and intense as they really showed how expressive the dancers are and their faces are pretty accurate for how I imagined it would be if I was ever at their shoes. There were even plenty of times where they changed the animation to something that looked like it came from a famous painting just so they could illustrate how chaotic the dance floor actually is. Even the subtlety of the lighting was beautifully animated though it can be hard to notice.
The art was also very well done as the dancers looked amazing especially on the dance floor, not to mention the beautiful dresses our heroines were wearing. Even the necks which looked kinda weird looked cool as that is probably how it looks even in the source material. Also the intensity in their faces was also quite notable and even their expressions can be somewhat erotic in a way but it fits with the theme and emotion of their dance quite well. The way the art looks for the character’s eyelashes was also quite something unique and was the center of focus of my eyes almost all the time the camera is close up on their faces.
The OST that was used matched the show very well as the music was engaging and something that I believe we can all easily dance to. They even changed a few notable sounds to fit with the mood a particular scene of the anime was going for. The 1st opening was amazing and something I expected nothing less of UNISON SQUARE GARDEN who makes me wanna dance to almost all of their songs. The 1st ending was also something that I could dance to but it wasn’t as catchy or as fevery as the opening. The 2nd opening felt more dramatic since the series was going for a different direction anyway and the 2nd ending just didn’t leave much of an impression with me.
Overall, Welcome to the Ballroom is an anime that is intense, passionate, and every bit of a sports anime as any. It is also one of the few sports anime that has gotten me interested in a sport even though this one doesn’t have an Olympic event. The 1st and last one that influenced me to take the sport was Slam Dunk and I have never regretted loving basketball since but this anime just may make dancing my 2nd sport. I just want to see more of this anime and learn more about dancing right now. Just like in the anime, I can feel the infectious emotions of the dancer and it might also infect you.