So, if you haven’t read my Welcome to the Ballroom first impressions article, check it out! Majority of this article is going to be me going over some great points of the story and my overall opinion of the series up to this point. I’ll start off by asking you to PLEASE give this show your attention. It’s a great change of pace from the norm and it should appeal to anyone. I believe it would be a lot more popular if it was streaming on Crunchyroll instead of Amazon but what can you do?
When I initially starting watching this series, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Instead of watching this show as if it was the fresh new anime that it was, I was mostly in it to get my Haikyu fix. You may not know this but I fucking love Haikyu and I’ve been going through withdrawals waiting for another season. Don’t judge me. But this series quickly broke any ties to it. Yes, they can deliver on a similar level with comedy and drama but its characters and character development are unrivaled to anything I’ve seen this year.
As I mentioned before the characters and their development is one of the reasons why this series is so unique. You have Fujita who I believe is probably best boy of anime 2017(unless we are counting My Hero Academia’s Deku). Fujita starts the series with absolutely no idea what he wants out of life. After stumbling across this dance studio he finally finds this urge to do something. Dance. With this new found passion, he kind of aims a bit too high and told his dance teacher, Sengoku, who is one of the world’s elites, that he wants to be just like him. Sengoku was quick to write him off because this declaration he made was made with absolutely no experience feeling as though he is undermining all the hard work it took to get there. Their relationship that builds over time and his ability to help break any wall in Tatara’s way to strengthen his potential makes the show so damn enjoyable. Like many shounen anime, this series is an underdog story. Not just any underdog story. One done right.
I feel that Welcome to the Ballroom just handles rivals better than many other current shonen series. Usually, I kind of hate them unless they are like Grimmjow or Vegeta. My Hero Academia is a strong exception. I feel that any rival they place in front of you is instantly gold. Bakugo, not so much, Depends on who you ask. Sorry back to Welcome to the Ballroom. Hyoudou is instantly likable. You have no reason to hate the guy. He’s very relatable. The character who is bored living without challenge in sport he’s predominantly good at. Gaju, on the other hand, starts of pissing any and everyone off with his cocky attitude and shitty view of the world. You know who compliments both of these characters? Tatara. He brings out this competitive and emotional side out of Hyoudou and once Gaju loses, the layers of the onion peel to show you a great guy.
This series also rubbed me the wrong way for some time. This may be me being nitpicky but I feel like it isn’t easy to identify when a dancer is absolute shit. There are many scenes where you don’t see much animation but just poses. This is fine. I’m okay with that but there are moments when the characters will say when something is going bad but I can’t make heads or tails, visually. This may just be a hurdle for this sport as an anime and maybe more lessons about the specific dance during inner monologue would help. Who knows. A nice touch to compliment this was when they showed Tatara watching himself dance. It makes some sense to me. We are watching this story through his perspective so I will drop it… For now.
So, you want to know what pisses me off about shounen series. Fucking plot armor. I love it when the mangaka throws us for a loop by making someone lose when they usually wouldn’t. I understand that you need to make those kinds of decisions to progress a story in a certain way but please be a little creative. With Welcome to the Ballroom, instead of winning against Gaju and Shizuku, Mako and Tatara were in seventh place. I thought that was great. Putting them in a win the war vs the battle situation since Mako essentially beat Shizuku as the absolute win condition. This was very refreshing to see.
Overall, Welcome to the Ballroom continues to exceed my expectations by either breaking the mold of shounen or bringing something free I have yet to see. I really wish more people would watch it. Not just so I can talk to people about it but because it really does deserve more attention. This could be in the top anime of the year discussion, but like Re: CREATORS, they are living in the wrong Neighborhood. Goddammit, Amazon.