A Look From a Dancer’s Perspective
Awhile back you may remember I released an article titled, “Welcome to the Ballroom – My Biggest Disappointment with the 2017 Summer Anime Season” where I discussed my disappointment with the fact that I couldn’t watch the show at the time it was airing due to the, now defunct, Anime Strike that Amazon tried out.
Some of you may also remember that I am big into ballroom dancing and familiar with the competition scene. Welcome to the Ballroom was a show I just had to watch but I was a bit worried because so many people complained about its quality when it was airing. Were these complaints warranted or was the show actually pretty good? Well, from a dancer’s perspective at least, the show was pretty decent but it definitively could have been better.
Let’s start with what the show does well. The characters are fairly well constructed with only a few moments where the writing drops the ball and undermines, what would otherwise be, a pretty consistent cast. When they do bother to animate the dancing, it looks good and is actually reasonably accurate (animating dancing is really difficult to sync up properly and have it look smooth, I’ve never really seen it done that well) which was a big plus. Furthermore, it was engaging not only because I was invested in the topic, but because the story didn’t follow the traditional shonen formula.
That said, the pacing wasn’t always the greatest. The main character gets really good at all the dances crazy quickly, which I could accept, but at one point they tell you in the show that his teachers didn’t even bother teaching him about frame until about 2/3rds of the way into the story. This is a fundamental basic so that was so beyond stupid I couldn’t believe it. Really, Welcome to the Ballroom does a terrible job at explaining how and why things work the way they do. This takes away from the appeal of dancing, and as somebody who thinks more people should give it a try, this is disheartening because if you aren’t already interested in dance then this will almost definitely not get you into it.
I mentioned above that Welcome to the Ballroom has a tendency to undermine its characters, specifically some of the female cast, which really knocked things down a peg. This was very unnecessary and not at all funny like the show was obviously aiming to be with these moments. Lastly, the story had a little too much needless drama towards the end.
In the end, I can see the community’s complaints and can kind of agree. This wasn’t the best series out their, especially not for the Summer 2017 season, but it is still one I recommend. Largely, the anime does a decent job at portraying dance well, but skimps out on capturing its entire appeal and inner workings. As long as you can get past the giraffe necks (had to sneak that one in here at least once, but really the necks loot to exaggerate the proper head position on dancers) and you have access, I would encourage at least giving this a shot. The second half improves dramatically but the first half has a few stunning moments itself.
Have you seen Welcome to the Ballroom? What special topics do you wish would be explored more in anime, fishing, sumo, or something else? Let me know your thoughts on both this and the series in the comments below. If you enjoy my content than please consider donating to my Ko-fi by clicking the button below. Hope to see you back around here soon, and as always, thanks for reading!