Ballroom e Youkoso Episode 1: [Welcome to Ogasawara Dance Studio][First Impressions]
Here it is! The show that, in my eyes, has the potential to be the anime of the season and maybe of the year!
You can tell Ballroom e Youkoso is a sport anime just by the first episode which follows the everlasting old recipe for sports anime. Although this first episode does not revolutionize the genre, it makes the best out of it.
Meet Fujita Tatara: our hero, a young boy who still hasn’t found himself a passion or dream. He seeks something that will make him special and to which he will dedicate himself. One day when he is about to go home, he gets picked on by the traditional school bullies but is saved by cool ass Sengoku Kaname. The latter thinks Tatara is interested in his dance studio and enrolls him for a trial lesson. There he meets with Hanaoka Shizuku and realizes, unlike he previously thought, that she has a goal in life and high ambitions.
At home he discovers the studio’s owner girl put a DVD in his bag to convince him to join. While watching the DVD, Tarata gets impressed by the sport and by Sengoku who is actually a Latin dance champion. He thus decides to join the studio and to get private lessons even if it means taking a part time job to cover the expanses. Sengoku teaches him a simple Waltz figure which Tarata spent huge amount of time practicing. He literally trains all night till the point of having blisters which convinces Shizuku and Sengoku he is serious about learning “how to ballroom dance”.
Some parts from the manga were cut off which made Tarata’s decision to learn how to dance a bit abrupt but heh, it allowed two chapters of the manga fit into one episode.
What the anime actually improved was the scene where Tarata watches the dance DVD and gets immersed in the world of ballroom dancing. The music and the visual effects were on point. The succession of camera cuts on the dancers and the repetition of the phrase “look at me” really reinforced the feeling of astonishment Tarata and the viewer were perceiving.
The art style is great, somehow I find the characters design to be relatively close to the manga’s art. Although it will never be as good as the manga (but you know, it is almost impossible for an anime to fully match the manga’s original art style) it is still nice to watch and doesn’t look odd to me. The animation is pleasant. I especially liked the disproportionate length of some body parts while the characters were moving. It adds some intensity to the movements. Let’s now hope that the animation quality will stay at the same level, especially during the dance competitions. I know movements are hard to animate and that’s why Ballroom e Youkoso might be a challenge for the studio. Anyways, I’m just hoping it won’t become the next Yuri on Ice in terms of animation…
Opening is punchy as hell. It made me want to dance but since I have no talent when it comes to dancing at all, I will just jump around.The ending was nice as well, I have less things to say about it but … it was nice! (I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot ahaha). Classical and jazz music tracks were played in the background and were fitting the atmosphere nicely. Also, a small thing maybe, but the sound of heels hitting the floor during Sengoku’s private lesson were top notch. More generally, every sound of steps in this episode were a delight to listen to…. I just realized it sounds a bit weird but heh… I felt like they gave a particular attention to these type of sound, to recreate in the most realistic way possible the sensation of dancing.
To sum up everything: that was a good first episode! I had a high expectations and I was not disappointed. I’m also glad the show is going to be 24 episodes, so I hope the anime will keep having the same quality all along!
Next time: We’ll meet fan’s favorite Kiyoharu Hyoudou… I’ll admit he is one of my favorite characters too… Just look at him… Everything about him is beautiful.