Ballroom e Youkoso Anime and Manga Spoilers

Damn those necks.

Okay, so with Ballroom e Youkoso my arguably most anticipated anime of the year was released and we’re 5 episodes in and far enough to say something of substance.

First of all, I love the art direction. I know, the necks are a little bit too long, but overall I think it looks absolutely gorgeous and the animation quality is pretty nice. I was hoping for fully animated dances in the same way Yuri on Ice fully animated the figure scating programms, but that’s very unusual for anime, so I guess I kind of knew this wouldn’t happen? It’s still a tiny bit disappointing, though.

They make use of freeze frames quite a bit and while that’s not unusual in anime at all, the manga does such an amazing job of capturing the movement and power of dancing, I actually think the anime looks a little bit too static sometimes. I’ve seen much worse, don’t get me wrong, something in me just screams: “This is not right.” when the manga is creating better movement with still images than it’s animated counterpart. It’s still good! I just think it could be better.

It’s been such a long time that I’ve seen the start of the story, it made me realize a lot of stuff and it’s really funny seeing all the new people react to the characters, who you know will not be what they seem to be when they are introduced, but first things first.

I noticed I’m really missing Chii-chan so much, not just because she’s one of my favorite characters and I totally ship her with Tatara, but also because she’s giving Tatara a real challenge and brings out his worse. She makes him suffer, she makes him question his ablilities, but she also makes him move forward the absolute most. Right now in these first 5 episodes, everything came so easy to Tatara, he’s basically been given everything on a silver tablet with the best wishes from the Chef so far and it will continue this way until Chii-chan arrives and messes with everything Tatara thought he knew.

Tatara is a total beginner and yes he first struggles a bit with the Waltz, but he gets his lessons for free, he is taught by literally the best dancer in Japan, he gets his suit for free, he gets to dance with two very experienced and advanced girls to learn from and has the ability to learn extreamly fast by seeing and remembering basically everything about dancing. Explaining doesn’t work very well for him, but seeing it does.

I really didn’t notice it that much when I was reading the manga, but Tatara is very priviledged – and has the balls to try and go after Shizuku as a partner, because he has a crush on her, even though she’s partnered with Hyodo. I don’t want to sound too mean, because he’s still training a lot, even at home, but I stand by my words, he has it very easy at the start and it takes until Chii-chan arrived that he’s actually forced to struggle for real for the first time.

I guess having it easy at the beginning makes up for all the struggle he has to go through with Chii-chan, because once it starts, it’s not going to stop. Tatara learns to suffer and is forced to face his weak spots, but creates something very unique together with Chii-chan. In a way, Chii-chan is the 3rd experienced & advanced girl he gets to pair up with, but she’s his first real partner and unlike Mako and Shizuku, Chii-chan has a whole damn lot of learning to do herself, because she always danced the male part and never the female part. So, you end up with a beginner who doesn’t know how to lead and an advanced dancer who doesn’t know how not to lead. Perfect combination for trouble. Awesome.

It’s actually even more awesome that in recent chapters they’ve started to discover a way to work together and bring out both their strenghts in their dance. I hope they can move forward from being the dysfunctional couple in desync to being a real unity, because in the rare moments they were, they were freaking unstoppable. They complement each other so well, there’s no way I want to see Tatara leave her for Shizuku at one point. If that’s ever going to happen, I’m dropping this manga, Tatara and Chii-chan absolutely need to stay together.

Talking about staying together, I love Hyodo and episode 4 made me realize again just why. This manga/anime has a great talent and that is: introducing an antagonist as some evil guy, that ends up in a friendly rivalry with the main protagonist. It happend with Hyodo, who’s some kind of mentor/elder brother to Tatara in manga right now and it also happend with Gaju. It’s so funny seeing all the people watching the anime complaining over Hyodo, wishing he would break up with Shizuku for Tatara’s sake and now they’re upset about Gaju “snatching Shizuku away” from Tarara being the mean guy… when it fact they all have their partners, they all will stay with their partners, Tatara will get his own partner and they will all become pretty good friends.

They are still rivals, but I love that they’re friends at the same time in a very healthy way. They do shenaningans, they mess up, they tease each other, but everything is on friendly terms and they rely onto each other when needed, too. In case of Hyodo, these could very well be his first actual frindships and Gaju? I mean, he’s even messing with Tatara in school all the time, they’re partners in crime.

In shounen, and Ballroom e Youkoso is a shounen, you usually have the main protagonist and his close ring of friends, his nakama. In case of Tatara, his “nakama” are his rivals, wich is kind of cool to be honest. I’d be interesting to see if Masami joins this ring of friends/rivals as well. So far, he tried his best not to and be the long wolf. He’s a very different type of guy and I think he might always stay more reserved, but I think he could very well become friends with the rest of the group.

And by the way, Akira is pretty ingenius as a comic relieve. She’s not just funny in the way she interacts with Chii-chan, there’s a very serious background to all of this and I hope to see more of her. Not because she’s gay for Chii-chan, remember I ship TataraxChii-chan, but because of her great dynamic with Chii-chan.

Before I finish this, I need to get this out of my system: You don’t teach Slow Foxtrott to a beginner. You… don’t. It’s too hard, even the basic steps are long and complicated, it’s a dance for advanced dancers and nothing Tatara should learn after Waltz as his first dance ever.

Ballroom e Youkoso will be back!

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After more than a year on hiatus, Ballroom e Youkoso is finally comming back! Apparently the manga-ka is healthy again and a new chapter is supposed to be released January 6th, which is about 2 1/2 weeks from now.

celebrate

Strangly, after such a long time of waiting, 2 1/2 weeks feel very long now that I know it’s finally happening. And yes, I know, most of the fandom has no idea this is happening, but I freaking love this manga and this is literally the best news in a loooong while for me.

waiting-so-long

Romance in Ballroom e Youkoso

It’s finally done: the latest chapters have been translated and now the big wait begins. Apparently the manga-ka is ill and therefore the manga has been on hiatus ever since. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery.

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The lastest two chapter 41 and 42 heavily focussed on the background of Akira and Chinatsu and apparently Akira is in love with Chii-chan. Ever since grade school she wanted to be her only partner and refused to learn the male steps, so she can funktion as Chii-chan’s only female partner when the other girls became interested in other things. Chii-chan on the other hand wanted to dance the girl part as well, but Akira wouldn’t let her.

tumblr_o0g7259mkw1tk1u0yo1_1280Even thought the current relationship between Akira and Chii-chan seems to be very bad, Akira is still in love with her former partner and boils with jealously over her relationship with Tatara. What brings me to my personal highlight: since I’m shipping TataraxChi, of course I fully support Akiras jealously, after all, if there is nothing going on and everything’s safe, there’s no need to become jealous. After only 4 months Chii-chan and Tatara have already developed a better and much more dynamic relationship than Akira and her partner and arguably even a closer relationshion than Akira ever had with Chii-chan.

Back in their grade school days, Chii-chan hated boys and she said it was disgusting to dance with them or hold hands. Now she’s finally dancing the female part she always wanted and even though she still has trouble not being the leader and accepting Tataras dance, those two have come a pretty long way already and in some rare occasions of unity their dance is simply astonishing. There’s so much insane potential in this pair, I would cry in frustration if they broke up – and they promised to break up, if they don’t win this competition. They can’t do that!

Tatara has already evolved so much, he’s not the same person he used to be when he danced with Mako. While they used to be a good couple, I don’t think they would fit that well anymore. And yes, Mako has a crush on him, but it’s guaranteed that’s not going anywhere. Tataras crush on Shizuku is a more serious matter, but even though I shipped them before Chii-chan came into play, I would rather have her and Hyoudou funktion as rivals for Tatara and Chii-chan rather than breaking the couples up and re-arranging tumblr_nzd9akXjch1soj3yeo1_1280them.

To sum it up, so far we have these confirmed romantic interests:

  • Mako -> Tatara
  • Tatara -> Shizuku
  • Akira -> Chinatsu

Throw Gaju into the mix, who’s protective over his sister, Makos jealously over Chii-chan, Akiras jealously over Tatara and Chinatsus own very unindentified feelings, we have a nice bag  full of teenage love problems. I think it’s interesting to see where Shizuku and Hyoudou are going. I’m rooting for them, they’ve known each other for a very long time and their inner timer clicks the same. As for Tatara, I personally think his crush on Shizuku is a result from his admiration for her as a great dancer.