[Left: Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Takeuchi. Right: Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club by Yokota Takuma]
How the post came by during a long break: Browse at Manga Here, interested at the cover page of the Welcome to the Ballroom, spend my entire morning reading the chapters (strangely except for the first chapter) published, then looked at TvTropes for that page, see a manga with a similar premise called Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club, spend my entire afternoon reading the chapters (which are longer) published. And now we are here.
[Note: This is never a professional review]
Obviously, you should never judge a book by its cover, but when there are some many mangas that we can potentially read online and so little time to read them all. A great cover art is something that I would evaluate in the first hand, and that’s why due to Welcome to the Ballroom (one of the best manga cover I’ll see in the decade, though I think the protagonist looks too professional for someone who never started dancing), the post I here.
[A great example of an attractive cover art: Chihayafuru by Yuki Suegutsu, although honestly, I look at it because I wanted to read an unique sports manga. And honestly, this cover page never really show the sport in general, but this cover, it’s utterly unique in terms of art style]
Premise (Summary from Tv Tropes)
I’ll just take the summary from Tv Tropes and let you decide which premise is better. Cause I rather look at other stuffs.
Welcome To The Ballroom: (After that I’ll go to Ballroom for short)
Tatara Fujita is a young, ordinary Japanese student who wishes he had an activity he could excel in or simply be good at, in order to improve his meek personality. On the way back from school, he gets approached by a bunch of bullies who try to extort him, but is rescued by a young man called Kaname Sengoku. Sengoku turns out to be a professional ballroom dancer, who is interested in recruiting Tatara to the Ogawara Dance Studio. He reluctantly accepts to take a few classes, but takes a step further into the competitive and entrancing world of ballroom dancing, inspired by one of the studio’s other pupils, the beautiful dance prodigy Shizuku
Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club by Yokota Takuma (after that I’ll go to Straighten Up! for short)
Masaharu Tsuchiya has just become a freshman in high school and he’s looking to make a change in his life. He wants to be more active and more involved in school life, since the only club he was a part of in middle school he just coasted through. He’d also like to get over his lack of social skills when it comes to women. However, in his future, he’ll soon be tossed into a strange and magical world full of dancing after he witnesses his school’s competitive dance club in action…
What They Teach First
Ballroom: Box, a waltz move which is said to be hardly used. And then they basically went into competitions. This is a manga for people who already learned about a thing or two in dancesport.
Straighten Up!: Dancing posture. This manga has an advantage of being read later so I remember it clearer. Still, I definitely learned more from this manga, since it provides info not only on standard, but also on Latin as well.
Their First Match
Ballroom: Not mentioning the informal substitution stage (where he only learned Waltz at that time), he actually done well in an informal (but still having to dance 4 Standard-styles) dance competition with a new partner (going straight to the finals and helped his partner get the best partner award).
Straighten Up!: Also quite informal but knocked out in the first round as the heroine got stage fright.
I think an author would find a new niche with one dancesport manga that showcase the protagonist having years of experience before the show start, and started off doing Latin instead?
Day To Day Life
Ballroom: At least it mentions studying, and some cultural difficulties of mentioning one’s own career.
Straighten Up!: Dancing sportswear being too expensive? My mother owns a fashion store. Told your parents? Been there done that. Studies? What is that? Ranking matches? We just throw newbies to the sharks and let them overshadowed by teenagers who looked 10 years older!
Character Ensemble and the Pace
Ballroom: Given that it is a monthly manga (and went through a hiatus until recently), the speed is comparable to Straighten Up!, mostly because it focus on the main character experiencing the world of dance for his first time and the things he learned along the way. And most of the characters are at the range of ‘normal’ in their personality and their appearance.
Straighten Up!: They showcase a cast outside of the main couple (including the way most of the guys that are drawn), so with a cost of slowing the pace of the manga we could see the motivation and the dreams of the dancers who had dance since childhood or danced starting from high school.
Ok, so here are the 2 ballroom mangas that I have read.
By the way, it seems that Welcome To The Ballroom has been made into an anime show, I didn’t like the narration and the theme song preview (too basic J-POP that doesn’t even fit Latin), and I fear the anime art style would utterly falter compared to the art of the really addictive pages in the manga, but if they managed to pull the dancing segment off (which compared to Yuri on Ice, a show that you will get bored if you watch all 12 episodes consecutively…
[Side Note Pause: Watched the series of Yuri on Ice (except for the first episode, I’m strange like that) and it was fun experience, Episode 10 is an insane blast especially at the end, but watching 6 episodes of competitions almost consecutively is almost tiring. Having only 12 episode is a bitch for this series.]
), would be a contender for the best sports anime due to it’s niche and the technical difficulty of dance moves.