Welcome to the Ballroom got a good deal of fanfare a couple years earlier where I did have interest in wanting to check it out thanks to its rather unique focus on ballroom dancing, until I heard reception eventually got mixed and underwhelming to what it offered up. That still had me interested in seeing what made it a mixed bag among fans considering the ballroom dancing premise had storytelling potential on paper. However as I watched the anime's 24-episode TV run, I started to see the rather glaring flaws that made the hype for it quickly fizzle out.
Welcome to the Ballroom is in essence a shounen sports anime that features its male lead taking up a sport to find meaning for himself and develop greater self-confidence in his capabilities. In spite of this rather cliched element, the premise could work if the lead's character development comes off as engaging and has likeable characters serving to support or rival him in his efforts. However, Welcome to the Ballroom has a nice number of issues with elements to this storytelling premise. As our male lead, Fujita is rather milquetoast as he is frequently unsure of himself throughout the span of the anime's run and I never got much sense that he was growing as a character as he improved his dancing skills and gained more experience within ballroom competitions. Many of the other characters are not much better as a number of them have rather obnoxious and unlikable personality traits that made relating to them difficult at many points throughout Welcome to the Ballroom.
A prominent issue with the anime is that it doesn't allow for much opportunity to see things from the perspectives of the female characters. Shizuku and Mako, for example, made for some of the more tolerable and likeable characters within the anime who had roles in supporting Fujita's growth during the first half of the anime. However, the anime devoted little time to exploring their characters and motivations, and largely focused on Fujita's training and ballroom dancing. Some have ripped the anime as being sexist for assuming it regards its female cast largely as props and usually sexual objects with some scenes featuring male characters ogling the girls and a few random service shots of female characters. While I could see where this criticism comes into play, the anime gradually breaks from this trend in later episodes. However, it still doesn't devote enough focus on female characters and trying to make the majority of its cast more likeable.
The major issue that I have with Welcome to the Ballroom though is that it doesn't really do a good job of representing what the world of competitive ballroom dancing is like. Sports titles focused on major sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, and racing are accessible to audiences since there is greater awareness of the rules and training for them, thus making them relatable to the audiences that watch the tribulations of the major characters participating in them. Competitive ballroom dancing does not fit into such accessibility, thus creating a learning curve for audiences unfamiliar with the sport to learn about elements to it like types of dancing, rules in competitions, how dance performances are judged, and how dancers train. While there is mention of elements to ballroom dancing, the anime never goes into depth on them as it is more focused on the ongoing developments of its plot and characters. Without being able to properly understand the rules and dancing styles employed for ballroom dancing, this reduces the relatability that the series could have to draw audiences into caring for the developments of its characters, who already have their issues as I highlighted above.
Overall, Welcome to the Ballroom is mostly wasted potential. While having a unique premise on paper, this is largely wasted on a mostly unlikable cast of characters, not enough focus on female characters, and doing a rather poor job of making its sport of focus accessible and relatable to audiences unfamiliar with it. Unless you have a solid understanding on what the world of competitive ballroom dancing is like, I would suggest skipping this title.
Rating: 5 of 10
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT