Welcome to the Ballroom 1×01 Review: Welcome to Osawarada Dance Studio
Like most shows, Welcome to the Ballroom uses its first episode to set up the basic plot and make a few important introductions. In “Welcome to Osawarada Dance Studio”, we meet Tatara, Shizuku, and Sengoku and learn that Sengoku and Shizuku are competitive dancers while Tatara has no idea what he wants to do.
Tatara, in his last year of junior high and struggling to come up with career and high school goals, accidentally locks eyes with Shizuku, who is being scolded by a different teacher for similar reasons. Later, he spies Shizuku walking and follows her to Osawarada Dance Studio. Sengoku finds him outside and mistakenly assumes he is there for the free trial lesson, and that is how Tatara is introduced to the world of competitive ballroom dancing. He knows that he doesn’t really belong there, but after watching a DVD of a previous competition he is captivated by Sengoku’s dancing and somehow agrees to take lessons, even though he cannot afford it. He announces his desire to become a professional dancer like Sengoku. This, however, greatly upsets Sengoku because he feels Tatara thinks it will be easy, so Sengoku punishes him by making him do a very basic step over and over again.
This first episode was a little slow, but that’s to be expected because we haven’t yet gotten into the meat of the storyline. We haven’t even met all the main players yet! “Welcome to Osawarada Dance Studio” only covers the first chapter of the manga, so things will pick up once we start getting to the actual competitions.
There are some differences between the manga and the anime already; though they’re not super important to the plot, they are little character quirks. Some of them are not really a change for the better. For example, in the manga Tatara doesn’t even notice the dance studio. He’s looking at a flyer for a part-time job and Sengoku misunderstands why he’s there. I actually find it a little creepy that they had Tatara follow Shizuku, and the fact that he wasn’t looking for the dancing made more of an impact when he was blown away by it. Also, when Tatara is being bullied in the manga Sengoku chases them away by giving them [fake] money instead of intimidating them. Not a vital plot point (though the bullies come back later to beat up Tatara) but speaks a little more to Sengoku’s character.
I like the character design (it’s the same person who does Haikyuu!! so no surprise on that one), and the animation and music were both excellent as well. Everyone has really long necks and the big eyes kind of bother me, but every anime that I’ve watched has required an adjustment period to get used to the way the characters look.
All in all, a pretty solid first episode. My faves haven’t even shown up yet! You’re all in for a treat.
Did you guys watch Welcome to the Ballroom? What did you think of “Welcome to Osawarada Dance Studio”?
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, and conventions in the NYC area.
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