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Manga / Welcome to the Ballroom

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Sweep over the dance hall.

"Never... stop dancing...!"
Sengoku Kaname, Heat 8: Tenpei Cup

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 Ogasawara 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.

Welcome to the Ballroom (Ballroom e Youkoso; ボールルームへようこそ ) is a manga series, written and illustrated by Tomo Takeuchi, which has been running in Monthly Shonen Magazine since 2011. It has been licensed in North America by Kodansha Comics USA, with its first volume released on September 27, 2016.

An anime adaptation by Production I.G ran during the Summer 2017 Anime season.

Not to be confused with the weekly manga Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High's Competitive Dance Club, though that series also focuses on dancesport.

As this page is recent, any help will be much appreciated.

This manga provides examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • Sengoku is the only Japanese world-level dancer, and has been beating pros since the age of ten.
    • Kiyoharu is this for the teenage characters. Many people see him as the one to beat and even Shizuku, his partner, believes he'll leave her in the dust one day.
  • Adapted Out: In the manga, the bullies appear from time to time before disappearing (except for Moroi) when Tatara attending high school. In the anime, after their initial scenes they never appear again.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Tatara and Gaju both have crushes on Shizuku who is more focused on dancing than dating.
    • It's hinted that Mako has a crush on Tatara who has a crush on Shizuku.
    • Akira has been in love with Chinatsu since elementary school, but Chinatsu both doesn't notice and has a lot of ship tease with Tatara.
  • Animal Motifs: Tatara and Chinatsu both have dog motifs. A scene with them arguing was shown with two dogs barking at each other.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • Tatara and Mako are noted to both be timid and kind. With both Sengoku and Chinatsu noting that they are pretty similar.
    • Sengoku and his partner Hongou like to mock people around them and are very willing to physically attack each other.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For Tatara in the Tenpei cup, Gaju & Shizuku won the competition while he & Mako placed 7th, but then Mako won the title of Ballroom Queen, accomplished their initial goal of their competition (having Kiyoharu & Shizuku and Gaju & Mako stay as partners). This also applies to Shizuku, as while she won the cup, she lost the Ballroom Queen title against someone who is paired with a newbie.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three main female teenage characters show this arrangement: respectively, Mako, Shizuku, and Chinatsu.
  • Brother–Sister Team: The Akagi siblings, Gaju and Mako, are dance partners. However, when they are introduced Gaju is actually interested in having Shizuku as his new partner, while his sister wants to keep dancing with him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Jinbo Tomochika, one of Tatara's first teachers. Sengoku has mocked him for not having a partner when there are more women dancers than men.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Kiyoharu is revealed to be partially Russian, at least 1/4. Same for his mother who is half Russian.
  • Camp Gay: Vassily Tolachev. He seems to have recently came out and despite his manly features is very feminine in his dress and when Sengoku went to shake his hand, Tolachev grabbed Sengoku's genitals. Sengoku was reasonably uncomfortable about this.
  • Character Development: So far each of the teens have undergone character development due to meeting Tatara
    • Kiyoharu spent a lot of his time seemingly bored. It wasn't till he met Tatara, a person that could copy his dancing moves and make Shizuku, his partner dance that he started to get excited again.
    • Shizuku felt that her dancing couldn't excite Kiyoharu, her partner and rival and felt that she was fated to be left in the dust by him. Seeing Tatara light a fire in Kiyoharu frustrated her and she became driven to improve further.
    • Dancing with Tatara made Mako realize she was being too shy and that was starting to have negative effects on her partnership with her brother. She realized that she was more skilled than she thought and has grown more confident in her skills.
    • Seeing Mako's skills grow in the Tenpei Cup seems to mellowed Gaju down and he is overall more friendly than before.
    • Chinatsu has trouble relaying on Tatara at first both due to Tatara's inexperience as a dancer, her past experience as the leader with Akira and her trouble finding a new partner to compete officially. As Tatara shows his loyalty to her and he grows as a dancer, she starts to believe in him and they grow closer.
    • Tatara starts the series as lost, wondering what to do in life. Meeting Sengoku, gives his love of competitive dancing and a goal in life. But meeting and partnering with Chinatsu is what really starts his development. Due to their different personalities, Tatara cannot just rely on her experience like he did with Mako, forcing him to develop his own dancing style and not just letting his partner do all the work.
  • Childhood Friends: Tatara's teenage acquaintances in the dancing world seem to have known each other for a very long time: Kiyoharu and Shizuku have been dance partners since a very young age due to their grandparents being dance partners, and also know Gaju and Mako due to the four of them competing together several times. The group acts as if they have met for years.
    • Chinatsu and Akira are revealed to be have been friends since elementary school, before their relationship turned sour.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Of the red-purple-yellow variety. Between the girls, Chinatsu is the main female protagonist in red, Shizuku is the (comparatively) serious one in violet, and Mako is the gentle one in yellow.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Chinatsu for Tatara. She never reacts well when Tatara reacts to another girl and was very bitter when she learned that he was Mako's partner before even if it was a short period of time. Even refusing to talk to him for days.
    • Akira for Chinatsu. She was very unhappy to see that Tatara and Chinatsu became close as partners and was angry whenever they "flirt" in her eyes.
  • Contrived Coincidence: How Tatara obtained Chinatsu as his partner. During Tatara first year in high school, he decided to work part time in a shop in order to pay for the studio fees, the boss has a daughter (Akira) who is also a ballroom dancer (though she already had her own partner), who turns out to have a friend (Chinatsu) that Tatara once practiced with her but quit, and then with Akira mocking Chinatsu for her attitude towards dance, Chinatsu decided to partner with Tatara right on the spot.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: The series portrays ballroom dancing as the fiercely competitive sport that it is in real life.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Partners are described with a lot of romantic terms such as interviews, break ups and marriage. As such partnerships can be seen as a metaphor for relationships, but this is not always the case as seen with Mako and Gaju who are just siblings.
  • Evolving Credits: In the anime's closing credits, Tatara is shown dancing on his own in the first four episodes. Starting in episode 5, after he's partnered with Mako, he's shown dancing with her instead. Then in episode 7, Tatara & Mako danced in their ballroom outfit.
    • And in episode 9, it's Mako dancing alone, symbolizing Tatara's resolve to highlight her as the focus of the dance, as part of the "Flower and Frame" concept of partnership that the episode introduced. In episode 11, Tatara gone back to dancing alone again as he and Mako have broken up.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: In Chapter 34 Chinatsu complains about how even terrible partners can win competitions as long as their leaders are talented enough... to Mako. She ends up with serious egg on her face when Mako quietly admits that she basically has a reputation as this sort of partner, being a "doll partner" for her talented brother.
  • Foil:
    • Kugimiya and Tatara in terms of leading style. While Tatara is very thoughtful of his partner with his dancing being stated as working to maximize his partner's dancing even if he's overshadowed as a result, Kugimiya is the exact opposite. He is very forceful, not caring about his partner's needs at all as if the partner is just an extra to his dancing.
    • Tatara and Chinatsu are complete opposites which makes their partnership interesting to watch. While Tatara recently started dancing, Chinatsu has been dancing since childhood but was forced to stop when she had trouble finding a partner during middle school. Tatara is rather timid who, despite being the leader, has depended on his partner to tell him how to dance while Chinatsu has trouble following due to her history as a leader and her own strong personality.
  • Friendly Rival: All over the place. The only real exception is Chinatsu and Akira.
  • Generation Xerox: Tatara's relationship with his partner Chinatsu starts to resemble his mentor's, Sengoku, relationship with his own partner, Chizuru Hongou. Probably not as a coincidence, Chinatsu seems to admire Hongou as much as Tatara admires Sengoku (and indeed followed her exact steps as a dancer so far, as Hongou also used to be a lead dancer).
  • Hero Worship:
    • Tatara looks up to Sengoku, seeing him as his teacher and when he had to switch studios as Sengoku wasn't around enough to train him, he was depressed at having to leave.
    • Chinatsu for Hongou. Chapter 42 shows that she been Hongou's fan since elementary school and part of the reason she grew to love dancing so much was a desire to be just like her heroine. She even asks for a hug when she finally meets her heroine, who happily agrees.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The later half of chapter 33 is this, with fanservice for both genders.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Sengoku is rude, aggressive and prideful. But he does care about his students and does want to see Tatara do well.
    • Gaju is rather rude to Tatara at first, and has no problem in ditching his younger sister Mako (who has been pairing with him for years) for his dream partner Shizuku, in front of her, even. However, after Mako wins the Queen of Ballroom prize at the Tenpei-cup, with Tatara as her lead, he mellows quite a bit and even takes Tatara under his wing after they turn out to attend the same high school.
    • Chizuru Hongou, Sengoku's partner is perfectly willing to mock Jinbo over being single and has beaten Sengoku bloody because he kept hitting her back. But at the same time, she's kind to her fans and treats Sengoku's students as her own as well.
  • The Load:
    • Discussed. In competitive dancing, most of the scoring is based on the leader as such it is possible for bad partners to score well in competitions if they have a good partner.
    • This trope is actually the cause of Chinatsu and Akira's broken friendship. As children, Chinatsu was Akira's partner but because Akira didn't really care for dancing, Chinatsu was forced to be the leader constantly. As such she has little to no experience as a follower despite being a skilled dancer. Her experience as a leader made it hard for her to find a partner for official competitions to the point she had to stop dancing because no man would partner with her, which lead to her growing bitter at Akira. On Akira's side, she focused on following due to her crush on Chinatsu and her overhearing that while Chinatsu was skilled in dancing, Akira was a better follower. She focused on being a follower so she would be Chinatsu's perfect partner. She grew bitter when she realized Chinatsu didn't see her as her partner but just as a girl that was dancing only for fun.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Tatara and Chinatsu fit this. Due to Tatara both being inexperienced and good at reading others, he's rather skilled at following and letting his partner shine. Chinatsu has spend most of her previous dancing experience as a leader because she took an all girls dancing group, as such she's rather bad at following.
  • Nice Guy: Tatara, Mako and Shizuku are very friendly and approachable. While Tatara initially thinks that Iwakuma is scary, he turns out to be this.
  • Noodle People: The anime adaptation gives the characters longer proportions to try and emphasize their dancing, particularly to the necks. In motion, characters' limbs tend to be distorted to exaggerate motion, sometimes adding to this effect.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Sengoku and Hongou with each other.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Shizuku is the target of Tatara and Gaju's affections, but doesn't seem to notice at all, seeing them as friends and dance partners only.
    • Turns out that Chinatsu was completely in the dark about Akira's feelings despite being partners for years.
  • Odd Couple: Tatara and Chinatsu. While they're partners, they are very different in personality, experience and temperament. A big plot point is their difficulty in dancing together due to their differences. While Tatara is shy, inexperienced and has a tendency of letting his partner lead, Chinatsu is experienced, aggressive and is a natural leader. Shizuku even states that as a pair, they are rather unusual due to the power fights the two have.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Akira and Chinatsu engage this in nearly every single interaction they share, though Akira is usually the instigator.
    Akira [upon seeing Tatara and Chinatsu at Shizuoka]: Why are you here at the Grand Prix? Didn't you just become D Rank? (...) Oh, I see, maybe you messed up your entry! Chinatsu can be careless like that!
  • Precocious Crush: Gorou's daughter develops one on Tatara in chapter 43.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Both Sengoku and Gaju are pretty masculine in their looks and personalities, but they also love competitive dance. They both admit it's kinda girly, but they really don't care anymore.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Pretty much all the male characters when they have to perform. Though they have also worn more revealing outfits for the more sexual dances like Latin.
  • Ship Tease: Tatara has tease with each of the three teen girls.
    • Shizuku: Tatara met her first and she is part of the reason he's started ballroom dancing in the first place. It's pretty obvious that he has a crush on her. On her side, she highly regards his talent and wants to compete against him.
    • Mako: They have shown to have similar personalities. He spent a lot of time in the Tenpei-cup trying to help and this has shown to positively affected her dancing. Afterwords, there are some hints that she might have developed a crush on him.
    • Chinatsu: He gets a lot with Chinatsu as a result of being partners. Due to the various romantic terms used for partners like married, a lot of their conflict seems to rather shippy due to the wording. Like Chinatsu being horrified of Tatara dumping her, dumping meaning they stop being partners. Some scenes seem to suggest that Chinatsu is something of a Clingy Jealous Girl towards him. In chapter 41 when comparing partners, he admits that Chinatsu is the most beautiful. Chapter 43 lays it on thicker when Akira's partner compares their relationship to that of his relationship of his former partner, his wife. Chinatsu's father is even a Shipper on Deck for the two of them.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Tatara platonically ships both MakoXGaju and ShizukuXKiyoharu as he doesn't like seeing partnerships being broken up.
    • Marisa seems to ship Tatara and Chinatsu. Chinatsu's dad seems to join her.
  • Shrinking Violet: Mako. Tatara is a male example.
  • Smooch of Victory: At the finale, Chinatsu gives Tatara a kiss on the cheek after they win the Class A Metropolitan Tournament.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Chapter 42 shows that Mako looks identical to her mother.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • As everybody involved mentioned during the Misaka cup, having a substitute (Tatara for Kiyoharu) to dance for even one round got Kiyoharu & Shizuku disqualified from competing professionally for 6 months, though it's for the best given Kiyoharu's situation.
    • Surprisingly, there are 2 instances in the Tenpei cup that is averted. One is Mako's breast pads accidentally falling all over the stage and caused (especially for the anime) competitors to fall down. Another is Gaju headbutting Tatara after a collusion during the quickstep. Both of these should have caused them to be disqualified, especially coming from experienced dancers like them.
    • The ending to the Tenpei arc. While Gaju does mess up in one quickstep round & a solo waltz round, he is a much more skilled and experienced dancer than Tatara (who had just started dancing in under a year, and is already out of stamina before the finals) as such he and Shizuku win first place while Tatara and Mako placed 7th.
    • Noted by Tamaki herself, Ogasawara Dance Studio is not a studio that trains professional dancers, and with Sengoku being able to connect with his partner & is able to dance professionally around the globe, Tatara (in his own accord) eventually decides to go to Marrisa Hyoudou's studio in order to get the training he & Chinatsu need to compete (With a surprising revelation that her studio fares are ridiculously cheap).
  • Unmanly Secret: Discussed by Sengoku, who states that it's probably hard for a teenage boy to admit he's interested in dancing. Actually subverted by the male characters in the series, who are open about and sometimes proud of their sport.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Chinatsu and Akira used to be partners but their friendship spoiled and currently they seem to dislike each other.
  • Worthy Opponent: Kiyoharu sees Tarara as this. Soon after Shizuku believes this as well.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sengoku gives off this feeling with his partner Chizuru Hongou. As Tatara and Chinatsu grow closer, they seem to be giving off this feeling too, if not more.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Tatara is surprised that Sengoku is only 23 years old, though that's probably more because of his talent and experience than his appearance.
    • Kiyoharu, Shizuku and Gaju look a lot older due to their more developed bodies.

Alternative Title(s): Ballroom E Youkoso