Amazon as been recommending bangers to me lately and I greatly appreciate it. After finishing Demon Slayer this weekend and now this I'm very sad because I've grown to love both main characters. Disclaimer, I'm not a fan of sports genre animes and many will argue that Ballroom dancing isn't a competitive sport. Well, it is. This a simple and cute two-season series. I wish it was longer because I was really into it. It even gave me goosebumps at some points during the tournaments. At one point at the beginning of the series, it can be assumed that it is a romance genre but its not. It is solely about dancing. There is a manga to the adaptation (I do not plan on reading it because of the beautiful expressions of animation used to convey dancing won't be able to compare to paper). The series does stop at Volume 8 if anyone is interested in reading every volume of pick up from where the series left off.
The series entitles a typical storyline of a young 15-year-old boy, Tatara Fujita, who by chance, discovers the world of competitive dance with no prior experience. It can be implied he originally became interested because he had a crush on his junior high school classmate, Hanaoka Shizuku, who is a professional dancer with her childhood friend and partner Hyoudou Kiyoharu.
Fujita notices Shizuku and follows her to a dance studio after school one day, while in the midst of being robbed outside the studio, he is saved by Kaname Sengoku. Sengoku is a professional and famous dancer, who is also the owner of the studio that Shizuku led him to. From being offered a complimentary practice and watching Shizuku practice, Fujita is captivated by ballroom dancing and continues to come back for more lessons and improvement.
These are the main characters of the series:
- Fujita Tatara
- Hyoudou Kiyoharu
- Hanaoka Shizuku
- Akagi Mako
- Sengoku Kaname
- Akagi Gaju
So I made this map really quick to explain the first season. So, in the beginning, Fujita apparently has a romantic interest in Shizuku. But her only focus is dancing. After being taking Kiyoharu's, a dance protege, place at the first competition, he is looked at as competition for him. He does not explain why but Kiyoharu finds Fuijta interesting and observes all his moves and efforts during his entire journey.
The first competition is a bet between Gaju and Fujita. Gaju is a professional dancer like the rest of them with his younger sister Mako. Gaju is unable to dance to his fullest potential because he is vastly taller than his sister so it makes their pairing slower. So when Kiyoharu gets injured and has to sit out for the rest of the season, Gaju steals Shizuku from Fujita. In disagreement with the new pairing and watching Mako hurt over the split. They made a bet that if Mako can dance better than Shizuku then Gaju will pair with her again, otherwise Mako will stay either unpaired or with Fujita.
After Kiyoharu sprained his leg I thought this series would be a romance triangle or a confession of love on the horizon but I was wrong. He was a dream to watch dance for those 2 episodes that he was in. He does appear in the rest of the series but he does not dance at all, he is only there as a spectator and a mentor to Fujita. He did a better job than his mother and Sengoku, who left during season 2 to pursue the rest of his dance career.
Season 2, introduces Chinastsu Hiyama (Chi-Chan) as Fujita's dance partner. The entire season is dedicated to figuring out how the pairing can work together because Chi-chan was once a Lead prior to Fujita and does not know how to feminine nor a Follow. She lacks understanding in his dance style and his Lead dynamics. She is very headstrong and stubborn. There are references made multiple times that she is a wild beast (a stallion). With her entering the plot, it draws attention to Fujita's Lead skills. In his first competition with Shizuku and the second with Mako, he seemed like a very good Lead, when in fact he replies on the Follow (the woman) to do all the work on the dance floor and he follows them. He lacks a dominant demeanor which makes it difficult for him to Lead Chi-chan. But, in the end, they were able to pull it together and win their third comp together with minor mistakes but within unity. There was a bet made during that comp as well, that if Chi-chan's Follow makes them lose the comp then they will separate and find new pairings.
In my opinion, Chi-chan is a better romantic interest for Fujita than Shizuku (they're both baddies). Also, his lead with Mako was not a clear indicator that he was an unfit Lead because Mako was a submissive regardless if the other party was a dom or sub.
This next map just explains Chi-chan's background some more. So growing up she had a best friend, Akira who is also a dancer, because most male dancers a limited in the ballroom sport many young women pair up until junior high school and look for a male partner. Akira never liked dancing, she only liked to dance with Chi-chan. She was in love with her. Chi-chan, on the other hand, was a dynamic and energetic dancer. She got this admiration to dance from watching Sengoku's partner who started out as an all-women's pairing as well, Chizuru.
I think what I liked the most about this series is not only because of the animation. But the character development that Fujita had. He grew as a person and a dancer. In the beginning, he was a middle schooler who did not know what he wanted to do or what high school he wanted to go to. Although his timid nature and feeling as if he is unable to tell his dad about his new love of dance has something to do with the lack of a relationship he has with his mother. His mother is not dead, which I implied that she was until the final episodes where there was a flashback of her leaving when he was a child and he was watching her leave. Apart from me feels empty because the adaptation is over so I'm torn if I want to read the manga or not but this was a beautiful series and I will always cheer for him and what to see him win.
I would like to know Shizuku and Kiyoharu's background and how they became friends. They started dancing together which is clear. But Kiyoharu is a protege and comes from a famous family full of dancers. What about Shizuku? What made her dance?