Heyo from Singapore! I’m back in my home country for the summer break WOOHOO. I hope I can keep this everyday thing up. Gonna be busy with quite a few stuff till the beginning of Dec.
Just a heads up, I’ll now be posting according to Singapore time instead, so that’s GMT/UTC+8 (instead of +10), PST +15 (instead of +17).
Here’s one I just started yesterday.
Manga: Ballroom e Youkoso 「ボールルームへようこそ」a.k.a. Sweep over the Dance Hall
Ballroom e Youkoso is a Shounen sports manga series written and illustrated by Takeuchi Tomo. It started publishing in Dec 2011 and is still ongoing. There are currently 6 tankobon volumes that have been released. Besides getting nominated for the 6th Manga Taisho in 2013, an annual manga award limited to series with 8 or less collected tankobon volumes, Ballroom e Youkoso has also been highly ranked by other sources. Its reception has been great.
Meek, ordinary middle school student, Fujita Tatara couldn’t find any objective in life and spent his days idly. One day, while being bullied, he is saved by a mysterious man on a motorcycle. The man mistakes Tatara’s interest and drags him to a ballroom dancing class. Inspired by the dancers and their intensity, Tatara vows to change himself and starts to dedicate his youth to dancesport.
WARNING: Nothing. Unless you think ballroom dancing is ‘sissy’, then I’d like to warn you about the potential wrath you could incur.
A friend recommended it to me a few days ago and I have to say, the cover art was so cool I had to start it asap
even though I actually have a thousand and one other manga to read, help. He always recommends really great stuff XD
I guess this series seems to be following a certain generic shounen manga development where the protag is weak etc and then he’s hardworking and trains to become strong. Ballroom e Youkoso starts out pretty average. You have generic scenes with the protag lost without a purpose in life etc. The manga builds up and introduces important characters and you very soon find out in what way the protag has ‘star potential’. Every sports manga has cliche opening sequences, definitely, but I guess what got me on a roll was the pacing of how everything was introduced quickly. It didn’t stay cliche for long.
Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, Ballroom e Youkoso is pretty engaging with this mix of both as with most shounen manga. I find the way the humor is portrayed interesting though. Much of the manga is reliant on expressions of the characters. The art style changes slightly to match the tone of the situation.
My favourite part about the art is the way the way Takeuchi-sensei portrays the ballroom dance movement throughout the series. Its always really difficult to portray action and movement on paper. You’re looking at one still image, not watching on multiple pieces of paper like animation, but yet, you can still clearly imagine all the movements taking place when you see one manga page. The characters’ dynamic posing, deliberate action blurs and lines play such a huge role in this manga, even more so when it’s about dance and movement. Some might think it’s unprofessional (maybe), but I think it’s really cool how the perspective and anatomy of the characters aren’t always fixed and drawn in complete detail. It gives a feeling of fluidity and flow when ‘watching the characters dance’. It’s like the art style changes when someone’s on the dance floor and the characters themselves are showing off a different side too. Add this to great panelling structure in your pages, and you have a beautiful piece of work. Or maybe I’m thinking too deep here. HAHA.
Totally agreed 110% with that friend when he said Ballroom e Youkoso has so much potential. Only read 4 chapters and I already can’t wait for more, aaarrghhhh. Thanks for the rec, Nef ❤
Checking out nominees for the Manga Taisho awards is another great way to find amazing new manga to read huh.