Welcome to the Ballroom Vol. 7 - Manga Review

It’s time for Fujita and Chinatsu to take their game to the next level, but the pressure they face to unite as a pair won’t help with this.

The Lowdown

After a tumultuous first competition as a pair, Fujita and Chinatsu begin taking classes from Marisa Hyodo to get to the next level competitively. Although Marisa advocates for taking things slowly to build their fundamental skills, Fujita and Chinatsu sneak off to Shizuoka to join a Grand Prix competition against her wishes. After the competition, the two continue their training before heading off to a summer training camp organized by Marisa. Although they find it inspiring to train with some old friends, the biggest challenge for them is to figure out how to truly get in sync before their next big competition.

How Was It?

Anyone who has become invested in Fujita’s compelling journey in entering dance over the course of this series will enjoy the way that this volume advances him along this path. A few volumes ago, Fujita resolved to take dancing more seriously, and this volume shows this process as he begins to truly become a competitive dancer through the training he commences with Marisa. We see Fujita’s determination harnessed in a new way as he commits to training quite intensely, and it was refreshing to see the story up the ante in his training to match him truly beginning to acquire the mindset of a competitive dancer.

One of the best parts of the last few volumes has been the way that we’ve seen Fujita and Chinatsu’s process of trying to work together as partners, and this volume advances this meaningfully both on the dancefloor and off of it. We see the way that the two, in joining competitions and practicing, have to navigate the other’s feelings, and I’m really enjoying the depth given to their unconventional partnership. This is especially true as we see Fujita think about the way that Chinatsu has been trying her best to work together with him in a nice moment of realization. This reaches a compelling breaking point at the end of the volume, and I’m really interested to see where their tenuous partnership leads as their biggest competitions arrive.

This volume also continues to take an interestingly psychological approach in continuing to show Fujita’s mental process of attempting to master new skills, and I’ve really enjoyed the way that this has made his development as a dancer quite tangible over the course of the series. It doesn’t come easy for him either as this volume makes clear, and I thought it was really fascinating to see the way that Fujita and Chinatsu have zigged and zagged in their development as time has gone on. Their journey has never felt inevitable in the way that those of many other protagonists of sports series do, and I enjoyed seeing them react to their numerous setbacks.  As noted above, their resolve as they train is tested in a way that threatens their partnership, and I continue to enjoy the way that their efforts to get better as dancers collide with their interpersonal relationship as partners.

Although the main focus is on Fujita and Chinatsu training and working out their issues, this volume delivers plenty of excellent dance scenes which are woven well into their process. We get another excellent dance scene featuring Sengoku and Chizuru to start off, but the best scene where Tatara’s psychological balance as a dancer comes to the fore follows Fujita and Chinatsu as they enter into a high-level competition and really click for the first time. This is portrayed quite artfully as Fujita and Chinatsu blending together, and this really helped to sell his shock and discomfort after the fact because of the unfamiliar feeling. The art as a whole in this volume is extremely strong, with characters such as Shizuku drawn in an even more detailed manner than they were earlier in the series.

Final Thoughts

Welcome to the Ballroom Vol. 7 is an artistic delight which continues to thrill both on and off of the dancefloor as Fujita and Chinatsu strive to improve competitively. The personality dynamic between the two is thoroughly engrossing because of the way that they both work to try and reconcile their differences to become an effective pair, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it all play out as their next big competition approaches. Finally, the art continues to impress as the characters continue to be drawn in a more detailed fashion than before, and the dance scenes are wonderfully drawn with a keen sense of movement. Don't miss out!


Welcome to the Ballroom 7
By Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome to the Ballroom Vol. 7 was translated by Karen McGuillicudy and published by Kodansha Comics USA on September 19th, 2017. Created by Tomo Takeuchi, the series runs in Kodansha’s Monthly Shonen Magazine.

Verdict:

A

Date of Publication: September 19th, 2017

Author: Tomo Takeuchi

Translator: Karen McGuillicudy

Editor: Paul Starr

Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA


Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka