Ballroom dance anime Welcome to the Ballroom (Ballroom e Youkoso), held its world premiere event at North America’s biggest anime convention, Anime Expo 2017, in Los Angeles on Sunday 2 July at 10:30 a.m. They screened Episodes 1 and 2 before the Japanese broadcast and so 3000 fans gathered in the LACC Hall A to take part in the screening.
Before the screening, Director Yoshimi Itazu, General Animation Director Takahiro Chiba, and Producer Tetsuya Kinoshita attended as special guests. Director Itazu said, ‘You all are the first people in the world to see this work! We have been working on it for over two years so please enjoy it.’ Chiba said, ‘Today, the main character, Tatara-kun’s personal growth drama starts today. Let’s support him together!’
People waving Welcome to the Ballroom fans could be seen throughout the crowd and the atmosphere was like a festival, but when the screening began, it suddenly changed as everyone focused on the screen. For a moment, the venue was enveloped in silence but when the theme song by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN played, ’10% roll, 10% romance’, cheering erupted from the audience. After that, whenever Tatara Fujita, Shizuku Hanaoka, or Kiyohara Hyodo appeared onscreen, voices saying, ‘Wow!’, could be heard from the audience.
As the video played, the local fans didn’t just silently watch, but they swung between happiness and sadness, admired the wonderful images, and enjoyed it in every way possible. It was as if the cast and staff’s passion had crossed the seas and reached Los Angeles. The screening ended with applause and loud cheering. There were people who were smiling with satisfaction as well as those who were moved to tears… People expressed themselves differently but there is no doubt that Welcome to the Ballroom touched the hearts of the people there that day.
During the screening, the three guests watched from their seats and Director Itazu said, ‘I was excited to watch it together with everyone.’ To fans that seemed as if they wanted more, Producer Kinoshita said, ‘There are 24 episodes in this anime so please enjoy it at Anime Strike (Amazon’s anime streaming service).’
After the event, the fans were asked their opinions, ‘It was so moving that I cried. I am excited for the next episode’, ‘The characters are charming and it seems to be enjoyable even if you don’t know anything about dance’, ‘I was reading the manga and the anime is true to it so that’s good’, ‘I feel the overflow of emotions from this work.’
Welcome to the Ballroom began broadcasting in Japan on Saturday 8 July. Be sure to watch it to the end! Don’t forget that the anime is part of our episodic reviews for Summer 2017!