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Book Review: Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Takeuchi (vol. 1)

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DAY 12

Cover for Welcome to the Ballroom volume 1.
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Sports Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Welcome to the Ballroom vol. 1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: THE BALLROOM BECKONS Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something – anything. Unfortunately, he’s about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku’s not the neighborhood watch, though. He’s a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will nevver be the same.

 

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A good story with a likable cast of quirky characters. I think many people can relate to the main character, Tatara Fujita, in some way. He’s just your average high school student who is unfortunately being bullied at school. Tatara feels adrift with a purpose or something to be good at that would make him special.

But in volume 1, you see him start to come alive, slowly finding himself and a passion to his surprise through ballroom dance. The dancing shown looks really great on the page. There’s life/expression in each dancer’s eyes, body language, and athleticism. I have seen the anime for this story and I think I like it better. But this is still a solid start and the story does get more interesting as it progresses. I really like where this volume ended because it gets you excited with anticipation for the next volume.

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Book Review: Waiting For Spring by Anashin (Volume 1)

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Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Shojo
Rating: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: A sweet romantic story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.

Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include… love?

 

My Review: Volume 1 was okay but not enough for me to continue this series.

I liked Mitsuki’s character because of how relatable she is. All she wants is to fit in and make a friend. I thought it was brave of her to try to achieve this goal on her own. She moves away from her only friend to go to a school where no one knows her and friend groups are already established. That takes guts, especially in high school.

I didn’t like the guys she meets from the start. They are your typical handsome popular star athletes. They were rude to Mitsuki – someone they didn’t even know. My impression of them never got better. One of them seems okay and a potential love interest, but I have a hard time believing his sincerity. Basically, if these guys are just going to keep teasing her like it’s not a problem, then I don’t want to keep reading.

I really do like Mitsuki though and would like to see how she grows and changes. But this volume was so off-putting.

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Book Review: Ace of the Diamond by Yuji Terajima (Vol. 1-3) (combined review)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Sports
Series: Ace of the Diamonds
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: [Vol. 1] Eijun Sawamura had his heart set on the middle-school national baseball championships. But his team is eliminated thanks to a wild pitch thrown by Eijun himself. He’s planning to go to high school with his teammates and try again next year when he’s scouted by the famous Seido High School Baseball team. When he goes for a campus visit, he finds himself on the receiving end of a baptism by fire! His experience forming a battery with up-and-coming catcher Miyuki rekindles his passion for baseball!!

 

My Review: Disclaimer: I have watched all of the episodes of the anime that are available. This is my first time reading the manga.

The first three volumes of Ace of the Diamond were just as good as the beginning episodes of the anime and brought back a lot of fond memories.

Eijun Sawarmura (mc) is a passionate boy who wears his heart on his sleeves. As loud as he is, Eijun’s high energy is infectious and draws others in. You can clearly see that in his interactions with his middle school friends. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer (and even less about baseball in general). But Eijun has raw potential and you immediately become invested in his desire to play baseball, his growth as an athlete, and his goal to become the ace of Seido High School’s varsity baseball team.

Baseball is one of my least favorite sports. I’d rather play it than watch it. However, Ace of the Diamond is an addicting series.

Seido’s baseball team has a lot of members – its freshmen count close to 100! The team is highly competitive and a prominent program. Their practices are grueling. To get one of the 20 sought after spots you have to work your ass off and then some every day.

All of the members are talented players who live and breathe baseball. Seido’s hard work brightly shows in the practices and games you get to see so far. Those illustrations were very cool, especially of the pitchers.

The passion and work ethic are admirable and you want Seido to succeed so badly and make it to Koshien Stadium where Nationals are held. It’s a lot of strong personalities working towards the same goal.

While there are a lot of serious moments throughout the story there are plenty of funny, light-hearted moments as you get to know the other main players/characters on the team. I enjoyed volumes 1-3 and can’t wait to continue this series.

 

 

Images via Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34504683-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34837663-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-2
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34939247-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-3