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Let’s Dance a Waltz Vol. #02 Manga Review

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Let's Dance a Waltz Vol. #2
Let’s Dance a Waltz Vol. #2

Stepping up and stepping out.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Natsumi Ando
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley

What They Say
Waltz Down Memory Lane
It’s time for the competition to begin! Yusei and Himé have a special routine prepared, designed to bring Tango back to the world of Dancesport. Can the two of them reignite the passion Tango once had for ballroom dance, or will Himé fail to stoke the flames of Tango’s competitive fire?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Without missing a beat, we rejoin the ongoing drama on the dance floor with Himé and Yusei enacting a plan to get Tango back into the groove. While the plan is executed perfectly to draw the reluctant prince of dance back into the competitive spirit, it has some unexpected consequences. First, it fuels a spirit of competition inside Himé herself to go out and claim her prince and to compete. Second, it ignites a smoldering spark of desire inside Sumire for Tango, at the expense of her partner Yusei.

The love triangle that is forming is mostly just a problem for Yusei and Sumire. It could spell trouble in their dancing relationship if things go sour between them. It’s clear Yusei is romantically interested in Sumire, and Tango doesn’t seem interested in Sumire at all. The girl is her own worst enemy at this point.

Himé may have gone from a chubby duckling to a svelte swan, but, as Tango points out, her personalty hasn’t changed along with her body. Himé has spent a lifetime hiding herself from the appraising stares of her classmates and on the dance floor in front of an audience she starts to retreat into herself. She’s not the only one with performance jitters, Tango starts to fumble with his first bought of stage fright in years when put on the spot. In both cases it takes the actions of the other to lead them back out and under the spotlights. Tango calls out to Himé and Himé is able to let Tango forget the competition and just dance.

The author doesn’t gloss over the sheer amount of physical work dancing is. For all of the beautiful ball gowns and trim suits the characters are depicted dripping sweat with each dip and spin. Himé’s classmates quickly give up their idea of following in her footsteps when they get more of a workout than they wanted. Everyone is visibly out of breath at the end of a routine, and Himé can barely walk after the unexpected steps Tango leads her through in the final dance of this volume. (Although that’s more likely just a set up so Tango can carry her off the floor.)

The only obvious misstep in this volume is a brief bit of manufactured drama when a classmate mentions that Tango might have sprained an ankle. Himé takes off in a flash for the hospital, which is completely ridiculous and I’m sure it was a play off the tired trope it’s spoofing. (The outcome shows how silly the whole thing is.) However, while I feel like the aside is just a little too on the nose, and I really hope the author was in on the joke but you never know.

The extras in this volume are a brief page of character introductions to get the readers back up to speed, and several four-panel shorts between chapters to lighten the mood. Not that this story is a particularly serious one. There’s also a preview, some translation notes, and an author’s notes/mini-comic. Basically all of the usual additions you’d expect to see in a shoujo comic.

In Summary
Himé starts to build herself up emotionally to go along with her developing dance skills. The focus is put squarely on Himé in this volume, although we do still see far more of what Tango is thinking than is typical in a shoujo romance. With the immediate challenge of getting Himé and Tango paired up out of the way it’s time to  shift the spotlight on to the other pair of Yusei and Sumire. Where one couple is at the top they might find themselves falling to a new rising star. The best intentions of friends might start pulling the close knit group apart as both pairs start to compete on the dance floor and romantically.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
MSRP: $10.99

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