Director Yoshimi Itazu, chief animation director Takahiro Chiba and producer Tetsuya Kinoshita sat down with reporters a day before their first Anime Expo panel event and talked about their current project “Welcome to the Ballroom” anime. The world premiere will be on Day Two, Sunday July 2 at LACC Hall B at 10:30 A.M.

The series is the adaptation of Tomo Takeuchi’s manga of the same name. Both follow middle schooler Tatara Fujita who has no particular drive towards a particular future. However, he suddenly enters the realm of the ballroom after Kaname Sengoku saves him from some bullies. While some know the dances to be of elegance and nobility, Tatara discovers the strength and power that drives those that compete. Wanting to have that feeling, he joins the studio and strap on a pair of dancing shoes.

When asked about joining this project, Producer Kinoshita said that the story was interesting and it had a “heated passion.” Its “unusual” choice of sport attracted him and also the focus on the protagonist’s development. He later spoke of having Itazu as the director, especially as his debut project in the role and said he knew him though animation producer of “Haikyuu” Keiko Matsushita and trusted that he would give his all for the series. None had much prior knowledge of ballroom dancing before making the show but Chiba picked up the manga while Itazu took a couple of classes. Concerning a question about if each had a longing for a similar “passion” and having their own “ballroom dancing,” each mentioned that they had similar feeling to Tatara when they were young.

Regarding production, Chiba answered an inquiry on art, saying that currently the animation is by hand though considering using digital (CG) in the future. A question rose about having Shinba Tsuchiya cast as Tatara because of his few roles, Itazu said that he wanted a “fresh” voice actor since Tatara is also young and immature. He also responded to one about the series’s music and said that there will be a lot of original music that might be suitable for actual ballroom dancing and their soundtrack might have more songs packed than other series. When the hard angle shots of the trailer were pointed out, Itazu mentioned he wanted the audience to feel the “heated passion” and the flared atmosphere of the dance. Kinoshita added that he wished it to be more like part of the action genre.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

Attendees of Anime Expo will notice some of “Ballroom” ads with Levi from “Attack on Titan” and they said that both series share the same production company and even broadcast time. Kinoshita said he hoped that the series will gain those fans and also said “Thank you, Levi.”

The series will be distributed through Amazon Prime Video’s Anime Strike service though Kinoshita said it will not be the only way to see it in the future.

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