Book Review: “Let’s Dance A Waltz, Volume 2” by Natsumi Ando

Cover of “Let’s Dance A Waltz, Volume 2” by Natsumi Ando.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Let’s Dance A Waltz, Volume 2” by Natsumi Ando! It’s been years since I read and reviewed the first volume in this manga trilogy, so I’m glad I finally picked this series up to read, again. I also picked up the third and final volume as well as this second one, so that review will be coming up very soon! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“It’s time for the competition to begin! Yusei and Hime 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 Hime fail to stoke the flames of Tango’s competitive fire?”

Character Development: 4 out of 5 stars

There is a lot of internal conflict that goes on with Tango and Hime in particular, especially Tango in the latter half of this volume. Hime, once again, struggles with self-confidence in her own newfound skills as a dancer. Despite her peers looking up at her for her dancing (as well as pointing out her surprise weight loss because of it), she still has a lot of struggle with putting herself out there and not worrying about the mistakes she might make, no matter how little they are (like accidentally bumping into another couple during the dance competition for example). I do see that peers like Tango and Yusei are certainly helping her boost her confidence, and that’s good, but she needs to start really believing in herself on her own if she wants to make it far, especially if she and Tango are now partners and want to make it to Blackpool. For those who don’t know, Blackpool is just as seriously high-class as Tango makes it out to be, so he and Hime have their work cut out for them (given that Hime is still a beginner while Tango hasn’t danced competitively in five years).

As for Tango, I think he also has his own internal conflicts to work on. He still has his past conflicts with the mystery partner who he previously left behind (who is, surprise surprise, Sumire, who’s now Yusei’s official partner!), he needs to pick up his own dancing skills and learn to work with Hime, and he has to regain his own confidence in himself for his own dancing on top of that. I’m glad he’s more open to his peers in school learning that he’s part of a dance studio, and he’s become more confident in being his authentic self, which I think really helped his and Hime’s romance in return.

As for Yusei and Sumire, I love how Yusei is intent on making sure Sumire is his one and only genuine dance partner. It’s clear, however, that Sumire still has her own conflicts over Tango previously abandoning her on the dancefloor, and that she hasn’t fully gotten over it yet. Even if she has danced tons of times with Yusei, I think her and Yusei’s main struggle is to move on from those past events and put them aside to become fearsome, amazing dance partners that trust in each other and their skills, regardless of past connections.

Romance Development: 4 out of 5 stars

Tango and Hime are starting to click more as a couple, and I mean more than just dance partners. The way both of them gain support in each other, as well as supporting each other in return, is endearing, especially with Hime starting to find her footing as a dancer while Tango gets back into competitive dancing after watching her and Yusei. Tango isn’t a jerk anymore at this point, which is great, and both he and Hime actually do a really good job of communicating with each other more, and they’re being much more honest with each other, which is a key part of said communication. They’re learning to understand each other’s internal struggles and finding ways to support each other, and I appreciate that.

I also want to point out that the ‘romance triangle’ which isn’t really a romance triangle is more than cleared up at this point, and it’s obvious that Tango and Hime were meant to be. It’s implied that Yusei has strong romantic feelings for Sumire and, given how he words that he doesn’t want anyone else to be his partner other than Sumire, he’s probably had said feelings for a long time. Whether Sumire feels the same way, however, is left ambiguous for now, and I have a feeling that will be determined by the next and final volume in this trilogy, so we’ll see how that goes.

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I think the overall plotline made sense and was straightforward, for the most part. I enjoyed reading all the scenes and so on, but I do think this felt a bit more of a filler for the rest of the overall main plot to follow in the next volume, rather than really adding a lot of things at once. It did give the character and romance development a lot more time to shine, though, which is something I also appreciate. The artwork is once again clear and understandable with its visuals, and I loved how it showed off the tension in the dance scenes (or any of the more deeply-emotional scenes) in this volume.

However, if there are any main complaints I have about the dance competition scenes, it’s that the waltz and the tango dances don’t appear distinguished enough from each other to see that they’re different styles. It might be because they’re both standard ballroom dances (rather than one of them being standard ballroom while the other is a Latin dance like the Salsa, for example), but I wish the artwork of dancing put more effort into distinguishing those two styles were different from each other. I understand that the heavy focus of the art coveying the characters’ emotions while dancing was vital to character development and depicting their struggles, but I just wish there was more distinction between the actual dances. I hope the next volume improves on this.

Overall, I’m rating this volume 4 out of 5 stars!

This was a strong second volume in this manga trilogy, and I hope the third and final book is a showstopper! I definitely recommend this series for those that are fans of the ballroom dancing world or ballroom dancing shows, as they might find this fun to read.

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