I love discovering new manga and there is a variety of series for all types of readers. When seeking out manga I decided to check out Volume One of Wandance by Coffee as I love a good coming-of-age story. Let’s boogie the night away as I share my thoughts on the first installment of this dance-themed series from Kodansha!
Synopsis: Kaboku Kotani is starting high school, and he plans to do what he’s always done: go along with his friends, keep quiet, and not draw too much attention to himself. After all, it’s hard enough to get by with a stutter like his— why make things worse by standing out from the crowd? But then he sees another first-year, Hikari Wanda, dancing like no one is watching—or like she doesn’t care who sees her. It makes Kaboku wonder: Could he reach that same freedom? To find his way to Wanda, he does something he never thought he could: He joins the dance club. After all, every routine begins with a single step, right? Join Kaboku and Wanda as they freestyle their way to life and love!
Wandance is an inspirational manga aimed at fans of coming-of-age stories who enjoy series such as Blue Period and Your Lie in April per its synopsis. Readers follow Kaboku, a shy teenager who struggles with self-confidence and is trying to overcome his stuttering speech. Determined not to make a splash Kaboku often stays in the background of the crowd and goes with the flow of his classmates. But when Kaboku meets Hikari, everything changes. He becomes enamored with Hikari’s dancing skills and her ability to dance like no one’s watching. She inspires him to take a step out of his comfort zone and try something new; a dance club!
As a person who loves music and dance, this manga was right up my alley. It gave me similar inspiring themes that I’ve also seen in series such as Welcome To The Ballroom (which I highly recommend). Dancing is scary for Kaboku and being one of the only guys in the school’s dance club makes him stand out even more. At first, he is intimidated by the seemingly difficult dance steps by once he starts to truly get into the steps does he truly feel free. It’s a way for Kaboku to escape from his own mind that holds him back and he finally found something that brings him joy.
I loved the budding friendship between Kaboku and Hikari in the first volume. Their newfound friendship seems to bring out the best in each other. They help each other to overcome their obstacles and become more confident individuals. By the end of the novel, I was cheering them on to ace their dance auditions and learn each routine. On top of the coming-of-age themes that are explored, I also appreciated how Coffee explores the world of dance (with a heavy focus on hip-hop styles). It breaks the terminology down for readers who may be unfamiliar. The dance parts of the manga itself are beautifully illustrated and the author pays special attention to the dance steps shown and the intricacy of each move.
For readers who love stories about dancing and music, this new manga series will appeal to you. The illustrations are stunning, and the first installment does a great job of setting up the story. Wandance has two great leading characters you’ll want to root for and I can’t wait to read where their dancing journey will take them next. This is an uplifting manga that will motivate readers to try something new and to stay true to themselves!
Look out for Wandance when it releases in stores on June 28th, 2022!
*I received this review copy from Kodansha in exchange for a fair and honest review.