Anime is a medium that allows for the exploration of countless forms of expression, be it sports, music or in this case, art. Can this adaptation of a critically-acclaimed manga centered around high schooler Yatora Yaguchi’s yearning for a more interesting life result in a show worth spending your time with?
This article is a part of AniTAY’s Winter 2021 Early Impressions series, where our authors offer their initial thoughts on the new, prominent, and exciting anime from this season!
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: normal is overrated. You reach a moment when you realize that where you are in life isn’t what you envisioned. Maybe you’re aimless, or you’re just going with the flow of those around you. Deep down though, you’re unsatisfied, and you know that this can’t be it.
That’s where we find Yatora Yaguchi, a second-year high-schooler who has grown bored with the normalcy of his life. Then he encounters his senpai’s artwork.
Yaguchi instantly feels drawn to the otherworldly and alluring piece. It speaks to him in a way purposelessly hanging out with his friends or focusing on perfect grades never could. It opens his eyes to the world around him, and he feels that maybe, just maybe there could be more to life than meeting quotas with his test scores and personal relationships.
He begins his journey into the world of art, he grows slowly but steadily, learning that art can be fun. The intricacies of the various techniques you can apply, the varying ways one can express their intentions without words, and the satisfaction you can get from someone enjoying something you’ve created. The possibilities are endless, and we get to learn this alongside our main character.
As Yaguchi becomes more serious about understanding the visual arts and goes to a prep class, he meets a few other “weirdos who do art,” and they are a treat so far. We get the competitive oddball, Hashida; the cold, standoffish genius Yotasuke; and Kuwana, the legacy student striving to be the next in her family to make it into art school. Hashida shows Yaguchi a way to look at art without being so intimidated, and the harsh yet honest critique Yotasuke offers helps Yaguchi see how composition can make or break a piece in the eyes of a viewer. The series illustrates how quickly a person can go through life thinking they know everything when they actually know very little, made all the more obvious the more he spends time with his classmates.
The way that Yaguchi constantly compares himself to others is not unlike how I used to be when I was younger. It’s hard to get into something that others have been doing for longer than you and seeing the difference in ability between you. You start to question if what you’re doing is the right thing and whether you have what it takes to live your life the way you want to. During the short time we spend with him, Yaguchi seems hell bent on comparing himself to everyone else, and while that can result in the growth we see from him early on, this could also spell trouble for him in the future as he fights for a spot at his only college of choice.
(From left to right: Yatora Yaguchi, Ryuji Ayukawa, Yotasuke Takahashi, Haruka Hashida & Maki Kuwana)
With Blue Period, you get to see the struggle of improving yourself, while fighting against what society would have you do. It’s dangerous to speak in generalities, but this show encourages its audience to go against the grain, because no one would actually feel satisfied doing what’s expected of them (going to a regular school, getting a regular job and living a modest, normal life).
One of Yaguchi’s aforementioned classmates, Ryuji Ayukawa lives their life this way already. A cross-dressing boy, who goes by Ayukawa. She feels protected by doing what she likes, despite the negative reactions she gets from some of those around her. She does however make it clear that she’d rather die than live her life the way anyone else decides. I’m curious to see if we get to delve more into her character and the struggles that come with doing whatever you can to be comfortable in your skin.
This show is already an anime of the season contender for me — if not anime of the year. While shonen anime sees underdogs overcoming odds all the time with the power of friendship, it’s different to see progression through practice, social interaction, and real world-application of the lessons you learn not only in classrooms, but from those around you outside of academic settings. And if these early episodes are anything to go off of, we’ll get to see these young folks deal with the expectations society has thrust upon them in their own ways, hopefully coming out the other side better people.
What is art? What does it mean to create art, and what does it take to be an artist? You don’t have to settle for the way things ought to be. Make like Yaguchi and strike out on your own path, following the call of your passion. I for one am excited to see where things go for Yaguchi.
Based on: manga written and illustrated by Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Produced by: Kodansha, Seven Arcs, Netflix
Streaming on: Netflix
Episodes watched: 3
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