Second-year high school student Yatora Yaguchi is a delinquent with excellent grades, but is unmotivated to find his true calling in life. Yatora spends his days working hard to maintain his academic standing while hanging out with his equally unambitious friends. However, beneath his carefree demeanor, Yatora does not enjoy either activity and wishes he could find something more fulfilling.
While mulling over his predicament, Yatora finds himself staring at a vibrant landscape of Shibuya. Unable to express how he feels about the unusually breathtaking sight, he picks up a paintbrush, hoping his thoughts will be conveyed on canvas. After receiving praise for his work, the joy he feels sends him on a journey to enter the extremely competitive Tokyo University of the Arts—a school that only accepts one in every 200 applicants.
Facing talented peers, a lack of understanding of the fine arts, and struggles to obtain his parents’ approval, Yatora is confronted by much adversity. In the hopes of securing one of the five prestigious spots in his program of choice, Yatora must show that his inexperience does not define him.
Blue Period was a very interesting anime, out of all the anime I’ve watched this season, Blue Period is the closest thing to an in-real-life experience as it gets. That is why I found Blue Period so interesting. Now, what do I mean by real-world experience? Well, we follow Yatora Yaguchi go from an eleventh grader not knowing what he wants to do next, to all of a sudden deciding on trying his hand to apply to the Tokyo University of the Arts because a painting completed by one of his seniors inspired and spoke to him. So despite having no prior experience in the world of Art, we follow Yatora as he jumps in headfirst.
In that respect, Blue Period isn’t all that accurate because no one in their second last year of high school will suddenly decide to jump into a whole new world and apply to an art university where they also lack the basics, to begin with. Typically, you would build those skillsets and tools throughout your school years before submitting an application to an art university.
To sum up Blue Period in one line, I think that line “My real ability only consists of what I can actually do when it counts.” For twelve episodes, we watched Yatora, who had no interest in art become interested. We watched him learn all the different techniques and just how open to interpretation art can be. To Yatora, it was a world that scared him because he was committing to something he had no prior experience of, going up against other individuals who are a hundred times better than he is, all competing for one thing, to be accepted to the Tokyo University of the Arts.
However, despite being an anime where the main protagonist learns anything and everything related to art in the hopes of making it into the University of his choice. I thought that Blue Period was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved.
Although Yatora is very hardworking and looks composed, there is an underlying insecure part of him that is further exposed when he starts making art. He is an extroverted character, who can easily understand what others are looking for in a relationship and adapts himself to please everyone around him. For that reason, he tends to oppress his own feelings and wishes. Yatora relies a lot on his studied social skills whenever he is under a stressful or unfamiliar situation, but when he is caught by surprise or can’t keep up his composed act his feelings outburst, often making him cry, and speak for himself.
Yatora is especially hard on himself, with high standards while constantly undervaluing his work and comparing himself to others which ends up overwhelming him. Whilst comparing himself with others, he has great respect and admires the art people around him create. His selfless and worried nature is better shown when he goes on a trip with Ryuji despite him being in between exams and is breaking out in rashes due to extreme stress.
Yatora as a character is highly fascinating because a lot of what he experiences is something we’ve all experienced at one point. That feeling of not knowing whether or not you’re good enough. Comparing yourself to others, always putting yourself down. Not knowing how to express yourself. Constantly experiencing anxiety and stress, knowing that all the work you’ve put in to reach your goals could all be for not. Then you have Ryuuji Ayukawa, who is also extremely interesting. He’s a person who enjoys crossdressing, and throughout the anime, he struggles with self-identification and being accepted by a culture that struggles to accept who he is and wants Ryuuji wants to be.
In a way, Blue Period is a tale of two stories. The first is Yatora’s story. I thought his story was about proving to yourself that you are good enough and believing in your own ability. It was a story that told us (the viewers) that the only person holding you back is yourself. You are your worst enemy. Yatora’s journey was about realizing this and finding ways to overcome that. Ultimately he wanted to prove that he could do it, even if he tells himself he could not. The second is Ryuuji’s story. I thought his story, in particular, was very emotional because it felt like Ryuuji against the world. He wants to be accepted for who he is. However, the culture he lives in and those around him are reluctant. Who is Ryuuji? What does he identify as? Ryuuji wants to crossdress and show his feminine side, but how can he do that when he lives in a culture that looks down upon and when his own parents are not supportive? Can he continue to live in a world where he’s not accepted for who he is?
Seeing Ryuuji’s ongoing battle for acceptance is very admirable and very inspirational. Whenever you see Ryuuji’s character or scenes with him in it. You couldn’t help but feel anxious or stressed. That scene where Ryuuji was standing on the edge of a subway platform as the train fast approached gave me anxiety. Especially when he asked Yatora, “Do you want to drown?” I felt my heart pounding like there was no tomorrow.
Something I thought Blue Period did extremely well was character development. I also thought the anime did an exceptional job conveying a lot of emotion through its characters. It definitely gave me 3-Gatsu no Lion vibes regarding how the emotions of the characters determined how the scene was going to be portrayed and played out. So that was definitely something I did like.
All that being said, there were a few things that I didn’t enjoy. While the character development was exceptional and the emotion portrayed through its characters. From an animation standpoint, I felt as though our characters felt really static-like. Although you could feel the emotion through the voice actor’s voice, it wasn’t really shown through the characters’ faces. Static facial expressions didn’t match the emotion given through their voices, which I didn’t like. There’s also just the overall character design. There was definitely more to be desired for an anime about art. If you compare our characters to the art pieces that they draw, it’s literally night and day. Now granted, these are art pieces, so they’re supposed to look magnificent. However, I’ve seen better character design from anime not as highly rated at Blue Period.
Apart from as a whole, I really enjoyed Blue Period because of how real it felt. While there were still some ‘unrealistic’ moments, I thought that the anime itself was a close as you can get to something resembling real life. It is because of this real-life connection that it made me really appreciate the anime and the topics and experiences our characters go through. Everything felt very real, and I liked that, even if I didn’t learn a thing about art.
BUY ME COFFEE!
A little can go a long way! Even a dollar is enough to motivation.