Why You Should Watch Blue Period, an Anime of Art and Applying for College
Blue Period is a coming-of-age anime that aired on Netflix in 2021 and you should totally watch it! While only being twelve episodes, the established story and characters are interesting to follow. The anime follows the protagonist, Yatora Yaguchi as he navigates a part of the art world, interacting with various interesting characters who inspire and teach him about the world.
The best part is that Yatora can be relatable for many students at UCVTS. He is a diligent student with good grades, but he feels distant from his own life. During quarantine, where many students only saw each other through a screen, many began to feel disconnected from reality like Yatora. There’s a scene in the first episode where Yatora says, “To me, raising test scores or building good relationships is as satisfying as meeting a quota. I put more effort than others into that, and the efforts pay off. I’m not a genius. I feel empty receiving praise for that.”
However, this attitude turns around in a pivotal moment where Yatora finds a beautiful painting and meets the person who worked so hard to accomplish it. Yatora enters this part of the art world, and after confirming that he wants to do art, immediately decides to apply for the most prestigious art college. He works hard to get there, which many UCVTS students can understand.
Blue Period is classified as a coming-of-age drama that could be considered “shounen.” In terms of anime, the shounen genre’s target demographic is young boys, some notable series including Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! As a result, the shounen protagonist ends up in a high-stakes situation and either passes by a stroke of creativity or fails, concluding in a learning lesson. There are examples of both of these in Blue Period and it’s fascinating to watch Yatora get in and out of various hijinks while staying in the realm of realism. For example, while taking a multi-day entrance exam, Yatora is sabotaged by getting sick from overworking and loses a lot of valuable time to work on his exam as a result. The situation is tense as both viewer and protagonist begin to truly feel the stakes of the situation, but last minute strokes of creativity and inspiration help him succeed. The audience’s suspension of disbelief is never shaken, keeping us at the edge of our seats and allowing us to see the world as something that could feasibly happen in reality.
Yatora encounters problems outside of the art world. He has to navigate his past and present relationships with other people. At first, his mother disapproves of his choice to go to an art school for college, and Yatora and his mother have to learn to communicate what each of them are feeling. The way the anime resolves this tension is heartwarming and begins the transition to a more positive tone of Yatora’s life as he begins to appreciate the people around him.
The anime depicts Yatora’s journey in the art world with attractive visuals and a spectacular soundtrack. The visuals and music combine to emphasize the emotions of each scene as the viewer empathizes with every interesting character Yatora meets. The art and music bring a level of vibrancy as Yatora slowly uncovers the complications of art and later the complications of life. I recommend listening to the first season’s opening theme, “EVERBLUE” by Omoinotake.
It’s a great feeling to observe Yatora deviate from the version of him that was so distant and bored with life. It’s even more beautiful to see because this is similar to what young people today experience as they recover from the distant feeling they acquired during the lockdown. Blue Period illustrates that nostalgic, euphoric feeling after rediscovering the enjoyment of old hobbies or interests as Yatora continues his journey in the art world.
Besides the art and music, the Blue Period provides various interesting characters. You can’t help but cheer for Yatora’s original friend group, who stuck with him through all his ups and downs and began to discover their own interests. For the juniors and seniors of UCVTS, you might enjoy watching him and his friends contend with figuring out what they want to do and applying for colleges. Other characters who Yatora meet after entering the art world help him appreciate life in different ways, all while evidently having their own lives and problems to deal with, like a character with transphobic parents. The show does a good job at depicting them as real people in this way.
The anime is based on the manga series Blue Period, which is written and illustrated by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. As of May 2022, there are twelve volumes and the plot is ahead of the anime, which leaves off on Yatora finishing the entrance exam. The latest part of the manga has Yatora completing the first semester of his second year in college. If you decide to watch or read it, here are some content warnings: Underage smoking/drinking, nudity, transphobia, and mentions of suicide.
Of course, the show isn’t perfect. Yatora only really explores the oil painting side of the art world, which limits the medium. The good side of this is that oil painting techniques and knowledge are explored in more depth and detail, though viewers who want to specialize in mediums other than oil painting might be disappointed. The show also depicts Yatora approaching art in a few different ways, which can be seen as limiting to some creative aspects of art. However, Blue Period has an interesting shonen-type plot and characters as well as pretty visuals and music. It’s a quality anime that is very good for introducing art as a possible road for some audiences in a compelling way. If you like a relatable anime with awesome art, music, characters, and plot, Blue Period might be a good choice for you!
“Blue Period.” Netflix, 2021, https://www.netflix.com/title/81318842.
Omoinotake. “EVERBLUE.” Spotify, Sony Music Labels Inc., 2021, https://open.spotify.com/track/5RmtuRIe8FJg9FRegwCqzW?si=33db360fd1454a45. Accessed 10 Nov. 2022.
Yamaguchi, Tsubasa. Blue Period. Kodansha, 2017.
Yoshida, Reiko. Blue Period, Season 1, JNN and Seven Arcs, 1 Oct. 2021.
“『ブルーピリオド（1）』（山口 つばさ）｜講談社コミックプラス.” Kodansha Comic Plus, Kodansha Ltd, https://kc.kodansha.co.jp/product?item=0000052420.