The Blue Period refers to the early years of Pablo Picasso’s career where he painted most of his artwork in nearly monochromatic shades of blue. The first conscious thought Yatora has in the first episode of Blue Period is “What’s so great about Picasso, even I could draw like that”.
Let’s talk about this winter’s one of the most sensational anime. Blue Period is based on the manga by the same name written and illustrated by Tsubasa Yamaguchi.
Yatora Yaguchi is a second-year high school student who, despite his delinquent lifestyle, maintains remarkably high grades. Yatora gets good grades, has many friends and smokes cigarettes to appear cool. His life seems monotonous, meaningless and empty until he sees his senpai, Maru Mori’s painting in the school's art club. He discovers a love of painting and devotes his remaining school years to it. His newfound dream - passing the Tokyo University of the Arts entrance exam. Let’s get into the reasons why you should be absolutely invested in this anime about art whether or not you care about art.
The Art and Animation
It would be a shame if an anime centred around art did not have good art. Seven Arcs does not disappoint. Everything from the anime’s art style to animation to colour grading is impeccably crisp and incredibly eye-pleasing.
In episode 4, Yatora is struggling with turbulence in his head. Earlier in the episode, Yotasuke questions Yatora’s sincerity in pursuing art. This disturbs Yatora greatly. As if as an answer to Yotasuke’s provocation, Yatora picks up his paintbrush. As angry tears flow down his cheeks and he continues to draw stroke after stroke, various colours explode in the background. The scene is animated beautifully. You get drawn into the vulnerability and passion of that moment and blown away as Yatora's artwork is revealed.
Blue Period Characters
Yatori Yaguchi may not be a relatable character with his "perfect scores despite being a delinquent" trait. However, his worldview and internal thoughts are not only extremely relatable but quite realistic as well. All the significant characters in a show have their own unique, even weird traits. Even so, they come off as extremely likeable and relatable.
The characters on Blue Period are very honest. Even in moments when they aren’t being straightforward, you can feel a certain groundedness in them that will make you care about every single one of them. Additionally, the show has decent LGBTQ+ representation. Yuka's character is shown to be genderfluid. They choose to express themselves and their gender in the way that is most authentic to them facing the struggles that come with it.
Yatora was first shown as a pragmatic individual. He would rather follow the tried and tested path of excelling in academics and earn well than take the leap of faith into the unknown. However, his worldview is crushed into pieces by an art piece that moves him roo his core. At first, he starts scribbling on the sides of pages. Soon he can not stop himself from drawing things whenever he gets the time, as if drawing has become an involuntary action to him.
Yatora pours himself into the world of art with utmost dedication and passion and we plunge into his journey with him. Slice of Life stories often do not have a build-up to something climactic. Blue Period while being very realistic, sometimes feels like a crossover between shone and Slice of life. Yatora gets inspired by something, applies it to his art, gets dissatisfied with the outcome, learns a new technique and then implements it to create better artwork. This is an incredibly satisfying process to be a part of. When Yatora gets frustrated, you get frustrated with him. When he cries, you cry with him and when he feels pride, you feel proud of him for coming so far with his passion and hard work.
Blue Period’s depiction of people pursuing art (or any artistic field) is painfully and brutally honest. As I kept getting drawn into Yatora’s world, some nostalgic feelings stirred up in me. We all have had moments of having to choose between our passion and a stable career choice. Whether you are someone following their passion, someone who chose stability over passion, someone who relegated their passions as hobbies or someone still struggling to find a passion, the show will speak to you. Consider this a 700-word application asking you to allow yourself to experience this beautiful work of art in making and go watch Blue Period already!