- Titles: Periodo Azul, Blue Period
- Genre: School, coming of age, drama
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Seven Arcs
Yatora Yaguchi is a practical boy. He knows what he should do and what he’s capable of. He studies hard and gets good grades. He plays around with his friends and goofs from time to time as a proper high school student should. He’s generally liked and has a bright future ahead of him. He will likely graduate from a good university and get a good job and become a good productive member of society as he should. At least that was the plan. And it was a good plan. But it didn’t account for one single thing. A curveball Yatora had never expected. Yatora Yaguchi is a boy who really loves art and if possible, he would like to do it for the rest of his life. The future of an artist is uncertain and fraught with pitfalls. All those years spent studying no longer mean he will get into the university of his choice. He can hardly find time to see his friends now that every minute is spent practicing and even then, how is one supposed to practice creativity. But he’s not going to give up because deep down, Yatora Yaguchi is an artist.
This is one of the rare occasions where I can truly compare an anime to the manga it was adapted from. I have rarely read the source material before watching a show and when I have, it’s usually years prior. This time, I read through everything I could get my hands on of Bleu Period before watching the anime and… it didn’t matter.
I guess the production could have been a bit smoother. I did find that the character models were inconsistent in certain scenes which was a little distracting. Now there isn’t all that much action to animate in Bleu Period but from time to time there are some surreal scenes that could have allowed for over-the-top animation but instead, the Bleu Period anime chose to treat them in a fairly minimalistic manner.
Also colour. The manga doesn’t have any clours and Blue Period is a story wherein colour matters a lot. And well, this was hit or miss. I absolutely loved seeing the art works in colour. I think that added a lot to the story and often times to the art works themselves. If the publishers ever want to reprint a deluxe edition, I would strongly suggest keeping everything in black and white except for the artworks. And I will rebuy every volume I already own in such an edition. It honestly makes a difference.
However, the anime itself did not really push the use of colours beyond certain obvious scenes and I think that’s a waste. There was potential to really make us feel what the show was explaining about how a palette can change everything. But as the series itself says: colour is difficult!
I will however say that the use of light and shadow was really nice. Also, everyone did a great job voicing the cast but Yumiri Hanamori stood out to me as Ryuuji. Ryuuji is a difficult character as they are confused and not always easy to like, I think the pure emotionality and vulnerability Hanamori injected into the role elevated the character and made me like them much more.
Story & Characters
I was really looking forward to watching Blue Period. Because I really enjoyed the manga. And that can be a double-edged sword as some of you may know. But a good story is a good story and Blue Period is a good story.
I did a first impression of the manga and a lot of what I said there still stands. In many ways, what I enjoyed in Blue Period is what I tend to like about sports anime. Although Yaguchi is without a doubt the main character, it’s still an ensemble cast that brings a lot of disparate personalities together and not all of them are friends. The social dynamics are varied and therefore interesting. Moreover, even though there isn’t time to deeply develop everyone, all characters are given a complete and independent personality that makes them feel whole and 3 dimensional.
Also, Bleu Period is a story about embracing passion and just how difficult and frustrating that is. It’s about putting in a whole lot of effort towards something the people around you don,t always understand or appreciate. I’ve always been seduced by passion. I find it irresistible. And there is a lot of it all throughout Blue Period.
Oh, I guess for the few of you that have no idea what this show is about, I should give you a general idea. Yataro is in his last year of high school when he suddenly discovers his love of art. he decides he wants to change his plans and go to an art college but because his family can’t afford a private school, his only option is the very highly competitive Tokyo University of the Arts. Since he has much less experience than most of the other applicants, he has to really throw himself into it to stand a chance.
That’s it. It’s about a boy that discovers painting and then spends 12 episodes mostly sketching and painting. And it had me on the edge of my seat. I’m not going to lie, when Yatora called his parents in the last episode, I started earnestly balling. I’m a crybaby and we all know it but ‘cmon, that was a touching scene!
As for the adaptation. Unexpectedly, I found that the anime came across as much more dramatic than the manga. Now, this may simply be my personal reading. The voices in my head aren’t very likely to give a very dramatic twist to things but I do think that the adaptation definitely gave more weight to the dramatic moments of the story. Sometimes maybe a bit too much for my tastes but overall it threads the line. Considering how quick I am to get annoyed with melodrama, the fact that I enjoyed Blue Period should tell you something.
On the other hand, that heightened emotion did bring out a lot of things that I didn’t appreciate as much in the manga. I already mentioned that I thought the character of Ryuuji was really elevated from my reading. I also found that the friendship between Yatora and his other friends, outside the artist group, felt more significant. It was in fact really well done and I enjoyed every scene they spent together.
The stress and claustrophobia came through a bit better as well. When Yatora is studying and then taking the entrance exams, he feels the full weight of his future on his shoulders. He knows he’s a long shot and he’s never been in such a situation before. He also chose arts against the better judgement of his parents and counsellors so if he fails, he feels as if he failed them all and went against them for nothing. And all that pressure is bearing down on him. He gets rashes, headaches, he has trouble sleeping. All of that is in the manga. But in the anime, with the camera angles changing and the sound design bearing down, you just feel it that much more. I thought I might get my own rash out of sheer sympathy for a while there.
At the end of the day, the Blue Period anime and manga are different but very similar. I would recommend simply going with what your favourite medium usually is. But I would also recommend trying it out. It’s not that usual a story in concept and it tackles some interesting and challenging issues. I do think it fumbles now and then but there’s an earnestness about it. And also a passion!
The manga is still releasing so the stories goes beyond the anime. I will keep reading it! That should tell you something.
You might like this anime if:
You are at all interested in art. You like dramatic but otherwise realistic high school dramas with complex characters.
My favourite character:
I will say Ryuuji stood out but ultimately my favourite in the manga and in the anime is still Haruka.
- Every time Yatora blushes – awwww
- Every time anyone mentions TUA – take a sip
- Every time Ryu picks on Yatora – take a sip
- Every time Yatora finishes a new piece – admire
- Every time the best deiquent friends show up – raise your glass
- Every time Yatora gets all insecure – there there
- Every time professor Saeki opens her eyes – take a sip
- Every time Yatora and Ooba have a meeting – take a sip
- Every time Ryu is going through a rough time – oh no
- Every timeanyone other than me brings up “colours” – take a sip
- Every time Yatora says “mediocre” – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.