First Look: Blue Period

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Manga Adaptation by Seven Arcs
Streaming on Netflix

Premise

Yatora Yaguchi is in his second year of high school and bored with a life spent studying and hanging out with his ‘bad boy’ friends. However, upon seeing a painting by a member of the art club and trying to express himself with the medium, he becomes invested and decides to apply to a fine arts college, despite knowing there is likely no stable monetary future in such a choice.

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Artemis’ verdict: A Half-Painted Canvas

I’m in two minds about this show. On the one hand, it’s something I quite want to like. On the other hand, I’m not sure I like it as much as I thought I would, or at least, not just yet.

If anything, this is probably a good thing overall for Blue Period, since I think anyone who watches the premiere will be tempted to stick around for a couple more episodes just to see if it does end up gelling with them. It seems like a fairly slow-burn slice-of-life piece, which is totally up my alley. What stops me from giving the series full marks is that I didn’t especially like the characters, especially at first glance. I didn’t really understand Yatora’s antagonistic relationship with Ryuuji, since the audience never sees them interact prior to this, leaving me to just assume this isn’t the first run-in they’ve had with each other. A couple of times, Yatora’s comments even came across as vaguely sexist, which made me want to slap him more than root for him as the protagonist.

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On the other hand, me not personally liking the characters doesn’t mean they’re not relatable. Thankfully, I became more invested in Yatora towards the end of the episode – he’s not as stupid or self-pitying as he at first seems, and his goofball ‘delinquent’ friends seem like legit cool guys. I thought at first they’d be the type to bully or ostracize him when Yatora let his own bad-boy image drop a bit, but nope, they appear to be a surprisingly loyal bunch, so I can see why Yatora might have originally gravitated towards them even if he doesn’t himself care for beer, cigarettes, or soccer games.

Overall, while this isn’t my favorite premiere of the season so far, I finished the episode with a relatively positive first impression, even if my initial reaction was a lot more lukewarm. I can’t say yet if I’ll be sticking around for the entire series, but it’s certainly earned a second look.

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Jel’s verdict: Needs a Little Alizarin Crimson. Or Maybe Yellow Ochre?

I feel like the only thing holding back Blue Period is the average writing. The dialogue feels scripted and unnatural, and I find it hard to believe that Yatora suddenly discovers his passion for art over the course of what seems to be a 48 hour period. What we get feels like an anime telling us about the joy of painting, without making us experience the joy of painting. It’s ironic that Yatora’s first blue painting tries to capture this idea, but maybe I’m just reading too much into it. It’s still a decent first episode, and I think it’s worth giving it some time to develop.

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