It’s been an exceptionally long time since I’ve reviewed anything off Netgalley, but the cover for Blue Period really grabbed my attention basically because I love art and want to read more manga.
This manga is what I wish I’d read whilst I was in school. I really enjoyed it and there were a lot of moments that made me aww out loud!
Read on for my full review.
Title: Blue Period 1
Mangaka: Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: 13th October 2020
Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher through Netgalley (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
Winner of the 2020 Manga Taisho Grand Prize! A manga about the struggles and rewards of a life dedicated to art. Popular guy Yatora realizes he’s just going through the motions to make other people happy and finds himself in a new passion: painting. But untethering yourself from all your past expectations is dangerous as well as thrilling…
Yatora is the perfect high school student, with good grades and lots of friends. It’s an effortless performance, and, ultimately… a dull one. But he wanders into the art room one day, and a lone painting captures his eye, awakening him to a kind of beauty he never knew. Compelled and consumed, he dives in headfirst–and he’s about to learn how savage and unforgiving art can be…
Blue Period is a coming-of-age story with the main character, Yatora Yaguchi, being a second year and needing to consider his choices for college. It starts that he’s trying hard to boost his grades in non-creative studies as he thinks this will help him most, he actually naps in art most of the time.
But, one early morning, something clicks in him and makes him want to start drawing. When he draws with his feelings it makes others in his class, including his adorably supportive teacher, give him praise which only further encourages him to do art. That sets into motion the main story of this manga where he’s trying his hardest to become better and even wants to apply for art school.
It’s a heartfelt story with times when he’s clearly comparing himself to others far too much, but of course Yamaguchi puts in a lot of the art Yaguchi creates and so we see his improvements over a period of just 6 months. The biggest thing that I personally enjoyed is how much I could relate to his internal struggles, and the struggles that he gained from others around him putting down art. There’s even one scene where he’s discussing his choice for art school with another teacher who basically asks him why he’s messing around. I only wish I’d been able to read this at an age when I was deciding on things because, well the main message is right. Even if you choose a “safe” option you’re not guaranteed to make a career from it so why shouldn’t we follow what we enjoy most?
Basically, I think this would be fantastic for someone struggling to decide on an arts course or not for college/university. But it also makes for a great and heartfelt read if that’s not you.
“Writing off the thing you love like it’s just a hobby…? Sounds like something only grown-ups would do, don’t you think?”
In terms of supporting characters, Yaguchi’s best friends all come across as fairly bad influences with the amount of time they stay out watching sports and smoking, but when it comes to important things like supporting his art they’re the first to. I guess it’s just more that they’re a group of teens wanting to have fun, which is pretty nice to see on the whole.
One very intriguing character is that of Yuka, who is referred to as a cross-dresser. The pronouns Yuka goes by are both he and she with it not actually being stated which they prefer, but I really like the way that this character was included. Just one quick mention of cross-dressing and then the rest of the time they were just, them. It didn’t matter enough to other characters which is how it should be.
Regarding artwork itself, you can tell that the mangaka has put a lot of care into it. They’ve been careful to put in shadows where necessary to make the scenes more emotional and with the main subject being art there’s a lot of beautiful mini pieces of art within.
Above all else, the manga made me want to see what happened with Yaguchi, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next installment for it! Going to be looking for a physical copy this weekend also (the below photo is photoshopped).
This manga is available to purchase from Book Depository (affiliate link)
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