Continuing with the Animanga Fridays (complete with new banner), today I am reviewing Blue Period Vol.1. In terms of anime, making the Horror Top 10 List last week has seen me rewatching some old favourites, starting with Black Blood Brothers and I have plans to rewatch Highschool of the Dead this weekend, especially as I am currently quarantining and trying to stop myself climbing the wall!
Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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…
I liked the premise for this one from the start, but the actual story itself blew me away in the best way, in part because I could really feel for Yatora that moment he found his ‘passion’ because I have felt that way about writing before.
In the beginning, it took a little to warm to Yatora, because he was kind of disconnected from everything happening around him, drifting through life, doing well but with no real passion for anything, and then he found art, and he really came alive, both to me as the reader and in his world and that was fantastic to see. The power in this manga is that he goes from someone who was almost effortlessly doing well, to one who had found the thing he wanted to do best in and having to work in it, and I truly appreciated how it was a journey and a struggle, with failings as well as successes, and that he had to work for his passion. That felt so real and made it so easy to emphasize with his efforts, and it made for an inspiring story, especially for anyone currently caught in a dip or rut, or who is testing out a new passion. The drive and feeling are there, and I feel that there is a lot to be taken from Yatora’s story, and this is only the first volume!
Fittingly for a manga about art, the artwork in this book is beautiful in and of itself and is paired with real artwork contributed by other artists, again adding that extra layer of realism and lifting the manga to the next level. It also never superseded the story itself, the two working perfectly hand in hand, alongside the characters to create a rich, well-balanced manga.
Aside from Yatora who really grew on me as a character, there was a fantastic cast of characters, all of whom were unique and distinct in their own ways. I absolutely loved the art teacher, who was incredibly supportive which makes all the difference when embracing a passion like this
There were a few places where the information about art and techniques felt a little heavy-handed, but it was by far outweighed by the beautiful art style, story and overall message of the manga. And for anyone wanting to dip their toe into art, this manga is informative and motivational in its own way.
This is a slower-paced, slice of life manga, but it was incredibly poignant, and I found myself enjoying it even more than I had expected. I will certainly be on the lookout for the rest of the series, and would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys that kind of manga or who is looking for that little bit of inspiration.
Blue Period 1 – Tsubasa Yamaguchi – **** (4/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic manga. What manga are you reading at the moment? What manga would you recommend?