Blue Period Vol. 1 [Manga] Review - The Journey of an Artistic Delinquent

The Journey of an Artistic Delinquent
  • Mangaka : Yamaguchi, Tsubasa
  • Publisher : Kodansha
  • Genre : Drama, School Life, Slice Of Life, Seinen
  • Published : Oct 2020 - Present

Although Blue Period is not Yamaguchi-sensei's first manga, it is by far her most successful one. It won both the 2020 Kodansha Manga award and Manga Taisho Award and has been nominated for tons of other prestigious manga awards. And it also often hangs around the top ten list of best selling manga in the world. So it is clear that Blue Period is loved by both critics and the general audience alike; let's take a look at the reason why.

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

Yatora Yaguchi looks and acts like a delinquent. He dyes his hair blond, skips classes, and he also smokes and drinks beer with his friends late into the night. But he is also an honor student who often ranked in the top five in his grade. To him, the real world is simply a bunch of goals and checklists that he needs to go through in order to lead a decent life.

But the view of a quiet morning in Shibuya changed his life forever. For the first time in his life, he earnestly picked up a brush, poured and mixed different colors onto the tray, and began painting that calm and serene morning in Shibuya with multiple shades of blue. The delinquent has found the joy of painting and is now ready to plunge himself into the grueling world of an artist.

Why You Should Read Blue Period

1. Insightful And Realistic

Although Blue Period is a work of fiction, it is still very much based on reality. That means what the main character's going through could in fact be the real experience of one of the many high school students who wishes to enter the Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA).

Blue Period gives us insights into what's going through the mind of a student who wishes to follow his artistic journey: how they would go about doing it, different options for higher education that they may have, what the admission process looks like, and other information that would've been impossible for outsiders to Japan's art world like us to know.

And Yamaguchi-sensei presents it in a very nuanced way. The most striking moments of this insight and realism are in the scene where Yatora asks his mother to let him apply to TUA. He knows that employment prospects for art graduates may not be as promising as others, and he knows that his mother is only thinking about what’s best for his future, but he sincerely asks his mother to believe in him and support his decision nonetheless.

2. Inspiring and Motivating

Most people grow up with a dream that they wish to pursue one day. But as we get older, we become more pragmatic and end up choosing a much safer and more reliable way of life instead. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but some "what if" questions will inevitably float around in the back of our heads.

Blue Period is the story of a boy who lives his entire life by being reasonable, but at one of the most pivotal moments in his life, he rejects that value and chooses to follow his dream instead. And he works his hardest to make it come true. You truly can't help but root for the guy.

Yatora knows that he is late to the party, so he does whatever he can to catch up to everybody. He is the first one who comes to the art club and is the last one to leave. He spends his days filling pages upon pages with drawings, and he even pays for the expensive art cram school with his own money, albeit only at first.

That's why Yatora's hard work and determination is a great source of motivation and inspiration for every reader, especially to those who are in the middle of a journey to accomplish something important to them.

Why You Should Skip Blue Period

1. Slow Pace

The only reason why you should skip Blue Period is if you don't like a slow paced story. It takes time to get good at art and that is what Yamaguchi-sensei tries to portray in the Blue Period. That's why everything is presented in a detailed and gradual manner, which in turn slows the pace considerably.

You’ll see Yatora struggle on some drawings and spend pages trying to solve that problem. You’ll see him shopping for art tools and learn how to properly use them for the first time. Blue Period is full of such deliberate moments, and if that isn't your cup of tea, then maybe Blue Period is not the manga for you.

Final Thoughts

Despite being a medium that relies heavily on artwork, the life of an artist, painter, illustrator, or other similar profession is something that is rarely covered in manga. There are only a handful of them and Blue Period is most certainly one of the best ones yet.

There’s still more to come, so it's impossible to say whether or not it will stay this good. But at the very least, this first volume is brimming with such great potential.

So do you think - would you pick this series up? Or maybe you have read Blue Period and have different takes on it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Blue-Period-Wallpaper-1-700x497 Blue Period Vol. 1 [Manga] Review - The Journey of an Artistic Delinquent


Author: Harry

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog:

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