Netflix Original Blue Period is for the burned-out creators and overachievers looking for that spark again. In the series’ debut episode, it hit the ground running hard with gorgeous animation and an adaptation of Volume 1 of the manga, which is published in English by Kodansha Manga, extremely well. Blue Period Episode 2, “He’s Not Tanned at All” sees Yatora making the choice to change up his entire life. Instead of embracing sports and traditional college education, he decided to take a new path and aim for art school. Where Episode 1 showed the apathy being shaken away, Episode 2 is all about what happens when you find that drive again.
Having joined the art club, Yatora has to make tell those around him that he’s planning on art school, which includes his advisor and of course, his mother. While the interpersonal relationships and how they develop this episode are good, it’s all about watching Yatora discover and push himself.
With internal narrative moments, we see his moments of doubt in his abilities and those when he sees a path forward and gains inspiration from others. For a character who has been good at everything, seeing Yatora learning and actively trying to be good at something is touching to watch. As an overachiever and someone who has been “naturally good” at a lot of things, seeing Yatora struggle to do well is beautiful. Sure his back hurts and he’s tired and constantly worrying if his art teacher is pittying him, but it also means he cares again. The monotony of success has been broken up and he’s finally striving for something he wants. He is working to move towards joy, and I hope I can feel that specific emotional experience again. This is why Blue Period as both an anime and a manage resonates with so many.
In this Blue Period Episode 2, like the last, Seven Arcs (the animation studio behind the series) has showcased how beautiful different artistic mediums can mix together. Like the manga, the studio has taken the time to add in hand-drawn elements in the still-life drawing section of the series. Instead of looking like the rest of the animation, the art on the students’ easels look like what you would find walking into an art studio. This remains one of the series strongest elements and one that I wasn’t sure would translate as dynamically to animation.
Additionally, the this episode sets up the scene for other characters to take more space in the narrative which is something I’m excited for. One standout relationship this episode is between Yatora and his teacher. That said, Blue Period Episode 2 showcases the importance that the narrative has and does a good job of showcasing doubt, joy, and pressure that comes with the subject matter. Yatora is believable and relatable as a character and I can’t ask for more.
Overall, Blue Period Episode 2 isn’t s a super large episode but is one that shows Yatora changing and actively trying to thrive in a new space.
Blue Period Episode 2 — "He's Not Tanned at All"
Blue Period Episode 2 showcases the importance that the narrative has and does a good job of showcasing doubt, joy, and pressure that comes with the subject matter. Yatora is believable and relatable as a character and I can’t ask for more.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.