by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Blue Period ?
Community score: 4.5
This week's (or rather, last week's; it was delayed) episode adapts one of my favorite scenes from the manga – when Yatora's friend Koi-chan confides in him that he's planning to go to a vocational patisserie program after graduating from high school. That's not just because I personally love pastry (although the more people in the world who can make it well, the better) – it's because it's the first time we truly see how close Yatora and his friends are and how, despite the way that people damn them as delinquents, they're just people like anyone else trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Prior to Yatora deciding to drop everything and make art, Koi-chan was just gliding along, trying to do what people expected of him, which, based on what we've seen, wasn't much. But when he saw how Yatora, the goody-two-shoes of their friend group, pivoted into doing something he wanted to do rather than something that he was expected to do, it occurred to Koi-chan that he could do that too.
He's clearly still conflicted about it, as we can see from the fact that he doesn't want to tell the entire group at once. He goes out of his way to meet Yatora after art cram school to talk to him alone, and he even says that it's a wish he's largely kept to himself because he was embarrassed by it. We could talk a lot about how Koi-chan's thuggish exterior made him doubt himself, because that does, in many ways, mirror some of the experiences Yuka has had in trying to be their real self. But Koi-chan's road is in many ways a lot smoother than Yuka's, even if he's going into a field that people might find inappropriate or surprising for a big man. But at the end of the day, it's about having the courage to take the steps you want to, and both Yuka and Koi-chan seem to be doing something along those lines in this episode.
Both stand to have very different impacts on Yatora. He's touched that Koi-chan is so inspired by his own, not always easy, journey, and to a degree I think it might be the first time he's really understood their friendship as something more than guys hanging out. But Yuka's decision (which Yatora doesn't know about yet) to walk out of the TUA exam just as it starts, leaving behind only a large “X” on their canvas, is likely to really shake Yatora up. He's seen Yuka as something of a partner on this journey; even if they aren't close friends, Yuka has been the person he could just talk to a lot of the time. We don't know why Yuka – who looks really bad in the moments before they walk out – abandoned the exam, but it's something of a refutation of everything they've been working towards. Was art never their real goal? Or is it academia and academic notions of art that they're rejecting?
The idea of academic art is one that Yatora himself has been struggling with, even more so as the exam approaches. He's floored when Oba tells him that he's not “self-centered” enough to create the kind of art that gets into TUA, and that's definitely one of her more cryptic statements. It's almost like something out of Oscar Wilde's lines about art that serve as the introduction to The Picture of Dorian Gray, a series of apparent contradictions that seem to be in pursuit of some ideal of perfection that cannot possibly exist. How can Yatora be both selfish and in keeping with the strictures laid out by TUA in its exams? Is he meant to more or less cheat, like his classmate who is getting around the “no powder pigments” rule by creating what is a well-known device to get around it? And if TUA allows that, does that mean that it's not cheating? (As a teacher, I rather think it is.)
There seems to be some sort of road with signs in a language that Yatora can't read. Whether or not that dooms him to a TUA-less existence remains to be seen.
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