Blue Period
Episode 8

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Blue Period ?
Community score: 4.4

It's hardly the centerpiece of the episode, but there is something really wrong with Yuka. This perhaps struck me so hard because it's the piece of this week's story that we get the fewest answers about – meaning that we get precisely zero. After their fairly spectacular walk-out at the end of last week's episode, we only check in with Yuka once this time, at the beginning: a teacher runs out after them and is alarmed by the look on Yuka's face as they turn to look at him, and quite frankly, I'm concerned, too. This may not be as much Yuka's story as Yatora's, but they're still an important piece of it, and I really don't want to see something terrible happen to Yuka in the name of pushing Yatora forward, which I'm concerned could happen.

Not that Yatora needs the push just yet. Although still relatively rigid in his thinking, the mishap during the exam this week is something that he manages to turn to his favor. Not that it wasn't horrible when it occurred: a fellow examinee thoughtlessly backing up into his easel and breaking his self-portrait mirror is definitely a heart-stopping event. It was no doubt an accident – I'm not sure that the young woman in question has the guile to do something like that on purpose (Hashida, maybe) – but it also seems like the kind of thing that a proctor ought to have warned against, especially since artists do routinely step away from their work to get a different view of how it's coming out. On that level, it does feel a bit contrived, or at least like a tacit admission that the rules are in place just as much to see how people get around them (like with the cheat devices) as to give test-takers a set of guidelines. If Yatora couldn't cope with this mishap, he perhaps didn't deserve to pass in the first place.

And he does pass, which is both a relief and something of a given, since I'm not sure where the series would have gone had he not. Like with the broken mirror, it wouldn't have been impossible to continue, but it may not have been the best route to take, which is where the mirror analogy I was working with here falls apart – because the broken mirror absolutely does push Yatora in the right direction. He was getting there on his own, but Yatora is the kind of thinker who hops on his little mental hamster wheel and just starts spinning, and without a reason to get off, he remains stuck. He was starting to realize that the idea of his intrinsic duality was the way to go, but as he was listing his contradictions, he was stuck on the idea of just two; the idea of opposites. But what he really listed was a series of six differences, because none of us are just made up of two sides. That's a trap Yatora has fallen into in his thinking before, and discovering art was the first step towards realizing that he was more than just “delinquent” and “honor student.” We can all be many things at all times, and like Yatora's portrait, certain elements of ourselves spend time in the foreground of our lives depending on what's going on. The broken mirror helped him to see that in a more concrete (and literal) way, and from the moment we see the proctor look impressed as Yatora's going to lunch, we know this first test is in the bag.

In some ways, this is a very predictable episode. We can, as previously mentioned, make an educated guess that Yatora has to pass this round, and given that only Hashida and Kuwana were developed characters in Yatora's class, it was a reasonable assumption that they would too. Yotasuke is a mystery, as is Yuka for different reasons, but this otherwise played out pretty much as we could have supposed. That makes it a bit of a mixed bag, because it is still intense even with the predictable elements. The same could be said of the visuals, which give us a wonderful shot of Yatora between the ribs of a skeleton, mirroring his self-portrait, and a godawful one of the young woman who broke his mirror bending down with her breasts really looking just stuck on to her body. But even when it's predictable and mixed, Blue Period is a joy to watch. Hopefully finding out what's going on with Yuka won't ruin that.

Rating:

Blue Period is currently streaming on Netflix.


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