After last week’s episode of Blue Period saw Yatora struggling to try and find his own unique artistic style, in episode 4 we get to see him bare his soul on the canvas. This week’s episode was a powerful one, as Yatora’s understanding of the art world, his peers and ultimately himself continue to deepen.
Variety in art
In episode 4 of Blue Period, Yatora and his peers join the prep school day classes. What ensues for Yatora is a massive sense of culture shock. His foray into the art world began with coming to understand art as something that one can study and work to improve at, rather than something that relies solely on natural talent. Up until this episode, he’s been approaching the artistic process the same way he approached his studies; in a formulaic manner. This makes sense for a novice artist, but unfortunately for Yatora his peers are far beyond that stage.
When Yatora sees other students taking a box-knife to a canvas, painting with handprints and using materials such as tape, he’s perplexed. While he’s grasped many of the basic art techniques in an impressively short amount of time, he still has a lot to learn when it comes to general knowledge about the art world.
Self expression vs ‘exam art’
Yatora’s inexperience with art also means that he takes his teachers’ words as gospel. When Saeki-sensei suggests he attend prep school to increase his chance of getting into an art college, he does just that. It isn’t until fellow prep school student Yotasuke introduces him to the concept of ‘exam art’ that Yatora begins to contemplate the negative aspects of making art for grading.
The idea of being able to create whatever you want when inspiration strikes is nice, but not often realistic. Whether it be a college examiner or a client, people who aim to make a living from art must reconcile with the fact that they won’t always have complete artistic freedom. For Yotasuke this is a deal breaker – and one which causes him to quit prep school. Thankfully Hashida is there to balance Yotasuke’s dramatics, reminding Yatora that this problem isn’t exclusive to creative fields.
This discussion also harks back to something Saeki-sensei said in episode 1: “‘Just leave your passions as a hobby’. That’s something an adult would say, I think”. While her words were refreshing, and precisely what any aspiring artist wants to hear, it’s an unfortunate reality that many creatives do just that. The prospect of trying to make a living from art in a society that in many ways doesn’t seem to value (or reward) it is daunting in itself. But when considering that they might also have to forgo their own artistic vision to meet someone else’s criteria, some artists would rather leave their art as a hobby or side gig.
Yatora bares his soul
Yotasuke’s frustrations only escalate after attending an art school festival with Yatora. This culminates in an argument in which he questions why Yatora pursues art when he seemingly has everything going for him. Perhaps even more so than the others, art is an emotional outlet for Yotasuke. And from his perspective it’s an outlet that Yatora doesn’t need.
But regardless of the intention behind Yotasuke’s words, Yatora takes it as an insult to his artistic skill. His tearful reaction is a testament to just how deeply he cares about art. Spurred by his anger and hurt, he makes his most compelling piece of art yet. After all his fretting over artistic vision and integrity, the emotion-fueled piece represents a breakthrough for Yatora. I look forward to seeing what challenges he’ll overcome in next week’s episode.
Episode 5 of Blue Period will air on November 6 and is available to watch on Netflix. If you enjoyed episode 4 don’t forget to vote for it in our Anime of the Week poll!
All images via Netflix.
©︎ Tsubasa Yamaguchi, Kodansha/Blue Period Production Committee