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What makes a good manga? That depends on who you ask. There are a variety of readers with their own taste and genres of choice, from shoujo to shounen.  However, great manga is able to attract readers from various different genres, captivating them with the plot, great characters, and even better art. This is the essence of what “Plue Period,'' an ongoing manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi does. “Blue Period,”is a manga following the young protagonist Yatora Yaguchi and his journey as an artist. At the surface, it seems like a rather simple concept, however, as you begin to get more into the story you are met with a depth that is hard to find in many stories nowadays. 

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Yatora Yaguchi is a second-year high school student whose relatability and drive make him the perfect protagonist. Like many high school and even college students Yatora is unsure of what he wants to do in the future. He finds his life a boring kind of normal as he excels in school putting in an effort not for himself but to keep his parents happy. Similarly, he flows through life never feeling truly excited about anything, he is barely able to relate to his friends and their ability to relax and enjoy life. That is however until he is put in an art class where he is given an assignment that leads him to contemplate life. He finds himself being able to truly express himself through painting and more specifically art. It is the first time Yatora feels that alive and he finds himself addicted to the feeling. Although he is scared he is determined to pursue that gratifying feeling as he decides to pursue art college. As he goes on this journey he has the support of his friends and fellow art club members as they not only navigate art but the difficulties of coming of age and being true to oneself. 

[bf_image id="n73qk6p5tqz47x6nkvscnn4"] Although Yatora is a great protagonist there are many other great characters and aspects to “Blue Period.”From the eccentric art teacher to his frenemy of sorts Yuka we see a range of identities and personalities. One part I truly enjoyed was how honest and poignant Yuka’s backstory regarding their gender identity was, with a mix of humor and reality it portrayed their character in the perfect manner. The story weaves family relations, growing up, and the insecurity of having to put everything into one’s dream to tell a great story. Even though Yatora is the main character we are also exposed to the inner workings and motivations of many other characters. To top it all of the mangaka also adds traditional art pieces in the manga so as a reader you can tell they have a vast knowledge of art as well as talent. It is a mix of casual manga art and what is considered traditional classic art. 

Overall, I highly suggest anyone who likes manga or a well-written story and marvelous art to read “Blue Period.” Its great storytelling is sure to evoke emotions and deep thought. Also if you are not much of a reader not to worry. “Blue Period” is getting an anime adaptation in October!

Paulina Herrera

UC Riverside '22

Paulina Herrera is a junior at UC Riverside studying English. She has spent her time refining her skills as an art director intern for The Naked Magazine and as an intern for The Art Collection, NY. When she is not working on her art or writing you can find her reading copious amounts of comics and books or attending conventions.
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