Blue Period anime Ending Explained – why does Ryuji ditch the exam?

Blue Period Plot Summary

Blue Period, a Netflix anime based on a seinen ‘youth’ manga, is as much about art and its appreciation as it is about finding yourself and your purpose. Outwardly, high schooler Yatora Yaguchi is an excellent student with a lot of friends, supportive parents and an active social life. But on the inside, he’s quietly jaded and empty. Only a sophomore and already he’s just ticking the boxes, finding himself… bored.

Inspired by a senior student, he’s suddenly ensnared by an oil painting, catching an excitement he’s not previously felt. Discovering that painting changes everything. Captivated, he finds himself suddenly drawn to art, having never done anything he’d considered ‘difficult’ before. When he tries it himself – creates something – he’s absolutely hooked. 

READ MORE: Blue Period Season 1 Review

Why is Yaguchi so disconnected?

Yaguchi is an honor student not because he’s brilliant but because he works hard. However, he takes a practical approach to his studies, choosing to do well so he can get into a good course and later a good job, ticking the requisite boxes. Socially, he’s a popular guy with a slew of friends who are somewhat less studious, not taking anything seriously. With them, he’s able to not think too hard about his present or his future. In all of this, he’s neither excited nor happy but rather passing his time as his peers do. In short, prior to discovering art, he’s bored.

Why does Yaguchi choose art?

He’s inspired by upperclassman Maru Mori’s painting. So taken with it and her interpretation, when asked to paint ‘anything’ in class, he gives it a heartfelt try. Yaguchi is so enamored with the feeling of creating it, the result and others people’s reactions to it that he decides he wants to study art too.

Why does Yaguchi befriend Ryuji?

Ryuji and Yaguchi have a history together, evidenced by Yaguchi’s first name basis – it’s more common to refer to peers in school by a surname. They also feel confident discussing things that may feel a little too personal for acquaintances, like Ryuji’s relationships. Throughout the story, Ryuji subtly pushes Yaguchi to explore and discover things, even as they/he/she’s having personal difficulties and questions of his/her/their own, such as with sexuality and self-identity. Whatever’s happening on the inside, Ryuji remains supportive in Yaguchi’s newfound interest, even helping normalize it for him.

Why does Ryuji ditch the art entrance exam?

Ryuji doesn’t really want to be a traditional Japanese artist. The joy is in fashion design, something Ryuji’s parents are unlikely to accept. As Ryuji’s grandmother – and sole supporter – had encouraged Japanese art, noticing a talent, parental approval was reluctantly granted. Therefore, Ryuji believes it’s the only way to do some kind of art, but it’s not a driving force. But by the entrance exam, after all the parental issues, Ryuji is over feeling beholden.

Part ‘B’ to this is that the test is a self-portrait. Reading between the lines – Yaguchi’s forte – it’s more than just using a mirror, but looking into one’s self and producing it on paper. Ryuji doesn’t seem ready to do that just yet. Although there’s an active exploration of self, Ryuji’s still figuring it out and maybe it’s a little too pressuring to be exposed that way, to put it on canvas, especially when there’s a decreased interest in studying classic art or complying with expectation.

Why is Yaguchi so bothered by Takahashi?

Plain and simple, because of Takahashi’s raw talent, he’s both impressive and annoying. While there’s jealousy, there’s awe. For Yaguchi or any of the other students, there’s no denying what a good artist he is – a natural. At the same time, Takahashi seems a little resentful of his own talent, perhaps wishing he could excel at something different. Or he’s just too inhibited to say he enjoys it. While Yaguchi freely admits he’s not exactly talented, he is what he’s always been – a hard worker. How frustrating that Takahashi doesn’t even seem to appreciate his natural skill. As Yaguchi has a habit of comparing himself to others, it’s jarring to observe Takahashi. At the same time, when Takahashi does recognize Yaguchi’s work, he’s inordinately happy to be seen as skilled by the likes of an art genius.

Is there a chance for Yaguchi and Ryuji?

There seems to be an acceptance and a curiosity – perhaps based on familiarity, perhaps on attraction. But it does not seem like either will act on it or go further in exploring the possibility. It’s more that they represent as a stabilizing point for each other as each figures it out. Sort of like a ‘brother in arms’ as they head off to war.


Read about Yaguchi’s colorful live action explosion onto the big screen in our Blue Period (2024) movie preview story. You may be surprised to see some of the cast. Also, click to check out our anime series Blue Period Season 1 Review story.

Click to read more stories about anime or more Japanese dramas and movies.


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