Categories
Scene

Animation-Nation: ‘Blue Period’

“Before I started painting, I thought painting was a magic that only a selected few could use.”

Art: one of the most beautiful things that we were given on this earth. As it evolved over time, we have come to see art in many different forms and expressions. However, there’s this strange notion behind it. That the only people who create art are chosen, those gifted with talents and nothing more. Like everything else in life, art is something that requires hard work, with talent only taking you so far. That is what Yatora Yaguchi learns in “Blue Period.”

“Blue Period,” based on the manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi, directed by Koji Masunari and Katsuya Asano, follows Yatora Yaguchi. Yaguchi is an excellent high school student, but deals with the feeling of emptiness in his life. It is not until he sees a painting at his school’s art club that he pursues the visual arts, deciding to try (and get accepted) into the Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA) after he graduates.

Being an art major myself, I can say that this show is one the best depictions of showing the life of an artist, and some of their uprisings as well. At the beginning of the show Yaguchi is a prime example of what most people assume the life of an artist would be like. When seeing a painting, he raves about how he envies someone that was born with such talent. While artists understand that people are trying to compliment them, it is important to acknowledge that talent only took them so far. To create something artists can be proud of, requires hours of practice and dedication, something that Yaguchi finds out quickly when he has a change of heart and decides to pursue art himself.

“Blue Period” also does a great job of depicting the harsh realities of being an artist. One of the biggest challenges Yaguchi faces is telling his parents how he wants to pursue art in college. Now thankfully, my parents were supportive in my pursuits of being an art major; however, there are plenty of people that I have met who struggle with having any kind of support in their path of becoming an artist. We hear the same questions of concern all the time. “How will you make money?” “What kind of work will you find?” “Will anyone buy your art?” Believe me, we are aware of the concerns, but we do it because it’s our passion and that is what this show exemplifies.

When watching “Blue Period” as an artist, I can say with confidence that the show educates the audience, along with the main character, the various artistic techniques. With the author of the manga graduating from art school herself, she made sure to make this story as accurate as possible. Making sure each technique is right, while also showing the struggles many artists face trying to consistently create great pieces of work. The only critique I have of this show is that the pacing is too fast, as they skipped out on a lot of Yaguchi’s development of an artist compared to the manga. I would assume it was so they could fit the first part of the story in 12 episodes.

Art, while not math or science, is still physically and mentally demanding. It is not something that can be rushed or learned quickly. It requires patience, practice, strong will and the motivation to create something beautiful. Artists go through the same struggles as Yaguchi, but we all do it because it’s something we love. And, at the end, being able to see something we created makes all the hard work worth while

Title: Blue Period

Directors: Koji Masunari,, Katsuya Asano

Starring: Johnny Yong Bosch

Streaming: Netflix

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at gzarazua@nd.edu

Categories
Scene

Animation recommendations: ‘Mob Psycho 100’

“Your life is your own” 

In this world, we are all born with our own special gifts, whether we see them that way or not. Some people are fast, “booksmart”, or good at art. Either way, they are just another characteristic. We must embrace that as part of ourselves and continue to live positively. However, the truth behind one’s charm is kindness. We must simply become good people, that is all. That is what Reigen Arataka teaches Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob throughout the show “Mob Psycho 100.” Great words to live by coming straight from the mouth of a con artist.

“Mob Psycho 100” stars the lovable and kind-hearted Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob throughout the show. He is an emotionless middle school kid who struggles to figure out who he is and his presence in this world. He may seem weak, but little do those around him know that he is the most powerful esper (immense psychic power) in the show. However, when his emotions overwhelm him, they cause him to lash out and lose control of his powers, forcing him to suppress all his emotions. He finds help learning to control these powers from the self-proclaimed spirit medium Reigen Arataka, though it is revealed from the moment you meet him that is a complete lie, unbeknownst to Mob. Together, they help solve cases and fight demons, as well as other espers, all while Mob tries to figure out his true self and live a normal life.

While the premise seems simple enough, “Mob Psycho 100”  is an example of never judging a book by its cover. The author of the manga, who simply goes by ONE, creates a beautiful story about two characters growing together in their own unique way. It is truly special seeing Mob not wanting to always rely on his psychic powers, but rather wanting to grow and get stronger naturally both physically and mentally. He hates resorting to violence if other espers try to harm him or the ones he loves, and feels immense guilt whenever he is forced to use them. Reigen grows by realizing the potential in Mob and wanting to help him use his powers for good, while also teaching him to become a good person overall. While Reigen does take advantage of Mob’s powers in order to support his esper business, you can see that he genuinely cares about Mob and wants the best for him.

Lastly, while the story is amazing, I have to geek out over the animation. Studio Bones uses every cent of its budget to make one of the most visually pleasing shows I have ever seen. It is displayed best when the action starts and your eyes will be glued to the screen with all the popping colors and fluidity of each frame. Studio Bones even uses very minimal line drawings that help display humor and characters’ reactions and emotions, yet will instantly switch to the most breathtaking frame of animation you will ever see. The opening credits alone convinced me to start the show, as you can see the love and care everyone involved put into it.

If you want a genuinely heartwarming story about a kid learning to figure out his purpose in life, all while having over-the-top action and humor, “Mob Psycho 100” is the show for you. The third and final season is coming out this October. If they can stick the landing and end the show right, this will be a show that has very minimal flaws. While the HBO Max Animation Massacre took this show off, I would say it is worth getting a Crunchyroll account to watch this instead.

Title: “Mob Psycho 100”

Director: Yuzuru Tachikawa

Starring: Setsuo Ito, Takahiro Sakurai

Streaming: Crunchyroll

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at gzarazua@nd.edu.

Categories
Scene

Animation Recommendation: ‘A Silent Voice’


“Animation is something kids enjoy, and adults have to endure.” 

The 2022 Oscars received major backlash as presenters Halle Bailey, Lily James and Naomi Scott came out to present the award and spoke on how animated movies are “formative experiences” for kids who watch them “over and over.” Many animators throughout Hollywood, including famous director Phil Lord, expressed anger and disappointment as Hollywood does not understand the time and effort it takes to make an animated film. While animation did begin with the idea of reaching out to kids, like anything else in this world…it evolved. Not only is animation for kids, but new animation is being made for adults, with more mature themes that sadly, little to no people know about anymore. Knowing this, I would like to help out in telling people how great animation is and the stories they tell. So, this being my first recommendation, I would like to introduce you to my favorite animated film, “A Silent Voice.”

A Silent Voice, a manga written by Yoshitoki Ōima and a film directed by Naoko Yamada, focuses on the lives and relationships of two kids, Shoko Nishimiya and Shoya Ishida. Nishimiya is a new girl in middle school, who is revealed to have a hearing disability, leading to tension between her and her classmates, especially Ishida. For the first 20 to 23 minutes of the film, we see Nishimiya bullied constantly by Ishida and his friends, eventually leading to her transferring to another school. The aftermath of the bullying, however, leads to Ishida being the scapegoat of the bullying, taking all the punishment with his friends not being punished at all. After this, we flash forward to a 17-year old Ishida. He is anti-social, depressed and hates himself for his actions towards Nishimiya. He has shut himself off from the world to the point where he conplemplates suicide, and comes close to doing so, until he meets Nishimiya again. The rest of the film focuses on Ishida doing his best to make it up to Nishimiya and learning to come to terms with his actions.

This film does an amazing job of not showcasing purely good and purely evil characters. Everyone in this film is a gray character, just regular people who have their redeeming qualities and faults. While the manga fleshes out the supporting characters more and helps us understand them and see their point of view on the events of the film, Yamada does a good job of compressing the character’s arcs enough to where they are still relevant but do not take up a majority of the runtime.

Showcasing regular people though means we get to see all the awkward conversations, heated confrontations and most emotional moments right in front of us. When I say this movie has some of the most emotional moments in film, I mean it. Without giving spoilers, all I will say is: Be prepared for the fireworks. You won’t see them the same way again after you finish this film. The film also showcases Ishida being an outcast in an amazing way. Putting X’s on all the characters’ faces helps show how Ishida does not like being interesting with others and looking them in the eye, doing his best to block them out.

“A Silent Voice” is a must-see, not just for anime fans, but for anyone who has experienced bullying or regret of any kind. While some people may be disappointed, this is not a love story about Nishimiya and Ishida, far from it. It is a story about redemption, one that will leave you sobbing at the very end. “A Silent Voice” is not about a guy falling in love with a girl, it’s about a guy being able to love himself again.

Title: “A Silent Voice”

Director: Naoko Yamada

Starring: Miyu Irino, Saori Hayami

Streaming: Netflix

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Gabriel Zarazua

Contact Gabriel at gzarazua@nd.edu