I’ve got a post coming out a little later that goes into this more, but I’ve felt like I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. It could be all the papers I have to write for finals, or the relentless stress of upcoming bills, but I’ve been feeling awfully tired and unmotivated lately. So when I picked Barakamon back up after a few days with no anime, I was relieved at how easygoing and fun it was.
The story centers around Seishū Handa, a young pro calligrapher. After assaulting the elderly curator of an exhibition who criticized his work, Seishū’s father sends him to Gotō Island to cool off and mature. Most of the series shows his adjusting to life there and the friendships he makes with the locals, as well as how it affects his calligraphy.
And then we have virtually everyone’s favorite character, Naru Kotoishi, the hyperactive bug-catching little girl who drives Seishū to move forward. You don’t have to dig deep into this show to realize she’s the true star. Honestly if it weren’t for her constantly interrupting, this would probably have been a dark sad show about a shut-in calligrapher who couldn’t survive on his own. Naru breathes life into the series by connecting everyone together. It’s because of Naru that all the villagers lovingly refer to Seishū and Sensei. It’s because of Naru that he’s able to start writing again. And it’s because of Naru that he matures and comes back to the island in the end.
Let’s look at some of the other supporting characters. We have a lovingly stereotypical bunch of friends who, if there were more of them, could be caricatures of the seven deadly sins. Miwa Yamamura and Tamako Arai pictured above both have their deviant elements to them, but they mostly serve as Naru’s older friends who often teach her strange and sometimes dirty words. We also have Hiroshi Kido, son of the village chief, pictured below. I was honestly a little disappointed that his character seemed more shallow than the others, but in a weird way that did kind of set him apart in its own right. I mean there’s also Hina Kubota, a young girl who’s also friends with Naru, but her biggest trait is that she cries at anything so…
In the end this show was just another lighthearted fun watch. It does it’s emotional moments towards the end, but I’d just watched a 30 minute video break down of Anohana, so I don’t think it worked quite as well as they intended. I will say that I think they did an excellent job with both the general storytelling and the ending — which seems kind of rare for a show to accomplish both. I’ll probably start a bit of the comedic prequel/sequel Handa-kun tomorrow, but I’m trying to go in with low expectations.
Every time a show this solid wraps up I just wish I could just erase it from my brain and watch again.
Until next time…