The answer to that question is…absolutely nothing. As a show that revolves around the two very heavily, to say that it’s a delight when the two clash is an understatement. It’s extremely rare that I enjoy a show tagged with ‘Slice of Life’, and even rarer that I fall in love with it in the first 10 minutes, but Barakamon changed all of that.
“Seishuu Handa is an up-and-coming calligrapher: young, handsome, talented, and unfortunately, a narcissist to boot. When a veteran labels his award-winning piece as “unoriginal,” Seishuu quickly loses his cool with severe repercussions.
As punishment, and also in order to aid him in self-reflection, Seishuu’s father exiles him to the Goto Islands, far from the comfortable Tokyo lifestyle the temperamental artist is used to. Now thrown into a rural setting, Seishuu must attempt to find new inspiration and develop his own unique art style—that is, if boisterous children (headed by the frisky Naru Kotoishi), fujoshi middle schoolers, and energetic old men stop barging into his house! The newest addition to the intimate and quirky Goto community only wants to get some work done, but the islands are far from the peaceful countryside he signed up for. Thanks to his wacky neighbors who are entirely incapable of minding their own business, the arrogant calligrapher learns so much more than he ever hoped to.” (From MyAnimeList)
Now I, like most people (I assume) have no interest in calligraphy, nor do I know a thing about it. The extent I care about peoples handwriting ends at me commenting ‘nice’ when they loop their G’s and Y’s. However, despite our protagonist being a calligrapher, and caligraphy being at least 50% of the source of his turmoils, interest in caligraphy isn’t needed at all to get the most out of Barakamon.
We get just enough information about Handa’s hobby to be able to understand where he’s coming from, but the main focus (and the best part of the show) is not Handa’s writing worries, but his interactions with the people of the island. Straight off the bat, he catches the interest of excitable 5 year old Naru, who subsequently spends the rest of her time following Handa around and making his life just that little bit more difficult. Not intentionally, just by doing kid things. For me, this is why I think the comedy hits the mark so well. It doesn’t seem too ‘out there’ like many instances of anime comedy. Whilst the jokes mainly centre around Handa’s misfortune, the misfortune is more often than not brought on by the children just trying to help – something that happens all too often in real life. And Handa’s internal monologues don’t go amiss, either.
Aside from the comedy, I also really enjoyed the difference in setting. So many shows are set in the city, or occasionally we’ll get a countryside recluse. But Barakamon is set on the Goto Islands of Japan. It showed not only a different and relaxing lifestyle, but also made sure to keep the happenings as exciting as they would be if they were happening in the middle of Tokyo. Not only that, but as it was new to me, I got to googling…and I totally understand why Handa was reluctant to ever leave. Wow.
Whilst it was a world away from the shows I normally watch, Barakamon had me under its spell from the very beginning. It’s a very relaxing and comfortable watch for both those who like to take their time with anime, or for binge watchers who need the constant giggles. Now, to get to Handa-Kun…
My rating – 9/10
What are your favourite ‘comfy’ shows? Do you think you’ll be checking out Barakamon? Let me know! And if you enjoyed this post, please consider buying me a Ko-Fi!
P.S – I’m sorry for being so quiet recently! I am 1 show (!!!) away from my 200th completed, which is very exciting. But also, the shows I’ve been working on are both long runners (112 episodes and 103 episodes!), so you can imagine my rate of watching has been a little slower. But I’ll try to make these breaks shorter!
Until next time!