“As a punishment for punching a famous Calligrapher, young handsome Calligrapher Handa Seishu is exiled on a small island. As someone who has never lived outside of a city, Handa has to adapt to his new wacky neighbors, like people traveling on a tractor, unwanted visitors who never use the front door, annoying kids using his home as a playground, etc. Can this city guy handle all the crazy hardships? Find out in this wacky island comedy full of innocence and laughter!!!”
Rating: 5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started: February 2nd, 2016 (?)
Finished: March 15th, 2016
Alcohol Pairing: Vodka gingerale – preferably something sickly sweet though, like blue-raspberry vodka and blackberry gingerale (IT’S A THING AND IT’S AMAZING).
“You ain’t gonna know unless you climb up yerself. Ain’t no way to look if you don’t try.”
– Kotoishi Naru
Barakamon is an adorable Slice of Life anime that makes you laugh, tugs at your heart strings, and makes you remember all the times you finally stopped worrying and stressing and finally appreciated the simple moments in life.
Handa Seishu is a professional calligrapher who devotes his life to the art of Calligraphy. When his dedication goes overboard and he finds himself acting outside of the cool, collected artist (and using more of his fists than his wrists), he is banished to an island to cool off. The city-hot-shot is completely out of his element and his reclusive habits are pushed to the limits as the neighbourhood children take a liking to him (and his house) and continue to appear out of the wood-work. As Handa grows and matures, he teaches and is taught by the children and adults of the island. Eventually, what started as an annoyance turns into the comfort that allows Handa to bloom into the independent calligrapher he inadvertently set out to be.
I absolutely loved this anime. It was fluffy, funny, and memorable. I watched three episodes months before I finally finished the season and I didn’t need a re-cap (trust me when I say this is an amazing feat with my horrendous memory). Occasionally, Barakamon would pop into my head and acted like a cup of tea, radiating pure comfort. I’d find myself vaguely wishing for mini friends like Naru and her gang, until I realized that I am Kosuke – Handa’s arch-nemesis calligrapher – who is terrified of both children and bugs, so I’m going with stick with adoring this anime from the comfort of indoors instead.
The animation fit Naru to a T – her personality shines through the flawless emulation of her character that feels so raw and familiar that if you don’t fall in love with Naru you failed the test. The other characters have something absolutely astounding to them as well – I can tell their ages apart just by looking at them! It’s probably because I haven’t watched enough anime, but I was eternally when the elementary kids looked like they really were seven, the middle schoolers looked 11, and the high school students looked 18. After realizing Handa is twenty-three, I didn’t mind that he looked like a high schooler because I’m twenty-three and some days I still feel like High School was yesterday so I relate Handa – I relate.
Despite the fluff, there were a lot of simple insights that lead to more in-depth moments.
“That’s because you keep looking up all the time. The trick is to wait patiently and pick up the ones from the ground around you. You won’t see any opportunities from below if you keep looking above your head all the time.”
Each episode seems to focus on a flaw that we gain as we’re thrust into adulthood. Stressing over something we’ve blown out of proportion, being overly critical of ourselves for not achieving what we set out for, and just learning to be an adult with the still raw rash where we used to wear our childhood like a badge. They’re simple in their delivery. As I tended to view Handa as an impossible character (mainly because calligraphy is non-existant in Canada… unfortunately), it took a moment for these simple statements to hit home – I’m sure some of them flew over my head because Handa barely reacts, simply says, “Oh,” smiles – and then Naru and cuteness resume. But the fact that the adults giggle at how hard Handa tries to adult (and still send food over because he’s hopeless), that they just do what they always do and don’t bother to give Handa a helping hand if it would serve as a lesson, is beautiful. Tough love. Their little moments of brilliance usually followed, which was followed by Naru. With a contrast as that, it’s a gentle reminder to relax and just do your thing.
Learning to grow up is hard, so stop beating yourself up. Adults still have a lot to learn, too, but never forget how to play.
“You’re making Gloom-Fumes. ”