Barakamon shows that you don't need aliens, magical powers and love triangles in order to create an exciting anime. Barakamon is not a tale of good triumphing over evil or a couple finding true love within one another, but rather an example of why our uneventful daily lives is story enough, even if said life involves being assaulted by small children.
There isn't a great deal that occurs in Barakamon's regrettably short 12-episode run. There is no overarching, deep story to keep you on the edge of your seat, and by the end of the final episode, not a whole lot has changed from the
beginning. If you were to explain the story of Barakamon to one of your friends, they would likely respond by saying "That's it? Sounds boring." And they would be horribly wrong, as Barakamon is easily one of the best anime of the entire year.
The characters in Barakamon are the story. It is about Handa Seishuu, a 23-year-old calligrapher prone to anger and misfortune, and his friendship with the villagers who continually screw him over through a myriad of hilarious accidents. He does not undergo a great transformation by the end of the anime, but simply experiences the joy of human companionship, and no-- this theme is not told through preaching morals. Barakamon is very subtle with its themes, choosing instead to develop characters gradually and believably rather than through melodrama. As immature as Handa and the characters often are, Barakamon is actually a surprisingly mature anime.
When Handa finds himself staring in awe at the starry night, the writers do not feel the need to explain what Handa is feeling at that moment. At that point in the story, Handa has been characterised so believably that empathising with his thoughts and feelings becomes natural. He's not a walking gag, an archetype made to appeal to the audience's most basic instincts. He is his own person, highly flawed and vulnerable to mistakes. Whereas most anime protagonists are so dull, so devoid of personality or history that you could throw them into just about any other show, Handa feels at home in his own series.
And the same can be said for all the other characters. The kids, especially Naru in particular, are unique in the way that they actually behave like kids. Naru is mouthy, aggressive and intellectually inferior to the adults. She collects bugs, finds poop funny, eats live snails (ugh!) and annoys Handa in just about every way possible. Naru is not cute in the same way that loli characters are. She is an actual child, not a pretend-child created to please the nether regions of lolicons. Just like real, living kids, Naru and her companions are often frustrating and bring ruin to just about everything they encounter, but that energy is precisely what makes them so endearing.
The humour of Barakamon is also surprisingly thoughtful, and it hits the mark more than perhaps could ever be expected from an anime. There were no moments where the joke fell completely flat (as was sometimes the case with similar anime like Silver Spoon and Gekkan Shoujo). There are few, if any puns and stereotypical Japanese humour, even if it does still follow the typical manzai format of stupid-thing-happens-and-people-react-to-stupid-thing. The stupid things in Barakamon work because they are actually rooted in reality. It doesn't create its comedy through the characters reacting in some ridiculous, unbelievable way, but through the kinds of accidents that typically follow from playing with children. And from Handa suffering.
Unlike most slice-of-life comedies, Barakamon knows how to strike a perfect balance between its humour and the more heart-warming moments. These moments are well-placed and purposely kept rare so that they may carry meaning. What most anime are incapable of grasping is that in the real world, we find beauty in between mountains of hardship; it is not something that can be created artificially and sold and traded at the dollar store. Barakamon understands this, which is precisely why its events feel so natural, even if they do not carry any huge wave of emotion along with them.
Barakamon also deserves some praise for its willingness to tell a story with characters of all ages. There are the kids, a few teenagers in the local high school, the adult protagonist and his friends from the city, and the middle-aged and elderly villagers. It does not focus solely on 15-year-olds, and for that Barakamon is all the more special.
The calligraphy aspect of the show does have its share of issues, though. Because the focus is almost entirely on the comedy and the slice-of-life, there isn't much detail given to the calligraphy world that Handa is a part of. What makes a good piece of writing? What makes a bad one? Why is Handa's new style so much more meaningful, and what is it even like to be a calligrapher? None of these questions are fully answered. If you don't have any knowledge of calligraphy (and I expect you won't-- I certainly did not), then it's likely these scenes will not do much for you. I found myself much more invested in all the immature shenanigans that occurred between Handa and the villagers. At the very least, I suppose it did show that there's a bit more to calligraphy than simply slapping cool-looking kanji on a piece of paper.
Barakamon looks and sounds great. While there's no gorgeous setpieces and scenery to bring heaven to your eyeballs, the artwork is still very attractive and consistent. The opening track is also pure bliss. I would recommend giving it a listen any time you're feeling awful; it's like magic.
Will Barakamon shock and bring you to tears? Probably not. But it will almost assuredly change the opinions of anyone who previously found the slice-of-life genre boring, and what it lacks in emotional value it makes up for by being executed nearly to perfection. It is one of the most enjoyable, pleasant experiences I've had with an anime in a very long time, and anyone who simply wants to have a good time and relax would be doing themselves a huge favour by giving Barakamon a try. Its greatest sin is that there just isn't any more of it to watch.
As for the best anime of 2014, Barakamon is the winner in my eyes.
Watching Barakamon was like going to a birthday party or a picnic outdoors, chock full of excited children running all over the place, doing what they do best. As an adult (supposedly), you feel slightly out of place but the child in you just wants to jump up and down with them in frantic jubilation without a care in the world. There is a cake too: a black forest with strawberry toppings and as you immerse yourself in the jovial mood, you admit that the feeling of sharing a slice with everyone is sweeter than the cake itself.
And what a slice it was!
For a slice-of-life
to succeed, it needs to have a decent premise which sets it up and allows it to deliver a constant flow of quality… well slice-of-lives. For Barakamon, getting the socially inept and awkward “city-boy” Handa to live in a rural island where the residents are both normal and weird at the same time was the perfect set-up. You can already see it in the first episode. In fact, for me the show stepped up a level in the scene where Handa throws out Naru and she is rolling out going “gyaaaah!” in her lovable and unique accent.
And then, we follow the life of Seishuu Handa on a place very new and unfamiliar to him: doing some things for the first time, making new friends, enjoying the beauty of nature, picking fights with grade-school kids, catching beetles and going through a plethora of experiences on the island. All the while, he is searching for his own style of calligraphy. I admit that this was the only part of the show that was sort of a miss rather than a hit, for me at least. This stemmed from the fact that I found it impossible to discern the difference of the quality of the works and how Handa’s Calligraphy evolved as the show went on. However, having said that, it is clear that the island life has a profound impact on it: after all, no one can deny the fact that he is inspired by it.
One of the impressive aspect of the show is the way in which it integrates doses of comedy here and there. In fact, I would say that it is slightly more hilarious than the norm of the genre.
The pacing of the show is wonderful. It is laid-back in general but takes longer strides if need be without rushing itself.
The only rushing in the show is the little Naru rushing to Handa’s house both of whom are totally lovable characters. Handa is surprisingly childish and immature even though he doesn’t realize it which makes it easier for him to connect with the kids and the reactions brought on by his impulsive nature are priceless and hilarious. He is the only one who is significantly developed as the series progresses but that is understandable and okay.
Little Naru is one of the main allure of the show. She is full of energy and life probably more than a normal 7-year old. You could call her a bit pesky but you would be doing so with a loving smile because her peskiness really helps break down the wall around Handa. Her attachment to Handa is cute indeed and helps their friendship blossom leading to more fun and eventful days for both of them. The only qualm here is that she is not as much developed as a character, even as the show goes on. She, more or less remains the same which is not bad as she is great just the way she is but still one senses a lost potential there.
Without going into detail about the other characters, it is suffice to say that they are all sufficiently unique and lovable. From a fujoshi in denial to a lively tomboy to a group of cheerful kids, this show has a slightly large cast. Most importantly though, they are all easily likable even if they do suffer from a lack of development which again is understandable as most of the development is focused on Handa. The best part is their interactions which are top-notch and really help carry the show forward. For instance, seeing a grown man being enlightened by 7 year olds complete with his mortified reactions is quite charming and enjoyable.
Charming is the right word for the art as well. A good amount of light and vibrant colors have been used. The backgrounds are decently picturesque and the character designs have also been neatly done and are easily distinguishable. I liked how they made the faces of the children slightly chubbier to sort of contrast them to the more ‘pointed’ ones of the adults. The different facial expressions of the characters especially of the two mains are also impressive and enjoyable. And the animation is also up to par.
For the sound, the first tick goes to Naru’s seiyuu who is a kid as well. Actually, kudos to the production team for getting child actors for the roles of those cute kids. Plus, they incorporated a unique dialect for the inhabitants of the island which just adds to the atmosphere and overall feel of the show. The BGM were also decent and as for the opening and ending: although they are not really great, they are slightly better than average. The ending especially managed to stay on my playlist for quite some time and was perfect for the show.
This show cannot be recommended enough for those seeking a simple slice-of-life full of smiles and laughs and heartwarming moments. After a long hard day, just get yourself a slice of this cake and enjoy the utter bliss that it is.
Barakamon is a work of art. However, it’s more than just calligraphy as words alone cannot describe the exact nature and discovery of Barakamon. For instance, the show takes place on an island involving a young man named Seishuu Handa. Coming from a more urban based background, his life changes forever as he finds his new life on the natural island of Goto. Of course, this doesn’t happen after he delivers a sucker punch to an elder curator. When someone throws a fit like that, it’s easy to guess that consequences are destined to follow. But can we really call a journey to Goto Island
as a consequence? Perhaps it’s the beginning of a new life for Seishuu Handa. Barakmon explores that new life in this wonderful and charming series that is guaranteed to bring satisfaction through discovery.
Adapted from the manga written by Satsuki Yoshino, the series has a simple premise. It adapts a slice of life tone hence depicting it like a narrative style with Seishuu as the main protagonist. It’s simple to realize the show has its charm in the beginning with laughter. Seishuu’s exile to Goto Island makes him the new guy in a brand new world. While the setting still takes play in the modern world, the inhabitants and surroundings contrast of what he is used to. For instance, there are no expensive cars or fancy skyscrapers where businessmen work during their workaholic hours. Rather, everything feels natural with a derivative from civilization. In essence, the show is about learning and discovery for Seishuu because he must adapt in this new environment. Now, that’s not a pushover.’
From the very beginning, the show has the ability to maintain a balanced atmosphere. We see Seishuu and his frustration yet also curiosity on the island. He discovers how simple life yet can be difficult at the same time. It’s a stark contrast to how his former life used to be. And as a master calligrapher, he is all about creation. With that in mind, Barakamon has this mercurial elegance with the style of its characters. Many of its characters live a simple life whether it’s the villagers, neighbors, or kids. They don’t rely solely on advanced technology as evidenced by the old fashioned phones and their way of fishing food. Yet, they also choose to use tools beyond the Amish norm to adapt and survive. For Seishuu, he is like babyface ready to learn everything that needs to be learned.
When it comes to characters, there is a noticeable age gap between certain groups. We have kids such as Naru, Miwa, and Tamako. Then, there are others within Seishuu’s age group such as Kazuyuki. It’s certainly an interesting factor to see how Seishuu develop relationships between these characters. Perhaps the most prominent relationship explored throughout the show is Naru and Seishuu. Having over a 15 year age gap doesn’t seem to make the duo compatible to watch at first. However, there’s a certain charm to this relationship as Naru often inspires Seishuu to climb out of his stoic self. Although he is made fun of at first by the kids with nicknames such as “Junon Boy”, there is also a strong attachment between them. In due time, Naru refers him as sensei, as a sign of respect for his brilliant skills in calligraphy. Similarly, Seishuu begins to see the kids in a different light. Despite finding him to be a nuisance, he also learns more from them to adapt with culture. The “new guy in school” tone has a presence when kids greet him with curiosity. It’s like an escapist adventure for Seishuu rather than a punishment for being exiled. To label it as a consequence could actually be the wrong term since the show offers tons of discovery for Seishuu thanks to his new life.
One of the strongest aspect of Barakamon is its ability to tell a story without complicated angles such as cliché rom-coms or battle shounens. Each episode itself is a story that cleverly show Seishuu’s life rather than tell. Indeed, they also tie in with Seishuu’s calligraphy skill as it plays as an influence throughout the show. Furthermore, the show has a heartwarming atmosphere and innocence. As much as Seishuu is curious about his new surroundings, the kids too are eager to learn. Through Seishu, they learn more about him and essence of the outside life. Remember, these kids are young and wishes to learn beyond school textbooks. With sensei there as a guidance, the kids get a lot out of his presence. It also creates an incalculable attachment as each episode brings them closer in that intimate way. They become like a family, one that in that Barakamonish to the core.
The show is also wise when it comes down to forming friendships. Seishuu makes friends with other characters including high school students and residents of his own age. Seishuu finds friendship in an authentic way through interactions. Surprisingly enough, some of their skills doesn’t differ from his own. Take for example, 14-year old Tamako Arai’s dream is to become a manga artist. Through her interactions with Seishuu, she is even more inspired to make that dream into a reality. Of course, the show also spice up some comedy between the characters as the kids play him as the fool. It’s what friends do after all. You make jokes, laugh at them, and have fun while doing so. It creates connection in that lighthearted way with realism.
Speaking of realism, there’s plenty of that. The show takes place on island so the atmosphere feels natural with energy. The cool breeze and surroundings offers a lavish theater for its backgrounds. Furthermore, it brings about a feeling of escapism for the hardships of civilization such as poverty and crime. In essence, it creates a relaxing setting for our characters to enjoy in. And by standards, most of the characters puts on a smile every day. (perhaps in Seishuu’s case though). They greet activities such as calligraphy, fishing, and swimming with pleasure and enjoyment.
Comedy is welcoming into the series too without shock values or senseless fan service. Rather, it relies on practical jokes, references, and imaginative tropes to deliver its message. However, the comedy sometimes feels abused when it comes to ideas such as BL; often generated by misunderstandings. It creates a repetitiveness that can be bothering to watch on occasions. Some other gags also quickly becomes old when it’s played over and over. Characterization also isn’t a big strength and feels flat with the younger characters. We only realize their general backgrounds without too much insight on their personalities. Perhaps the show is also a bit too simple as even rivalries (Seishuu and Kanazai) comes off as dull. Indeed, the series doesn’t craft its story thoroughly with plot devices or progression. Instead, it relies on narrative scenarios with the life of Seishuu.
Produced by Kinema Citrus, the show has a very natural taste of its backgrounds. Mountains, rivers, and the neighborhood are structured to look as realistic as it can be. Similarly, characters are crafted out of simplistic designs. The girls doesn’t have heavy makeup nor are the guys decorated with bishounen artistry. They all look who they seem to be with their matching personality. It’s like a breath of fresh air with its realistic character designs. There’s also no fan service or awkward camera angles to raise eyebrows. An added bonus is the calligraphy itself for theme and symbolism of art. It’s downright simple, realistic, and portrays slice of life at its best.
When it comes to soundtrack, Barakamon can be dry at times. Yet, it is fluid when you examine it with its conventional music. The OST offers a well-balanced tone with its fashionable soundtrack. The coordination of the music also stands out when it comes with comedic scenes and pacing. Similarly, Seishuu’s voice mannerism is portrayed quite well with his emotions ranging from frustration to joy. I also give praise to voice acting to characters such as Naru and Hina. They talk exactly like kids with their goofy remarks and laughter that inspires a curious LOL moment. The OP and ED songs are decent with unique backgrounds.
This show is morbidly gratifying especially if you had one of those tiring day. Its simplicity will take your mind off of life. And speaking of life, we get to see exactly how people live on the island of Goto. For Seishu, it’s entertaining with a handful of new discoveries he finds in his new life. But as a gift for the viewers, you will discover a whole lot more than just an island and its people. You’ll discover an honest show about a colorful cast of characters for their worth. And to be honest, it’s worth it.
One of the hallmarks of a quality slice of life show is its ability to make you forget about the real world and immerse you in their world, if only for a few minutes. You laugh alongside the characters as they do silly things, get anxious as they struggle through trials and tribulations, and then feel relieved when those problems are resolved. Barakamon does an excellent job of accentuating this aspect of the slice of life genre. Through a cast of quirky and unique characters along with simple yet powerful storytelling, Barakamon portrays the life of a man who strives to discover his true identity
Handa Seishuu, a young but promising calligraphy professional, after reacting in an extreme manner to criticism, finds himself whisked away from modern Tokyo to a rural island for a period of reevaluation and reflection. Barakamon tells the story of Handa's time on the island, his interactions with the village folk, and the search for a calligraphy style that he can call his own. With this simple premise, Barakamon delivers a show that is light hearted, comedical, and downright enjoyable to watch. It was nigh impossible to go through a single episode without a big, silly grin all over my face.
From feeling worried for Handa's latest calligraphy contest results to laughing as he attempts to hide his embarrassment due to not knowing how to use a rotary phone, while Barakamon might be a bit slow paced, there is rarely a dull moment. Moreover, although events such as painting the name of a boat onto its hull, or participating in a mochi catching contest may seem to have no deeper meaning other than to define Barakamon as a slice of life, the beautiful aspect of this show is that everything seems to have an underlying meaning or message that helps Handa grow as a person and realize what's important in life.
It is amazing how much adults can learn from children, despite once being children themselves. Their naive and simple way of thinking and positive outlook can do wonders for an adult struggling with the more mature problems of the world. A change in perspective or a shift in thought process; sometimes that's all you need to overcome the more complex issues in life. In Barakamon, this is very apparent as you watch Naru and the other village children completely change Handa through simple actions and conversations. It was a pleasure to watch Handa transform from a hot headed, close minded, and unsociable person into someone with broad horizons and an open mindset who takes life a little less seriously while enjoying it so much more.
The characters are often what makes or breaks a slice of life show, and Barakamon's cast definitely make the show. From the scrappy and unpredictable ball of energy that is Naru, to the calm and reserved Akki, the wide variety of personalities Handa encounters on the island made the show very spirited and refreshing to watch. We have the troublemaking middle school girl duo of Miwa and Tama who are a riot to watch; Tama with her aspirations of being a mangaka and Miwa, the lovable tomboy who just wants life to be a bit more eventful. Although they tease Handa a whole bunch, at the end of the day they genuinely care for him and they, along with the other children, teach him what it means to care about others. In addition to the people of the village, we have Kawafuji, Handa's constant support from behind the scenes and a childhood friend who always looks out for him, and Kanzaki, a fellow calligrapher who idolizes Handa and serves as his rival and motivation to improve his own calligraphy further. It is amazing how Barakamon's supporting cast of characters all affect Handa in some way, and is one of the reasons Barakamon is an excellent slice of life show.
The art is lively and the animation is a bit rough, but fits the style of the show quite well. The highlights were Naru's eccentric movements and general facial expressions in depressing/hilarious situations. The music was pretty standard slice of life fare; however, the opening and ending in particular were well done and fit the show like a glove. While there is room for improvement in both aspects, there is nothing major to complain about.
Barakamon delivers a slice of life show that we've been missing for quite some time. With the amount of cute girls doing cute things and moe shows, Barakamon was a much needed breath of fresh air. A cute, endearing, and heartwarming story about a calligrapher who seeks for a style he can call his own, Barakamon is a solid pick up for any slice of life fan.
Without fail, this anime had me in stitches after hours and hours of watching all the episodes for 2 days. (sorry, I didn't finish it in one because of chores.)
Truth is, I saw a screenshot of this anime in my profile and I was interested in seeing it. It was a picture of mangas being piled up in a bag. Two of those mangas were my favorites; namely, Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist. I got interested so I looked it up without viewing its synopsis and started seeing it. I was first in distraught when I found out that the first episode tackles
about a man being in shame after punching a critic who demolished his whole world by saying a very hurtful comment about his calligraphy. I thought that maybe I was viewing this show and making a waste of time and energy. But I decided to give it a shot.
Barakamon has a simple yet a refreshing plot. The MC ventures on a quest to find a peace of his mind and to have an adventure in a certain province that will either help him fail or achieve success in winning the calligraphy contest. It sure does seem boring at first because not all of us just sit and and talk about calligraphy once in a while because we are not at all interested in it. On the other hand, it actually has a deeper meaning to it. Handa (MC), meets a variety of people that gives him food, infuriates him, and somehow gives him ideas. Meanwhile, the MC is still on the verge finding out whether the people in the province serves him as a distraction, inspiration or both. As I go around halfway through the series, I find myself enjoying the whole story and having a connection on the characters.
It's pretty obvious that I liked this anime. I am not the usual type who watches Slice of Life themed shows and love them this much. I don't usually enjoy them, I just see their capability to entertain a person. Sometimes I sleep halfway through the episodes but in Barakamon, I've never felt any of those. This will be one of my favorite shows of all time. The comedy and plot is timeless. It is something you won't see everyday.
I think the art is Brain's Base's doing. The inconsistent outline somehow managed to astound me even more. Its creative style to add accent to the characters managed to help me enjoy the show even more. The background is as expected, really wonderful and realistic as usual. It pays attention to detail. Also, the coloring they used is usually pastel colors which complements the light-heartedness of this show.
Daisuke Ono's voice acting is probably one of the most interesting parts of this show! I never would've guessed that the serious, sexy, and soothing voice of Ono-sama would match the quirkiness of Handa Seishuu.
You guys should give this 2014 anime a chance because while there isn't much anime excitement going on last year, I suppose Barakamon can give you a subtle yet captivating impression.
When the last season of animes started, i was looking forward for just three animes: Tokyo Ghoul, Akame ga Kill and SAO2. Nothing more than that. I wasn't a big fan of slice of life anime, even though i had watched some after, i used to think that this genre was boring.
Barakamon prove that i was wrong. The show don't let the rhythm down in all of the 12 episodes. All the characters are good, there's no one that i've disliked, and that's pretty difficult in all anime.
The comedy on Barakamon it's natural, not something forced with stupid jokes, the characters are just funny. Handa
starts to grown like human on the anime what can be seen in the last 3 episodes.
The story is pretty good.Handa starts to choose his own way on callygraphy, and to understand what is really important to him.
The sounds in general in the anime are truly AMAZING! The opening "Rashisa" is perfect for the anime. The soundtracks perfectly match the moments too. I usually don't like much endings, sometimes i don't even see, but the ending theme "Innoccence" it's pretty good too.
I don't think that everyone will like this show like i did. But i think that everyone needs to give it a try, because it's really good!
Without a doubt, Barakamon is one of the most relaxing anime out there in existence. If I had to describe Barakamon in short, it would be that it has been, a true panacea.
Barakamon's story isn't anything groundbreaking or intricate, in fact, it is the authentic simplicity of the show, that truly permits one to adore this show to its utmost. With a soothing atmosphere and a refreshing cast of characters, Barakamon is one of those shows that rewards anyone from an arduous day of work.
The story revolves around Handa Seishuu, a young and enthusiastic calligrapher with pride and talent. Despite this, after having
his worked criticised against him, he punches and old man, and thus, has been exiled to a rural country-side island to take some time off and reflect from his actions.
Transformation, no, it is not transformation that Handa receives throughout his time here, but rather, it is the collective experience and memories forged on the island with the villagers that truly allow Handa to grow not only as a calligrapher, but as a human being.
Barakamon is very subtle and implicit in portraying its underlying messages, and although the change of Handa is not colossal, it is the journey itself and the time spent on the island that tackles and exhibits the implied themes of resilience, hospitality and companionship.
Naru is a noisy, boyish and talkative 7 year-old girl who accompanies Handa throughout the majority of the time and is another vital asset to the cast of the show. A lot of the show's comedy and humour derives off from Naru and her comical behavior and actions, making her an essential character in the series. What makes her so enticing and adorable is her infinite amounts of energy, as well as the content and cheerful atmosphere she emits. She finds almost anything, and everything hilarious and her relationship with Handa, somewhat subtly resembles a father and daughter relationship - bittersweet, beautiful and irreplaceable.
Barakamon also has a large cast of supporting characters as it encompasses the villagers from the island, and does a great job in fusing infants, children, teenagers, adults, and even the elderly in one whole setting - an embodiment of a bonded family. The villagers don't just feel like people from a village, but instead, people from a large family who bear a variety of personalities and care for each other.
Regarding the music, the outgoing opening song 'Rashisa' by Super Beaver immediately sets off with a lively atmosphere as the show begins, and puts the audience at ease and relaxation. The ending song 'Innocence' by NoisyCell is indeed amazing, a great way of ending each episode with a heartwarming feeling and soothing sensation it emits. Both pieces are undoubtedly superb choices of music and fits the show perfectly.
Not just the music, but Handa's voice actor, Ono Daisuke, does a phenomenal job in depicting Handa's emotions and has a great versatile voice, being able to elicit sympathy in the more sentimental and emotional scenes, bring out humour though a sarcastic manner of speech, and is also capable of conveying a frustrated tone of voice when required.
Regarding the art, in all honesty, although it is nothing groundbreaking or extremely well-animated, it does not hinder the enjoyment or presentation of the show at all as it is after-all, a slice of life comedy show. The art itself, is intrinsically compelling to begin with and is consistent throughout, definitely suiting the rural setting of the show and develops a heartwarming feeling to the viewers.
If there's something I did not expect from Barakamon, it would be the laughs it has given to me constantly, and with great voice acting, this comedy is enhanced to a whole new level. In Barakamon, even the tiniest of the most trivial of things can make you laugh, and make Naru roll on the floor laughing in tears. It's the things that these characters do and their reactions that allow us to adore them and laugh alongside.
Barakamon is an equilibrium between humour and emotion, none outclasses the other and they are both perfectly portrayed. One can argue that the world of calligraphy and its industry could have been explored more profoundly, but as a slice of life comedy and heartwarming series that focuses on its experiences, moments and its subtle themes more than a concrete and complex story, this show certainly has exceeded my expectations and comes out as a triumphant gem - and it's shows like these that I truly have no regrets in watching, and will definitely hope to see more in the future of anime.
Growing up, spur of the moment family gatherings were some of my most cherished memories. The thick, summer air is palpable. Echoes of children giggling and playing in the distance reach the ear, soothing your mind and your shoulders slink down as all sense of stress and worry fade into nothingness. There’s no distraction, no urgency, just an honest and accepting accompaniment by some of your favorite people in the world. Endearments are swapped by friends and family alike, and the atmosphere transforms more and more into one of constant comfortability. We all have those people in our lives whose presence brings up the entire
group’s spirits, resulting in jovial and lighthearted conversation. It’s particular situations like this that we wish were able to be wrapped up nice and neat and placed on a shelf for eternity.
This is exactly the same feeling I get from watching Barakamon.
Released in one of anime’s densest years (2014), Barakamon broke the edgy, action-laden status quo of modern anime with a wholesome, endearing tale of a world-renowned calligrapher sent to rural Japan to do some soul-searching. Produced by up-and-coming Studio Kinema Citrus (Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Black Bullet), Barakamon has a unique charm that can only be explained by a first hand experience. It works the senses and warms the heart more than any anime I can remember, leaving the viewer with a completeness unrivaled in the medium. For someone who has been consistently disappointed by Slice-of-Life anime, I was initially guarded in my openness to the series. However, in the following paragraphs, I hope to instill the same fondness of the series I have unto my readers, and finally divulge the reasons why Barakamon is one of my Top 10 favorite anime of all time.
Barakamon at its core is a story of self-reflection and redemption. Seishuu Handa is an accomplished professional calligrapher, whose robotic method of artwork was both revered and criticized, depending on the individual. He always strives for perfection, but as a result is very self-deprecating and has a rather low sense of confidence. One instance of this criticism occurred on perhaps calligraphy’s biggest stage, the Eika Prize Award reception. Upon receiving an insult from the Director himself over the lack of originality in his work, Seishuu reactively hurls his fist at him, resulting in public shame and discredibility. In an effort to cool down, Seishuu relocates the rural Goto where he meets the village scamp Naru, and learns the true meaning of happiness while discovering his instinctual nature as a calligrapher.
There aren’t any shocking or overly-intellectual moments in Barakamon. Seishuu doesn’t transform into an unrecognizable version of his former self by the end of the anime. Nor do the writers subvert their own formula by erratically dousing the viewers with fanservice. Barakamon tells us its story simply through atmosphere and character interaction. There aren’t any convenient narrations or expositions of emotional text from characters to describe the feeling for a given scene. It allows us as viewers to take a step back and observe, rather than always trying to stay one step ahead of the story. Thematically speaking, everything is brought up very subtly. The anime also has little to actually do with calligraphy, but uses it as a vessel to help explain the magnitude of emotional growth Seishuu experiences through the series. Whether it’s a fishing competition, hospital visit or just lounging around with some of your favorite people, Barakamon shows us joy in the simple things. Sometimes taking the time to relax and enjoy the company of others can really help put the world into perspective.
Much like the subtlety of the show’s themes, the comedy sneaks up on you. It upholds some sense of purity in its presentation. There is no over-the-top gags here, no indecipherable cultural references and the slapstick comedy is realistic as opposed to exaggeratory (sans the ridiculously drawn Naru faces. My favorite moments were the mortified reactions by Seishuu when a various member of the cast would do something out of the ordinary. He was often left confused or awestruck with more commonplace actions from the locals. The result is that Barakamon helps bridge the gap between a city-minded viewer and a country-minded one by slapping the two cultural opposites together into one package. Subsequently, this adds relatability to its repertoire, something that a Slice-of-Life thrives on. The charming humor places the viewer right in the center of the story, as an observant fly on the wall.
As someone who grew up in a very urban area, I can relate on a certain level to the foreignness that Seishuu experiences when first arriving in Goto. He’s an introvert, relying on his narrowed skill to speak for him rather than actually doing it himself. Everything is upended when he’s ripped out of his shell and planted in a rural setting, where conversing socially is a regularity. His interaction with the cast throughout the rest of the series is a beaming indicator of his true personality. Seishuu is actually quite immature, making his conversations with Naru and her younger friends natural. Naru helps him to emerge from his closed-off nature by placing him in some rather precarious scenarios along the way, much to Seishuu’s immediate objections. Each heartwarming scene that passes only strengthens the sense of relatability in our protagonist.
Naru is quite possibly the glue that holds Barakamon together. Her mannerisms, disposition and interactions with Seishuu and the rest of the cast radiate with innocence and likability. The best part? She’s voiced by an actual child. Kinema Citrus really did their homework when it came to assembling the seiyuu’s for Barakamon. Not only does the high-pitched, airy voice add to the realism, it also sounds more soothing to the ear instead of a forced inflection put on by an adult. Naru and the rest of the cast of kids act their age in this anime, instead of presenting the facade of a 13 year old mature enough to rule the world as in most anime out there today. They easily cry when upset, and they find joy and contentment in some of the most trivial activities. Their personalities were extraordinarily refreshing to see, adding some legitimacy along the way. One aspect of the cast one may find less than stellar is the character development. There really aren’t any defining examples of it anywhere outside of Seishuu. Despite this negative, I can’t say that it actually deterred from the anime in any way.
While the animators won’t win any awards for outstanding achievement in art, I can say that the style fit Barakamon very well. Flourishes of bright hues calm the viewers into an almost lucid, dreamlike state. Colors are slightly washed out, leaving the characters and their interactions to become the focal point of the anime. Some of the more comedic scenes involving a various roulette of character faces were downright hilarious, and I give full marks for creativity in that department. The character models are attractive, and the children are cute, with their oversized heads and lanky appendages.
From a sound perspective, I have little to no complaints. The OP, “Rashisa” is lively and works to tell a story of its own, showing the pesky Naru infiltrating Seishuu’s house and causing her usually adorable mischief. If you ever get a chance to download the full version of this song, it includes the infamous scene of the Goto villagers calling Seishuu after he makes his way back to the city. Let’s just say, it made a few tears well up in my eyes… The ED is equally as fitting, and offers a fluid wrap up of each of Barakamon’s 12 episodes. When present, the background themes are jolly and catchy, sprucing up the accompanied scene. This is one of the few anime I actually downloaded the OST for, though whether for nostalgia or quality reasons I’m really not sure. Lastly, is the outstanding performance of Barakamon’s cast of voice actors. Suzuko Hara is unequivocally charming as Naru, and her performance should serve as a beacon for other producers to follow when casting child roles in anime. The same could be said for Rina Endou (Hina), as she’s enjoyed continued fitting roles, like the lovable Tsumugi from Amaama to Inazuma.
Enjoyment, as subjective as it may be, is the one factor that keeps anime fans coming back for more. This is the primary reason why I weight it heavier than any other category when scoring a review. Barakamon was chocked full of endearing moments, and had one of the most lighthearted, engrossing atmospheres I’ve ever experienced in an anime. It just hit home for me on so many levels. Couple this with the well-crafted cast and corresponding soundtrack, and this anime becomes an instant classic. I think many viewers or critics come into Barakamon with preconceived notions of what it should be, and may come away unfulfilled. This anime doesn’t do much, but what it does do is done so subtly, yet brilliantly that it’s hard to put into words. I recommend this series to fans of anime like Usagi Drop, the aforementioned Amaama to Inazuma, or those who want an engrossing, feel-good show without high stakes or overthought plotlines. Thank you to all who took the time to read this review, and be sure to check out some of my other work!
Barakamon is a comedy slice of life manga adaptation of the same name. It follows a story of your average shut-in protagonist thrown into an entirely different countryside setting, and how said setting changes him. One of the better actual slice of life shows airing these days, it's not all flowers and daisies but it definitely went the right way.
Seishuu Handa, a famous calligrapher gets sent to a remote island after misbehaving in a calligraphy contest. There, he starts learning to adapt to a different lifestyle, while he develops his own new writing style.
The plot is rather simple and nothing we haven't
seen before - the protagonist winds up in a completely different lifestyle and setting and must learn to adapt to it. The execution is what counts though, and here Barakamon separates itself from other similar titles. The anime took an episodic direction with every episode delivering a different type of slice of life message(s), which all of them together are linked to the main plot element which is Seishuu's new developing calligraphy style. It's effective, but it has problems.
First of all, the calligraphy itself didn't have as much influence to the story as actual interactions happening between the characters, and it was sort of pushed to a secondary role until the final couple of episodes, and its appearances, bar from a few, weren't anything you could describe with more than a word "average". Second, the actual metaphors and symbolism were sometimes very very forced (for example, like episode 2), and even gave out a pretentious vibe. Most of the slice of life moments in the show were actually slice of life-ish and give lots of food for thought, but as the show progress on you notice that nothing actually happens with all of those moments, as the main character doesn't have any chances to show us what has he learned until the final episodes.
Individually, the characters are the weakest part of the show. Apart from the protagonist, they all suffer from extreme lack of characterization and development, and are just thrown in there to have numbers and create specific events. Naru was the biggest disappointment of the show, but it wasn't so much of her fault as it was for the other characters that kind of stole the spotlight from her. The first episode was insanely well executed and it only had 2 characters, Naru and Seishuu, driving it forward, and if anime had less characters but more focus on the remaining character views on the world and personalities, it would come out as a much more enjoyable watch. Now, we have a mixture of characters who are basically the same, for example, the children in the show, apart from getting separated by a quirk or two, all act in the same way. They don't have any unique elements to seperate them apart, they don't have any problems specifically tied to them, and are just there for the main character to have funny interactions with them. Same goes for the teenagers, although they have a little bit more traits separating them from each other. Truth be told, they are plot devices.
Moving to a brighter side of the spectrum, we have the main protagonist, Seishuu. He is an extremely generic and cliched character, but receives tons of development as the entire anime is devoted solely to make and show him change. I am not saying that he's a bad character, it's just that he's very uninteresting. We have little to no backstory of him, so we cannot really reflect on it and compare his former, pre-island self to his current self when the anime ends. His rival, Kousuke is another good character and one of the few which are distinctively different from the others. His perspective on the situation stood out and he was definitely a good addition to the cast, fitting into the comedy, but sadly he doesn't receive enough focus.
I felt the main problem of the show is that the learning process is one sided. Everything in the anime just dances around the main protagonist, and the end result is that only Seishuu gets reasonable development. The setting itself didn't change at all and wouldn't even notice if the calligrapher never went on the island. The side cast could have learned from the interactions with their Sensei, but they didn't, and I felt that Naru would be the one but she ends up just like the other characters. It really looks like the anime is basically Seishuu and the plot devices, but luckily enough, because of the amazingly executed situations, we won't remember this show for that.
And that is where Barakamon goes on full throttle: the character interactions. They are just absolutely amazing. Despite the fact that the characters aren't unique and they all feel like they were tarred with the same brush, their interactions and dialogues with each other are a joy to watch. This was the best element of the show, which also sets up for some hilarious comedy. It doesn't feel monotone or gets repetitive, since there's tons of side cast characters in the show for Seishuu to have funny conversations with, and they differ every time. As a take on the lives of normal countryside folks, this anime is amazing. The atmosphere is portrayed very realistically and it definitely has a significant presence when you are watching the show. None of the elements are explored much though, as they all serve to the protagonist. Fortunately, lack of elaboration is not so much of a problem, because those tiny bits are indeed executed very well.
The comedy, if it's not through character interactions (teenagers + kids with Seishuu or with each other), can be a hit or miss. Anime sometimes tries to force comedy rather than making it splash through the normal flow, and that is especially evident with some specific characters (fujoshi girl's fujoshi, Seishuu's mom). However, the show executes some natural elements really well and use them to great comedy success, like Naru's katakana reading and children's oblivious nature in general, which fits greatly and works to the atmosphere's advantage. Unlike some of the other "slice of life" shows, Barakamon doesn't have any shameless fanservice, and I'm glad that they didn't try to include it with the comedy.
One other thing that I would like to mention is how well Barakamon can close its episodes. It feels like there is a climax of epic and cool in each episode right when it's about to end, and you get to listen to the great ED of the show. Unlike shows like Attack On Titan, where it also aims to end the episode on a high note, it doesn't use shock factor or constant cliffhangers.
Animation and Sound:
The animation is rather simple and typical, uses a lot of bright colors to aid the funny and sweet atmosphere of the show to a degree. The character designs are easily distinguishable from each other and everyone looks different enough to select them out right away (sad that they didn't ACT like that aswell). The calligraphy looks nice but that wasn't enough to get me interested in it.
The soundtrack, while not having so much of rememberance, fits the show well with it's "happy-go-lucky" nature. What is great about the sound department is the voice acting. There's so much good to talk about the voice acting that I don't even know where to start. Okay, they actually got kids voicing kids in this show. It feels so real listening to the conversations, they were like a melody to your ears as they also delivered a magnificent performance. And the biggest highlight is the dialect. It made the anime so much better and atmospherical, and was one of the main reasons why dialogues were so well executed and fun to watch. That was an amazing experience, and I'm not exaggerating.
The opening is well, cool. Great music with great visuals. Aids to the atmosphere a lot, and is a great introduction to set you up for the ride. Second best opening to Tokyo Ghoul of the summer 2014 season for me, and I guess there's nothing more to say about it. The ending, though, is just magnificent. I already talked about how well Barakamon manages to close out the episodes and this is one of the main reasons why. The overall combination is amazing - you have a great opening song to get you in and a great ending song to escort you out.
Barakamon is one of the few slice of life titles with actual slice of life. It has an amazing atmosphere - one that will be remembered for a while. Lovable characters, even if they're not explored enough individually, create some very enjoyable situations. The comedy is sometimes forced, but never feels repetitive. Not everything is done right in the show, and it does have execution mistakes here and there, but overall, it is a title I would recommend to watch for everyone, either to examine an interesting take on how surroundings change people, or just to relax yourself after a hard day and enjoy the spectacle.
Barakamon is a slice of life about enjoying little things of life that escapes from the mediocrity and classic conformism of its kind. The story revolves around Handa, a young artist who looks for originality and inspiration on an island, far from home and surrounded by eccentric people. If I had to describe the show in one word, it would be “Credible”, but since I have plenty of room, allow me to explain.
Since the very beginning of the series, we’re able to realize the producer’s commitment in doing something that doesn’t necessarily fit into pre-established molds, which are generally a guarantee of success. The biggest
example of this is Naru, which is by the way Barakamon’s face if you haven’t noticed yet. Maybe you’ve seen her in various profile pics and memes on social networks, all because of her high rate of adorability. However, its verisimilitude is what’s really remarkable. Firstly, she’s dubbed by a real child. Second, her facial expressions and jargon are not thrown randomly just for appealing, but rather by fitting into the situations in which a child would act in such a way. Reiterating, it was built to look like a real child, something harder than it seems, mostly because the genuine innocence of childhood has to harmonize with a character designed by adults. So even for someone not too fan of “cute girls doing cute things” like me, I must admit that sometimes I felt captivated.
Despite not having the charm of the previous character, Handa represents pretty well the feeling of resignation to the norms, followed by the longstanding relaxation through which he seeks the so much acclaimed “Inspiration”. This is the best way of understanding the character, as a receptacle of daily lessons about the joy that can be found in someone else’s smile, in the day-to-day pranks, meeting friends to fish, build walls, or any other activities imagined and that are part of the daily life of a rural community. Something that undoubtedly does not cross the mind of a traditional and normative artist whose only concern is to perfect his technique. But this could easily apply to any Stone Jungle’s dweller, who for countless times is unable of seeing the bright and heartwarming side of life. There’s not much development of Handa throughout the series and apart from a few flashbacks here and there, there’s nothing for us to know about his past. All that apparently matters is who he is at first and how his view of things changes after the contact with people from Goto’s island.
There are several minor characters, some very basic, others that were the main reason of the series’ humor in my opinion (I’m looking at you Tamako, you dirty locked up fujoshi). One thing that kind of disappointed me was the fact that such characters didn’t have the development I thought it was necessary to consolidate them as memorable. This was frustrating since I really enjoyed some of them to the point of wanting to know more about. However, it’s notable that most of the characters were, in general, built with good heart and to fit the series rather than into already saturated and exhausting archetypes.
Although the jokes weaken over the course of the series and some less interesting characters are introduced, obscuring the presence of the previous ones, the show still remains solid in terms of comedy. It’s not too silly to the point of being generic, nor something serious to the point of escape of its proposal. Maybe it doesn’t make you guffaw, but a soft smile at several moments where we’re able to put ourselves in the place of the protagonist, I guarantee, there will be.
The visuals are pleasing to look at and fit the story’s atmosphere with mastery. I don’t know if the rural area of a japanese island is so cozy, but if that was the idea, they’ve managed to produce an ideal setting for the inspiration of Handa to bloom, as well as to justify the children’s intense and joyful behavior. I wish I could grow up in such a bright place. The animation is overall just fine, with some peaks of fluidity like when the protagonist handles a brush in the first episode initial scene, which succeeded in conveying the softness and firmness of japanese professional calligraphy, two concepts that are hard to mentalize together harmoniously. The soundtrack is typically for relaxing purposes, being the opening the highlight due to its lyrics that are reminiscent of the ideas transmitted by the series and of course, because is damn catchy. Even in that the producers did right, congrats to them.
Overall, the shortcomings for me were the lack of character development in general, some dull characters due to predictable personality traits and actions and last but not least, the fact that sometimes the episodic nature of the anime suppresses the drama that they tried to convey. The latter I noticed in some moments where the contrast between Handa’s deep feelings and comic relief moments was too intense, but it’s quite rare as a whole. To be fair about the character development, I commend the marketing strategy they used to bring looks to the manga, as probably many reads it to know more about their beloved characters that were just partially introduced on anime.
So, what can I say more? It was a nice and surprising show. It is still a slice of life, a genre that by far I’m not fan of. But as I said previously, it doesn’t try to fit in the classics archetypes of the genre, but instead create some fun characters while conveying the apprehension of adults along with the innocence of children in a verisimilar way, which for me is a pleasure, since I’m a fan of realism and can only identity myself with characters that resemble PEOPLE and not ideas or caricatures. A therapeutic anime that not only relaxes you, but has a sweet aftertaste that will not vanish so soon from your memory. If you cannot travel to seek for inspiration, maybe you could check Barakamon to seek for some joy.
Some 'people' may describe Slice of Life is nothing but a boring genre, the phrase for someone who dislike SOL is "Why do we have to watch anime that tells the life we live day to day?", but the truth is not like that. One of the main objectives of a Slice of Life genre is delivering a straight message of life itself. And Barakamon is a great example to prove that.
Barakamon begins with a small plot. A small plot that circles Barakamon is not giving the anime a weakness, but it give the story a power to weighted the story itself. One of the
reasons why is because the premise of the story. The premise really represents the true feeling of the story.
The story makes all of the genre (including Shounen and Magic) speechless with no words in the brain, it's really fresh your mind.
For a modern anime, Barakamon has a beautiful animation, a magnificent light, and a unique character design makes the art is one of my favorite. The animation is well-matched within the story.
One thing we must notice in the sound settings is the Opening song, "Rashisa" sung by SUPER BEAVER is really makes a reflection to myself, the feelings of the song is delivered successfully within my heart. While the background music is quite decent, the seiyuu did a very good job in bringing such feelings to the screen.
As we can see, the massive character development that occurs is a center in our main character, Handa Seishuu. As the other character, there is a simplistic but unique character division on display, surely it is a great character division.
I enjoyed Barakamon a lot, it's successfully charming my harsh feeling into a mild feeling. It's quite memorable and full of excitement that occurs in the story. It is highly recommended for a simple Slice of Life fans.
In the end, Barakamon is another great show that succeeds in the feelings and excitement in the story, by the way (this is the first time I threw a 9 in my review...). Trust me, it works...
"More than what meets the eye"
After reading the synopsis, I was quite hesitant to start Barakamon. I thought for sure i wouldn't find something like a calligraphy focused anime interesting. Boy i was wrong, i definitely could not have been more wrong.
Calligraphy, something that seems a bit boring at first. However, Barakamon makes you realize the meaning and depth behind it. It shows off the passion and emotions behind such works. The anime progresses at a great pace, maintaining the interest of the viewers.
The focus is evenly distributed to all aspects of the anime. We get a deep look at calligraphy, the characters,
the village. Barakamon really keeps things fresh and varied until the very end.
The story as a whole is very solid. The main story line nothing outstanding (finding the lost inspiration), but since it's so well worked out, it gives a solid foundation for the anime. It has a beginning, a great development, and a spectacular finish. A beautifully arched story-line that doesn't lose focus of what it wants.
Story Score - 9
|Slice of life|
What can i say, even I who has the emotions of a small rock at the bottom of the ocean got inspired by this heart warming story of a lost man trying to find his path and personal touch in his life and career. A great message supported by pillar morals like friends, family and listening to your heart. What keeps it outstanding from other animes, is how it connects all these messages to calligraphy. The two really work well together.
I was honestly not expecting too much comedy, but it was a very pleasant surprise. All the jokes and fun times were natural, nothing forced. It all came so naturally, nothing of the usual cliches. Barakamon utilized the forms of comedy to perfection, varying situational, environmental and verbal jokes. It really complemented the laid-back and relaxed ambiance of the anime.
Wonderful character choices. It's all natural. None of them are forced characters, they are rather someone who you can encounter easily in real life. There are no extreme characters, yet they are still so unique and different. As far as character development goes, we shouldn't look at the individual characters, but rather how they evolve as a big family. Obviously, the main characters get their fair share of character development, but it's really the community that grabs the attention of the viewer.
Character Score - 9
Being a somewhat art related anime, the visuals do deliver as expected. I was pleasantly surprised by how consistent it was.
Art Score - 8
The voice acting was super fun and cute. They really out-did themselves this time. The soundtracks go well with the scenes and the opening was especially nice for me.
Sound Score - 7
|The whole package|
As i have already mentioned, this anime is much more than what meets the eye. If you want to run away from the stressful city life like Seishuu Handa did, and just relax, get inspiration, warm up you heart or perhaps just to get a good laugh, then this anime is surely for you.
Overall score - 9
|Subjective Review| (SPOILER alert)
Boy oh boy. First of all, i loved all of their characters so much. Fun, laid back and cute. Just the right people for me. But what really got me is when Handa went back to Tokyo and had a talk with his mom about going back to the village. The fact that he found someplace that he can call home, was just sooo emotional for me. that was For me, who never really got to know a place which i could call home, this really made become a crybaby for at least 20 mins. When he opened the box sent to him, well that totally killed me. I don't thihnk i have ever cried this hard and felt this happy for a fictional character. Due to this, the anime gets a unquestionable 11.
Subjective Score - 11/10
Well, my review got deleted for not following the guidelines so I uploaded it. ~
Barakamon, a funny, relaxing, slice of life anime that's overshadowed by other popular anime that are airing alongside it, such as SAO II, Aldnoah Zero, Akame Ga Kill, Tokyo Ghoul and Zankyou no Terror. If you want to get a relief from all these popular action-packed, horror anime then you should definitely check Barakamon out. With that said, it's an anime that everyone can enjoy.
The story is basically about Handa Seishu, a calligrapher who thinks that he's the best at whatever he does, and therefore is very hard to socialize with.
At one competition, the exhibit hall director tells him that his art is mediocre, and Handa, being the arrogant perfectionist that he is, punches the director right in the face. After the incident, Handa's dad, disappointed in his son, sends Handa over to an unknown island where he's supposed to "cool off". Once he moves into his new house, and meets with all his future neighbors, he finds out things about his new surroundings... funny things. The best thing being Naru, the super cuddly adorable girl that she is, scares and annoys Handa daily by living in Handa's house (it's her "secret base"). As time passes Handa and Naru's develop a little friendship which leads to the absolute happy and funny feeling to the anime. But even more than the friendship, the beauty of nature is shown on the anime, and as Naru and Handa look at the sunset, the beautiful forests filled with beautiful flowers, staring into the glamorous bodies of water surrounding the island, my heart simply melts of happiness.
The characters are absolutely fantastic! They are so different from the usual stereotypical characters you see in other shows, and they have so much personality it always gets to me emotionally, either in a happy or sad way. Handa, despite being a arrogant perfectionist has a heart that he just doesn't want to show. Handa shows care and compassion for not only his art, but also for the other characters whom he befriends, especially Naru. Speaking of Naru, have I mentioned how adorable and hilarious this girl is? Just everything about her makes me happy! I wish she was my little sister!! We could have so much fun together!! Anyways, Handa and Naru are literally perfect for eachother! No, not in a romantic relationship way, but in a friendship way. Handa can teach Naru how to actually use her brain, since Naru is very clumsy and doesn't seem to know anything. But on the other hand, because of Handa's unfriendly personality, he doesn't have any friends... Upon reaching the island Handa finally realizes that all of his focus on art had brought him to miss the beauty of life/nature, and his super new friend, Naru will help Handa find his way.
The art is awesome, it's quite "cutesy" and I heard that the the producers kept the style very close to the manga. The art was simply a treat to watch, especially the sunset and the beautiful water shining before my eyes. Seriously the art, it just makes everything that much more funny and it mixes very well with how a scene is meant to be portrayed. I never really focused on the music, but I can tell you two things. First of all the Barakamon opening is my favorite opening of this season, which is saying something. And to add on to that, the voice cast matches each character's appearance. ESPECIALLY NARU!! Naru's voice is simply adorable, and I love her!!
I'm just going to wrap up my first review by saying: watch it at least for Naru!! So Kawaii!
This anime is definitely a refreshing and unique slice of life anime, watching it gives me nostalgia of whenever I have failed at something and had build evaluate and try again, which I’m sure everyone can relate. Watching the show and characters interact is a great joy; seeing each person going through new experiences and emotions. Barakamon is definitely a wonderful addition to the slice of life genre, that people can relate to and enjoy.
This story features a calligrapher, Handa Seishu, that is suddenly forced to live on a small island to better focus on his calligraphy. As someone who has lived in
the city his entire life he must now adapt to his new surroundings. Encountering various different people and learning from these experiences he begins to see new perspectives and develops inspiration in his writing. Each episode is heartwarming and gives insight into Handa Seishu.
Throughout this entire series each component to the plot was well done the comedy, elements of slice of life as well as the moments of self-reflection; help give this series a unique feeling. The story follows a linear plot all towards the goal of Handa improving his caliligraphy through experience and new encounters.
The art style is nicely done to match with the environment of the series, portraying country landscapes as well as a variety of unique characters. Using light colors the animation is very fluid. Though the art does not particularly stand out, the uniformity and style make it fitting for the story.
The soundtrack throughout the series fits well with the overall mood of the anime. Barakamons soundtrack does well in transitioning between scenes, since the music is not extremely noticeable this allows the viewer to focus on the story at hand.
However both the OP and ED were particularly nice to listen to. Listening to the OP and and gives a nice calm mood overall, befitting of a slice of life anime.
The characters in the show were various, each with a different personality. There’s Handa Seishu a calligrapher that resides on a small island hoping to improve his calligraphy after being sent to a small island. Naru Kotoishi, an innocent and fun loving seven year old girl that spends her time messing around with Handa. Also with a variety of unique supporting characters each with their own quirks, the characters in this series are all interesting in their own way providing unique developments to Handa. Each character in this series definitely stood out due to their unique personalities and is one of the main factors which make this anime so enjoyable. Watching each character interaction was something I could look forward to each episode.
I loved this show from the heartwarming moments to the lively feelings this series gives off. Overall this anime does what a slice of life anime does perfectly. This series is definitely a perfect anime for people who just want to relax and forget the worries of their day. Barakamon was a unique slice of life anime that I enjoyed every episode of.
This is a wonderful slice of life anime for all who enjoy this genre. This characters are unique and a delight to watch. The art and music fit the anime well and each new episode is something to look forward to. The themes presented were well thought out and development in the characters were well noticeable.
Often, the slice-of-life genre is viewed as what is more or less the Seinfeld genre of anime - that they are "shows about nothing." This is by no means a bad thing - shows like Non Non Biyori to a stellar job of proving that a show about the most inane daily activities can be greatly entertaining and sometimes even emotional. But that is also no excuse to produce SoL shows that have no true plot or character development. And that's where Barakamon comes in.
Barakamon is, at its core, the story of a calligrapher named Seishuu Handa, and his interactions with the people around him.
It's this character, and his development over the course of the story that I'm going to focus on in this review, because it's the heart and soul of the show. Seishuu is impulsive, childish, insecure, and generally immature, and this results in a number of problems arising in his life. The main one being his assault of an elderly calligraphy exhibit director who insults his work, which in turn gets him sent to the island on which 90% of the show takes place. From there, it turns into fairly standard SoL material, chronicling his interactions with the islanders over the course of each episode. But this is where Barakamon deviates from the average slice of life: in each episode, you can see a small part of Seishuu's immaturity slip away, and there is visible growth episode-to-episode for his character. In fact, his development is so critical that there are no other characters that change very drastically from the beginning of the show to the end - because they don't NEED to. Even the children on the island are, often, more mature and reasonable than the main character, which creates an interesting dynamic, especially in the case of Naru Kotoishi, Seishuu's young and tomboyish foil. The story maintains a wonderful sense of progression through Seishuu's character development, and his interactions with the other characters change noticeably over the course of the show, so that by the end there is a visibly more mature air to Seishuu and his character as a whole (although he retains more than a little impulsiveness).
Aside from the focus on the main character's development, there are other aspects of the show worth mentioning: Kinema Citrus does a remarkable job with the animation, and there are few moments in the show that aren't downright gorgeous to look at. The opening and ending themes are some of the best of the season, and the rest of the soundtrack rests comfortably in the background, providing mood music for each scene. The comedy is consistently good, and is interspersed comfortably throughout each episode to provide humor around every turn. One thing in particular I'd like to mention is Suzuko Hara's performance as Naru. Not only is it rare to see children voiced by children in anime, it's rarer still to find someone this good in their first performance. She lends a warmth and genuine kindness to the character that is hard to find anymore.
Enjoyment is really the last section here worth mentioning, and for me was high throughout the show. Each episode was strong all the way through, it delivered a good story and development while blending in the comfortable and familiar elements of the slice of life genre. If I had to come up with a metaphor to describe this show, I think I would say: Barakamon is like a cup of good hot tea - sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, but always enjoyable, with a familiar and cheery feeling that warms the soul and leaves you wanting another glass (or episode, as it were).
Final verdict: 10/10, one of the best shows of the Summer 2014 Season.
“The other thing is surrounding yourself with people that care for you. These are simple things, but they're powerful, and they've completely transformed who I am and how I perceive myself.” - Mariel Hemingway
‘Barakamon’ is a rare kind of story. Something that is just so simple, yet so powerful. There are no big expositions of drama and no complicated plotlines, none of that is needed in the slightest. The story is simple, easy to grasp, and beautiful to watch as it plays out. In its purest form, it’s simply the story of an arrogant (but still kind-hearted) young man that simply can’t seem to let
go of his pride, and how he matures from the time he spends with the townsfolk of his new home.
I would be amiss to not mention one thing though: the show is not sappy in the least despite what was just said. Rather, it is hilarious. Every episode is full to the brim with unforced comedy that hits almost every time. It’s amazing how a show so hilarious can also be so heartwarming and display so much character growth without feeling unbalanced at all.
The characters are the driving force behind this show. They steer the comedy and development in the right direction and are all memorable and likable. From wise elderly villagers, all the way to little kids with a seemingly unlimited supply of energy and an unquenchable thirst for adventure. The two most prominent and important characters of this wacky bunch are Handa and Naru.
Handa is the “arrogant (but still kind-hearted) young man” talked about earlier. He is a surprisingly layered character in many respects once you come to know him a little bit. You get to see the effects of his slow change over time through his thoughts and expressions – and eventually through his actions. He’s an all-around great character that is lots of fun to follow, because, despite the fact that he is sometimes a jerk, you can’t help but care about the guy.
And there is also Naru. I absolutely love this little ball of fun. She’s cute, she’s clumsy and kind, and out of all the villagers she is the one that impacts Handa the most. Naru takes an indirect role akin to a little sibling with our gruff ‘jelly bean’ (hard on the outside, soft on the inside) of a main character, and this is where the most consistent change within Handa comes from. Sure, a few events happen that give a big push to his development – but Naru is definitely the one who changes him most. And aside from her very subtle plot significance, she’s a fantastic character who brings a lot of fun, warmth and smiles.
The voice acting for everyone was great. Ono Daisuke did a great job portraying Handa, and Hara Suzuko, the little girl who voices Naru, did a fantastic job for only being nine years old. She had to make it sound natural, but also give it a slight comedic edge at times, which is harder than you might think.
As for music, they used it in a very efficient and subtle manner. The backing tracks are mostly light scores – fitting the mood and tone of the series. They only occasionally go bombastic, and only at times in which that style of music works for the current scene.
The animation is solid too. It’s high quality, bright, full of life and gorgeous. The best example of this is the show’s ED, with glistening watercolors of assorted creams and light browns.
You may have realized I didn’t say anything negative about this anime – not a thing. And that’s really because there’s nothing that I can find that’s wrong with it. It’s extremely simple all-in-all, and all its simple facets are amazingly put together. I have no gripes or even any nitpicks. What we got with this anime is amazing – and I wouldn’t change any of it.
Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself and decide. Not everyone will like this as much as I did. A few may not like it at all, and that’s fine. But this is one series that everyone should give a chance to.
This anime is one of the best I've seen in recent history. The story, though simple, is heartwarming in the truest form. The episodes are mostly day-to-day adventures, but each one is clever, uplifting, and very often hilarious.
The regular animation is nice in and of itself, but I gave it a 9 for two reasons. Firstly, as calligraphy is a central part of the plot, it obviously has to show up on screen from time to time. The creators did an excellent job of designing beautiful calligraphy that is just is amazing animated as in real life. Secondly, the ED is just plain and
simply gorgeous. It's done in a watercolor style that you can just watch in awe.
That reminds me. The OP has a song that gives me chills just from how heartwarming it is. As for the voice acting, Daisuke Ono is awesome, as usual. His character is funny, cute, and really enjoyable. Though who I give the most praise to is Suzuko Hara, the real little girl who voices Naru. She does an amazing job acting, but with all the real emotions of being a kid.
All the characters are fun and really developed. And while most shows don't fully capture everything that is childhood, this hits it spot-on. Every character , kid or otherwise, has their own little quirks and personalities.
Finally, this anime was overall really fun to watch. I loved every episode and was sad when I finally finished it.
Well first review, I'll go for it... What could I say: this anime may not have action or romance but it has something very few animes could claim to have: authenticity. The characters are coherent, natural and really lovable. The overall art is great and some scenes are truly astonishing. In term of personal enjoyment, it has been a while since I smiled so much during an anime: the humor of the situations is light and there're a lot of heartwarming scenes. Too short might've been the only flaw but the ending was at a perfect place to stop. It was damn near perfect, im
glad I've seen this.
Barakamon… Ah, the feeling of watching something so laid-back is really refreshing. First thing that came into my mind when I heard Barakamon was, to tell you the truth, Digimon. I’m sorry, I really am! Good thing I was wrong. Phew. * wipes sweat *
At first I was like, “Pshhhh… Another gorgeous looking guy. I bet this show will target adolescent girls.” But, MIGHTY ZEUS SMITE ME FOR BEING AN INSOLENT FOOL! I am wrong in million ways.
I’ll keep my review short and simple.
Handa Seishu is a 23-year-old calligrapher (most good-looking you’ll ever see). He’s forced to live on a small island
for hitting a well-known calligrapher. Handa is a shut-in by nature, but he has to live on an island entirely foreign to him. With his new “silly neighbors” who practically trespass his house, invades his privacy, and plays in front of his house, how will Handa handle his situation with these people? You’d know after watching this hilarious comedy.
Laid-back as a sloth, Barakamon’s plot I mean. It’s not a bad thing, at all. In fact, it’s one of Barakamon’s redeeming factors. It can make you smile… a lot! And the best part, you don’t have to think about any complicated plots. I highly recommend Barakamon if you aren’t looking for any plot-heavy series, but just a plain laid-back and relaxing show that’ll bring you lots of smirks, if not smiles.
Perfect sceneries and perfectly drawn characters = 9. Not much to say in the art department.
* sigh * I wish my little sister was this cute? Oh, I’m talking about Naru, an adorable 7-year-old kid who always hangs out and plays with Handa. You can say she’s the most adorable character in the show. Second is Hina, a crybaby who’s always with Naru (also an adorable little human). In short, every single character in the show compliments each other. They fill out each other’s “missing link”. For an example: Handa’s a pessimist by nature, but almost everyone in the island is a positive thinker, especially Naru. You get it now, ne?
2 songs for a 12 episode show. Opening theme is done by Super Beaver, which I find great. And the Ending theme’s done by NoisyCell titled “Innocence” which is not entirely bad, too.
I ENJOYED IT. I ENJOYED IT. I ENJOYED IT. It has been a while since a no-deep-plot show had made me this happy. There’s more to Anime than deep plots, bouncing boobs, sword-fighting, etc. And what’s that? Simplicity—simple things that make us laugh. Sometimes I forgot how something not-so-special show like this could bring a smile to my grumpy-Asian face.
9’s a perfect score for me to give to Barakamon. Like I’ve been saying, there’s nothing special with the series. It’s a simple show that can—will make you laugh. It’ll also teach you a thing or two about being mature, I think.
Overall, Barakamon’s been a great show for me.
Barakamon doesn't contain magic, elaborate plot twists, or intense, action-filled scenes. In fact, it is very ordinary in its depiction of life in general. However, this is exactly what makes this anime so likeable and relatable. It could very well happen in real life.
Conflict: a calligrapher tried to punch his problems away and ends up on an island to reflect. Is his calligraphy really unoriginal? How can he make it original? And how can he apologize to the man he punched? The whole idea of calligraphy being the main subject of an anime is appealing in its uniqueness and makes the plot somewhat mysterious
at first in that you're not sure what to expect. In the end, it is pretty straightforward and nothing unexpected much happens at all, though there are a lot of heart-warming, funny situations thanks to the relationships between the characters, (but more on the characters later).
Once again, ordinary. Not a bad thing, though! There are no people with purple or green hair or even anyone with blue eyes (one or two blondes, though), but that just adds to the relatability of the story. And it's not like the art is simplistic either, though I'm not any kind of expert on these matters.
I could listen to the theme song over and over again. It is unique as well and puts you in a good mood for the rest of each episode. The background music fits well with each scene it is used in, enhancing the mood accordingly. Not like I'm an expert when it comes to sound, either though.
Like I mentioned earlier, the characters are what really make the story here shine because of the relationships between them and because of how they all help the main character, Handa Seishu develop as a calligrapher and a person. Each character has their own special quirks that make them likeable and real (and make the comedy possible). In short, they become Handa's family, and create a place for him to belong: his home. They remind him that there is more to life than first place and help him grow up a little, despite most of them being much younger or older than him.
Despite the plot being a little slow, each episode had it's own charm. I guess you could say it moved along much like life does--with each new episode you don't know what might happen, much like with each new day you don't know what life might through at you. The message of Barakamon is very warm, the characters and their quirks will leave you with a smile, and the ending is satisfying. Barakamon was clean and simple, a nice break from the flashiness of most anime these days (although I have nothing against flashiness).