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Barakamon is a slice-of-life comedy focused around calligrapher Handa being whisked off to the countryside where he encounters a number of quirky residents of the rural town he settles in. Barakamon settles on making itself have a mundane mood throughout its run, while also tossing in the typical slice-of-life humor of exploring the bizarre quirks of the rural residents that Handa encounters. While your mileage may vary with the show's humor, the series at least shows some gradual development of Handa's character as he adjusts to his living environment and finds himself developing inspiration for his work from being in the countryside. Still as a slice-of-life comedy, Barakamon's mileage will still vary with many anime fans as not everyone will be drawn into the title's mundane mood.
Last updated Sunday, September 25 2016. Created Sunday, September 25 2016.
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This was another show of which I needed to watch two episodes before drawing any major conclusions. Naru, the little girl who had been using the home that Handa has rented while it was vacant, initially struck me as kind of annoying, but grew on me afterwards. Episode two was a lot more fun than I remembered episode one being. The various people who visit 'Sensei' have some brains and spirit to them. For example, the guy who explains what he thinks 'talent' is: people who have talent can do anything without even trying, while those without it can't do anything no matter how hard they try. Sensei is kind of a jerk after all, being from the big city and unaccustomed to rural attitudes towards privacy and other matters. But he's a jerk who you can sympathize with, perhaps since we are all similar jerks in a way. He's at a crisis point in his career, and maybe interacting with country folk and making a few friends will help him find the answer he needs. It was surprising, by the way, that calligraphy commanded such prestige in Japan as an art form, as much as painting, drawing or photography, apparently.
I wish the development of the longterm plot about Sensei finding direction in his career had been given more attention, because while the jokes are OK, they aren't terribly funny and the plot delivers as much if not more of the entertainment that I get as the comedy does. There is more simple humor and fewer words of wisdom as the story carries (I would almost say 'drags') on. If I wasn't confident that there would be some sort of resolution to Sensei's problem at the end, I would probably have dropped this show. In the end, things reach a modestly satisfactory conclusion. Everything works out OK, but I still couldn't help feeling that the show had barely scratched the surface of what might have been achieved. This had seemed early on like it would develop into an emotionally moving show, but in the end we find that our emotions have barely moved at all. There's no romance, even friendships don't get all that deep, and we have little idea what the future holds for the various characters. We didn't really get to know them all that much, since comedy seemed to have precedence here. I had thought that Sensei would wind up as a sort of foster father for Naru, but no, nothing remotely like that happened. Or that a grown man would learn something significant from a child, but again, that didn't happen much. So, Barakamon was a show which largely settled for being a so-so comedy and didn't dare to go nearly as far as I had thought it would.
Last updated Friday, October 24 2014. Created Monday, July 21 2014.