Anime Review: Barakamon

These have been a stressful few years, so certainly, now has been a great time for some nice healing anime, so among the ones I’ve been watching has been Barakamon – a very chill series about life in a rural Japanese town.

Characters from Barakamon - Seishu Handa (aka Sensei) attempting to perform calligraphy, while local child/gremlin Naru Kotoishi attempts to "help"

Barakamon follows Sei “Seishuu” Handa, and up and coming calligrapher in modern Tokyo., who is following in the footsteps of his famous and successful father. After he gets a middling review from a judge at a competition, saying his work was bland, Handa handles it with the exact opposite of style and grace – by cold-cocking the judge. Afterward, Handa is sent to cool off in a rural village in the Gotou Islands to chill and get his head in the right place – and also figure out what he wants to do with his work. Over the course of the series he comes to appreciate the pace of rural life, and the town he’s come to live in.

The series is generally episodic – each episode has Handa (or “Sensei” as he’s known in town) encountering some aspect of village life, or some degree of antics brought on by the people around him – particularly the variety of kids who had hung out in the house he’s renting, and have decided to continue to hang out there even though there’s a tenant. This leads to some degree of comedy ultimately leading to Sensei coming up with a piece coming out of it.

The series is visually fantastic – this isn’t a series you watch for the hyper-fluid sakuga action. This is a series you watch for wonderful pastoral background and bucolic scenery, paired with gorgeously drawn reaction shots and facial expressions for the various comedic parts of the episodes. Some of these are pure slapstick (like one of the town kids giving Handa a headbutt to the solar plexus). Some of these are gags related to Sensei running into problems with various aspects of rural life (like rotary phones).

In all, Barakamon is just a good, fun, chill show, and just what I needed after I lost my job in May (I am employed again now). I definitely recommend picking the show up, either for streaming or on physical media.

Barakamon is currently only available for streaming on Funimation (not on Crunchyroll yet). Physical copies of the movie are available on RightStuf and through Amazon – buying anything through those links helps to support the site.

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