Barakamon Review — B-

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A calligrapher moves to an island and plays with kids.

Given the subject matter, my expectations were low, but Barakamon turned out quite well. It had a diverse set of characters that were outside the set anime commonly offers. Much of the show’s success here stemmed from the fact that this wasn’t the usual anime about teenagers. Instead, the majority of the time focused on adults, children, and the elderly, although there were a few teenagers. It’s a show about community.

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I found that Barakamon kept a good balance, being a “slice of life” show but still using more or less constant conflict to keep the audience’s interest. The conflicts weren’t anything big— sometimes they were as simple as catching a fish, or getting dinner, or getting back from the airport. Or sometimes they were more difficult personal issues. But regardless of the nature of the conflict, there was always something gnawing at the back of my mind, keeping me interested and making me continue watching. It wasn’t just people sitting around doing nothing as these shows often devolved into.

In short, highly recommended. It can be quite funny at times as well. But mostly, it manages to make me relax and bring a smile to my face without being insufferably boring, as most other shows I watch in this genre tend to do.

  • Storytelling – B – Pleasant, fun, interesting.
  • Voice – B – A setting, characters and themes that aren’t too common for anime.
  • Characters – B – Very distinctive, especially appreciate the differing ages.
  • Attention Grab – B – Never bored me, even if it was mostly peaceful.
  • Production – B – Looks good.
  • Overall – B-

Recommendations – Natsume Yuujinchou, Uchouten Kazoku, Usagi Drop

6 thoughts on “Barakamon Review — B-

  1. This has been my favourite this season. As you, I wasn’t so sure at first if this series would be enjoyable. I like shows with a high school or middle school setting but little kids are a different thing and tend to be annoying. Naru, in particular, was really annoying but I still loved every episode precisely b/c nothing special happened most of the time. I even may have learned something about the nature of calligraphy, e.g. seeing the stars in the “star” character!

    1. Naru was annoying but I loved her for it. 🙂 It’s hard to do a character like that but I thought they really succeeded.

  2. This was also my favorite show of the season! The reason for it was the characterization. Child characters like Naru et al. were actually voiced by actual children (in a similar fashion to the old Peanuts cartoons). Now, that fact might not be much; however in an age where children are made as mini adults or are static flat stereotypes it is refreshing to hear children sound like actual children. Additionally, the children are also characterized as being thrill-seeking, act first-think later (again just like children). The main character Handa also goes through an actual character arc in which he adapts and changes to ultimately become a more empathetic individual.

    1. Oh, didn’t know they were voiced by actual children! That’s probably part of why they managed to give such a convincing image of children.

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