Recaps for Barakamon

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Barakamon Episode #12 Anime Review (Season Finale)

The summer anime season is closing out and sadly we have to say goodbye to Barakamon, and Handa’s mother has to say goodbye to her son, who is planing on returning to the island. The problem is she’s firmly against him returning to the land of weird strangers who she feels are a bad influence on her son. (Boy does Handa’s mother look young.) There is much yelling and punching involved in her trying to get her point across, and it takes a family meeting to discuss the good and bad of it. Surprisingly we discover that Handa’s father is all for his son returning to the island, and then we discover why. Dad had spent time in the same village when he was his age, and made friends on the island. That’s how he was able to arrange for his son to go spend time there as well. He even has the pictures to prove it, and Handa’s father was even more scowly than his son. What finally changes his mother’s mind is when a package arrives from the island carrying snacks and trinkets, along with the girl’s class assignments. Handa reflects that he should have waited until after the assignments were scored to leave so he could support and encourage his students. His mother overhears the concern and maturity in the statement and realizes that her son’s trip to the island was good for him. She relents to his wishes, and Handa is free to return. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episode #11 Anime Review

Handa has returned to Tokyo, and is still stressing over the upcoming art show and his apology to the director. Punching an old man is pretty damn serious, but Handa didn’t really grasp the enormity of his actions until face to face with the man once again. Now he realizes the man was already walking with a cane and clearly had a bad back, and suddenly genuine concern strikes at him. He actually manages a heartfelt apology, and the director accepts. Then it’s time for a look at the piece Handa intended to enter into the art show. His ‘stars’ piece is lovely to look at but the pressure gets to Handa as the director looks it over. In a fit of self-consciousness Handa dumps tea over the canvas and declares it was just a draft. To bad for Handa the director liked the piece and thought it probably would have won first place in the show. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episode #10 Anime Review

Handa is still wondering if his "Stars" piece will be good enough for the upcoming art show. If it is, and he wins the show, then he should be in the clear to return to the city. However, all his inspiration has been coming from nature, so if he leaves the island what will happen to his art? Nothing shows how far Handa has come in his interactions with the islanders than a phone call back home to Kawafuji. Naru is hanging off him during the entire call and Handa doesn’t even acknowledge the kid and her friends, they’re all a completely natural part of his life at this point. There are plenty of small moments in this episode that also cement Handa’s place as part of the village. As Naru plots what to make Sensei do with her ticket, Handa is roped into helping lay a stone wall next to a field. He turns out to be a natural at it, which is surprising considering how he usually is terrible at most things beyond calligraphy. Naru’s grandfather asks a favor of Sensei, and he’s tasked with rewriting the name plaque above the shrine door. Gramps even tells him he can add his name to the list of those who helped out with the shrine. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #09 - Anime Review

Time is running out for Handa to make the piece he’s going to exhibit in the next big show. Inspiration hasn’t hit in awhile, which means it’s time for more island hijinks to fuel the fires. Starting with gathering actual fuel for a fire. Sensei’s rented home isn’t the most modern one, and his hand cranked gas powered water heater gives out right when he wants to take a nice long soak. The village elder tells him it would take a week to fix the appliance, in the meantime Sensei can fire it up the old fashioned way, with the even older wood burning stove. Naru drops by just in time to help monitor the fire while he takes a bath. Of course the middle school girls arrive shortly after and it turns out the two are scheming peeping toms. (Especially Tama, who suddenly produces a camera and a casual remark about censorship that will out any hentai consumer in the room.) READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #08 - Anime Review

A birthday and the Obon festival, reminders of the beginning and ending of all things in this episode. Except for this series it’s just another day on the island. Naru’s birthday is coming up and the girls want to throw her a surprise party. After shaking down Handa for his contribution to the birthday cake fund they warn him that he’d better get Naru a present. Handa struggles over ideas of what to get Naru on short notice and eventually runs into the little boys catching bugs. Of course a big rare bug would be the perfect gift for Naru, and an afternoon long hunt ensues. The whole bug hunt plays out exactly how you’d expect it would, with much posturing from Handa and much annoyance from the boys. Sensei still doesn’t want to touch any creepy crawlies, and when a prize bug is found everyone screws up in the frantic chase to catch it. The boys are just happy Sensei took the time to hang out with them, as the adults of the village don’t typically play with the kids. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #07 – Anime Review

It’s the last day of the boys from Tokyo’s vacation. Kawafuji was just hoping for a tour of the island, since he wasted the better part of his trip looking for Handa. Kanzaki just wanted to stay inside and watch Sensei write. However, the islanders have a better idea and take everyone fishing. Once again we learn a bit about how to catch fish. Handa lets Naru do all the handling of the bait and fish, not wanting to catch to touch the squirmy and smelly stuff. Of course with Naru running around chaos soon breaks out when she starts a chain reaction which ends with Kawafuji’s glasses in the water. In the argument that follows Kawafuji yells at Kanzaki for his behavior toward Handa and we discover something interesting. It turns out that Kanzaki is in a slump of his own. His entire calligraphy style was based on Handa’s, and when Handa changed it up Kanzaki suddenly lost his way. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #06 – Anime Review

It seems that no matter where you go, islanders tend to have a certain… reputation as being a bit different than mainlanders. Sensei Handa has been living on the island for a long enough time now that he’s gotten into the rhythm of things. However, compared to the actual islanders he still comes off as something a bit alien and high strung. Kawafuji arrives with a young prodigy named Kanzaki in tow. The communications issue Handa has is still ongoing, and he knows that his friend has likely arrived but can’t respond to the texts on his broken phone. So the two from the city end up wandering for a bit before coming across Naru selling sea shells (with the owners still intact). The incident attracts some unwanted attention from the locals who mistake Kawafuji for a kidnapper and possibly a yakuza because of his tattoos. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #05 – Anime Review

Sensei has pickles on the brain. After Naru’s grandpa drops off a huge bag of homemade pickles, it’s all Handa can think about for awhile. At least until the girls show up for their calligraphy lessons. They probably thought that having a calligrapher around would make the lessons fun and interesting. Sensei sees everything as professional work and turns into a drill sergeant, leaving the girls bored and listless. Handa was called out for being overdramatic last episode, and the girls have to remind him that this isn’t life or death for them, just middle school homework. They send him off to buy drinks and then their thoughts start to wander to Sensei’s love life. He’s a young man, surely he must have a girlfriend or something right? So they start snooping… and come up shorthanded. Poor Sensei round two. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #04 – Anime Review

With all of the traditional trappings surrounding Handa’s life it was easy to forget that this show is set in modern day. Like most of us Handa relies on his computer and cell phone and when both break at the same time he goes into the sort of denial/shock/anger cycle that most of us would experience. This is how you can really tell this is a slice-of-life show, in the middle of Sensei’s mission to find a phone to borrow to make a call he’s distracted by a bunch of cats. It turns out Handa is a cat lover, but discovers that he’s allergic when he’s scratched by one. He then remembers that his father must have known about the allergy and kept him away from cats when he was younger. Poor Sensei. READ MORE...

Barakamon Episodes #03 – Anime Review

What a strange opening! I think Naru jumped the gun with her reading skills. In a small village there aren’t many places for one to shop for supplies. Luckily for Handa the local store does stock the ink he needs for his calligraphy. The little old lady who runs the store is one of the neighbors who helped Handa move in. Here’s more mounting evidence of Handa’s sheltered upbringing, he delights in the idea of buying candy for himself. His parents were apparently very strict, and still are if his father sent him off to the island. He pokes around the store self consciously and watches the two older ladies miscommunicate due to regional dialect weirdness. READ MORE...