Did anyone watch Barakamon for the calligraphy? I doubt so. But it turned out brilliant anyway. Barakamon is a 12 episode long anime about an eccentric calligrapher who gets sent to an island to repent for his impulsiveness. It is happens to have the highest score on MyAnimeList and I believe that is for a reason. Barakamon is a really fine anime that proves that you don’t need a super over the top exaggerated setting and premise to make a darn good anime.
Barakamon is fresh, cute and delivers the feels when it needs to. It conveys the “slice of life” vibes perfectly. The comedy is more often than not a hit than a miss with characters that are totally loveable and funny. I believe the charm on Barakamon lies in the protagonist (Handa Seishu) and his interesting quirks, tendencies and monologues. (which are hilarious by the way). He is not hilarious like in an exaggerated, fake way but in a more awkward manner. In fact, through some of his monologues it’s really easy to relate to him. It’s rare that we get a main character that is likeable, (yet not too boring), with a little tinge of eccentric-ness. Even the dullest events can become super interesting with the right people. Also one of the rarer times the main character feels real.
Naru and gang are awesome and adorable too. As someone who has always thought of kids as annoying little brats, Naru kind of changes my opinion on that. I’d really love to meet a little kid with the same kind of energy and cuteness as her. I mean, Barakamon makes you go “aww kids”. (And I use to openly say I dislike kids, man, anime that changes perspective. powerful stuff). It also makes me wonder if the author personally knows someone which he modelled Naru from. I can’t help feeling this way because Naru feels so real. It’s like watching a person you know. Naru just makes me happy, and I really have no fucking idea why.
Ah, and the chemistry between the gang, the two older girls, that blonde guy. I mean, the whole gang just feels like a clique of real people. It makes me wanna go live on that island with them! I think Barakamon did a good job in introducing high school girls but somehow zero romance happens in the anime. I guess the girls are not the typical anime girls with big boobs and short skirts after all. I was left wondering if a romantic relationship will somehow happen. But I guess not, Barakamon kept it pure and I liked it that way. (btw, did anything “extra’ happen in the manga?)
It’s a pity that it’s really hard to capture comedy in a review. But I have to say, Barakamon delivers really fine comedy. On top of that, it delivers life changing lessons. Not over the top sob stories or a dramatic moment meant to unleash feels, but just the right amount. You’ll know it when you reach the points where you go “ahhh, thats it”. Barakamon has a lot of those priceless heartwarming moments. I think Barakamon can take pride in it’s well paced episodes, genius dialogues (and comedy) as well as it’s balance. It seemed to do a very good job in balancing being funny and serious. Balance, yes. Balance.
It might not be a good show to marathon though. I can imagine watching a few episodes in a row to get a little tiring. The comedy of Barakamon, while being one of a kind and awesome in it’s own way, is not for everyone. The characters do not get much depth to them (or perhaps maybe they do not really have any sad, traumatic events). We get to know them for what and who they are. it’s a “what you see is what you get thing”.
Overall, I think Barakamon did a good job in saving the sinking season. Summer 2014 gave us almost not a single show that I would really recommend to others. Only Barakamon gets my seal of approval as of now (Akame ga kill and SAO II hasn’t ended but I have a feeling both of them are turning out to be very mediocre). With thrash like Zankyou no terror and Aldnoah Zero, I could say I will be eternally thankful to Barakamon for somewhat making my Summer 2014 a little more pleasant. Well done. 8/10 (A-) from me.