Category Archives: Barakamon

Barakamon [78/100]

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From the director of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.Hack//Quantum—  Masaki Tachibana started out as a storyboard artist for popular series like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex and Noir, and even Bee Train’s Wild Arms Twilight Venom series.  I’d say though his two best works was on Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Serei no Moribito.  This guy has grown quite a bit from his previous works in that now he’s been able to adapt a decent and well-written comedy manga about a calligrapher.  My initial impression of this show was that i’d be how Moyashimon took the elements of an agricultural university and channel it as educational.  I was dead wrong on this:  this was a lot more than that.

As for Kenji Kawai, the music composer of Barakamon, this had to be one of his least favorites out of his repertoire.  He loves using passionate sounding stringed instruments synthesized horns and keyboards that often times in this show leave a less than powerful impression on a lot of the dramatic scenes.  This guy should stick with sci-fi, action and adventure shows to compose to.  Higashi no Eden, Serei no Moribito and the original 2005 Fate/Stay Night TV series had awesome soundtracks for the kinds of anime they were, but for Barakamon‘s realistic portrayal of life on an island it was lacking in every regard.

Here we’ve got this washed-out calligrapher named Seishu Handa whom ends up being sent off to the Goto Islands by his father to reinvent his work.  The first few episodes were very light-hearted as it gives this view of village life with its wildly-driven people.  If there was one aspect of this show I did not like it was how much it neglected the process of calligraphy and what it takes to become one, this show seemed to have sidelined the details in that.  As a comedy show however, this was for the most part very funny.  Naru provides this authenticity of innocence, and wild naivety that pushes the envelope most of the time for Seishu in evolving into more of an adult.  He’s slowly earning a respect from a child nonetheless that he was never given by any adult as a respectable calligrapher: and throughout these episodes this theme greatly reflects this.

A wildy entertaining series as it progresses, with portions of the episodes laid out in halves between catching fish, finding bugs, painting on a boat which in turn ultimately develops and builds Seishu’s greatest work by the end of it all.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 78/100

If you like this you will also enjoy:

– Usagi Drop

– Nagasarete Airantou

– Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou

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Barakamon Episode 12 [END]

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I want to apologize, I had this episode and the previous one mixed up:  Kawafuji got beaten this episode and not last.  I watched these two final episodes back-to-back and I probably should have written this post around the same time as that one.

Slow pacing that’s definitely something this show needed a lot more of:  we could have seen more genuine moments with the Village Chief, Hiro among the others of the village.  This episode was a nice turn around to that–  Seishu still in Tokyo discusses with his parents and Kawafuji to have his father accept it and his mother left in denial.  The mention of hisan-iwo just shows how strongly Seishu has blended in to the village, and what that can do to others.

Still, Emi is the best character of this show and it’s regrettable we could not have seen a lot more of her:  she stole the spotlight out of everyone in this!  Very funny adult character that doesn’t want to see her son grow up so she acts like a child and has temper tantrums. Seimei seems so level-headed and is just trying to understand how Seishu is feeling and as he’s punched by his wife, we get this fantastic family dynamic here.

Everything back on the island was just what I’d expect from this:  a heartwarming welcome home from Naru and the others.  The writers did a great job at developing this sense of homesick through Naru’s excitement at the sight of his face, the dinner scene that culminated in Seishu’s best work, a calligraphy piece of the friends that helped him mature, and understand that life can be fun when it is spent with others.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Barakamon Episode 11

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Best Barakamon episode we’ve had so far!  This was awesome in how Seishu had to shift his focus of being completely spur of the moment to a well-mannered calligrapher in Tokyo!  I was very happy to see the opening omitted from this, because it needed to utilize every moment to make the entire setting play off well in Seishu confronting his personal matters of contention!

He had a lot to overcome here: the director he punched prior to the start of this show, his calligraphy standing out by being new and different, his parents and his subconscious fear of losing himself from being away from the only friends he has ever truly had on the island.  A lot to cram into 24 minutes but Kinema Citrus pulled off some incredible visuals along with amazing direction by Masaki Tachibana.  Still can’t believe this is the same director of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and The King of Fighters OVA, quite a large contrast of series, and yet he’s able to develop a solid style all his own in adapting this already awesome shonen manga!  I really like the character designs in this series and I’m impressed that this episode completely took it to a higher level!

Emi was the best character here, she was so funny in her attempts to keep Seishu as the little boy she took care of by forbidding him to go back to that island.  Kawafuji the smoothest and most level-headed person in this show is utterly handed to by Seishu’s mother by being beaten to a pulp!  It’s incredible how much this show has transitioned from being straight-laced to wild and wacky–  Seishu’s having been influenced by Naru, the Arai family and the other people on the island so much that he has affected his own family here and the results are some hilarious situations here! Haha!  Great episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Barakamon Episode 10

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This was one of the more intriguing episodes as the cliffhanger from last time was gradually built up here.  This was great, because it has closed off a few of the jobs that Seishu has been doing throughout this show–  Tama and Miwa’s calligraphy lessons, helping the kids with work,  and a new job at the shrine. It’s a pattern that can get tedious at times, but this has been a series that gently sets the viewer at ease with a slow pace to develop these characters in slightly different situations.

I’m glad this show didn’t do what one of the previous episodes did and focus solely on his work on the re-writing the names.  This just illustrates how much Seishu has grown thanks to the small town and the experiences he’s had outside of city life.

Is this the first time we’ve fully seen and heard the director that he punched in the face?  I think it is!  If Seishu does go to Tokyo, he’s going to have to find some kind of courage to face him and I sure hope we get to see some hilarious results from that, he definitely deserves it!

Also, another thing I’d like to point out is how often this show re-introduces some of the side characters that have not much revelance to the main story but on the comedy portions.  The nurse showed up again and Tama’s back and forth appearances at the manga shop waiting for her BL to arrive and being all upset about not getting it depicts the lives of these people outside of working together; they have their own hobbies and intentions that all feel extremely real here.  The basketball scene also showed once again how useless Seishu is at athletic sports.  Very funny stuff.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

Barakamon Episode 9

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This wasn’t as good as what we had previously but still is was quite funny.  The Tarzan scene with him and the kids just reflects again how much he tries to be a part of the small town as everyone else is.  Kenji Kawaii when is this guy going to do something grand for this show?  He had done some amazing work on Higashi no Eden and ended up having one of the best soundtracks in 2007 with Seirei no Moribito.  On top of that he created a very alluring score for the original Ghost in the Shell film, but what is it with this show?  It doesn’t have the gumption that those shows had with their music–  it’s a shame really, because he’s got so much talent and even in this episode we’re left with only a few tracks and some used more than once!  Some of the background music felt out of place for a few of the scenes here, and it left me wondering why was it directed like this?

As for the story, it was more of the same, Seishu spends time with the town’s people to find the inspiration he needs to create an original calligraphy piece.  The only section of this I enjoyed was when he got lost and looked up in the sky to find exactly what he was looking for, and what he wrote perceives just what he feels.

The ‘Star’ he writes signifies his desire to fit into the village, and make himself known with an entirely original and unique style in the world of calligraphy.  This was a nice to see this played off of.  The ending after the credits creates a possible change of atmosphere and pace.  Hope he really ends up heading to Tokyo for this next episode.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

Barakamon Episode 8

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So I’ve finally gotten some time to sit down and watch a few of the series that I’ve neglected for about a month or two, especially Barakamon. This show really is something special in how delicate it portrays its characters.  We’re back to the same sort of formulaic setting we had in the first six episodes, as the first half was giving us this realistic view of children living in a small town and the second half added to it with a candle lighting ceremony.

Seishu is very much getting acclimated into the cultural and social side of things here, as we see him trying all he can to catch beetles and trying to make his own place into the town by the kids.  If Seishu had done this on day 1 of the series he probably would have shouted his mouth off and left the kids to do kid things so to speak, but this was powerful to place this scene here.

After being considered too unoriginal for his calligraphy and being sent to the island there’s this huge weight tying him down– acceptance.  An overall theme that has been placed on Seishu from the start and now that he has grown out of it the results are hilarious:  Kentaro gives him a beetle and Seishu claims he’ll give it to Naru and ends up unknowingly killing it.  The old Seishu would never have even cared for Naru to go this far, but it’s in the second portion of this episode that widely opens the viewer’s eyes to this.  It’s Naru’s birthday party, bubble wrap  and leaves are given to her, but Seishu’s gift were more important to her than anything.  The request card he gives to Naru reflects how much they need each other to be happy and strengthen their bond–  this was a great way to see her reaction when she received it!  Her parents are somehow absent from this show so far, and Seishu especially here is genuinely worried about her every step of the way.  Great contrast here between the two of them.   Refreshing to see how their relationship pans out each episode as the feeling of acceptance is shown here–  the candle lighting ceremony ended up being a big indication that she’s missed out on a parental figure and Seishu is the closest person to a parent that she will ever have.  Fantastic episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Barakamon Episode 7

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It has actually been a few weeks since I’ve even watched this show and how i’ve forgotten how slow-paced, and realistically funny it was.  It’s an anime like this that could have been pretty different on Noitamina.  We’ve had quite a ton of original action series in the past few years on that programming block so it’d be nice to see another light-hearted comedy series similar to Honey and Clover or even Moyashimon come back on the scene.

This was the best episode we’ve had so far- if not better than the first.  Finally the writers here decide to break the mold in that the entire 24 minutes was one whole plot. Going fishing on the last day of their trip, Kawafuji and Kanzaki are pulled into village life even further than they had been before.

I was surprised to say the least that just an episode ago they had arrived on the island trying to fit in and by the end of their fishing escapades, including the very funny Hisan-iwo scene definitely broke down any initial fears that Kawafuji and Kanzaki had about Seishuu being in the village.  They very much let go here- having quite the laugh!  From the beginning more especially Kanzaki was confused about how to fish, and by the end he is the one who is left alone only with just a fishing pole stuck in water.  That entire moment built it up in creating a strong bond between the differences of city people and village folk.  Nice contrast to add these city characters in even though Naru has had her serious scenes removed for more comedic moments!

The creators actually took the time in handling their departure fairly well as this was great and seemed very real.  Souvenirs to take back to Tokyo transitioned quite nicely into Kawafuji noticing how much Seishuu had changed especially with his outlook about his father.  Barakamon chooses to be very soft in just about every scene which can be a nice break sometimes from the anime of this season that are either very intense or greatly action-packed.

From when Naru pushed Seishu and his buddies into the water to  and Kenji Kawai has done a remarkable job at adding some realism to it all.  That song at the end was reminiscent of Serei no Moribito’s slow moving soundtrack- the guy really likes to use string instruments with bright melodies a lot.

Haha the metal detector scene was pretty funny and the animators did a great job at reflecting that with Tamako’s reaction.  Kawafuji after the credits in his mask had to be the most hilarious part of it all- so subtle!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Barakamon Episode 6

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Kawafuji is one of the best additions to this show!  Nice to have a level-headed thinker among all the kids and crazy adults.  The voice of Space Dandy!  He finally shows up in the village and he’s great! Seishu is all over the place this episode- a whirlwind of emotions.  Throughout the series so far he’s been teased by Naru and the others even here we see the championship calligraphy winner Kanzaki harass him over his ability to write.   Simply amazing how much the town’s people affect outsiders!

Why did Seishu have such up and down moments this episode?  The performance looked a little off.  Especially that breakdown scene where he remembered and even muttered a few lines the curator he punched before.  That entire segment was weird.

We are getting into the heart of the story, now that Miwa and Kido understand how Seishu felt towards losing.  It was funny how much they perceived him at first feeling all down, and personally I think that’s how Seishu would have been at the beginning of this series.  Kawafuji was right to send him out on this island as we are starting to see him interact more and more.  Good to see some backstory between Kawafuji and Seishu in middle school- greatly illustrates Seishu’s personality very well.  The end scenes after the credits are just the best!  Poor Tamako and her yaoi fears. Haha that was hilarious!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10

Barakmon Episode 5

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The background designs are fairly simple yet they make such an appealing impact towards the entire show!  Episode 4 illustrated how much Seishu did not fit in the village.  It’s here that we see him evolve further and adapt to the village in the second half of the episode.  The first part seemed to me like it was only there to just fill time.   He’s got a dedication or passion rather for calligraphy that he teaches to Naru and the others- we already know this.  This portion could have been more well spent on its side characters of Goto Island.  We don’t know very much about Hina’s parents, how she was raised and it would be nice to deviate from the comedy for awhile, or even the village chief Yujiro.  It is in moments like these that make me want to drop a series: being too repetitive and not being able to think outside the box.  Then the second half started up.

Was this a different episode entirely?  How was this even the same director?  Seishu, Miwa, Tamako and the kids all go swimming- this sure was different.  Getting a glance at Seishu’s own feelings towards other people was very refreshing to see, it didn’t help however that this was all turned into a joke in the first half that Naru should marry Seishu.  They writers could have completely left that bit out and his worried feelings would have  flowed a lot stronger here.  With Kosuke Kanzaki and Kawafuji’s arrival it will be very interesting to see how they interact within the village.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10

Barakamon Episode 4

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Barakamon’s simple and candid narrative supports why I find this entertaining- hilarious and not in a Space Dandy way: this show captures its audience in simple ways- with its honest and innocent calligrapher stuck in slap-stick scenarios.  Keeping this show from being boring and more engaging. Everyone else in the cast is just further substance to this the depth of his character.

The kittens were a wonderful depiction of Seishu’s personality and how he does NOT fit in this village one bit.  We also got a good view of the importance calligraphy is to him.  He’s so lost in thought as to make a decision on anything and the painting on the boat designated this point well.  Kenji Kawai may be a prolific composer in the anime industry but this episode reminded me why I like his music so much.  It’s inspirational- akin to Serei no Moribito.

The ending is amazing and is the second best ending below Zankyou no Terror- lively animation depicting the beauty of scripting.  The series as a whole calls attention to the style of Chihayafuru- how purely legitimate and established that was in developing Karuta as more of an art-form than a competitive card game.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10