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Ginko: Barakamon

Discussion in 'Anime Reviews' started by Ginko, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Ginko

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    Any time an anime features adult characters, I sit up and pay attention - if only from the perspective that stories featuring young protagonists permeates the whole of animation. Barakamon, seemingly tailored to contemporary adults, is all about doing what you love, and finding yourself by going way outside of one's comfort zone.

    Synopsis
    Seishu Handa is a professional calligrapher who gets in hot water when a gallery director calls his work mundane and uninspired. Like an adult, he takes the criticism well and flips out on the elderly man.

    After the incident, his father sends him to an island near Kyushu to focus on his work. On arrival, it's clear this place is way out in the boonies with few conveniences. The village chief meets Handa at his new home to welcome him and help him get settled.

    Unfortunately for him, Handa discovers he's not going to be getting much in the way of peace and quiet. For one, a couple of teenagers have been using the empty house as their hideout, and are reluctant to give it up. Secondly, neighborhood kids and locals are fascinated with him. In particular, seven-year-old Naru comes to see him every day without fail, even if he locks the door.

    In his exploits hanging out with the kids and townspeople, Handa works through his mental blocks and learns about some of the things he's been missing out on in the big city. Things like the simple joys of bug catching, playing games, taking part in festivities, and even just a sunset on the beach. All of these experiences translate to the canvas as he finds inspiration in his participation of life.

    Analysis & Impressions
    The title Barakamon translates to "easy going person", and the story is about how Handa makes his transformation from a tightly-wound ball of nerves to someone without a care in the world. The little brat Naru is more-or-less his guide on this journey, as she opens him up to experiences outside of his comfort zone.

    Although slice of life as a genre has been done to death in anime, this is one to put on your watch list. There's lots of character development (for Handa), reflection at the end of each episode, and plenty of light-hearted humor.

    The pacing tends to meander, reflecting the overall theme of the series. Like a stroll on a sunny day, nothing is ever in any kind of hurry, though the topic at hand is usually resolved within the episode.

    There aren't a lot of standout vocal performances, but only because there isn't a whole lot of actual acting to do. Dub actor Robert McCollum as Handa is tasked with the most demanding range of emotions, but even that range is pretty limited. Still, when you look at the whole of what this anime is trying to accomplish, that's just fine. This isn't a heart-wrenching drama, or a teeth-gritting action anime. It's just good times in the country.

    By the way, if for some reason you're still hankering for some high school slice-of-life, there's a prequel series called Handa-kun. It has much less to do with calligraphy and more with weird jokes and running gags with Handa as a teenager. The show is funny in its own right, but it's just not like Barakamon in any meaningful way. Frankly, the show could be about anyone else and it would still work.

    Who is it for?

    Barakamon is for anyone that's needs a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" kind of anime. It's a totally chill, feelgood kind of experience. Fans of comedy will feel most at home here, as much of the series is pestering Handa in an endearing sort of way.

    Availability

    Barakamon is twelve episodes long and available for streaming on JustDubs.
     
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  2. jmriz

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    Great, concise reviews!!
     
  3. Ginko

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    Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you're enjoying the reviews.

    My goal is to open viewers up to series that slipped under the radar, may have given a pass on initially, or are too old for recent fans to have heard of them. I'll probably run out of steam sooner rather than later, but hopefully people will find a few recommendations in the meantime.
     
  4. jmriz

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    Just wondering, but do you accept suggestions for reviews?
     
  5. Ginko

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    I don't mind doing requests, but I do have one common sense rule. You can't have already seen the series. Occasionally, people read reviews just to see if the reviewer agrees with their opinions, which is kind of pointless to me. But anyway, yeah fire me a PM, and if I've seen the series already, I'll do a write-up when I get a chance, otherwise I'll watch it and come back to you.
     
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