[REVIEW] Barakamon

English Title: N/A
Studio: Kinema Citrus, Square Enix
Genre: comedy, slice of life
Episodes: 12
Anime Director: Tachibana Masaki (.hack// Quantum, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0)
Adaptation: manga

After punching a famous curator in the face for criticizing his work as "textbook and lifeless," Handa Seishuu is sent to Gotō Island to calm his nerves and find new inspiration for his calligraphy. Growing up in the city all his life, though, Handa must adapt to country life while meeting an assortment of quirky people during his tenure.

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It's not our job as parents to dictate what our son does. If he's going to grow by exploring himself, then the only thing we can do is watch over him.
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Barakamon is a beautiful story about finding out your inspiration. It's one of those stories that reminded me that being the best isn't everything. It's one of those stories that told me that sometimes you have to retreat to gain moment again.

The Story. Barakamon is a slice of life anime with a really great combination of drama and comedy. It's very light and its dramatic moments really shines well as you get to sympathize, and in some ways relate to Handa Seishuu (Ono Daisuke).

The first episode beautifully introduced the island people, why is Handa in the island, Handa's background, and all these were done in a really fun way. The first episode really shows what to expect in this series - Handa's growth as a person, how he realizes things in life, and how he'll soon be attached to the people in the island. The final episode, on the other hand, masterfully wraps up a great season of the anime. It's this for me: I somehow had an idea of what's going to happen, all those other episodes hinted it, but it still heavily affected me. I'm easily moved, I guess. It's that really beautiful ending wherein I tear up a bit because of joy. It's a very heartwarming ending indeed.

Each episode of Barakamon is packed with very good comedy and sometimes moving moments. Many of which really made me look at myself. Each episode, I feel more for Handa. Each episode, I get to be more attached to the really fun characters of this series. And some episodes really made me smile and realize things.

The Characters. Handa Seishuu is young calligraphist. I didn't bloodydamn knew that it's something this big of a deal in Japan but for some reasons, it is. I really loved the development of Handa. I really like how I get to relate to him at times. Upon arriving to Gotō Island, he's very high on pride. He's this guy who couldn't accept negative criticism. By the end of the anime, you can really see how much he grew.

Naru (Hara Suzuko) is a really adorable kid. Somehow, she reminded me of Rin from Usagi Drop. She's a very fun kid (annoying if you're in Handa's shoes). The story actually hinted that there's more to Naru than what is shown in the anime which makes me want to read the manga.

Secondary characters are all very fun. All the kids were really fun. They are island kids. They're very  brave, carefree, and are accustomed to living and enjoying the nature - the forest and the sea. Older kids such as Miwa (Furuki Nozomi) and Tama (Okubo Rumi) were an enjoyable bunch as well. I didn't expect myself to love them since I'm not a fan of character who'd bother the MC in some annoying way. Then there's Hiro (Uchiyama Kouki) who's the most adult-like in the kids since he's already in his 3rd year of high school. There's this part of him that really wants to get out of the island yet there's this very dominant character in him that really shows that he grew up in the island. He has this struggle that really moved me and somehow I was also able to relate to.

All the characters in the island are very enjoyable. They have their own quirks that makes them really memorable. In some ways, they are these characters I'd really love to look back to one of these days.

Art and Animation. Barakamon has a really refreshing art. It's really beautiful although not as striking as other anime. When I watch anime that are set off Tokyo, I really love seeing stunning backgrounds and such. I mean, wouldn't you love to see great scenery set in country sides? But Kinema Citrus isn't that kind of production company so I didn't count on it. Sad thing. But their style is really something else.They don't have so much texture but they do know how to set the right moods. There are bright times, flashy moments, comedy moments, funny faces, and great composition and framing.

Overall, Barakamon is a very enjoyable anime that's generally recommended to anyone. It's a nice watch. Relaxing. Easy to relate to. Funny. Moving.

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Recommended to: (1) slice of life fans, (2) anime fans who like moving stories with a nice dash of comedy, (3) Usagi Drop fans, (4) first time viewers who'd like an anime that'll generally make you smile

Not for: (1) non-slice of life fans, 

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