Barakamon (2014) Art Snob is Exiled to Rural Island & Friendship is Thrust Upon Him | Anime Review

When would be the ideal time to watch Barakamon?

If you're an artist, writer, or content creator of any kind, you know there are times when your craft is flowing and everything feels great. 

Then.. there's the rest of the time when you struggle to create something, anything, just to ensure that you haven't run out of ideas. Your creative well feels like it's run dry.

In Barakamon (2014) Handa, a young, award winning, Calligrapher, has just reached the bottom of his well, and it is bone dry.  After having his latest piece critiqued by an influential elder in the Calligraphy world, who deemed it UNORIGINAL, Handa loses his cool and punches the man in the face. 

As punishment, Handa's father exiles him to a rural island.  He needs somewhere to cool off. But there's a secondary agenda as well: he hopes Handa will find that rural life and community refill his well.

At 12 episodes long, this Slice of Life anime shows us the journey of a narcissistic prodigy finding he's been living his creative life all wrong.  By putting all of his focus into his craft, he has left no time for living. 

And because he's left no time for living, he has no life experiences to pull from when creating his own unique calligraphy.

Like other Rural Life anime, this show celebrates small town life.  Where everyone knows each other by name and face.  They drop off meals, don't lock their doors, and it takes a whole village to raise one young girl, Naru.  

The new setting throws Handa out of his comfort zone.  Showing him exactly how much he does not know about life.  And when Naru latches onto him as the cool new Sensei in town, the comedy of unstoppable childhood imagination and enterprise takes over his life.  

Handa must ask himself:  Do I even enjoy my work?

While Naru does manage to steal the show much of the time, the story remains heavily focused on Handa.  It is not the story of a father-daughter relationship.  Instead, Naru, as a free spirited child who is adored by everyone, serves as a focus for the argument that Handa REALLY NEEDS TO lighten up.  Have some fun.  And learn to live his life.

After Naru, and the rest of the villagers, provide him with a healthy dose of reality, (and insults) Handa can see just how far his art goals have taken him away from living.

The large cast make this anime fun. Each character provides minor episodic plot points to round out the episodes. 

The island villagers, unlike the the jaded and guarded city folk, have no problems showing their enthusiasm for life, and their desire to spend time together.  Even if they aren't doing anything in particular.

Most of the subplots are comedy driven.  Like when Miwa is a bad influence on Naru, or when Tamako is in denial of her love for BL manga.

Overall, Barakamon is a funny, inspiring, heartwarming warming anime.  None of the 12 episodes feel pointless.  And at the end, I really wanted to know what Handa would decide to do with the rest of his life.  

So when would be the ideal time to watch Barakamon?  

If you happen to feel your own creative well running low, or remember what that feels like, it'll add an extra layer of meaning to this anime. But it's a great anime & would be perfect to watch any time!

Rating: 5/5 from me!

Let me know if you have watched Barakamon?  Or if you recommend any similar anime?

Thanks for reading!

Until next time!


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