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July 25, 2014

Noticed this slice-of-life series in the summer anime line-up and although originally opted not to add it to my weekly anime schedule, quickly reversed that decision after watching the first episode.

Adapted from the “ばらかもん” manga by Yoshino Satsuki, “Barakamon” is a delightful slice-of-life comedy full of life and joy, following a young, hot-headed calligrapher’s journey of learning and self-discovery during his time living on one of the Gotou islands near Kyushu, Japan.


While main protagonist Seishuu’s turmoils as a calligrapher may at first sound rather foreign for those not immersed into creative art as a profession, was nonetheless able to somewhat relate to his struggles, even if he may be a rather generic main lead in some aspects.

The same goes for the other characters, while they may not be really novel or refreshing characters, the show’s overall atmosphere and perfect balance between comedy and heartwarming slice-of-life moments make them very likable. One can’t help to gleefully follow them into this journey of the simple, yet colorful daily life on this island.

Next to Seishuu, the real star is lively Naru who next to her token comedy scenes, never comes across as a cheeky, annoying brat but her childish optimism and energy is a supportive pillar for the whole cast as she truly is a bright ray of sunshine and sometimes even becomes the voice of reason.
Naru reminded me somewhat of Yotsuba from “Yotsuba&”, makes me wonder if an anime adaptation of that stellar slice-of-life manga would be somewhat like “Barakamon”.

Although “Barakamon” may not sound like it based on its core plot of Seishuu’s struggles to grow as an artist, it really is a heartwarming slice-of-life comedy not unlike “Non Non Biyori”, “One Off” or even “Aria”. It showcases its viewers what seem to be but small moments in life, but those small moments become significant, heartfelt experiences to the characters living them.


Animation by studio Kinema Citrus is quite good, with enough care going to animating the characters, their various expressions but most of all they perfectly render the rather outdoor, hard working yet bright and leisurely feeling of life on the island.
Visually the styling is rather typical though and can make the show look unoriginal as one can’t shake the feeling of having seen most of the designs before in other franchises.

Even though for me personally the top contender for most enchanting series of this season is undoubtedly “Hanayamata” along with “Yama no Susume Second Season”, do recommend “Barakamon” to fans of the slice-of-life genre or heartwarming comedies as it has been a delightful show so far.

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