Barkamon has such a charming, heartwarming story. As a designer that struggles with my own ideals of style, Handa’s character and story really resonated with me. I especially loved how layers of Handa are peeled away as he rediscovers himself.
Handa Seishuu, is a 23-year old calligrapher who is forced to take a break, at the advice of his father, after assualting a critic who had harshly critizicized his work as uninspiried. They critic said that Handa’s work was uninspired and was “textbook” style. So he heads off to Goto islands to cool his head and rediscover his love for calligraphy. On the island he meets a little girl named Naru that loves to hang around him much to his annoyance, especially when she gives him the nickname “junon boy” or “pretty boy.” However, they grow to enjoy spending time with one another as she introduces him to simple things in life with her bright energy and innocent view on the world before her.
As a cityboy, Handa is exposed to a lot of things he’s never experienced before. He had expected to be left alone on the island, but quickly realized he would never be left alone, since the village is small everyone knows everyone’s business and loves to poke their nose into everything. His relationships with the community change his stubborn and anti-social behavior and essentially teaching him the fundamentals of life. He learns how to be more carefree about life and work because of Naru and the rest of the villagers. A stark contrast compared to how he grew up and who he was in the beginning.
It’s easy to be knocked down by the harsh criticism of others when it comes to your work that you’ve pulled your heart and soul into. I personally have lots of experience with this as it has happened plenty of times in architecture school. Putting everything you have into a project only for it to be ripped to shreds by a panel of professors can be heartbreaking, and it’s hard to not take it personal. But overcoming that and bouncing back is even more satisfying.
In the spin-off Handa-kun we see how Handa was anti-social growing up. Everytime Handa walks around school he is constantly gawked and whispered; he interprets this as people hating him so he creates the “handa-wall” a barrier that would go up when he was feeling embarassed or depressed. However, the whispers were nothing more than positive. Already having a growing popularity with his calligraphy; both girls and boys alike had become obsessed with Handa’s talent and good looks and think he’s the coolest person alive; they hang on to ever word and action he does. His only friend Kawafuji doesn’t correct Handa’s idea that everyone hates him because he think’s its funny; because he knows it’s the total opposite. But at some point he realizes at some point he’s at fault for Handa’s twisted personality for not correcting him right away. The anime and the manga depict the obsession his classmates have with him and how they try to befriend him. It’s actually quite hilarious in it’s manga form; but I don’t think the same humor translated well into the anime.
Seishuu Handa, is one of my favorite slice of life comedic crushes. Watching him in Barakamon living on the island as he defines what good calligraphy is while engaging with the community who in turn influence his new style of writing.
Who are your guys’ favorite characters when it comes to comedy? Have you seen Barakamon or Handa-kun? What are your thought on the two? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading, this week’s MCM!