Surprise surprise! Yes, I’ve decided to do both Hana Yamata AND Barakamon for this season, as well as continuing with Mahou Shojo Taisen.  Barakamon is just such a lovely series that it feels wrong NOT to at least try to blog this.  If I do end up dropping one (and it could happen), it’s not because I started to dislike the series, but rather due to lack of time.

Anyway, on to the review!

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Episodes 2 and 3 Summary:

We follow Handa’s adventures as he continues living at the island.  His attempts to concentrate and create a piece for the upcoming calligraphy contest are unsuccessful as he keeps getting interrupted by the energetic Naru, as well as two high school girls who had previously made Handa’s home their after-school base.  He also later meets with Hiroshi, a “just average” student.

Please take care of yourself, readers. Don’t overwork yourself like Handa did.

Handa eventually falls ill from overwork and is admitted to the nearby hospital.  Handa is upset that he’s missing out on opportunities to work, though everyone just tells him to relax and get better first.  That afternoon, Handa meets with a lonely, elderly man and realizes just how fortunate he is to have such caring acquaintances.  The next day, Handa gets well enough to leave the hospital, feeling inspired and happy.  However, his mood quickly dampens when he realizes that he was the only patient in the hospital that night…

Definitely didn’t expect Handa to be this, um, cowardly.

Not long after, Handa sends off his first piece of calligraphy work to be judged at a contest since his move to the island.  Realizing that he’s out of ink, Handa pays a village to the general store for the first time.  There, he meets with Tama, one of the high school girls.  It turns out that she’s a passionate manga artist, and she asks Handa to read her manuscript.  Despite her timid appearance, her interests in manga are… very interesting to say the least.

What a scary aura…….

A few days later, Naru and gang find Handa in his home, sulking.  Apparently, he only got second place in the calligraphy contest—with first place going to an 18 year old newbie.  Despite winning second place, Handa feels like a failure and his spirit is broken.  To cheer him up, Naru invites Handa to a “mochi picking.”  It’s a tradition where people throw mochi from the rooftops of a newly built house for people below to catch.  Though in this case, it’s for the completion of a new boat.

Naru is so cute here.

Handa ultimately fails at the mochi catching and is unable to get any for himself.  However, he does end up meeting with an old grandma who gives him some good advice for dealing with failures.  After the mochi picking, Handa returns home with Naru and gang to find a surprise waiting for him.  Even though he failed, Handa realizes that he had fun, and he’s thankful to Naru and her friends for that.

Everyone in this series is such cuties.

My Opinion:

This series so far is so great.  Obviously the country life is romanticized a bit, but the morals in these episodes are really wonderful.  In every episode, Handa gets a good dose of character development.  In episode two, he realizes that he should appreciate his life as it is currently.  Even though he does get annoyed at all the young kids barging into his life, he’s very lucky that he has so many people that care about him.  And in episode three, Handa learns how to deal with failure.  Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.  But even when you fail, that doesn’t mean you should just give up.  And even if you do fail, the process can still be rewarding as you learn something new.

The reason why Barakamon is such a great series is because it manages to combine these life lessons with a good dose of comedy.  I know that I’ve dissed anime in the past that uses people screaming and yelling for comedy; and admittedly Barakamon does have quite a bit of that.  But somehow Barakamon manages to pull it off well because it all just feels so natural.  These characters have such vibrant personalities that it just feels in-character for them to be very loud and passionate about things, and that’s what makes this anime so genuinely funny.

We’re given a lot more depth to a few characters in these two episodes, most notably Tama and Hiroshi.  They’re both great characters in their own way (Tama is just… Tama is just amazing); but I feel kind of like their introductions pushed Naru off to the side.  Naru is arguably the most important character in this series, since she drives a lot of the events and has the strongest personality out of the group.  So having her not be as prominent as she was in episode one feels like a bit of a misstep.  Luckily, she still gets pretty great scenes with Handa, so it’s not all bad.

Personally, I feel like the whole hospital subplot in episode two was just a tad boring.  The characters felt out of their element and the gags just weren’t as funny.  Luckily things got back to normal right away with episode three.

Overall, these were two great episodes.  It’s heartwarming, it’s funny, and it’s somewhat inspiring.  I have a feeling the rest of Barakamon will be just as great, and I hope I have the time to blog all of it.

Out of five for both episodes:

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