Ah the horror of studying.

Episode 5 Summary:

Handa gets roped into helping Naru, Miwa, and Tama with their calligraphy school assignment, which the girls immediately regret.  They also attempt to find out if Handa secretly has a girlfriend (spoiler: he doesn’t).

Sea cucumbers have always looked pretty gross.

Later on, Handa gets dragged along with Naru and co. when they go to the beach for the summer.  Beach stuff happens, and Handa shows off an unexpectedly soft side.

A RIVAL APPEARS!

Episode 6 Summary:

Hiro, that’s harsh.

Handa’s best friend, Kawafuji, brings along the recent calligraphy contest winner Kousuke to meet with Handa.  Kawafuji’s reason for this is so that Handa will have a rival of sorts to be motivated to continue producing calligraphy works.  Kousuke is shown to be a HUGE fanboy of Handa’s, and wants Handa to go back to Tokyo because he feels Handa is just deteriorating in skill at the island.  However, Handa realizes that he doesn’t want to go back to the “boring” calligraphy he used to do—he wants to find his own style.  So he politely refuses Kousuke’s offer, though it seems that Kousuke may be staying on the island for a little while longer…

Hiro and Miwa have a pretty cute sister/brother-like relationship thing going.

I guess I never really realized how famous Handa was in-universe.

My Opinion:

Watching Barakamon is always a treat, and I felt that these two episodes were pretty solid ones.  They both had plenty of humor and great character development on Handa’s end.  And fortunately the “beach episode” wasn’t at all fanservicey which is really great.

I know I bemoaned how past episodes were severely lacking in the “Naru factor,” so I’m glad she makes some pretty great appearances here.  It also seems like Naru may have some sort of childish crush on Handa, which is amazingly written in an adorable and non-creepy way.  After having watched this many episodes, Miwa, Hiro, Tama, and the others have definitely grown on me.  I said that they were a tad boring in earlier reviews, but having gotten used to them now, they are actually wonderful and vibrant characters.

We get introduced to a new character in episode 6, and that is Kousuke.  Kousuke certainly makes for a nice foil against Handa.  Kousuke is the up-and-coming calligraphy prodigy, and he is a person who sticks very closely to the fundamentals; something that Handa has been trying to grow out of since coming to the island.  Kousuke also certainly has the arrogance to match Handa, though fortunately Handa has learned to humble himself a bit by now.  By the end of the episode, it’s not clear how long Kousuke will stay on the island, but he might be there a while.  I certainly hope so, as he makes for an interesting addition to Barakamon’s quirky cast.

Overall, both of these episodes were hilarious, with just a touch of life lessons towards the end; something that we’ve come to expect from Barakamon.  Even if slice-of-life series aren’t your thing, I would strongly recommend Barakamon, because it’s one of the few honestly funny anime I’ve seen in a long time.  We’re probably around half-way through the series by now, and I’m very excited to see how the rest of the season will play out.

Anyway, out of five for both episodes:

precure heart2precure heart2precure heart2 and 1/2

Naru is such a BAMF little kid.

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