- Denial: “That premiere was really good. They changed a couple of things, but I’m sure it’s nothing. The manga is so could they couldn’t possibly screw it up.”
- Anger: “Fuck! How could they possibly skip that chapter? It might be the best chapter in the entire series and it’s the most important in establishing Handa’s character and the overall tone!”
- Bargaining: “Maybe they’re just rearranging things. They wanted to put a few trendy chapters first to suck people in, but they’ll get to the real Barakamon once that happens. I’m sure they will…”
- Depression: “I wish this adaptation had never been made. I can’t really enjoy it knowing what I know, and now most people will walk away thinking this is what Barakamon really is. This sucks.”
And finally, with this episode, acceptance. The series is almost half over, and there’s really no denying the truth, no reason (well…) to be angry about it, and nothing I say will make any difference. As for being depressed about it well, truth be told I’m still fighting through that one. Loving a source material as much as I do here it’s hard to let go, but you can stack up sanitized and abortive anime adaptations alongside death, taxes and self-serving LN with 30-word titles as inevitable facts of life.
As for the episode itself, it was certainly pleasant. As usual there were some quite funny moments, most especially Naru’s reaction when she thought Handa-sensei was a “married woman” and Tama’s when she thought Handa was sweet on Hiroshi (indeed, her fujoshi urges and the consternation they cause her are the closest thing to an edge that’s survived into the anime). And the show displays an agile comic touch, both with facial expression and verbal banter.
It is what it is, though, and the beach trip is a good example of why Barakamon is a good series but will never be more. It deftly creates a relaxed, pleasant sense of idle – something intrinsic to island life in my experience. But the moments that go deeper are few and far between, and when the show tries to get a little serious it plays as treacly and a little preachy. I think it’s mainly because the series has done none of the heavy lifting in establishing these characters, choosing to skip enormous character-building content in favor or Naru-Tama-Miwa cuteness. But it’s also because it’s obvious that Barakamon the anime’s heart isn’t in it when it comes to these serious moments – the feeling in watching them is that they’re meant to impart a “message” and be skimmed through quickly so it can get on to the next gag or moe display.
I have considered dropping the series in terms of blogging (though certainly not watching) because of the uniquely unpleasant situation it puts me in. But it would feel quite odd to me to not blog a show that was so far above the threshold of shows I normally cover both in terms of abstract quality and enjoyment, even for reasons such as those in play here. So I’ll give this acceptance thing a try for a while, and if I can walk the walk maybe I can actually get past the depression stage to the degree where I really can enjoy Barakamon largely unencumbered.