Yesterday while at the Yasukuni Jinja flea market I saw Osuzumebachi (which no one seemed much concerned about considering it’s the deadliest animal in Japan). Then inside the suupa I saw a moth so big I quite literally thought it was a bat at first (since everyone else was ignoring it I herded it towards the doors and – when it surprisingly proved too small to activate them – did so and freed it. For one day at least I was in touch with my Buddha nature). And this is in Tokyo – if a caterpillar is going to freak you out that much, spending time in the countryside is seriously not a good idea.
It seems as if we may be getting an anime-original ending to Barakamon based on the last few seconds of this episode, but thanks to the volume of material that’s been skipped the anime is starting to move past the chapters of the manga that have been translated so I can’t be sure just how far off canon we’re going to veer. Based on the way Kinema Citrus has chosen to present Barakamon they almost have to come up with some sort of original ending in order to give the anime any sense of finality, because the themes in the manga that might lend themselves to a conclusion have largely been edited out.
As it stands, before that ending we get an episode that’s largely consistent with what we’ve gotten in prior weeks – a comedic slice-of-life with a bit of life’s lesson teaching at the end. There’s a short vignette about wood-fired baths (“I’d rather find a gas-fired bath than a wife”) that works pretty well as a commentary on convenience and enjoying things earned b y hard work. And I very much like the scenes where Handa interacts with a menagerie of kids rather than just Naru, because tonally they’re much more like the manga than anything else the anime has offered up. This time around it’s a trio of boys from the neighboring village who’ve taken over the playground (because Tama and Miwa have taken over their playground). There’s nothing profound in the way Handa and Hiroshi get drawn into their nonsense, but it’s damn funny stuff – and it plays off one of the themes of Barakamon, which is Handa living out the childhood that he never got to live in Tokyo. That can really only happen when Handa interacts with the boys of the island, and ends up relating to them at their own level.
Next up, it’s a game of Tarzan – which unsurprisingly given the setting is a lot closer to the original than Handa anticipates. As usual he freaks out about the kids playing with something dangerous that in reality presents a danger mainly to himself, but it’s hard for him to wrap his city-boy mind around the idea that country kids simply live differently than city kids do. Against this backdrop Handa is wrestling with a lack on inspiration given the important calligraphy competition about to ensue, but just when he has an epiphany he manages to fall down a cliff (well – a hump) and get himself lost a few meters from his back door (which is where Miwa, Tama and Naru find him weeping to himself and staring at the stars).