As I mentioned in the Daiya post, my sisters are in town from the USA just as I’ve been hit with a bad cold, so posts are going to be shorter than normal and possibly not quite as timely for a bit thanks to that double-whammy. I hate to shortchange a series review post, but it’s 1245 AM, I need to be up in six hours and my head feels like a lead weight, so it is what it is…
Long story short, Barakamon was a pretty good show – probably a half-step above that, even – but not quite the adaptation I was hoping for. I felt that the finale was pretty much in-line with that – it was good, but somehow the emotional spectrum feels more primary colors than it did with the manga. I was expecting a bigger impact when Handa-san returned to Gotou and reunited with Naru and the gang, but it was more along the lines of a predictable happy ending than a cathartic moment.
It’s been an odd season, really. If you’d told me going in that neither Barakamon or Zankyou would be in my top three shows of the season, I’d have bet it was going to be a disaster – but it ended up being modestly decent, because there were other shows like Majimoji Rurumo and Nozaki-kun that surpassed my expectations and made up the difference (that, and Kuroshitsuji delivered famously on the strong source material it was adapting).
Be that as it may, I did enjoy Barakamon and it seems likely to do pretty well on disc (we’ll know tomorrow) – and we’ve already had a good result with Aldnoah, Tokyo Ghoul and Baby Steps (!) getting sequels, with Nozaki-kun’s a mortal lock. So I think we might just get another season of Barakamon and there’s enough manga material to do is as soon Kinema Citrus and the production committee would like to. There’s not much reason to believe it’d be any more faithful to the manga than this season was, but even dumbed-down Barakamon is better than 80% of the anime out there.
From the finale, we learned for certain that Handa’s Mom is a bit of a head-case. The jokes with her went on a bit too long and lost some edge as a result, but the core is pretty true to life – there are a lot of mothers like that (mine was, to some extent). And she wasn’t just overprotective either, but a bit of an elitist – “Lie down with dogs and you get fleas” is one of the most versatile pieces of prejudicial code language out there. I was happy to see his father come around, though – that’s been hinted at for a while – and I especially liked the reveal that he’d lived on the island himself. And his protest – “I wouldn’t have sent you there if I hadn’t live there myself.” Turns out he’s a pretty good dad after all (better than Ging, anyway).
5th Place at the exhibition aside, it was a pretty good ending for Handa-san. He won back the respect of the director, and came to realize that Gotou was a place that felt like home to him now. There’s much more to Barakamon than a comedic slice-of-life, but it is an appealing one – and I look forward to seeing more of that, even if it’s all we get.