Barakamon: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 10, 2016 by Dennis Amith
If you are in the mood for an uplifting, vibrant and fun anime series, “Barakamon” is one of the rare series that you come across and you can’t help be captivated by its storyline, its characters and animation. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Barakamon: The Complete Series
ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0, English subtitles
RATED: TV 14
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Originally created by Satsuki Yoshino
Directed by Masaki Tachibana
Music by Kenji Kawai
Character Design by Majiro
Art Director: Hiroshi Kato, Izumi Hoki
Anime Production: Kinema Citrus
Featuring the following voice talent:
Daisuke Ono/Robert McCollum as Seishū Handa
Suzuko Hara/Alison Viktorin as Naru Kotoishi
Atsushi Ono/Greg Dulcie as Iwao Yamamura
Fumihiko Tachiki as Vice Principal
Hiroshi Ito/Bill Flynn as Kousaku Kotoishi
Junichi Suwabe/Duncan Brannan as Takao Kawafuji
Kei Hayami as Tomoko Kido
Kouki Uchiyama/Clifford Chapin as Hiroshi Kido
Megumi Han/Jessica Cavanagh as Akihiko Arai
Nozomi Furuki as Miwa Yamamura
Rina Endō/Lara Woodhull as Hina Kubota
Rumi Ookubo/Apphia Yu as Tamako Arai
Seiya Kimura/Leah Clark as Kentarō Ōhama
Tanuki Sugino/R. Bruce Elliott as Yūjirō Kido
Toshihiko Miki/Ed Blaylock as Curator/Director
Yuuki Kaji/Austin Tindle as Kosuke Kanzaki
After an unfavorable critique drives uptight young calligrapher Sei Handa of Barakamon past his breaking point, his parents decide to ship him off to Japan’s Goto Islands to cool off. But instead of a peaceful paradise, Handa discovers a village full of quirky characters with little regard for personal space. On top of that, Handa’s temporary apartment has already been claimed as home base by the village elder’s granddaughter, Naru, who has a knack for getting into trouble. Will Handa ever be able to redeem his impulsive misdeed? Will he ever be able to write like the masters? Will the village kids ever learn to KNOCK first??
Back in 2009, Satsuki Yoshino created the manga series “Barakamon”.
Serialized in Square Enix’s “Gangan Online”, an anime series adaptation by Kinema Citrus was created in 2014. And a spin-off series titled “Handa-kun” began serialization in November 13th, with a anime adaptation which began airing on July 2016.
The anime series was directed by Masaki Tachibana (“King of Fighters: Another Day”, “Tokyo Magnitude 8.0”), music by Kenji Kawai (“Death Note”, “Eden of the East”, “Blue Seed”, “Gantz”, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”), character design by Majiro (“Macross Delta”, “Nagareboshi Lens”, “Ongaku Shojo”), art direction by Hiroshi Kato (“Black Lagoon”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”, “Blue Exorcist”, “Boogiepop Phantom”) and Izumi Hoki (“Ah! My Goddess: The Movie”, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods”, “Spice and Wolf”, “Tears to Tiara”).
The first anime adaptation will be released on Blu-ray & DVD courtesy of FUNimation.
“Barakamon” is a series that follows hotheaded yet celebrated calligrapher Seishu Handa.
Despite being a talented calligrapher, one day after being criticized by the gallery curator, Seishu punches the elderly director after being told that he needs to create his own original style (his style of calligraphy was inspired by his father’s work) because his style is unoriginal.
Wanting to find his own style, Handa’s father recommends him going to the remote Goto Islands off the western coast of Kyushu. But also hoping his son needs his own time away.
He is welcomed by the villagers who are not familiar with him or his work and when he moves into his home, a 7-year-old girl named Naru Kotoishi acts as if the place is hers and more than often, she is often bothering Handa.
But as the villagers welcome Handa and call him sensei, the hot-headed Handa starts to warm up to the people in the area and starts to find his own way and possibly discover his own style.
And because he never had any friends, starts to learn more about what it means to have people you care about.
“Barakamon” features the following characters:
- Seishu Handa – A short-tempered 23-year-old master calligrapher who has dedicated his life to his art. But after socking the director gallery after his work is called unoriginal, Seishu is shipped to the Goto Islands by his father to have his son calm down but also hopes that he can be inspired by creating his own style. He is called “Sensei” by the villagers.
- Naru Kotoishi – A bug-loving 7-year-old girl who likes to visit and bother Handa. She likes Handa and goes to his home to play everyday.
- Miwa Yamamura – A 14-year-old tomboy who hangs out with Tamako. She also visits Handa’s home and has the keys because his home used to be her “Secret Base”.
- Tamako Arai – A 14-year-old student who hangs out with Miwa. She is a big fan of manga and wants to become a manga artist but she has been having difficulty with her interest to yaoi and often imagines Handa in yaoi.
- Hiroshi Kido – The hot-headed son of the village chef. He is a student who doesn’t do well at school but is inspired by Handa.
- Hina Kubotai – Naru’s friend who is shy and always cries.
- Akihiko Arai – Tamako’s younger brother who is often gaming and watches over his grandmother’s store. Very mature for his age.
“Barakamon” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Gorgeous backgrounds and great animation with the character design which are well-shaded. Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are deep. Kinema Citrus did a great job with this anime series!
I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Barakamon” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear through the front channels for the lossless stereo soundtrack but because the English is 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Barakamon: The Complete Series” features the following special features:
- Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Alison Viktorin (voice of Naru) and Robert McCollum (voice of Seishu Handa).
- Episode 12 Video Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Felecia Angelle (Assistant ADR Director), Lynsey Hale (voice of Miwa Yamamura), Apphia Yu (voice of Tamako Arai), Duncan Brannan (voice of Takao Kawafuji)
- Textless Opening Song: “Rashisa”
- Textless Closing Song: “Innocence”
- U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Barakamon”
- Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers
“Barakamon” comes with both a Blu-ray and DVD version.
“Barakamon” is a fascinating, anime series that is reminiscent to another anime series titled “Silver Spoon”, in which the student protagonist moves to the country side in order to find himself and find direction but also be inspired by the people around him.
With “Barakamon”, the protagonist Seishu Handa is a Master Calligrapher and at 23-years-old, has dedicated his life to his craft. But because his calligraphy is inspired by his father’s style, when told by the gallery director that his work was “unoriginal”, Handa does a terrible thing by hitting the elderly director.
Impulsive and has a short-temper, Handa is sent by his father to a remote area in the Goro Islands where everything is countryside and ocean but perhaps the peace and quiet is what he truly needs to accomplish work and discover his own, new personal style.
But things do not go quiet and peaceful as Handa would hope as his home is constantly attracting a 7-year-old girl named Naru Kotoishi, who never leaves him alone, teenagers Miwa Yamamura, Tamako Arai and Hiroshi Kido and other children who happen to show up.
And because the home is the children’s former “Secret Base”, each of them have keys to get into Handa’s new house.
But while Handa short-temper does come out, he also learns to see the calming effect of the countryside, the villagers and finds himself for the first time caring for the people in the area, especially the children.
And while Handa had acted like a spoiled child, this time around, he may mature and possibly discover a new calligraphy style inspired by his stay at the island.
For the most part, the anime series is a lot of fun because it revolves around Handa taking part of things that he would never do, from fishing, watching over young children, catching bugs and for the first time, he finds out how life is, just having fun and doing whatever is necessary to be inspired by whatever he can find in the island and create awesome work to take back home to Tokyo for the next competition.
The series is episodic but there is a connection with episode after episode as it relates to Handa’s growth as a person living on the island. But the series are quite entertaining that you may find yourself watching all episodes in one sitting. It’s how captivating the anime series really is!
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is presented in 16:9 widescreen and animation is very detailed and quite vibrant. Kinema Citrus did a magnificent job in featuring wonderful character designs but also gorgeous background art. The Blu-ray release comes with two audio commentaries, textless opening and ending songs.
Overall, if you are in the mood for an uplifting, vibrant and fun anime series, “Barakamon” is one of the rare series that you come across and you can’t help be captivated by its storyline, its characters and animation. Recommended!
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