Barakamon has been a really fun ride. Through all the trials and tribulations for the cast, it’s nice to the series end on such a great note. These final four episodes, while not the best in the show, really do help wrap up Barkamon’s story and character development very nicely, with some great scenes peppered throughout. The heartwarming moments still hit hard, and overall I can safely say that this show is one of my personal favorites of this summer season.
However, before I begin gushing, I should probably point out the negatives of the overall series. Now, as much as I hate to admit it, the series can often feel pretty cheesy. At its core what Barakamon is about is your typical man-child getting his heart warmed up by a small and friendly community, and it includes all the trappings of that genre. Seishu acts rashly, the children, while they are portrayed more realistically than in most anime, are seen as very cute and amazing things, and there are indeed sometimes ridiculous monologues about character development. Also since this series is a comedy it can get pretty sparse in terms of plotting, which may bother some people.
So technically speaking Barakamon should be an overly sentimental comedic diversion, but it’s execution turns it into a finely built character piece that has great comedy and animation. Which now that I think about it, isn’t really something I’ve talked about much in previous posts. Kinema Citrus handles the production here, and they do an amazing job at it! Sure the characters do go off model on occasion, but for the most part Barakamon maintains a crisp edge to it that makes it look good even when it’s budget is lowered. Everything has a unique motion to it, and the way Naru jumps around really captures the feeling of a hyperactive young girl.
These final episodes remain much the same animation wise, but the really great part here is how the series’ writers use all of its previously built up character relationships to drive the climax forward. Throughout each of the previous episodes, while Seishu was developing as an adult and artist, he’s been growing his relationships with the town members, and here they finally use those connections to full effect. In episode 8 after having a fun time watching fireworks at the Summer Festival with Naru, Seishu has to leave for Tokyo. Of course Seishu being the blithering idiot he is, he doesn’t tell anyone this, and so Naru sneaks into his house only to find it empty.
Meanwhile in Tokyo however, Seishu is using his maturation as a character to finally apologize to the director he punched way back in episode one. It’s a culminating moment for his arc, and the way Seishu looks at the elderly director with sadness and regret is truly a sight to behold. This just proves that, despite how sometimes it seemed like Seishu was learning the same lessons over and over again, he has changed for the better. And it’s here where he also decides to redo his submission for the upcoming calligraphy contest, because he doesn’t feel like it’s really his own calligraphy (And also because he spilled barley tea on it); but the contest is only about 48 hours away!
This is where the islanders come in, since Seishu struggles to find that bolt of inspiration he found in Goto Village. Luckily Naru, Hina, Tama, Hiroshi, and the rest of the gang call him, and that reminds him of what is truly important. I won’t spoil what his calligraphy piece looks like here, but let’s just say it was very cute and heartwarming!
It doesn’t end here though, as his Mother, worried about Seishu’s change in character, asks one final question: Will he go back to Goto Island? The answer is obvious of course, but that still doesn’t stop this scene from being any less impactful. Not only does in reinforce how much the islanders mean to him, but it also, like the rest of these final episodes, reinforces his growth as a character. The islanders aren’t just acquaintances or nuisances to him anymore, they’re people he genuinely cares about, and he wants to spend all of this time with them; even if they do live on a island in the middle of the ocean.
The series then ends on a typically celebratory note. The islanders throw Seishu a party, Naru smiles, and the main plot ends, while leaving room open for a possible sequel. Now normally complain about the latter part, but honestly I actually think they accomplished this rather well! This is mostly because near the end of the episode we learn Seishu’s piece, despite how hard he worked on it, only got 5th place in the calligraphy contest. I personally like this because not only does it imply that there’s more work to be done, but it shows that as an artist your never done improving yourself; which is I can very much relate to.
In the end though these final episodes were great! Everything was wrapped up nicely, while leaving room for more possibilities; and this was all done while keeping the same heart and comedy the series has maintained throughout its twelve episode runtime. It was an extremely enjoyable experience, and while you may not enjoy it nearly as much as I do, I still recommend that you try it out to see if it’s your kind of slice of life show. Barakamon is a funny, character driven show that shouldn’t be missed who likes the slice of life comedy genre, and I’m definitely going to miss it! I hope to see you again soon Barakamon, and thanks for the journey you’ve given me!