Manga / Barakamon

Sei "Seishuu" Handa is a talented young calligrapher who ends up punching a curator who criticizes his work, and heads to the Gotou Islands in order to cool off. However, what was meant to be a time for Seishuu to contemplate things and work on his skills is soon disrupted by the friendly, gregarious islanders, who seem intent on getting involved in his life at every available possibility.

Barakamon ("perky person" in one of the Gotou Island dialects) is a Slice of Life manga by Satsuki Yoshino following Seishuu (or "Sensei" as he soon becomes known) as he tries to get used to island life.

An anime for the series aired during Summer 2014 Anime season, which adapted chapters from the first five volumes. The series itself is still ongoing, with twelve compiled volumes so far. There's also a prequel titled Handa-kun which centers around Handa as a high school student six years prior to Barakamon.

Not related with that Baraka, a Digimon or a Digimon based of Baraka.

Barakamon provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Sensei, big time. Even moreso in the prequel manga.
  • Adult Fear: Sensei is constantly being stressed out and worried about his career.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Almost everyone calls Akihiko "Akki".
    • And pretty much everyone calls Hiroshi "Hiro/Hiro-nii".
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Alas, poor Kenta. It doesn't help he's a tsundere of the harsh kind.
    • He's a yandere from that toad-frog's perspective.
  • Arranged Marriage: In chapter 80, Sensei's mother is putting up an omiai for him. Needless to say, he's pretty shocked by it.
  • Art Shift:
    • In chapter 11/episode 3, Naru's face changes into a style reminescent of Golgo 13, which represents how cool and mature she feels after learning how to read katakana. Fortunately for everyone's eyes, her face goes back to normal when she realizes she read a word wrong.
    • The anime ending sequence has a drastically more relaxed color palette, and an overall less crispy look than the rest of the show.
  • Ass Shove: When he meets the villagers who came to help him unpack, Sensei's initial glee over warm welcome and prospects of peaceful life gets punctured by energetic kid Kentaro giving him a kancho just because he's defenseless.
  • Bishōnen: Several times, Sensei has been jokingly said to have facial qualities akin to the fashion models in the monthly Junon, an actual women's magazine.
  • Bookends: Sensei notes in the last episode, that he arrived back to the village on the island the same way he came the first time.
    • Naru expresses relief when Handa forgives her in the first episode. At the end of the series, Handa himself reacts in a very similar way to the director forgiving him.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Miwa and Sensei discuss the possibility of fanservice in the manga's Beach Episode:
    Sensei: Even though we're going to the seaside, there's no fan-service for the readers?
    Miwa: Well then, why don't ya strip yerself, Sensei?
    Sensei: Well... I don't have a swimsuit.
    (Caption: No fan-service)
    • Naru's reaction to Kawafuji offering her a credit card:
    Naru: That's a "card", you say? Those really convenient things that only respectable people with good jobs can use? The one that's pretty much out of reach to mangaka?
    Kawafuji: You... Do you have bad memories of applying for one or something?
  • Call Forward: In Handa-kun, Tsugumi see's a future of Handa with kids. In Barakamon, Handa eventually befriends Naru and her friends in the island.
  • Celibate Hero: As far as we know, Sensei doesn't have someone special in his life, and doesn't seem interested in looking. Calligraphy is his great love. He mentions in one episode that he'll probably die alone, and later on in the episode, he says he thinks that he will literally die alone before he is saved by Miwa and Tama.
  • Chekhov's Gun: For her birthday, Sensei gives Naru a ticket for her to use to have him do any one thing she wants. While she's deciding what to do with it, her grandfather takes it from her and uses it himself to have Sensei help him stack rocks.
  • City Mouse: Sensei and his city friends.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Handa during his high school days. Unfortunately for them, he's Oblivious to Love and mistakes their lover letters for letters of challenges.
  • Cool Big Sis: Tama and Miwa get along really well with the kids.
  • Covert Pervert: Tama, who pulls out a camera when Sensei opens the window while he is bathing. She says it's research for her manga. When Miwa reminds her that you can't publish naked characters in manga, she says it will be all right if she covers "the tip" with a mosaic.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: In Episode 1 when Sensei first enters his house, there's a stereo with two CD's that look almost exactly like Aerosmith's classic 1976 album Rocks, and the Beatles' classic 1969 album Abbey Road.
  • Cuteness Proximity: It turns out Sensei's susceptible to this around cats. Unfortunately, he's allergic to them.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Sensei has apparently seen, but never used, a rotary phone. When he can't figure it out, Naru and Hina make fun of him. Akki offers to dial it. Sensei doesn't take it well.
  • Drop-In Character:
    • Naru to Sensei, to his irritation. That Naru knows all sorts of ways to get into Sensei's house, whether he likes it or not, means it's futile to try and keep her out. (Also, islanders typically leave their front doors open.)
    • Since Miwa made 5 copies of his house key, one of she lost, there are a few other people who can get into his home whenever they want.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Handa's mother hitting him to keep him from going back to the island is Played for Laughs. When she tries to hit her husband, he just keeps dodging her punches. When Kawafuji insults her, she jumps across the table and she attacks him, repeatedly punching him in the face for quite a while, which is also played for laughs.
  • Exact Words: When confronting some bratty kids who were bullying some younger kids (Naru and her friends) Sensei and Hiroshi agree that they can't hit them. Instead, they play dodge-ball around them, really just an excuse to throw a ball at them.
  • Fragile Flower: Hina cries very easily - when she's sad, when she's distressed, when she's happy...
  • Free-Range Children: Naru and her friends are frequently walking around with no adult supervision, and she frequently goes to Sensei's home by herself. Although, a lot of the time, they are accompanied by the middle-school kids or Hiroshi. Naru's grandfather works long hours, so he can't always watch her.
  • Friend to All Children: Handa, even if he doesn't intend to be.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: One of the first Sensei's knockdowns off his high and mighty horse comes from Naru, an elementary school student, who unwittingly comments on his practice calligraphy piece. Her compliments are to call it mighty well done first, and then saying it is just like their school teacher's.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the last episode, the director mentions that he hopes Handa is listening to his advice and not acting impulsively. It then cuts to Handa acting impulsively, which is lampshaded.
  • A God Am I: Miwa's dad claims to have chosen his boat's name (Yuigadokuson-Maru, I Alone Am Holy) because it means he's God.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Sensei goes into a Corner of Woe upon discovering he came in second to an 18 year old in a calligraphy competition.
    • Later in the anime when he leaves the island before a competition, he is distressed and unable to draw anything good enough to enter. He gets inspired once he gets on the phone and speaks to the kids on the island.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Kanzaki to Sensei. He inspired him to take up calligraphy.
  • Hit Stop: Episode 1, the moment of Handa's punch connecting with the Director's face is shown in Slo Mo, welcoming the mixed feeling about the whole affair. The realization of being in the wrong comes upon Sensei no sooner than the first day in actual "exile".
  • How We Got Here: Episode 1, explaining why Sensei's currently throwing himself into drawing.
  • Iyashikei
  • Japanese Delinquents: Hiroshi has the look, but the worst he's apparently done is steal potatoes from other people's fields.
  • Jerkass: Sensei. He gets better.
  • Luminescent Blush: Sensei's indication of extreme embarassment, when in a moment of cooling off he starts to murmur a song then is immediately made aware of Naru presence.
  • Meganekko: Tama and her younger brother Akki.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Sensei's mother looks rather young for someone with a 23 year old son.
  • My Beloved Smother: Handa's mother doesn't want him to go back to the island, so she puts up little slips of paper up on the wall in his room that say not to go and punches him, threatening not to stop until he agrees not to go. She worried about the time he was sick in the hospital, and didn't approve of the changes in his mannerisms and vocabulary. His father tries to convince her to let him do what he wants since he is an adult and should be responsible for his own life. She agrees when she's convinced that the island may not be as bad as she thought.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • The first episode Kawafuji came to the island, he was mistaken for a kidnapper.
    • Sensei tying up Kanzaki and Kawafuji, which his mom walks in on. Though he tries to explain that it would help him with his calligraphy, his mom thinks it's sexual bondage and thinks the people on the island were a bad influence on him.
  • Oh Crap!: For her birthday, Sensei gives Naru a ticket for her to use to have him do any one thing she wants. When he sees how excited she gets, he starts to get a little scared and is relieved that she didn't get a chance to use the ticket.
  • Older Than They Look: Kanzaki is 18, but looks t be around 13-14.
  • Old Shame: An in-universe case for Sensei - it's not his old work, though, it's his old interviews, because he sounds so utterly pretentious.
  • Only Friend: Kawafuji to Sensei, at least before he moved to the island.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sensei, whose real name is Sei.
  • One of the Kids: Most of Sensei's friends are still in school. Quite a few are still in elementary school.
    • To be fair, there aren't many young adults on the island, and before moving there he only had one friend, period.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Akki's glasses hide his eyes. His sister Tama's glasses do this as well sometimes in the anime, especially when she's intense.
  • Otaku: Tama. In the Festival Episode, she spent most of the time arguing with the owner of the bookstore to convince him to give her a discount on her manga, since he made the mistake of not putting on reserve for her as she requested. She then started reading
  • Pen Name: Seishuu Handa isn't Sensei's real name, it's his pen name. His real name is Sei Handa.
  • Posthumous Character: Naru's grandmother, who was popular and loved by many in the community.
  • Precocious Crush: Judging by chapter 17, Naru's developed a crush on Sensei.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Naru. Her parents are never seen or mentioned, but her grandfather takes care of her, and her grandmother did as well before her death.
  • Real Place Background: Most of the series takes place on Fukue-jima, the largest and southernmost island of the Gotō Islands in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan.
  • The Rival: Kanzaki to Sensei.
    • Friendly Rivalry: Kanzaki himself idolizes Sensei a lot and wants to be as good as him. There's hardly any animosity between them.
  • Serious Business: Calligraphy dictates the life circumstances of main character. Ultimately, other characters serve as interruption of some calligraphy routines and provide material for new ideas.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tama is this regarding Sensei and Hiroshi, but her refusal to admit or even accept she's a fujoshi won't let her accept this either. She even gets angry when she believes Sensei has confirmed the ship because of her denial.
  • Shout-Out: The toy capsule filled with bugs in episode 6 resembles a pokéball.
    • Kanzaki is voiced by Yuuki Kaji who is voicing Citron in the anime.
    • In a flashback that takes place during Kawafuji and Kanzaki's visit to the island, Sensei is shown in a moment of depression so extreme that he manifests an AT Field.
    • When Sensei collapses on Hiroshi at their first meeting, Naru runs in to help by supporting Hiroshi's back while shouting "Everyone, lend me your strength!". Her pose looks very much like Goku's Spirit Bomb attack.
  • Sick Episode: Chapter 16/episode 2, which sees Sensei laid out thanks to heatstroke and lack of sleep.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: You think that Handa would be the only butt of the jokes in the series? You'd have thought wrong, as the recurring female cast — Naru, Tama, and Miwa — also get their bumps in the name of silly laughs.
  • Slice of Life: With chapters based on the mangaka's experiences.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "Innocence" by NoisyCell has slow pace, its vocals often dwell on, stretch the individual words. Lyrics are about self-reflection.
  • Supreme Chef: Hiroshi. He often cooks meals for Sensei.
  • Teen Genius: Kanzaki is considered to be a prodigy, winning a calligraphy contest at the age of 18.
  • Those Two Guys: Kenta's friends. Sensei even lampshades it during episode 4 when trying to remember their names.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Naru and Hina. Miwa and Tama also seem to be this.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Sensei's impulsiveness is discussed a few times between the Director and Kawafuji.
    • Explains (but not absolves) why he punched an old man with a cane in the first place. Good for plot though.
    • Creates as a twist after Sei returns for the first time from the island with a calligraphy piece that he means to submit to the nearing calligraphy contest. Then Director visits. Smitten by panic over possible evaluation outcome, Sei damages his work by splashing tea over it (hitting Director with tea as well) and calls it a practice work instead. Essentially leaving himself without a solid entryworth work two days before the event.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Tama is in deep denial about the idea of being one. It really doesn't help she keeps coming across Sensei in moments that can be Mistaken for Gay. Harbors the thought of Sensei and Hiroshi being a couple. She expects Hiroshi to be crushed that Sensei left the island and for him to be the one that misses him the most. When Sensei mentions that his latest work is about the most important thing in his life, she guesses it's Hiroshi and seems happy about it.

Alternative Title(s): Handa Kun