Manga / Barakamon

What does it mean to be "yourself"?
Barakamon, First Opening
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Sei "Seishuu" Handa is a talented young calligrapher from Tokyo 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/easygoing person" in one of the Gotou Island dialects note ) 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.

Other characters include:

  • Naru - An enthusiastic, tomboyish and spirited 7-year-old girl who barges daily into Sensei's house;

  • Miwa - A tomboyish middle schooler and a close friend of Tama and Naru, who is Naru's "mentor" of sorts;

  • Tamako, or "Tama" - Miwa's bespectacled best friend and fellow middle schooler, a closet otaku who is a fan of yaoi manga;

  • Hiroshi, or "Hiro" - The son of the village chief and an ostensibly average high schooler. He personally delivers meals made by his mom to Handa, and even cooks for him on occasion;

  • Hina - Naru's best friend and fellow elementary schooler; she is rather shy and very prone to crying, even when she's happy;

  • Kentaro, or "Kenta" - A boy who is a friend and classmate of Naru, who is as spirited and runty as her; he is shown to have a crush on her;

  • Akihiko, or "Akki" - Tama's responsible little brother who overlooks their grandma's store on occassion while engaging in gaming;

  • Kawafuji - Handa's best friend and art dealer, who has known him since middle school;

  • Kanzaki - A fellow calligrapher and rival of sorts to Handa; an 18-year-old prodigy who is somewhat pampered and stuffy;

An anime for the series aired during Summer 2014 Anime season, which adapted chapters from the first five volumes. The manga itself is still ongoing, with twelve compiled volumes so far.

There's also a prequel series titled Handa-kun, which centers around Handa as a high school student six years prior to Barakamon. It's more of a gag comedy, compared with the slice-of-life tone of Barakamon. Handa-kun received an anime adaptation in the summer 2016 season.

Yen Press publishes both the Barakamon and Handa-kun manga in North America, while Funimation has the North American anime rights to both series.

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

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    Tropes Related to Barakamon 

Barakamon provides examples of:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Handa. The island kids just adore their Sensei, which is a sentiment that extends to most of the villagers in the island. Even Handa's mom has to recognize just how much they love him and need him there. However, as a dejected Kanzaki finds out, Handa is special to the islanders, and much to his chagrin, this doesn't extend to just anyone that visits their island.
  • Adorkable:
    • Sensei, big time. Even moreso in the prequel manga.
    • Tatenaga also counts, as she's somewhat sheltered herself.
  • 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". His lack of a real nickname, however, is lampshaded in chapter 77, which begins: "Hiroshi Kido, age 18. His friends call him 'Hiroshi'." note . Amusingly, he gains the nickname of 'Kuroshi' whenever he stops dying his hair.
    • Sensei's mom refers to her husband as "Daa-chan", which is a very, very uncharacteristic nickname for someone that eminent.
    • Jou Tatenagi is nicknamed "Ojou" because of both her name and the fact that she is the museum director's grandchild
  • 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.
    • Jou "Ojou" Tatenaga is shown to be very much in love with Handa, so much that, being obese, she lost like two-thirds of her body weight to be able to meet him just because she was inspired by his calligraphy. He did reject the betrothal, but he's made aware of her admiration for him and they become friends... only that he's not yet aware that she hasn't quite given up.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Everyone whose dad and a mom are shown in Barakamon suffers from this:
    • Handa's dad is intimidating, unapproachable and authoritative, while his mom is overbearing, melodramatic and somewhat violent;
    • Kawafuji's dad is a Wholesome Crossdresser with a serious chip on his shoulder;
    • Miwa's dad looks like a Yakuza and is both loud and obnoxious;
    • Hiro's dad is notoriously laid-back and proudly underachieving, while his mom is very melodramatic;
    • Tama and Akki's dad is considerably wimpy, while their mom is rather absent-minded;
    • Naru's grandpa is sometimes barely intelligible and takes Handa for granted, while her dad is largely absent and sporadically visits her without revealing he's her dad; her mom hasn't been mentioned so far.
  • Anger Born of Worry: During the Beach Episode, Handa gets upset with Naru, Hiro and Miwa for sneaking off and jumping off a cliff into deep water. It's during the walk back home did they learn that his reaction was out of concern for their safety.
  • Arcadia: Invoked. One of the main aspects of the series is the relaxing nature of the island's environment and the bucolic way of life of its inhabitants.
  • Arranged Marriage: In chapter 80, Sensei's mother is putting up an omiai for him. Needless to say, he's pretty shocked by it.
    • Beautiful All Along: Jou Tatenaga, the prospective bride, is rather Gonky when the dossier is presented to Handa, but he meets her again when he travels back to Tokyo and finds that she shed an awful lot of weight due to the possibility of getting married to Handa, turning into a cute Meganekko.
  • Art Evolution: Handa's initial character design is considerably different from his later incarnation. Notably, his design resembles a shoujo male protagonist much more. He would not develop his signature cowlicks and Handa-Kun-esque design until later(coinciding with him developing a more quirky character).
  • Art Shift:
    • In chapter 11/episode 3, Naru's face changes into a style reminiscent 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.
  • Book Ends: 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 sees 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. He later is arranged into a betrothed with the Museum director's grandchild; though he considers the possibility (even overlooking that the girl is not very easy on the eyes), he rejects the proposal because he considers that he still has much to do before getting married. He later happens to meet the girl on a trip to Tokyo with Naru, realizing that she shed an awful lot of weight since the marriage dossier was made in the first place and becoming quite the looker at that. She still happens to be in love with him, by the way.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Naru and her grandpa come fetch Sensei in the early morning in order to catch octopus at the beach, Naru's grandpa brings protective clothing belonging to a "Yuuichirou", whom Sensei assumes is the Village Chief, whose name is Yuujiro, because of the closeness of their names. This "Yuuichirou" turns out to be Yuuichirou Kotoishi, Naru's father, explaining why Naru's grandpa had his clothes under his possession.
  • City Mouse: Sensei and his city friends.
  • The City vs. the Country: Of the Plot B variety for Handa. Chapters in which village residents go to the mainland (Tama and Miwa on a Class Trip; Hiroshi for a job interview) have echoes of Plot A.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: While not to the absurd levels as thee manga, Sensei unwittingly charms quite a few of the women on the island, including a married nurse at the hospital and even Hiroshi's mom.
  • 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.
  • Cry Cute:
    • Hina is the very definition because she is extremely shy and prone to crying. In turn, once she warms up to Sensei, she is less given to cry because of him. Still, she later admits that she cried intentionally in front of him because she liked that he'd always try to mend her, whereas other adults would have simply ignored her
    • It's rather strange to see Naru crying because she is a very cheerful child, but when she does, it's very moving.
    • In the manga, Miwa in particular is considerably sad at Sensei's unannounced departure to Tokyo and cries during the planning meeting with the kids that they held to bring him back.
    • Surprisingly, Sensei (especially considering he's a grown-ass man), when Miwa, Naru and Hiro dived from a very steep breakwater at the beach, causing him to worry for their safety. His unexpected reaction causes them to immediately apologize to him to try to console him.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Surprisingly, Hina is one once she gets accustomed to Sensei. Turns out she's a lot more perceptive behind what those teary eyes of hers show.
  • Delinquent Hair: Reversed: Hiroshi starts out with bleached hair (and isn't really a delinquent, just unmotivated), but later returns it to its natural dark color in order to show he's serious about getting a job as a cook. After the job interview, though, he dyes it blonde again, in no small part because he thinks bleached hair is the only distinctive thing about him.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Ojou was rejected as Sensei's betrothed not because of anything wrong with her, or her Gonk appearance in the betrothal dossier, but because Sensei just didn't want to get married. As a matter of fact, he was considering it, not even minding her appearance at the time and even appreciating the fact that Ojou is an admirer of his work. Ojou later states that she loved Sensei's work enough to neglect eating and start exercising, ending in her loss of most of her body mass, but admits that it was premature and presumptuous of her to propose to him so surreptitiously (she had even began to arrange a house for them to live together, which only served to scare Sensei when he was made aware of this). However, Sensei's trip to Tokyo and their time spent together sparked Ojou's desire to pursue him once again, to which he seems receptive.
  • 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.
  • The Dreaded: A couple of characters:
    • Sensei states that his mom, in not so few words, is crazy. Most of the warnings that he gives the kids regarding his parents' visit to the island concern his mom in particular;
    • Sensei's dad has a ghostly vibe and is rather intimidating to look at, though he's nowhere as bad as he looks;
    • Kawafuji's dad has basically the tongue of a snake and has something resembling an Iron Lady vibe (even when he's a guy), and Sensei and Kawafuji are as afraid of him as they are of Sensei's mom;
    • Sensei is terrified of Miwa's "Yakuza" dad, though he's more rude and overbearing than he is actually dangerous;
  • 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. As far as her husband goes, it's shown that she might not be a particularly hard hitter.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: And how, much to Handa's dismay.
  • Everyone Can See It: Handa and his rejected betrothed Jou Tatenaga are perfect for each other. They are about as antisocial and awkward as one another, and are even surprisingly familiar with each other for two people that had never met before (even Kirie remarks how little sexual tension there is between them). They are so fit for each other that even Naru is not opposed to them getting married, and even invites Tatenaga to the island.
  • 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.
  • Expressive Hair: Invoked. Sensei states that his hair gets rowdy when he's relaxed and happy, though Tama and Miwa tell him that it's probably due to the humidity brought by the typhoon, as Miwa happens to have the same type of hair and hairstyle as he does. Sensei then explains that his relaxation comes from the rise of humidity, which he likes.
  • 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.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Naru is very outdoorsy, and utterly despises animals getting hurt or killed.
  • 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.
  • Gossip Evolution: One of the aspects that Sensei touches most upon is the fact that the rumor grapevine in the village spreads like wildfire, so anything he does, good or bad, is known in town surprisingly quickly.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Kanzaki to Sensei. He inspired him to take up calligraphy.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Handa goes into a Corner of Woe upon discovering he came in second to an 18 year old in a calligraphy competition. It happens to Miwa too when she gets silver in her school calligraphy competition, having the exact same reaction and wording as Handa.
    • 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.
    • In the manga, Naru spends a whole week lying face down with a blank face when Sensei leaves for Tokyo. The kids and even Miwa and Tama call for an emergency meeting to get her out of her funk.
  • 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".
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Tama is shown to be seriously suffering from the hormonal changes of adolescence, finding frustration at how these make her imagination go ballistic, making her behave in a reactionary manner, having rather violent mood swings and having overall little control over her emotions. Somehow she has managed to keep it under wraps, but she's a pressure cooker about to blow off its lid.
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Invoked. When Sensei is presented his rather Gonky betrothed's picture, he states that he doesn't quite care about her appearance because she declared herself a dying admirer of him, and he would have gone through with the betrothal if it weren't for the fact that he wants to experience more in life before getting married. Some time later, he does meet his rejected fianceé, who explains that the picture is from some time back and that he lost a considerable amount of weight, turning up to be a pretty girl indeed.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 1, explaining why Sensei's currently throwing himself into drawing.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Sensei is a Konomon junkie, and argues that if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life, it would be Konomon. It's so delicious to him that it begins to affect his thinking.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • The islanders call Handa "Sensei" because he is a master calligrapher. Even Naru seems more familiar with calling him "Sensei", causing some confusion when Kawafuji comes to the island asking for him by name.
    • In later chapters, Tama and Miwa's schoolmate and "Mush" Higashino's helper Shin is always, unequivocally, referred to by his full name Shin Yoshida, making it almost a Running Gag.
    • Handa dubs Kazuma Higashino "Mush" because of his mushroom-like hairstyle and because he's a farmer. Though Higashino insists that he doesn't like it, Handa pushes for it because he had never nicknamed anyone before. Much to his chagrin, Tama and Miwa are already referring to him as "Mush" too.
  • Iyashikei: The manga makes a point in showing how Handa becomes gradually less stressed about his everyday life and occupation.
  • 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.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Sensei and Ojou look exactly like a couple with their daughter when they take Naru to the Tokyo Zoo. None of them are in any way related to one another.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Most of the main characters come to be as close as siblings: Hiro and Handa tend to be the older brother figures, Tama and Miwa are the older sisters, with Naru, Hina, and Kentarou as the youngest siblings.
  • Luminescent Blush: Sensei's indication of extreme embarrassment, when in a moment of cooling off he starts to murmur a song then is immediately made aware of Naru presence.
  • Man Child:
    • Sensei has an awful lot more in common with the kids in the island than with the adults, seeing that he bypassed a great amount of experiences in his youth due to his sickliness and his dedication to his art. Lampshaded by the Village Chief, who speculates that Handa shares "the same mental age".
    • Yuuichirou considers himself too immature and much too absent to be able to assume the position of Naru's father as he's supposed to do, deeming himself incapable of dealing with the prospect of approaching her as a parental figure, when he knows he's been anything but. Still, it's shown that he does love her, even when he's at a complete loss on how to reach her properly.
  • Manly Tears: Hiro cries when he realizes how much dedication Sensei puts into his craft and how badly he himself has been procrastinating in comparison. He surmises that Sensei doesn't have "talent" for calligraphy, but rather, that his discipline and commitment are the talents. This makes him swear that he'll be more dutiful regarding his own endeavors.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A non-romantic example in the form of Naru. Sensei would probably be a sheltered calligrapher if it wasn't for Naru's influence.
  • 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.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Kanzaki drops by the island once again (as Sensei is leaving for Tokyo with Naru), he comes to realize that the villagers' attitude towards him extends just to mere tolerance, that the courtesy that they showed him when he first came was due to courtesy to Sensei's guest and that, frankly, they don't quite like him that much. It doesn't help that Kanzaki is obnoxious and problematic as hell when he returns.
  • Nepotism: One of the main aspects of Sensei's self-doubt and angst stems from the fact that his father is a giant figure in the calligraphy world, and that many of the achievements that he has obtained are possibly due to his father's influence. This is further exposed by the fact that Sensei is nowhere near the artist, businessman or presence that his father is, and that admittedly, Sensei himself is an excellent standard calligraphist, unlike his artist-driven father's calligraphy. When he witnesses his father succinctly dealing with a professional contract from a highly-rated hotel, Sensei realizes that he's completely out of his element in that respect and admits that he will never be able to do that. This causes Sensei to quit from professionalism to start formally teaching calligraphy to the kids at the island, though his father later admits to Kirie and Kawafuji that he was indeed paving a way for his son that he refused to take by quitting.
    • The village chief reveals to Sensei that the house that he lives in at the village was supposed to go to Kazuma Higashino, but Sensei took priority because Sensei's dad and the village chief are friends. This later causes some resentment from Higashino, who begins taunting Sensei by plowing the field at the side of the house and making a lot of noise (with the village chief's permission, though). This also causes Sensei to feel inadequate once he finds out about the quandary, as Higashino is more of a countryman than he is and assumes that he would have gotten along better with the kids had he lived in the house; Naru, however, quickly shoots down this notion and assures Sensei that he's special, not only to her, but to everyone in the village.
  • Nice Girl: Jou Tatenaga is so nice and sweet that Sensei worries that she'll make a perfect punching bag for Miwa and Tama should she visit the island.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Of all the inhabitants on the island, Naru is the one who Sensei has the closest relationship with. She is the first one to formally befriend him and the catalyst to allow him to see a new perspective on life. He later admits that he sees Naru like a daughter.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Even though Hina is painfully shy at the beginning, once she opens up it's shown that she's not as reluctant to participate in Naru's mischief as she seems. She even reveals that sometimes she intentionally cried in front of Sensei because he'd always try to make her stop instead of ignoring her.
    • Sensei complains a lot, but there's little he wouldn't do if they let him try (albeit with mixed results). This is even mentioned by Hiro, who states to Naru that Sensei would go with her to wherever she wants even if she doesn't use the coupon that he gave her for her birthday.
  • Not So Different:
    • It's implied that Kanzaki is more or less the way Sensei used to be before he came to the island, only that Kanzaki is considerably more insufferable.
    • Sensei and Tatenaga are about as nerdy and awkward as one another. Though he rejected her marriage proposal previously, they get along surprisingly well and they become quick friends; when they go to the Zoo with Naru, they actually look like a couple.
    • Sensei's mom, being the source of his insecurities, is shown to be just as insecure and jumpy as he is. Though she is initially apprehensive about Naru, she quickly grows fond of the girl and even makes an effort to dote her and spend time with her when Sensei takes her to Tokyo.
  • 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.
  • Oblivious to Love: Rina, an affluent and posh classmate of Hiro, has a rather significant crush on him that he doesn't quite notice. She happens to like him because, even if he's mundane and somewhat below what her standard should be, he is a really good guy. Even Hiro doesn't think that Rina would pay that sort of attention to him.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Kawafuji is very fond of Akki and it's shown that he likes to consult with him for financial advise.
    • The Village Chief is a very close friend of Sensei's dad, which is particularly glaring because they are nothing alike.
  • 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.
    • Miwa, Tama and Hiro tend to get this way whenever they think Sensei is definitely going into his Corner of Woe; it happens when he meets Kanzaki and Higashino, both who the kids think that will shrink Sensei's self esteem with their mere contact.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • There are two "Yuus": Yuujiro Kido (the village chief and Hiro's dad) and Yuuichirou Kotoishi (Naru's estranged dad).
    • There are also two Higashinos: Kotaro "Dash" Higashino, an athlete and former classmate of Handa (who appears in Handa-kun and briefly in a tv-broadcasted foot race in the Barakamon manga) and Kazuma "Mush" Higashino, a former athlete and farmer at the island. Due to Miwa and Tama's assumptions, they were thought to be the same guy (actually, "Mush" is about two years older than Handa and "Dash").
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Handa's mom is considerably nervous of how much the island has changed her son, especially his speech and his general attitude, and considering that he used to be sickly, antisocial and entirely dependent of his parents, so she's never seen him in any other way and she isn't entirely sure that she likes where he's heading. What she initially fails to account for is that it was for the better.
  • 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
  • Parental Abandonment: Naru's dad, "Yuu" Yuuichirou Kotoishi, is an errant sailor who rarely visits the island, save for Christmas time to visit Naru. Because of his narrow skill set, he argues that he can't be anything but a sailor even when his family has told him to get a job that will let him stay on land; he also states to Sensei that he's too much of a stranger to Naru to extend his interactions with her. Naru has been told all her life that her father is a "space alien", but she puts two and two together when Sensei refers to Yuu as the aforementioned "space alien". It's also shown that even when Naru doesn't know who the guy is, she has scant memories of his visits.
  • Pen Name: Seishuu Handa isn't Sensei's real name, it's his pen name. His real name is Sei Handa.
  • Perpetual Frowner:
    • Played for laughs in the case of Miwa's family, as Sensei asks them to remove their glasses. Because of the way they squint and their familiar resemblance, everyone of them looks like they're going to kill someone. They all happen to have very bad eyesight.
    • Sensei has a habit of frowning very intensely, which apart from his seriousness, earned him few friends.
    • Sensei's dad is not a barrel of laughs himself, to the point that he can quiet down a whole party of people with his presence.
    • Yurie "Panchi" Shirakawa is a rather manly and intimidating lady that makes Sensei give up his mochi, though she makes up for it by cooking sweet bean stew for him.
  • Plot Allergy: Sensei is allergic to cats; the manga further elaborates this explaining that he knows he has had allergic reactions before (as he knows how to treat hives), and his parents kept him away from cats, but he never put two and two together until he came to the island.
  • 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. She's shown to be flabbergasted when she hears Tama and Miwa speculating on whether or not he has a girlfriend.
  • Promotion to Parent: Sensei willingly takes this role with Naru once he meets her estranged (but caring) father, assuring her that he'll always be there for her. He later admits to Tatenaga that Naru is something like a daughter to him, and that the girl is very dear to him.
  • Puppy Love: Naru's classmate and friend Kenta likes her, and he goes out of his way to impress her at every opportunity he has; he is also shown to be jealous of how Naru fawns over 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.
  • Refusal of the Call: In chapter 100, Sensei effectively quits being a professional calligrapher (meaning no competitions, no comissions) in order to become a formal calligraphy "Sensei" for the kids in the island; this is, after he realizes that he wouldn't be too good at smoothly handling the ancillary aspects of professionalism like his father does. To be fair, the whole manga exposes that Sensei is just miserable by being a professional calligrapher, but he is indeed a teacher worthy of admiration and a lover of his craft.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Kanzaki seems to represent Sensei's old self; someone concerned with only following rote textbook calligraphy and being rather arrogant. He even seems to adapt more poorly to country life than Sensei.
  • The Resenter: Hiro's classmate and friend Eisuke doesn't appreciate Hiro's surge of popularity at school and tries to badmouth him while not taking into consideration that their community is small and tight-knit enough for their classmates not to believe anything bad he says about Hiro.
  • 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.
  • Running Gag: Several:
    • Naru barging into Sensei's house;
    • Hina crying at every little thing that happens to her;
    • Tama going into tangential Boy-Love tirades every time she meets a new guy ancillary to Sensei;
    • Everyone referring to Shin by his full name in spite of his half-hearted protests;
    • Sensei's dad is just terrible at driving stick-shift. He can actually make a modern car backfire like an old-timey vehicle;
    • Sensei going into a Corner of Woe;
    • Everyone forgetting Yutaka and Daisuke's names... You know? ...Those two boys that hang out with Kenta? ...Ringing any bells?
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When she finally meets Kanzaki at Sensei's home, Tama is so fed up with meeting boys tangential to Sensei (that is, Hiro, Kawafuji, Shin, Higashino, Yuuichirou AND Kanzaki) that her Yaoi Fangirl circuits overload and she GTFOs. There's only so much boy-love head-canon that a middle-school girl can handle...
  • 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.
  • Smug Snake: Kanzaki is a relatively mild one, as he usually acts smug around Sensei to encourage him to compete against him, which is the only case where he does it intentionally. One of the reasons he doesn't have any friends before Kawafuji and Sensei is because no one had put a lid on this for him.
  • Sneeze Cut: Hiroshi does this at the end of chapter 77 as the narrator is talking about him.
  • 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.
  • Sweet Tooth: Hiro's dad, the Village Chief, likes to snack a lot and is rather pudgy; the only problem is that he's diabetic.
  • Tattooed Crook: Averted. Kawafuji has tattoos but is no criminal, though the people of the village thought differently when they first encountered him.
  • Teen Genius: Kanzaki is considered to be a prodigy, winning a calligraphy contest at the age of 18.
  • Third-Person Person: By virtue of their young age, Naru, Hina and their child friends are not used to referring to themselves with the pronouns "I" and "Me", so there's some ado as to them changing this habit at school so that they don't get teased by their senior schoolmates.
  • Those Two Guys: Kenta's friends Yutaka and Daisuke. A Running Gag in the series consists of various characters completely forgetting their names, and even calling them by made-up 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 entry two days before the event.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sometimes even Naru is shown to be annoyed at how wimpy Sensei is, like when they're fishing for octopuses at the shore and Sensei can barely touch them. Naru, silently and with a Death Glare, pries the hook from Sensei, grabs the octopus by the head and puts it in the container. However, this instance makes Sensei feel bad about himself, going into a self-deprecating utterance that Naru has to correct immediately (see You Are Better Than You Think You Are).
  • Verbal Tic: The children have a tendency to refer to themselves by their first name that both their homeroom teacher and Sensei try to make them overcome. Sensei himself has the tendency to refer to the children in general as "you guys", a tic that Hina states she finds somewhat rude, prompting her to make him overcome it too.
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: Kirie-san, Seimei's agent and Kawafuji's father.
  • Wise Beyond His Years:
    • Akki is surprisingly mature, parsimonious and succinct for a middle schooler, eliciting admiration from even Hiro and Sensei. Out of all the children in the story (and even most of the adults), he's shown to be a clear example to follow.
    • Hina is savvy enough to fool Sensei in a variety of manners, like making him try to console her, and even winning a competition with Naru and Sensei to overcome their verbal tics, making Sensei buy her a fancy coat like Naru's.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Aside from her proneness to cry, Hina is shown to be a mountain of calmness, a nice and obedient little girl and a straight-arrow student.
  • 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.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Sensei's dedication to his craft and his unintended charisma serve as an example to the kids around him to dedicate more time to their studies. His mom comes to realize that he is both loved and needed in the island, finally accepting for him to return, and even hinting that she wants to visit the island too.
    • During a bout of self-deprecation, Sensei tells Naru that they would have fared better if Higashino had come to the village instead of him; Naru stops him and sternly reassures Sensei that not only her, but the rest of their friends, love him because it's him, he's special and they won't settle for anyone else. She happens to be in the right track of mind, as it's shown that Higashino is not particularly kind or doting like Sensei is.

    Tropes Related to Handa-kun 

Handa-kun provides examples of:

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/80752.jpg

  • The Ace: Subverted. Handa's classmates adore him and think he can do no wrong, but Handa is convinced they all hate him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Miyoko Kinjou was once a nice normal girl; that is, until Handa gave her an eraser. She then tried to kill herself rather theatrically in an effort to gain his attention, but was unwittingly dissuaded from doing so by Handa himself. She then devoted herself to mercilessly hunt down everyone she didn't deem worthy of Handa, taking the mantle of Eraser.
  • Big Man on Campus: Handa, not that he realizes though.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Obliterated, actually. The first episode starts with the Handa Force being shocked to learn that 1) there is a Handa-kun anime, and 2) they missed the first episode. They call Diomedea to get a copy, but after the studio blows them off, the Handa Force decides to make their own Handa-kun anime, with predictable results. Only after Diomedea sends the Handa Force a DVD of the episode after all does the show properly start.
  • Call-Forward:
    • One of Handa's classmates reads his future through chiromancy, seeing that in the future he'll be followed by children... cue Barakamon.
    • Handa's cat allergy comes up from time to time, showing that he's aware that he's not supposed to go near them; still, as shown in Barakamon, he didn't associate it with an allergy until he was in the island.
    • Handa's mom is shown to be noticeably disinterested in him having friends and being somewhat controlling of him; this goes to explain her over-the-top reaction to his change of attitude in Barakamon.
    • It's shown that Kawafuji started benefiting from Handa since well before they were business associates, reaping great benefits from the Handa Festival at school. As a matter of fact, he's the one who convinced him that all his classmates hated him.
    • Handa is shown to be a surprisingly good runner, an aspect that was touched upon in the Barakamon manga. His classmate Dash-kun seemingly shows up in both instances, but later in Barakamon due to a misunderstanding by Miwa and Tama, "Dash" Higashino and the Higashino at the island are two completely different people that happen to have the same name.
  • Captain Oblivious: The central joke of the series. Handa is so focused on calligraphy that he doesn't notice most of the weirdness going on around him, let alone that it's directed at him, and what weirdness he does notice he misinterprets as his classmates hating him.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Handa is perceived to be this by his classmate Yukio Kondou, who unlike his classmates, can't rationalize what Handa is thinking whenever they interact.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Handa during his high school days. Unfortunately for them, he's Oblivious to Love and mistakes their love letters for letters of challenges.
  • Continuity Nod: The inside covers of the Handa-kun manga feature illustrations and Yonkoma comics showing what characters from Barakamon were doing in the Handa-kun timeframe.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: The main ethos of the series. Handa's classmates put him in a pedestal due to his apparently magnanimous and inaccessible demeanor, though Handa himself is behaving in such a way in order to defuse any possible conflicts with classmates that he wrongly assumes are hostile towards him. Both sides happen to be in completely separate trains of thought because they just don't talk to each other. The fact that Handa doesn't trust anyone by default only makes things worse.
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to the parent series, Handa-kun contains more slapstick and absurd humor.
  • The Drag-Along: Yukio doesn't quite like to hang around the rest of the Handa Force guys, but they lump him in regardless.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Before his transformation, Tsutsui was rather dainty and girly, leading to being bullied. This made him bulk up;
    • Sousuke Kojika, one of Ichimija's followers, is very, very feminine, to the point that one might not notice at first;
    • Nikaidou argues that he's handsome enough to play a girl way better than a girl would, though his friends tell him that he's just talking tall.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Handa's various fanboys tend to toe this line, most notably the Bisoujo Club who's members end up making a Gender-bent version as Handa as the lead of their manga because they feel he instills all the qualities of their ideal waifu.
  • Expy: An in-universe example. Kei Hanada idolizes Handa to the point that he looks exactly like him, though his bad teeth and taste in poetry give him away.
  • Genre Shift: While Barakamon is a Slice of Life series, Handa-Kun is a Gag Series
  • Gonk: Juri is the only character that is designed to be cartoonishly disproportionate, whereas everyone else has normal human proportions. Upon her first appearance, one might think that it's a one-time gag... it's not.
  • Groupie Brigade: The Handa Force in a nutshell. Gets Lampshaded in the chapter that introduces the Student Councile President because they literally follow behind him like they're his pose.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Becomes a Parodied Trope. Handa's classmates puts him on such a high pedestal that they will spin his every action, no matter how mundane, as having a deep, symbolic meaning. In the finale, this is how Kawafuji finally convinces Handa to Be Yourself; his reasoning being that no matter what he does, his classmates will love him anyway.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Handa Force tries to protect Handa from a stalker that is harassing him... by harassing Handa. Even when he angrily tells them to back off and leave him alone, they take it as him telling that to the "stalker".
  • Identity Amnesia: Handa gets this after a tumble down the stairs while trying to escape from the man-hating Student Council President, who was trying to force him to wear a female school uniform. But his new personality is that of a conceited, womanizing jerk, so the Handa Force goes into action to reverse it, which consists mostly of chasing him with a hammer until he falls down the stairs again.
  • Implied Trope: Kids Are Cruel. Handa's unwarranted resentful behavior towards his classmates points to the possibility that he was indeed bullied earlier in life. Considering that he's eccentric, sickly and wimpy, the odds are not that remote.
  • Irony: Out of the Handa Force, Yukio is the only one that understands Handa as he is, and shows genuine care and concern for him; Handa, in turn, thinks that Yukio is the one that hates him the most.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Handa's classmate/fanboy Tsutsui becomes one of these after going truant due to constant bullying about his once-feminine looks. He acquires "power" with a dubious device bought off of a late-night infomercial and proceeds to use his newfound strength to get into fights with local punks.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Handa is perceived as more intense and confrontational than he actually is because of his intimidating stare (which is also lampshaded by his dad in Barakamon), which actually wins him fights without ever engaging in them; not that he notices that he's in a fight and he won it, though...
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Handa's classmates mistake his mom for his girlfriend, leading to complications (to which, of course, Handa is completely oblivious).
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The Handa Force tolerate each other, but they really don't like the fake-Handa Hanada.
  • My Greatest Failure: Kawafuji admits that he's the reason why Handa is so paranoid around people, as, in a fit of jealously, he told him that a girl that liked Handa hated him, as Kawafuji liked the girl himself but didn't quite appreciate being a messenger.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Handa's mom like in Barakamon, to the point where a group of his fangirls actually confuse her for being his older girlfriend.
  • Neon Sign Hideout: The sign outside the Handa Force's secret headquarters (aka Tsutsui's apartment) reads "Handa Force Secret Headquarters."
  • Only Sane Man: Yukio Kondou is the only classmate of Handa that doesn't put him on a pedestal, and actually notices how weirdly everyone behaves around him. He is also the only person that proceeds out of a sincere interest to benefit and protect Handa without making misguided assumptions about him.
  • Poisonous Friend:
    • Maiko is an altogether terrible friend for Juri, as most of the stuff she tells her are backhanded compliments and belittling quips. It's not quite clear whether she's just absentminded, or if she's sincerely cruel towards Juri.
    • Downplayed between Handa and Kawafuji. Kawafuji is responsible for Handa's social anxiety, all because back in middle in a fit of jealousy over his crush liking Handa instead of him, Kawfuji told him he was probably going to get set up by her. While Kawafuji has since attempted to correct the original mistake and get Handa to socialize more, he also admits he does find the misunderstandings that Handa frequently get mixed up in to be pretty funny.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The driving point of much of the humor of the series. Handa is afraid to interact with his classmates because he believes they all hate him. His classmates meanwhile are too intimidated to approach him because they believe he is far too popular and talented to be on their level.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Handa avoids hanging out with Kawafuji at school because he's afraid their classmates will start hating him just like he believes they hate him. The Cultural Festival ends up proving this somewhat right, but the main difference being the school wanting to lynch Kawafuji because "there's no way someone as popular as Handa would be friends with him."
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Kotaro "Dash" Higashino throws up a lot, especially in the presence of Handa.
  • Yoko Oh No: Invoked Trope, Handa's female classmates actually starts legitimately bullying him after they mistakenly believing that he has girlfriend.

Alternative Title(s): Handa Kun

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Manga/Barakamon