Today we will be looking at Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino
There’s a point where one has to accept a break from time to time. Nobody can work days without at least taking a breath of fresh air. If someone tried, they would probably end up as an expressionless machine, working towards to finish a desired task. A person like that would be quite boring… according to a famed curator, critiquing our main character’s calligraphy. Completely insulted, our protagonist, Handa Seishu, punches him in the face and he gets exiled to a small island as punishment. Handa, a city-dweller, now has to adapt with his new lifestyle and environment which includes annoying kids, unique neighbors, and odd residents.
The story is a comedic, slice of life where we get to see all the wacky encounters with our main character regarding other residents. Each chapter is structured episodically, able to be enjoyed at your own pace. Usually each chapter contains plenty amounts of comedy and tomfoolery, involving Handa with a specific character or characters starring beside him. And with some sections, there’s a very nice moral message at the end. The first chapter sends the idea of attempting to experience something beyond a pre-existing perspective. Another noteworthy one is to keep trying to attain opportunities, even if it escapes you. And with this volume, each chapter slowly introduces new characters and within that specific chapter, we get to know him or her better as the story progresses.
As for the artwork, it’s quite impressive. Each character has their own design that makes them standout from the others, and it works well with their own distinct personalities. The faces are also quite expressive, especially when a full profile of a character’s face pops up. A great example is when Handa looks right out at the ocean in all of its beauty.
On a related note, the environments in Barakamon are also very detailed. There’s two main environments that the volume revolves around: Handa’s house and the places around the island. For Handa’s house, the way that the room is drawn appears to be smaller than they look, having a more personal relation between our characters. For outside environments, it’s the opposite meant to take in the island’s aesthetics.
Barakamon is a wonderful light-hearted slice of life manga. While having great comedic moments between our characters, the manga drives some very pleasant messages during some sections.
Rating: Strongly Recommended