Sunday, June 26, 2016

Manga Review: Barakamon, Volume 4, by Satsuki Yoshino

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: April 2015
Volumes: 13+
Spoilers?: Some.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Aiming for an autumn calligraphy exhibition, handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa sets out to get in touch with his creative side. Meanwhile, a man whose appearance screams yakuza, landing him well out of place on the peaceful island, puts in a "request" to have Handa write the name on his boat...!? With the prickly-sweet--prickly-useless, more like--Sensei in tow, the overindulgent islanders unfurl a mature, heartwarming island comedy that fumbles blindly in the dark in Volume 4!!


This series is slowly growing on me. I want it to grow faster, though.
These are definitely episodic chapters, though with some running jokes and recurring characters. Handa has to call Kawafuji when his computer goes out, having to run to the convenience store and figure out how to use an old rotary phone. He starts practicing for a calligraphy contest, with a renewed sense of purpose and courage. A child gets lost and Naru leads her to safety, kind of. Handa gets pushed into writing the name on a boat for Miwa’s intimidating father. There’s an Obon festival of sorts, where we get to see a more serious aspect of Naru’s life; Handa decides to start gardening, after realizing so many others grow fresh vegetables.
My favorite chapter is when Handa tries child-proofing his house in an attempt to keep Naru and Miwa and all the other kids from showing up in the house and waking him every day. He thinks it’s all good—he fixes the broken board Naru sneaks in through, the windows and doors are locked, but it never stops them from coming in. Only to find out that they all have keys, and there is no stopping them, they know the house better than he does.
This series is very slice of life, with slow moments of character growth, a lot of country life with kids, and a lot of hilarity. There’s a lot to love here, and it’s growing on me. I’m rather enjoying it.

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