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Title: Barakamon
Episode: 11 [Yoseo – I am in Tokyo]
Watched: September 24th, 2014

September 24th, 2014 

This series is ending so soon (one more episode after this one), and I’m not ready! I don’t feel emotionally ready for this! Also, I sort of binge-watched a lot of these episodes in one single day, so I’ll not lie to you, I’m extremely sad – the kind of sad that I get when I finish a series… At least.. um… at least I have Legend of Korra soon [it starts this weekend, if I recall correctly]? And then there will be other shows, I’m sure, but this one has a special place in my heart (just like so many other shows).

Spoilers, but you should know this already if you’ve been following along, haha [also since, by the time that you read this, the first season will have ended, it’s as if there’s no spoiler at all xD ]!

The intro of the episode, where, announcing loudly that she was coming in to play with him, Naru comes right after Handa has left, finding the house locked and empty [well she did break in to find it that way], made me feel extremely uncomfortable and sad. Perhaps her reaction wasn’t implied or simply wasn’t shown. Perhaps we must consider that that child has an incredible amount of positivism and a lot of friends to spend time with, too! However, the fact that she found an empty house, without the fun adult who plays seriously with her, simply made me feel like perhaps she would feel lonely. I remember that a few episodes back, Handa made the observation that sometimes, even Naru can feel lonely… so… what if, because he left so suddenly without telling her, she felt lonely without him? It really made me tear up and hope that Handa would come back promptly after, because Barakamon has NOT gotten me used to something as dramatic as this!
On a side note, I’m glad that Handa was able to finish his job with the sign and the names for the village’s shrine. This made him rise slightly in my esteem, in the sense where at least he finished his job before leaving… even if he didn’t tell them that he was planning to go [I’m guessing the Village Chief (and maybe various other elderly people) knew about his departure since he’d have needed a ride to the airport…]. I also wonder if he did add his name to the end of the sign in the end…

The Director

I love how Handa is still doubtful of his choice and asks for his best friend’s advice – which would be relevant, seeing as the latter is an art dealer. He’s so nervous about meeting the director [and having to apologize in person, and even considered offering the old man the phone straps from the Barakamon Island (priceless)!! I didn’t remember paying much attention to them the first time that they appeared, but look at it?! Doesn’t the mascot look sort of like a red demon eating a cucumber or something?] too, it’s such a nice sign that he’s changed thanks to the island!! He sincerely apologized to the director, he helped the man walk and sit, and he even, in his thoughts, realized how rashly and wrong he was, for hurting an old man who was walking with a cane.

I’m not sure that I approve of the fact that the old experienced (in life) director lured him back in order to lecture him further on punching an old man. I’m glad, however, that he realized just how much Handa had matured [I guess he’s probably also noticed how emotional Handa can get] and, in the end, chose to forgive him and even asked to appraise one of the pieces that he made on the island.

The very moment Handa decided to open his mouth and say that the beautiful STAR piece that he was about to submit to the exhibition was in fact not his piece made me go: OMG NO! DON’T DO THIS?! Because of the repercussions that this would mean… Does he actually have another piece that’s ready to be used? Surely, he can’t be thinking of using the “BOWL” or the “PORCELAIN SPOON” pieces for the exhibition!! Would it mean that he would have to go back to the island in order to get inspired? Or will he be writing from home? As a side note, you’ve gotta admit that he’s got really cute expressions even here.

The small part about Handa’s father not really driving well and the director fearing for his life also lightened the mood from the introduction by tenfold. It seems to me like, from Handa’s point of view, his father may not be doting, but, as Kawafuji said earlier in the season, the older calligrapher really does care about his son [you’ve also got to consider that, as he says, both father and son are pretty awkward]. I really want to see his father appear as often as he can in the next episode and in this one, because his interactions with other characters are almost as entertaining as Handa‘s.

It was hilarious to see Kawafuji and Handa interact while they are in Tokyo, as consequences of Handa boasting about how he had a better art piece than the “STAR” one which he would show at the Naruka Exhibition. Look how adorable Handa has become, even the soundtrack used for Naru and her shenanigans was used in that moment!! I wonder if Kawafuji is used to seeing this side of him [what a shut-in, also… I’m really quite envious of how he can do that, actually].
This is extremely in parallel (or comparison) to how he was when he was writing at the island. He enjoyed it as was mentioned earlier, whereas in here, he feels tight on schedule [and probably feels a lot more pressure due to the fact that the director was looking forward to the different piece] and it doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself very much… which explains why he wishes to be shipped back to the island as soon as the director is gone.

He misses the island and its inhabitants (a certain girl who pretends to be his communer wife in particular) so much that he actually decided to try and imitate Naru‘s hairstyle in an attempt and get inspired the same way he was when he was in the island [you’ll remember him telling to Kyousuke that when he was on the island, he felt deep urges to write sometimes (this happened often while he was looking at the sea or the setting sun, as we’ve seen). Since he’s not on the island anymore and that the sky isn’t as beautiful in the city as it is in the countryside, it’s only normal that Handa’s not as inspired by this environment].
By the way, the very fact that, as shown, Kawafuji wants his friend to win so badly that he would let Handa tie him up (for some strange reason which is unexplored but which I hope will be explained further in the manga) was definitely not lost on me, I mean look at his face, calmly accepting his fate as the friend of a deranged artist [is it because he cares about his friend, or is it because he cares about his money tree not running out of ideas?]. If Sensei intended Kyousuke and Kawafuji to be impersonating some of the people on the island, I wonder who the two of them are… since we see Kyousuke with a hairclip to his hair… would he be considered as Hina? And so Kawafuji would be Naru [if you notice, Kawafuji has a small hair tie in his hair]? [Later, Kyousuke confirms this and even later, Kawafuji reveals that he thought that he acting as Naru would not be enough to give Handa the re-enactment that he needed, so he’d called Kyousuke over as well].

It was great okay to see Kyousuke once again, even though at the beginning, I didn’t like him at all [he only had Handa’s best interest at heart, I guess]. He added in his own quirkiness [and his never-ending fangirl moments whenever Handa’s involved, desperately looking for ways in which Handa could be considered normal (having a porn stash, really?! If he’s not interested in women and has been tirelessly devoting himself to calligraphy? I don’t think he would have a porn stash (although I’ve been surprised before))] and now he’s just part of the weirdo gang, which is fine with me. I’m glad that he still maintains his admiration for Handa [despite knowing firsthand that Handa’s definitely not always as ‘cool’ as he has been portrayed in the magazines and in his interviews], going as far as attempting to record him when he knows that Handa’s really extremely sensitive about those kinds of “embarrassing things” that he says (I wonder if he only got a sense that it was cheesy when he got on the island, or perhaps he always knew that he said strange things sometimes).

Can we take a moment and give Handa’s mother an appreciation paragraph? I feel like, while Handa certainly inherited many of his social awkwardness from his father, he got many traits from his mother as well [she’s very over dramatic, for one, as seen when she recalls all of the images [those pictures are adorable] of a cute and innocent child that Handa used to be, as opposed to what he’s become (someone who can do bondage to his friends), and she’s very beautiful, too, although at this point, I can’t really tell if Handa resembles his mother or his father more (perhaps he’s a perfect blend of the two, too)]. I hope that she’ll go to the island with him. Wouldn’t that be awesome if his parents also went and spent their vacations there or something? I’d like to see her witness Handa in action with people there as well as people interacting with her. I wonder if she’d fall in love with it as much as her son has. Her interactions with her husband are really funny to look at too. I wonder how they met, where they met (did they meet on the island?), etc. Also, I wonder, if she skips to conclusions this fast like this… wouldn’t she be great friends with Tama? At any rate, I hope to see her more in the future – and a lot in the manga as well if that were possible. I would like to ask you if it’s normal that she calls her son with the “san” honorific. Is it because now, he’s old, so she calls him that way? Or is it something that only anime do? Or… did I mistake it?

When Handa gave a lecture about how the Naruka Exhibition – despite not awarding a big prize money to its winners, and despite not being big enough to give the winners a big name and fame, is still considered by him as a “crucial first step towards a new start in life”. I wondered as he said this if he considered this ‘new life’ to be in Tokyo, or if he wished to go back to the island and continue to get daily inspirations from that environment, knowing deep inside of his heart that everything he wrote while being there would get him one step closer to his own individual style as a calligraphist?

Once more, Kawafuji proves to us [and also to Handa] just how great a friend [and art manager or art dealer] he is, knowing that Handa would cheer up and perhaps be more motivated into working his genius level calligraphy for the exhibition by asking the villagers to give him a call to give their Handa Sensei the pep talk that neither he nor Kyousuke would be able to give him [by telling them that Handa seemed lonely].
I enjoyed Tama‘s message, seeing as she hadn’t shown as much of her HiroSei (Hiroshi x Seishuu) fangirlism in awhile. Hiroshi scolding Handa for leaving too suddenly and making them all very worried and went crazy was also pretty nice! I was also surprised that Kenta and his crew were there among the people who phoned to Handa, especially considering the fact how Kenta first greeted Handa [x].  I appreciated the fact that Akki even got to talk to Sensei (and Sensei, using the fact that Akki’s the most mature and considerate one of the group, opened up about his feelings about how it was difficult for him in Tokyo). It’s great to see that he’s bonded with them to such an extent. The one who really gave an impression on Handa, it seems obvious by this point, would be Naru, who reminded him that there were still many things she wanted to play and experience, and wished for him to come back soon! Telling him that the island was boring without him there with them showed him somewhere that, even if he had left, they would still feel his presence, and they wouldn’t just forget about him.

Both Kawafuji and Kyousuke (as well as Handa of course) really worked hard in order to finish the art piece which Handa eventually revealed to us as “Stone Wall”. It’s not revealed to us in this episode what exactly “Stone Wall” looks like, but both Kawafuji and Kyousuke seem to mention that it looks fabulous, so it really makes me wonder what it looks like, and if it will leave an impression like “STARS” did for me. What did he decide to do with the people’s names? Will he win with this? At this point, I don’t even know if I mind that Handa wins or not. He’s progressed as a person and it’s shown on his observations, his calligraphy, his determination as well as on how he reacts to certain situation.

After a sad ‘secret ending’ for the last episode, I’m glad that they chose to go with one that is much, much more light hearted, in the form of Tama and Miwa‘s calligraphy assignment. As expected, there could only really be one person who could win, and I’m not sure why Tama would be chosen over Miwa. Didn’t they essentially write in the same way? Perhaps it is simply because Tama has a slight advantage, being an aspiring mangaka, she holds a pen more often whereas Miwa is more the athletic kind, being in the softball team and even replacing for the basketball members from time to time (as she explained in the previous episode)?

I loved the parallel that they made between Sensei‘s Second Place Incident and Miwa‘s own Second Place Incident. I guess you can take this scene as something to laugh at, because it’s definitely irony, but I also see it with this: as much as Sensei has changed thanks to coming to the island [for the better, for most part], the other children have also changed due to being in contact with him [Tama embraces her yaoi fangirlism more, Miwa has found out about what it’s truly like to be in second place… Naru’s no longer as lonely or bored as she once was, etc.]. Of course, whether or not the changes that they underwent because of Handa are positive is entirely up to us…

imageSo with this all said,
I’m gonna bid you farewell for now,
and as usual, I’ll see you later!!
Ponyta’s gotta go