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90%Al Jensen



Mangaka: Satsuki Yoshino ヨシノサツキ
Born: Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Original Publisher: Square Enix
English Language Publisher:
Published: February 2009
Status: Ongoing
Number of Volumes: 12
Serialized: Gangan Online ガンガンオンライン
Genre: Comedy, Coming of Age
Demographic: shonen

A classic fish-out-of-water story, Barakamon means “easy going, lively” in local dialect, but protagonist Sei Handa is anything but., although he is a very talented young calligrapher. He’s also very high strung, and ends up punching an elderly curator at an exhibition for criticizing his calligraphy as being too unoriginal.

Banished to the Goto Islands, one of the most remote locations in Japan, Sei tries to resume his old habits of diligently working in seclusion. However, the spirited locals, who are entirely incapable of minding their own business, insist on intruding into his life as much as possible. Knowing nothing of life but calligraphy and the anonymous solitude of urban life, this comes as quite a shock to the hard working but somewhat self-involved young person. Sei gradually begins to come out of shell, mainly thanks to the well-meaning but oblivious Naru Kotoishi, a young child who acts as a sort of unofficial mascot of the village.

Sei’s attempts at developing his own unique art style come about mainly out of exasperation with, and later inspiration from, the gregarious locals.
Background & Impact
Barakamon has been a longtime darling of critics. Its appeal is especially apparent in the west, where its universal themes, realistic settings and characters, and general lack of anything too otaku makes it more accessible than a typical anime.

A 12-episode anime adaptation by Kinema Citrus aired in 2014.