The contrast between city and rural life has been a source of entertainment since the time of Aesop’s fables. It remains a popular subject in manga and anime today, and joining the ranks of Silver Nina, Non Non Biyori, and Silver Spoon is Yen Press’ series Barakamon. Read on for my review of Volume 2! (For my review of Volume 1, click here.)
Back cover blurb
His house suddenly a hangout for the local kids, weird rumors about him getting spread all over the island in the span of day…handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa, unused to rural life, can’t take it anymore and collapses from the weight of it all! The heartwarming and hilarious tale of a sullen city-boy teacher and his tolerant island neighbors continues! Will Handa finally start to learn that living life at a slow pace isn’t all that bad?
A month has passed since Handa moved to the island. The constant intrusion of kids into his home was a major cause of strife in Volume 1, but now he’s so used to them he’s even stocking up on candy for when they come over. With the Naru-getting-into-Handa’s-hair element not quite so strong, the focus expands to give other characters more airtime. A visit to the Cat Man’s house brings out an unexpectedly sweet side of Handa, and there’s a fun exchange at the local store with two women whose accents are so thick they misunderstand one another.
The side character that gets the most development in Volume 2 is Tama. She’s an aspiring mangaka, but her work and tastes aren’t what you’d expect from a middle school country girl. Barakamon has an “All Ages” rating, but Tama’s a closet fujoshi, and the text includes definitions for BL and fudanshi for those unfamiliar with yaoi. She witnesses an accident between Handa and Hiroshi, and her misinterpretation of the completely innocent incident turns into a running joke.
Volume 2 also shows more of the island at the expense of Handa’s pride. Thanks to a combination of heatstroke and insomnia, he lands at the local hospital. Of course, the middle and high schools are close by, and his hospital stay turns into an opportunity for the kids to yawp at him about IVs and suppositories. Then there’s the visit to the beach. Reluctant chaperone Handa looks more like a city slicker than usual when the rocky shore knocks him out cold, not once, but three times. In contrast, the kids do a great job of showing how much fun a sand-less beach can be.
Extras include a character lineup, bonus two-page manga, translation notes, and information about the story’s island setting.
Although the newness of rural life has worn off, Handa still has a lot of city slicker-meets-the-country moments. The main difference now is that he’s less outsider and more an accepted member of the island community. Naru continues to dominate his attention, but he interacts more with the adults of the village, which provides variety to the kids-are-bothering-Handa-yet-again brand humor.
First published at The Fandom Post.