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 10! (For my reviews of previous volumes, click here.)
Back cover blurb
The cold north wind sets in on the island and handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa longs for his winter clothes. But instead of Kawafuji making the delivery, Handa’s parents decide to make their island debut–and come bearing much more than just winter clothes!
Our young calligrapher has been on the island a while now, long enough for the seasons to change. Volume 10 opens with the approach of fall and some goofy fun in preparation for cold weather. Then Handa makes the seemingly innocuous move of requesting that his winter clothes be sent to the island. The next thing he knows, his parents make that delivery in person. Thus, the island gets another invasion of city folk.
While there are the usual comic elements of rural life assaulting urban sensibilities, interactions go beyond simple culture shock thanks to two tagalongs. Apparently, when you are a master calligrapher, you can’t go anywhere without your agent watching your every move, and Seimei Handa’s agent just happens to be another member of the Kawafuji family. With Takao Kawafuji rounding out the roster, we have two artist-agent teams of different generations plus two parent-child relationships that provide plenty of fodder for insight, strife, and insecurity. The father-son calligraphy battle in the schoolhouse is particularly fun and clever. Not only does it demonstrate the differences between Handa and his dad as artists, it also brings the islanders in as participants.
Inserted in the midst of the Handa/Kawafuji family trip, we get a completely Hiroshi-centric chapter. Those who follow the Handa-Kun spinoff will not only enjoy the similar four-frames per page format but the string of misinterpretations that characterize the narrative. Given all the grief Hiroshi suffers at his village, it’s nice to see him appreciated at school (even if he doesn’t realize it).
Extras include character introductions, a bonus one-page manga, translation notes, and another installment of “Barakamon News.”
It’s family bonding time on the island! Mrs. Handa provides an even more extreme level of Tokyoite-meets-country shock, but bumpkin humor aside, Yoshino-sensei explores our wacky characters from an intriguing new angle as parent-child relationships and expectations takes center stage.
First published at The Fandom Post.