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 11! (For my reviews of previous volumes, click here.)
Back cover blurb
Damn it!! I’m getting married and leaving this crazy island!!!! (teary)
Handa’s parents’ true motivation for coming to the island is made clear-an arranged m-m-m-marriage?!!
Will handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa find the resolve to meet his fate?!
Add in a fight with the neighboring village’s own handsome young guy, Kazuma Higashino, and Hiroshi’s spate of delinquency, and you get the super-chaotic Volume 11 of this hot ‘n’ hearty island comedy, Barakamon!
The last volume left readers dangling with Handa’s parents springing a marriage meeting on him. It was the sort of event I thought would launch a new multi-chapter trip to Tokyo for Handa. As it turns out, the whole marriage meeting issue gets resolved in a single chapter. While I’m surprised it wrapped up so quickly, the villagers’ reactions to the prospect of Handa marrying are pretty funny, and Yoshino-sensei does an excellent job of keeping readers intrigued about the woman who wants to marry Handa.
Then the focus switches to Hiroshi. The uber-ordinary teen has been sharing the role of anguished young man with Handa of late, and when he receives the results of his job interview, he gets super-charged fuel for despair. The ever-suffering Hiroshi generally doesn’t blow his top so to see him unleash a once-every-three-years rampage upon Miwa, Tama, and Handa is a hilarious sight.
After torturing Hiroshi about his future, the plot shifts to Handa and his past in an unexpected encounter with a former middle school classmate outside Handa’s house. “Dash” Higashino and his grudge against Handa over Handa’s house is a lot funnier if you’ve read the Handa-Kun prequel. However, even without knowing anything about their history, readers can still laugh at the way Dash goads Handa into a bet. Handa once more devolves into clueless city boy as he attempts to prove he can grow vegetables, but there is a shift from other Handa the Idiot episodes. While he still plays the fool, his actions this time are motivated by the attachment that’s grown between him and the village.
Extras include a bonus one-page manga, translation notes, and another installment of “Barakamon News.”
The threat to Handa’s carefree bachelor life disappears almost as soon as it arises. While the marriage meeting arc is disappointingly brief, Yoshino-sensei follows up with a hilarious Hiroshi wild phase episode before launching into an arc involving a former Handa classmate. While it’s entertaining even if you aren’t familiar with their past relationship, it’s a lot funnier if you’ve read the Handa-Kun prequel.
First published at The Fandom Post.