handaI really, really enjoyed Barakamon. It’s one of those slice of life series that I immensely enjoyed last season despite that there wasn’t a lot going on with the plot. The simplicity was refreshing. Although the first word that pops up is simple, it is also in many ways profound . And those beautiful things in life are sometimes in the simplest form; provided by the littlest package.

What Barakamon shines to me was the humor. It was just right. Not exaggerated, not forced and definitely not demeaning. It’s probably why I enjoyed it so much. Apart from very nice atmosphere, what most left a mark on me was the characters. Tama, Miwa, Hiro—the teens. Then there’s Naru. And of course, Handa-kun. I was really, really surprised on what he did at the beginning of the story. You’ll think he was this cold hearted bastard knocking off an old man because he was honest enough to criticize his work. But when Handa was sailed off to remote village and learned a thing or two—in life and in calligraphy, he did redeem himself and realized what has been missing in his work. My impression definitely changed, he wasn’t arrogant, was actually a frightened young man and maybe it all rooted to his teenage years.

And this is what Handa-kun is all about. When I heard there was spin-off the series, featuring Handa Seishu’s teenage life. I scouted the webs to know if it’s really true. And it is. It is currently serialized monthly by Square Enix under their Shonen Gangan imprint. I have read the first 9 chapters. And man, I love it. It was so fun. I know that Handa is a good looking guy and it’s not really a surprise that girls will flock around him. But what is surprising is how people really view him. Handa is aloof (by default due to a rumor that flew around his Middle School years—thanks Kawafuji for that) but people still view him otherwise. He even has 3 avid weird fans—er, sometimes stalkers (and for clarification, these are 3 guys who strangely idolize him) and bunch of girls fawning over him despite that Handa has no absolute idea that this is how he is viewed (he thought the opposite). So it’s fun, how weird everything turns out in every chapters!

A slice of life series that I totally rec’d. If you have fun watching Barakamon, you will definitely enjoy Handa-kun. And he really looks good wearing his gakuran—that should be enough motivation to check it out. Also, I can’t wait for the anime, I heard it’s already been green-lit. Really, really excited!