Sometimes it’s the wisdom of children that will show us the way forward.
There were a lot of anime in 2014 that ended up disappointing me and Barakamon was among them. I wanted a down-to-earth healing type anime about changing perspectives and instead the show was often too silly for its own good. But I’m not here to talk about the problems with Barakamon as a whole, I want to focus on its first episode, where for twenty-two short minutes it was exactly the show I wanted it to be. The premiere did an outstanding job of showing Handa’s discomfort and confusion as he was dropped into a remote island town with no time to prepare. I loved the way he interacted with Naru after meeting her for the first time and the way her wide-eyed, youthful optimism played off his instinctive distaste for island life.
The crowning moment of this episode occurred at the end of the episode as Naru led an unwilling Handa up to the top of a nearby sea wall to look at the sunset. The result was the beautiful shot that you see at the top of this post. The moment was full of emotional resonance and had a wonderful mono no aware feel to it. It really meant something that Handa had gone against his better instincts and was rewarded with this magical moment that he only got by taking his time and looking up to see what’s around him rather than keeping his head down in his work. The rest of the show never managed to live up to the standard of this episode, but at least we had that brief glimpse of something really special.