Barakamon epsiodes 1-3. Dropped.

Actually it’s more like episode 1, half of 2, 3, then dropped. I’ve watched enough anime to know what I like and what I don’t like, so there’s no need to drag things out any longer than I should. But still, I started Barakamon because it was a suggestion I got in response to a request for recent, complete anime. It’s only fair to those who suggested it to explain in a few brief points why I quit so quickly, especially when Barakamon is only 12 episodes long so I was already a quarter of the way through.

Reason 1: The exoticization of the “other.” No, this hasn’t turned into a social commentary blog. And you don’t have to memorize any difficult terms, though it helps to know that exoticization/exotification = “the act of romanticizing elements of something, like a culture, that is foreign to oneself.” You’ve probably seen it in action without knowing it, every time you read a book or watch a movie or listen to a BBC documentary about some wealthy, down-at-heart urbanite who moves to some remote island or jungle or whatever and learns from the “natives” ‘what life is really all about.’ In shallower works of this sort, this will often involve fornicating with one or more of the more presentable natives as well.

And it’s always someone from the “civilized” world learning ‘life lessons’ from people who are clearly portrayed as more primitive, more backward, less sophisticated and frequently more ‘in touch with man and nature.’ City boy/girl observes or participates in their quaint little customs and imbibes their quaint little view of life all and suddenly all is right with him again. The protagonist’s struggles to fit in and accept their way of life is only used to highlight just how foreign their ways are to him, and by extension to the rest of the presumably civilized audience.

*heavenly music*

*heavenly music*

What a farce. And how dehumanizing to those portrayed as ‘other’ instead of as human beings in their own right. You even get several scenes that mock their local dialect – oh look, the little primitives can’t even understand each other sometimes, they should learn to talk normally like we do. But no, there’s a lesson in this for higher mortals such as ourselves, we’re so clever, etc etc. And so we comfort ourselves thinking we’ve changed from the experience, but actually we have just reinforced our own superiority by taking what is ‘meaningful’ from the experience and melding it to our original advanced way of life.

That’s Barakamon in a nutshell, that is.

Reason 2. It’s too preachy. Just because you have the fairy godmother of wisdom embodied in the form of a 6-year old or whatever doesn’t make preachiness any less preachy. There’s always some lesson for protagonist whatshisname to learn, no matter where he turns. And it’s not enough to merely show him changing or learning, instead the show has to spend a few minutes beating us over the head with it through either a long lecture or a long soliloquy from protagonist-guy. Just show us what’s happening, don’t talk all the time.

barakamon naru takes all

Reason 3. I didn’t like the characters. A slice-of-life show lives and dies by its characters. If you like them, great. If you don’t, that’s the end of the show for you. The main character is too self-centered and full of himself. Of course the point of the show is to change that aspect of his life, but he’s so hard to root for that I don’t care to stick around and see it. The rest of the villagers are just too pushy, too over-familiar and too preachy for me to care for. I would be out of the village in no time if people kept shoving themselves into my life the way they do in Barakamon.

Luckily everyone is so nice and understanding that they totally forgive him for being a jerk all the time.

Luckily everyone is so nice and understanding that they totally forgive him for being a jerk all the time.

Reason 4. I didn’t like the humor. It would have been better as just a slice-of-life show, maybe, because the harder Barakamon tried to be funny, the more I felt myself pulling away. I don’t like ‘humor’ that revolves around embarrassing someone, for one thing. And much of the so-called humor in this show was just vulgarity, like a 6-year old using all kinds of filthy language, or someone being given a suppository, or a man hugging another man to the glee/shock of a closet yaoi fangirl. That sort of thing. Not my kind of show at all.

And there you have my 4 reasons for dropping Barakamon.


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