Okay for those who do now know, Handa-Kun is a prequel to Barakamon. Handa is the main character in Barakamon, and is an adult. Handa-kun is about Handa in high school. Can I stop saying his name now please? 🙂
Handa as an adult is a calligrapher, who is stressed and attacked someone of high prestige after losing a high stakes competition. He had a lot of issues he needed to work out and found peace on a small island where he was sent to.
Handa-kun is supposed to give us an insight into how he became that worked up. I didn’t feel like any issues were unresolved in Barakmon, I feel like we got an adequate backstory and we understood how things happened. The new manga was only announced a few weeks before the anime, so it may not be a prequel out of necessity. Handa is a nice character, but not one that is particularly enticing. Not to crap on him as a character, I just feel we received all of the information about him that was necessary to understand his role in Barakamon.
That being said, he’s an idiot. In Handa-kun, he is so delusional it is comedic. He believes everyone stares at him because they hate him, when in reality he is a skilled son of a famous calligrapher, who is also aiming to be a competitive calligrapher. That information was not given in Handa-kun, but in Barakamon.
He receives a love letter at school and he thinks it is a challenge summons, by the cutest girl in their grade. He writes letters using fancy calligraphy and unknown kanji that creates misunderstandings. He’s an idiot. Majority of the episode was him monologing how afraid he is from the others, and reacting to his own insecurities. The background would change depending on if he was afraid, depressed, or scared.
The first half of the anime was a sort of short/4th wall skit. Members of the Handa Force, or Handa Fan club hear about the upcoming anime and speculate as to what it is. They find out they already missed the first episode, so after trying to get the first episode from friends, they decide to create their own. Their anime episode is garbage, but they send the episode to Handa himself.
After harassing the production company they receive the first episode, and that’s where the real episode begins.
The animation was similar to Barakmon, the color scheme was slightly diluted, giving a softer feel. The backgrounds have a white buffer around objects, giving a tiny strip of white between each object. Stock characters are low in quality. They do not have eyes and are significantly less detailed than Handa.
The time of day did affect how the sunlight was colored, which I did appreciate. The music around Maiko, the cutest girl in the grade, was made of violins and sounded very elegant.
While I don’t think a prequel is necessary, as a standalone, Handa-kun has the potential to be funny with the added bonus of creating a more in depth character. Lets just hope they don’t contradict information we already know from Barakamon.