What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a heartwarming manga about a gruffy big-city adult rediscovering himself when put in contact with country kids.
Handa used to be an up-and-coming talented calligraphist, being featured in galleries and the like, until he committed career-suicide by blowing up when a respected veteran called his art comformist and trite. Like, he up and punched the old dude. His dad ships him off to a small island in the boonies so that he can cool down a bit.
His new place is seriously in the middle of nowhere. A bus comes around once a day. (A helpful farmer gives him a ride for most of the way from the airport.) It’s got a “village chief”, who rents him this house. Modern comforts aren’t really an option. And everyone knows everyone else, of course ; it’s a small community. I get the impression many Japanese people would need subtitles to understand their local dialect, as it’s thick as heck. (Handa’s certainly baffled a lot of the time.)
Naru is the local scamp, and she’s been using the house as her “base”. (So have a few older girls, from the look of it.) How she keeps finding her way in after Handa locks her out is a mystery, but it’s certainly very funny. Have I mentioned she’s cute as a button ? Because she is. And I like that they got an actual kid to voice her.
Later on, Handa’s introduced to more kids. You can tell he’s delighted.
Aside from some decent scenery porn, there’s one thing this show does very well : perfectly-timed slapstick. It starts with the Punch, and it continues through everything Naru does. Heck, even Handa joins the fun after a while (that sidepunch-to-sea move is marvellous).
Ah, yes. The old staple story where the city dude comes to the country and discovers folk wisdom. Well, it’s more that he starts getting his head out from the ass where it was firmly entranched, really. It’s not so much that the villagers are particularly wise, but more that they give Handa a lot more opportunities to realize what a conceited ass he’s being. He’s out of his comfort zone, and he can’t just isolate himself in a bubble anymore.
Also, this show is very funny indeed. 95% of good comedy is timing, and this series has that down perfectly. Seriously, it’s making calligraphy not boring, out of all things.
This looks to be one of the highlights of the season. It’s a lock for me.