Comments on Raymond H's Barakamon: The Hardest Part of Making Art

Raymond's debut article contemplates what a slice-of-life anime has to say about the artistic process.

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Arthur B at 11:06 on 2018-04-25
Welcome, Raymond!

So, I have to ask... what do the rest of the characters actually do in this anime? You've described what sounds like an essentially internal struggle within Seishuu and I am not sure how hanging out with a bunch of kids substantially younger than him (all the art I've found looking for an illustration for this article depicts him with a small child and/or high school kids) has much to do with the resolution thereof.

(In particular, if the anime's thesis is as you say that the reason we do art is because of our own personal passion, what does the approval or disapproval of others have to do with that?)
Raymond H at 13:43 on 2018-04-25
Thank you! (And thanks for editing! Sorry, I forgot to include a picture.) I'm glad to be here.

Hm, I guess the best way to put it is that the other characters encourage Seishuu to live life. Drawing back to my making-love-simile (I know, sorry), textbooks and instruction manuals are no replacement for experience and actual interaction. What we see of Seishuu's creative process before coming to the Gotou Islands mostly consists of him being locked in his room and not being allowed out until he completes his art. Basically, his artistic upbringing has focused exclusively on the discipline side of art-making. Discipline is of course vital to making good art, but it's just as important to have lived a life from which art can be drawn. Seishuu has never really made a proper human connection before going to the GI, and thus his art, while technically brilliant, is lacking soul. Therefore, the other islanders, whether it's the yaoi fangirl who ships him with her male friend, the slacker student who learns discipline just as Seishuu learns relaxation, or Naru, the deuteragonist who like most little kids is constantly pestering Seishuu with some new, fun, and exciting thing that they should TOTALLY DO RIGHT NOW, provide him with genuine, human interaction, from which his art is able to flourish. Indeed, the last episode has him writing all the islanders' names to form one larger word (I believe it's "friends", but I would have to double-check), and it's regarded as his greatest work to date in-universe.

I don't think approval of Seishuu's art really enters into the islanders' lives. Mostly they just treat it like some neat hobby Seishuu has. "Oh, you're a world-famous calligrapher? Well I can pee further than you, and I can read katakana! Boom!" As with most kids and old people, their minds just sort of operate outside of the approval-disapproval rat race in the art world, and thus Seishuu learns to think outside of it as well. "Oh, he's a world-famous critic? Well I'll bet he doesn't know jack about sea-cucumber fishing! One time I caught one that was, like, this big! That's so cool, right?"

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