Handa-kun Episode 1: Handa-kun and a Girl’s Friendship (First Impression)

Not having Daisuke Ono in this is really freaking me out.

Where is he? Hello, why aren’t you here? I literally forgot that he was recast I swear. Shimazaki is a pretty great seiyuu, I’m just used to Ono. I don’t know why he was recast but it tripped me up. Maybe I’m showing a little bias here because I enjoy Ono a lot, but I guess this isn’t too big of a deal. Hehe…*sweats*

[HorribleSubs] Handa-kun - 01 [1080p].mkv0011Okay so the show. I’m going to be honest and say straight out that it was underwhelming. The comedy wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud as much as I did with Barakamon and yes I’m going to be comparing this with Barakamon, I’m sorry. Hearing that we would be getting this prequel type of show with Handa in high school, I had a mixed reaction. Yes, I wanted another season of Barakamon, but I looked on the bright side in that it was Handa! And I really liked him a lot, so I should be happy. And so I was really looking forward to this. But with cast changes and even a studio change, I got a little skeptical. After last season’s disaster Mayoiga, I look at Diomedea with a little dread. I’ve only seen a couple of their shows, and the ones I did watch I thought were just okay shows. But, again, I stay optomistic. I didn’t want to write it off without even seeing the first episode. And now that it’s here…

I don’t know. I find the show a little odd. You can obviously see the differences here from Barakamon. I just feel like this show doesn’t have the same mood/atmosphere as the other. I feel like Handa-kun takes place in an alternate universe from Barakamon with its style of comedy. I think that may be my main problem.

[HorribleSubs] Handa-kun - 01 [1080p].mkv0021The episode starts off with four guys talking about how Handa is going to be getting an anime. These guys are part of the Handa Force and they really love Handa. They’re basically his fanclub. For the next 9 minutes or so, these guys break the fourth wall talking about the anime and what it could possibly be about and they each come up with different genres and scenarios. But then they realize that the first episode had already came out and none of them recorded it. Then Glasses calls Diomedea’s office to ask them to show a rerun so they can see it, but he’s declined. So they all get together, minus one guy, to make their own anime about Handa. And their result is this horribly grotesque child-like product. Then after they get a delivery from some girl named Eraser and it’s a DVD of the first episode of the real Handa anime and they sit together to watch. I don’t know who these guys are but they seem to be big fans of Handa. I don’t even know their names but they look like a group of guys that wouldn’t hang out together. This whole fourth-wall breaking anime original part…wasn’t funny. This literally took up the whole first half of the episode and in my opinion it was a waste of time. I found it too forced. It was more boring and dumb than funny and entertaining and I was waiting for the actual episode to start playing because I was getting impatient. But…it wouldn’t…start! It was more cringeworthy than anything, so this was a bad start.

[HorribleSubs] Handa-kun - 01 [1080p].mkv0049The actual episode itself, that started playing after the weird opening, was pretty decent. It still wasn’t the funniest thing I ever saw, but it still had me giggling in some parts. Handa Sei is a calligraphy genius and he’s very popular at his school. Guys want to talk to him and become his friend, and girls want to confess to him. But all this attention is overwhelming to Handa because he takes it the wrong way. He actually thinks everyone hates him and is bullying him, and when he gets a love letter in his locker, he thinks it’s a letter of challenge and is mortified. Seeing how his character was in the beginning of Barakamon, Handa enjoyed being alone. In this anime we can see that as he puts up his Handa Wall and keeps to himself, but again that’s because he wants to stay safe and not get bullied (even when that’s not what’s happening). The rest of the episode is Handa misunderstanding the love letter. He never bothered opening it up and reading it because he was too afraid, thinking he was going to get beat up in front of everyone. So this misunderstanding created another misunderstanding with the confesee’s friend. We actually don’t get to see the ending of this confrontation as he marches to the back of the gym…because of the unfunny first half. We’ll see the conclusion in the next one.

The second half was better. I mostly giggled because of Handa’s facial expressions which were drawn really well. The misunderstandings were funny too and I liked the big friend. But I can’t say I actually laughed out loud, like I usually do. The only time I did was the very end after the credits, when the Handa Force guys sent Handa their anime they made and he watched with a creeped out expression on his face. So in terms of comedy, and since this show is centered around comedy, it was okay. I can see that this whole show is going to be based around Handa’s misunderstandings, and I’m worried because this whole shtick and get old after awhile. Last season’s Sakamoto had it’s own shtick with Sakamoto being awesome all the time, but at least at times it was able to be serious, and that’s what I’m hoping for this show. Like Handa growing a bit and seeing that he’s been looking at things wrong the whole time.

Diomedea is also worrisome. The animation for this wasn’t amazing. In fact, it was cheap, but at least it does it’s job. They do well with the facial expressions, and Handa himself and the other characters look fine. But comparing it to Barakamon (if this annoys you, tell me), it’s a little….eh. You can see it’s cheap. I always remember the scene when Handa looked out into the ocean the first and last episodes and it was so pretty and nice. Of course, since this is a school-based comedy, we don’t need super ultra animation. Maybe that’s another reason why I think this show is in an alternate universe.

Opening visuals were weird, but the song was great. Fo’xtails is a new band but I’ve loved every song they put out so good for them. The ending song was nice, but visually, lackluster. Again, cheap animation.

The show didn’t impress me, which makes me a little sad, but it didn’t push me away. I want to see more and I want to see whether things will get funnier and not get old. I love Handa, he’s cute and silly so I hope we get an enjoyable watch from this. Here’s hoping. *crosses fingers*

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Moderate (if it gets too repetitive I might drop coverage)

[HorribleSubs] Handa-kun - 01 [1080p].mkv0066


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3 Responses

  1. SilverShion says:

    I totally agree with your review.
    Barakamon was such a great series that I can see why you compare this whit barakamon.
    The same way I complain about Rohan from JJBA not being being voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya, it’s odd to see Handa not being voiced by Ono.

    But still I enjoyed the second half of the episode so I’m gonna give it a second chance, as long as they keep the handa force appearances to a minimun.

  2. zztop says:

    Handa-kun’s definitely written by Barakamon’s creator, so perhaps the creator was aiming for a different type of reading experience here.

  3. bca says:

    I read the manga so the Handa Force anime original part was the funniest thing to me, probably because I’m acquainted with the characters.
    I don’t understand the huge backlash that’s happening in the Western fandom (in Japan Handa-kun is as popular as Barakamon and has been top seller manga in the first half of 2016).
    The main error people have is assuming it will be like Barakamon despite having Handa as the main character because:
    1) Handa is a teenager. He is obviously not going to be the same as the one we know.
    2) It is set in high school. There are no children, no countryside. Barakamon based its comedy from the island setting and Handa’s relationship with the younger population, if you take those out you can’t expect the comedy to be the same.

    Handa-kun’s charm comes from the misunderstanding that Handa thinks he’s getting hated when he actually helps the people around him.

    Satsuki Yoshino, Barakamon’s creator, wrote and drew this manga so it isn’t a spin-off left to another artist or something like that. She also made a short prequel about Handa’s father when he went to live in the island in his early days and used to be close with Hiro’s father.

    Bonus: Gangan Online (website which publishes Watamote, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Barakamon, Tanaka-kun wa itsumo kedagure, Fukigen na Mononokean and Handa-kun) released this drawing of Tanaka passing the anime baton to Ashiya while Handa is ignored in the background https://twitter.com/ganganonline/status/748763619467276288

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