Hated by everyone around him, Sei Handa goes about his high school life regarded as an outcast—or at least that’s what he believes. In reality, Sei is the most popular student on campus, revered by all for his incomparable calligraphy skills, good looks, and cool personality. However, due an endless series of misunderstandings, Handa perceives the worship he receives from his legions of fans as bullying, leading the school’s idol to shut himself off from the rest of his classmates.
But distancing himself from his peers doesn’t deter them from adoring him; in fact, his attempts at drawing attention away from himself often end up unintentionally converting even the most skeptical of students into believers. Fashion models, shut-in delinquents, obsessive fangirls, and more—none can stand against the brilliance that is Sei Handa. — My Anime List
Handa-kun is a prequel to the series Barakamon, where we see the high school version of Handa before he became a professional calligrapher. I loved Barakamon a lot, as it is one of my favorite slice of life anime up-to-date and thus, I looked forward to what Handa-kun would hold. However, it didn’t exceeded, or reach at the very least, the same level of quality from its predecessor much to my disappointment.
I think viewers should not have high expectations because you may feel like it’s a let down, especially for Barakamon fans. I think many, including myself, expected more focus on Handa’s personal background story rather than his tragic high school life, as I see it. What I really wanted to see was Handa do some crazy calligraphy, but the anime barely focuses on that. Instead, it spends time on developing those that surround Handa. The small, comedic segments are what frames Handa-kun, and how this altogether defines his life as a high-schooler overall. It turned out to be a pure gag-comedy series, which is quite unsatisfying, though it was still somewhat entertaining, nonetheless. On the good side, it was shown how Handa became pessimistic and loving idiot he is, and why he and Kawafujji still keep up with each other in adult life.
There’s a huge variety of characters, however they lacked in depth and realistic knowledge. Yes, most of them are supposed to be there for the comedy, but honestly, I had a hard time relating to them. Plus, they barely had any development. Despite that, most of the characters were diverse, likable, and funny.
The art style is the same as Barakamon’s minus the beautiful landscapes of the countryside. The character designs were pretty nice, as there was great attention to each student that appeared throughout the episodes, displaying their unique personalities.
The OP is weird, but I guess it tries to set the mood of the entire series. Granted how the first and second episode weirded me out in the beginning, I guess it wasn’t that bad, especially how the series turned out. I also want to say that I liked the ED the most. The color backdrop to Handa’s outline along with the other characters really gave a theme to the anime, not to mention how it would change every few episodes or so.
Overall, I believe Handa-kun stayed true to its genre. I can definitely say that I enjoyed this anime to a certain extent, and seeing it as something separate from Barakamon is perhaps what I needed to see altogether. For the lack of character development, I liked how things were resolved in the end. If you want something light and fun, this show is for you! 🙂