Barakamon 18+1 is a fun return to the Goto Islands and the world of the Barakamon series. This isn’t just a standard manga either. It’s divided up into 4-panel comics, short chapter runs, artwork, posters, and even a sealed section. Wait…what’s Naru hiding in those pages!? (A bit more on that later.)
First off there’s a collection of Specially Drawn Barakamon Stories and while these chapters have absolutely nothing to do with the main story, they’re still a joyous romp through typical Handa-torment-land. Handa, Naru, Hiroshi, Hina, and the whole gang tackle newfound super powers, then they’re figuring out who’s who during some body-swapping shenanigans, and there’s some standard fare cuteness accompanying this slice of life story.
Moving on to one of the more exciting features of Barakamon 18+1 is its inclusion of full-color pages! All of the short 4-panel comics are presented in full color and so are the promotional artworks; the latter of which make up the back half of the book. While I’m usually not one to just stare at pretty pictures I do totally appreciate the watercolors and brush stroke artwork Satsuki Yoshino is known for on the covers of the Barakamon manga. It’s all really pretty.
Lastly, those sealed pages I mentioned earlier. Since I don’t want to spoil the surprise, I’ll say only that the included interview and behind the scenes conversation is quite entertaining and the “embarrassing” comparison art is really quite interesting. Personally, these few short pages were my favorite part of the book!
Overall fans of Barakamon will enjoy this combo manga-artbook. It’s a great companion piece to have on your shelf alongside the completed manga collection which clocks in at eighteen volumes – hence why this book’s moniker of 18+1. As Handa-san once said, “If we continue on the same path, we are likely to meet again,” and Barakamon 18+1 sure does fulfill this promise.