Barakamon, Vol. 13
2 journalers for this copy...
This volume picks up after the events of Volume 12, with several changes of pace. Handa's young rival shows up unexpectedly, having run away from home (!) - only to find that Handa's on his way to Tokyo with little Naru. So Kanzaki has to try to figure out life in the village without Handa's help; good thing all the local kids know everything that's going on.
The scenes in Tokyo are both scary and hilarious, with an all-too-believable scene of little Naru - who's never been off the island before - having a complete meltdown when she thinks she's lost Handa in a crowd at the station. And some coincidental-hilarity ensues when the young woman who was intended as Handa's bride (by his parents, not by himself) spots him leading little Naru around and gets quite confused.
Fun with tourism, more tidbits about calligraphy as an art and as a commercial proposition, more fish-out-of-water bits with Kanzaki back on the island - the scene where he "helps" by picking the daikon that Handa's been trying to grow as part of a contest with a neighboring farmer is really funny, not least because of Hiroshi's blank-eyes-of-doom when he sees what's happened.
The only problem with the books is that they don't include a story-so-far and cast-list; there are so many characters and their relationships are so important to the story that it would really help. But I think some of the charm can be gleaned even if you don't know how all these people are related.
By the end of this volume, Handa has made a decision that could change everything - if he sticks to it. Given the way all the islanders seem to be interested in his business, not to mention his friend and agent Kawafuji, it's unclear how long they'll allow him to go his own way...
[There's a TV Tropes page on the series.]