After-School Hanako-kun episode 1 welcomed the goofy Hanako, and his charming assistant, Nene Yashiro, back as the spinoff series premiered on October 12, 2023, on Crunchyroll. The episode was divided into two distinct parts and started with a sense of nostalgia for the main anime series, Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, as a character narrated the seven wonders of Kamome Academy and introduces the main protagonists of the story, Hanako of the bathroom and a girl who just became his companion, Nene Yashiro.
The first part of the episode showed Nene’s after-school duty of cleaning the bathroom under Hanako’s condition of paying him back through physical labor for keeping her curse at the minimum. It was clear that our female lead was growing increasingly frustrated with the monotonous task, expressing that it was becoming overwhelming and potentially interfering with her dating life if an attractive man were to invite her out.
Hanako tried to find a way to make Nene enjoy her work, but his efforts were in vain as our female protagonist remained unsatisfied. She turned to her best friend, Aoi, who suggested that working with someone she liked would make any task enjoyable. Following this advice, Nene asked Kou to help her invite his older brother to assist in cleaning the bathroom.
In the second part of the episode, Nene discovers Hanako surrounded by Mokke in the bathroom. These cute, bunny-like apparitions were trying to become a wonder by harming Hanako. Surprisingly, they had dark intentions, wanting to destroy Kamome Academy, bring destruction to the world, and start a candy plantation. To counter their vicious plan, Nene proposed finding someone who could make candies for them.
Despite its short duration, the first episode of the spin-off was genuinely delightful, and its entertainment value was enhanced by its animation, voice acting, and script. Even though the theme of the main anime storyline is still dark fantasy, its art style makes the aura lighter and soothing. Who would have known that Hanako, the other wonders, and even Mokke were entities that could give chills down someone’s spine if it were not for the art style? These characters were meant to be legendary figures in the school, associated with eerie tales and the ability to project sinister vibes and terrifying imagery. However, their appearance often made me forget that they were intended to be scary. In addition, each human character here had unique design features that made them look different from each other. The Minamoto brothers, obviously, had striking resemblance but what made them different from one another was Teru’s design looked more mature than Kou. The setting, on the other hand, was also a chef’s kiss for giving off peaceful vibes despite having its seven wonders.
Of course, the returning cast was once again perfect for the characters. I loved how cunning and playful the voice of Hanako was — as it really sounds hilarious in making fun of Nene; how sweet and relaxing Nene’s and Aoi’s voices were — as they bring comfort amidst the chaos; how lively Kou’s and Teru’s tone were — as their voices, even for a short time, made the episode livelier; and how cute and playful the Mokke sound. The Mokke’s adorable way of telling their malevolent plan of wreaking havoc in the academy made the entire episode funnier.
Moreover, the script was so good in giving a comedic act between characters that gave me the laughs for this episode. I really liked the scene where Teru almost exorcised Hanako while Nene Yashiro just adored him on the side and even dreamt of becoming his mop. The part that I really found funny was Mokke’s ambition to become a wonder and destroy the Kamome Academy to transform it into a candy factory. Maybe it was true that great surprises came in small packages. They were just too adorable to even think that they had that destructive thought for a cute reason.
This episode will definitely cater to the longing of Toilet-bound Hanako-kun watchers and readers. It did not disappoint in reliving the manga version of the spin-off series. Hanako-kun is still as goofy as ever in making Nene Yashiro’s life entertaining – in a weird way. Therefore, I rate this episode 1 of After-School Hanako-Kun a 9/10.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© AidaIro / SQUARE ENIX, After-School Hanako-kun Project