The second episode of the After-School Hanako-kun anime premiered on October 19, 2023, and it left me with some impressions about interpersonal relationships. This episode was very delightful to watch as it was easily relatable to some viewers. The visuals, voice acting, and script writing also added colors to the fun. After-School Hanako-kun episode 2 had two hilarious parts — one focusing on Akane Aoi’s dedication to winning Aoi Akane’s affection and another on Mitsuba’s desire to make friends.
The first part started with Nene Yashiro introducing the group who will take part in the ultimate Kokkuri-san. This is prepared by Akane Aoi, who apparently, does not like occult stuff and just prepared this out of his devotion to Aoi Akane (who is interested in Kokkuri-san). When the group starts summoning Kokkuri-san, Nene, who is the only one capable of seeing apparitions in that group, is surprised that the spirit they summoned is a Mokke. Akane throws questions to the “spirit” and the second answer of the adorable apparition is very unexpected, leading Aoi to leave the room.
Meanwhile, the second half began with Mitsuba declaring his desire to have friends after getting inspired by a magazine. Hyuuga Natsuhiko, on the other hand, explains that this may be a quite complicated feat since Mitsuba is an apparition and regular humans cannot see him. He then reaches out to Sakura Nanamine to ask for help and begs him to turn him into a living being. Sakura, on the contrary, suggests to befriend someone who is just like him — someone like Tsukasa. Mitsuba then asks Tsukasa to become his friend and the latter accepts the offer but given his twisted nature, Mitsuba just gives up. Sakura sympathizes with him and offers to do what Mitsuba wants to do with his friends.
After-School Hanako-kun episode 2 was very delightful to watch. I particularly liked the dark aura of the room used in the first half. It was enough to exert creepy vibes — at least for me since the group was doing the Japanese version of the Ouija board. I also got chills on Tsukasa’s part when he wanted Mitsuba to try and eat lighted fireworks. The dim lighting just helped describe Tsukasa’s twisted nature. In the second part, I liked how Mitsuba’s puppy version, Sakura’s serenity, and Hyuuga’s flirtatious act stabilized the creepy vibes Tsukasa was giving.
However, what made this episode still fun to watch despite the sinister vibes exerted by Tsukasa and the room was the character designs. I would not be able to smile or laugh if it were not for the character animation. I just loved that Mokke was the spirit summoned in Kokkuri-san. It actually helped in balancing the campy and horrifying scene of the first half.
In addition, the voice actors did well in giving life to the episode. For example, I loved how I could hear Akane’s devotion to Aoi; how chill of a person Lemon was; how peaceful it was listening to Sakura’s voice; how flirtatious Hyuuga’s character was; how I just wanted to pat Mitsuba’s head as he sounded so sad; and lastly, how scary Tsukasa sounded. It’s really fascinating to know that Hanako and Tsukasa share the same voice actress when you know that these characters have two different personalities.
Of course, the script made the whole episode enjoyable too. It was very unexpected that Akane summoned a Mokke and how it hilariously answered his questions. Mokke only had “candy” in its thoughts and it was lucky enough that rain and candy could be read in the same way in Japanese. The most memorable part for me was when Akane asked the “spirit” of who was his crush, but Mokke sneezed and moved the 10-yen coin that spelled out Lemon’s name. Mokke’s intention, which was destruction, really lived to it as it could almost destroy Akane’s relationship with Aoi. I loved how these adorable bunny-like apparitions made the episode livelier.
As mentioned earlier, After-School Hanako-kun episode 2 can be relatable to some audiences — since it resonates with me as well. Establishing different relationships is quite a tough task since one is trying to win someone’s trust. Here, we can see Akane’s devotion to Aoi and in my perspective, people who are deeply infatuated with someone will do anything to win over their favor. He has been like this for years and even leads a fan club dedicated to Aoi. His perseverance is something that should not be mocked as he truly exerts his genuine effort in making Aoi happy.
In Mitsuba’s case, he expressed his desire to make friends with people but given his circumstances, he cannot make friends with regular humans. Sakura recommended trying with beings like him but it did not work. So, Sakura and Hyuuga showed compassion towards him and did what Mitsuba wanted to do with friends. This second half is chaotically wholesome and it makes me realize that some people find it hard to find friends that suit their personality. Also, building friendships is akin to shopping for clothes — if the size doesn’t match, you wouldn’t try to squeeze into it; you’d simply seek the right fit that suits and feels comfortable to you.
After-School Hanako-kun episode 2 really served as a good laugh and valuable realization in building interpersonal relationships. Therefore, I rate this episode of After-School Hanako-kun a 10/10.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© AidaIro / SQUARE ENIX, After-School Hanako-kun Project