After-School Hanako-kun served good Halloween cuteness in episode 4. It was very fitting to celebrate the Halloween season with their spooky stories and costume parties — two of the Halloween traditions that show both sides of the famous phrase “trick or treat”. The episode treated us all to a campy story that showed how a Mokke tried to trick Nene’s mind while she was sleeping.
Nene, in a Mokke form, was welcomed as a newbie by the hilarious bunny-like apparitions in the first half of the episode. From there, she met the Elder Mokke who showed their secret base, history, and the truth of the universe. Nene was shocked by the revelation that the whole world was a Mokke. They were the source of all things — even the seven wonders of Kamome Academy were once a Mokke and she just merely returned to her original form. Frustrated, Nene tried her best to escape only to be blocked and cornered by big Mokkes. In a few moments, Hanako can be heard calling out for her. After that, she was found struggling while a Mokke was actually brainwashing her while she was sleeping.
On the other hand, in the second half of the episode, Mitsuba could be seen petting a cat but quickly ran off as a child’s guardian told him not to interact with monsters. Luckily, Sakura Nanamine saw the scene and immediately approached the terrified Mitsuba and handed him a flyer promoting a Halloween party. After that, Sakura showed Hyuuga Natsuhiko around the Kamome Monster Nursery School where the monsters were being trained by researchers to overcome their own problems.
A few of the monsters in training were there: demon Nene who could not control her emotions that would turn destructive if not managed, together with Tsukasa as her researcher-in-charge; angel Mokke who trained its mind and body to avoid getting aggressive at the sight of candy, together with Kou as the trainer; and lastly, Mitsuba who needed to work on his ability to express emotions, with Hanako as his parent researcher. When the monsters had developed, they were sent out to serve as the main event of the Halloween party.
The Halloween season was that time of the year when people got to dress up as their favorite characters, sharing spooky stories, and remembering the departed loved ones. After-School Hanako-kun episode 4 added so much fun this season as it brought hilarious and heart-warming skits once again. It seemed to have done well in almost tricking me in its first half yet immediately treated me to a new taste of the characters from the main series.
The first half was very fitting for the trick side of the “trick or treat” tradition. Mokke was really a group of ridiculous apparitions that were quite easy to read since their existence revolved around dominating the world and their favorite snack. They worked hard in making Nene struggle to resist their motivation of deceiving her about their perceived ‘truth of the universe. They were surprisingly convincing at first because of the appearance of their elder and their secret base, but as their narrative went on, one would feel that he or she was being deceived by false information.
I actually liked that they had a plot especially written for them here as they were usually seen on the sides and being treated as “cute and not dangerous” apparitions. They could be dangerous if they chose to be. They may not be able to completely fool Nene, but they were successful in showing their devious side, especially the part when one of them tried to brainwash the female protagonist while she was asleep.
The second half was the ‘treat’ of this episode. It was good to see Sakura, Kou, Tsukasa, and Hanako as researchers working together to flourish the Kamome Monster Nursery School. The monsters assigned to each of them complemented their personalities — playful Tsukasa would make a troublesome duo with a crybaby Nene; energetic Kou would make an inspirational team with the angel Mokke; and peaceful Sakura and considerate Hanako would make a lovely trio with Mitsuba.
Among the monsters mentioned, the one who caught my attention was Mitsuba. At the very beginning, it could be seen that he got frightened when a mother scolded her child for talking to him but after he got into the nursery, Sakura noticed that there were improvements in his problem of emotional dishonesty. This tugged my heartstrings and wanted to give this little monster a hug, a pat on the head, and a pack of candies.
Apparently, Kamome Monster Nursery was originally a special event by the author of both the main and spin-off series, AidaIro. It was hosted on X (formerly Twitter) which began on October 17, 2020. This event focused on overseeing the development of three little monsters and their growing relationship with their parent researchers. This event came back on October 27, 2023, and it focused on Kamome Monster Nursery placing its attention on “Monstergram,” a social media platform that allows both humans and monsters to share whatever they desire.
I liked the cinematography of this episode as it matched the spooky vibes of the Halloween season. The aura of Mokke’s base was enough to give off a mysterious yet creepy feeling. Meanwhile, I liked the overall presence of the Kamome Monster Nursery because of its lighting in every scene. I loved how the second half began during sunset as it gave a more dramatic feeling towards Mitsuba’s struggle in interacting with humans.
The progress of how the monsters were being trained was shown, like how troublesome Tsukasa-Nene duo was, how it was challenging for Kou to impart ethics to the angel Mokke, how Mitsuba and Hanako’s place was quiet and peaceful (which somehow gave a feeling of healing), and of course, how the party ended with the bright lights turned on — a festive Halloween celebration.
Overall, I genuinely loved this episode since I got to witness a plot written solely for the deceiving tactics of Mokke and the animation of a special event by AidaIro. Therefore, I rate After-School Hanako-kun episode 4 a 10/10.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© AidaIro / SQUARE ENIX, After-School Hanako-kun Project