Meeting the seventh
Japan is a land of countless myths and legends. If you’ve seen your fair share of anime, you too should know that there is a hidden legend or myth behind virtually anything. It could be a mountain, a temple, a school or even a school’s toilet. So, it’s not hard to tell where the creators of Toilet-bound Hanako-kun drew their inspiration from.
Yes, to us a toilet-bound ghost might sound a bit silly. What might also seem odd is the fact that the legend that accompanies said ghost is that by summoning it you are granted a wish. That sounds more like a genie than a ghost. Perhaps, my western logic is getting in the way here. When I usually imagine a ghost, I don’t necessarily imagine something evil but I don’t really think of a ghost as something that might aid humans. However, as we can tell from our first meeting, Hanako-kun is not your run-of-the-mill apparition. That doesn’t mean however that he has no ulterior motives in offering up his ‘services’. Despite any reservations, we or Yashiro Nene -the female protagonist of the the story- may have, Hanako-kun does appear pretty sweet and easy going. Not your typical ghost, then.
In case you haven’t watched Toilet-bound Hanako-kun yet, which I suggest you do, here is the basic premise of the story. Yashiro is in need of some assistance with her romantic pursuits. Pursuits that have not gone well so far. In a moment of desperation, she seeks the help of the illustrious seventh mystery of Kamome Academy, an apparition by the name of Hanako. Hanako is rumoured to appear in the girls bathroom following a Bloody Mary inspired summoning. Clearly, Yashiro doesn’t expect much, so it’s safe to say that she is surprised when Hanako appears before her. I have to credit her with coming to terms with the whole ‘I am speaking to a ghost’ situation pretty fast. She quickly learns a few things. Firstly, Hanako is a boy. Secondly, yes she does get a wish but she must give something in return. And finally, Hanako-kun is not scary at all. Perhaps he is even a bit childish. Nonetheless, for Yashiro any help is welcome when it comes to her romantic predicaments. Fearing a repeat of the rejection she experienced following her confession to a boy, she asks for Hanako’s help. He obliges but his methods do appear a bit amateurish and not very… supernatural, to say the least. Unfortunately, the various schemes that they put to action fail miserably in true comedic fashion. Things turn more serious however when Yashiro’s decision to use supernatural means, despite Hanako’s warning not to, backfires. She is eventually rescued but it all came at a price.
I urge you to watch Toilet-bound Hanako-kun for yourself, since my brief description really does not do this anime justice. I was surprised to be drawn in by the story and its characters. Even by the first minutes of the first episode, the music, animation and the terrific job done by the director and voice actors left me with the sense that this show is special. A great deal of work has gone into making this and it definitely shows. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to read the manga that this is based on but I’m aware that it’s pretty good. So naturally, I’m expecting great things from the anime adaptation. It clearly has the makings of becoming one of the best anime of the season, there are no doubts about that. Toilet-bound Hanako-kun is a bizarre title for an anime and you could be forgiven for not expecting much based on its name but you would be wrong.