First Impression: Toilet-bound Hanako-kun

Rumor speaks of the “seven wonders” of Kamome Academy, the last of which is most frightening—an apparition. Named Hanako, this ghostly spirit haunts the stalls of the girls’ bathroom, and can be summoned forth to make a wish come true…but in exchange, the asker must give something in return. Yashiro, bent on making her wish come true, seeks out Hanako-kun, but what she discovers is that the spirit is not what he seems, and that an exchange for a wish might instead bring upon her a curse.

Just as Hanako-kun isn’t who he seems, neither is this series—the summary seems like standard fare, and it is, but the plot doesn’t convey just how special this series seems to be. Toilet-bound Hanako-kun is one of the shows I’ve most been looking forward to, mostly because of it’s unique artistry. It’s hard to describe—the art feels like it’s out of a game that mixes the cute with the macabre, and adds a sense of depth to its characters and scenes. But more than that, the entire anime is drenched in atmosphere—the look of a stage play, the presence of silhouettes, the use of cut and dual screens—all these unique touches keep the action moving along. It seems the work of an auteur, with images that scream Utena while looking more like Danganronpa. But Hanako-kun doesn’t rest in its impressive animation alone: the show is genuinely funny and well-written, with strong comedic timing and interesting dialogue (“I’m not into fat daikon legs”) that adds emotion and humor to go along with the engaging art. Also, Megumi Ogata is a treasure and perfectly creepy / cute to play Hanako.

It’s not too early to declare: This anime is a winner.

Toilet-bound Hanako-kun can be streamed on Funimation.

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