Young Ichiro Hanada lives with his parents and grandfather in a quiet rural town. He is a little brat who constantly teases his sister, insults his mother, fights with everybody, and eats a lot.
Ichiro has a near-death experience when he is hit by a truck, and when he wakes up he can see and talk to spirits. The spirits of people who have just died but who cannot pass on yet seek him out. They have some unresolved issue in their lives that is holding them back, and Ichiro must help them out.
Hanada Shounen-shi is a very high quality show. Everything from the character design - quite faithful to the manga - to the backgrounds are top notch, with a soft, pastoral, water-color feel. Even the music is a cut above the usual, sounding almost like it came from a British television show about country life. It really helps set the mood for the semi-rural setting. The story arcs are usually from two to three episodes. It's very smart, and tightly written. The direction is excellent, with just the right angles and moods, capturing the moments of genuine emotion, while
still being able to treat the harsh realities of life honestly. There is no gratuitous sappiness; nothing is forced.
Above all, it's really, really funny.
While it's not for the very young (there is some brief nudity, some fairly mature emotional stuff, and Ichiro swears like a sailor at his mother), the many qualities of the show should appeal to a fairly wide range of people.
We meet young Ichiro Hanada doing what he does best - fighting with his mother. He sasses and insults her constantly, and argues with his entire family, who certainly don't pull any punches with him, either. His happy-drunk father and grandfather often tease him relentlessly. He also really loves to eat. Of course, Ichiro's selfishness and foul temper make him bring it all on himself. In fact, it's while fleeing from a fight with his mother that he gets into the accident which sets the story in motion.
Ichiro is hit by a truck, and has a near-death experience. He has a vision of his recently deceased grandmother, who helps him get back to his body and wake up in the hospital, still alive. None of this affects Ichiro's temperament, however. The only difference is that he now has a scar across the back of his head, which was shaved bald for the surgery. And for some reason his hair won't grow back.
Ichiro soon learns that he can see and hear spirits. He has no idea what's going on, and gets frightened when the first one appears. It turns out that his accident gave him the special ability to communicate with the spirits of those who have just died but have not yet "passed on" to the other side. They all seem to have some unfinished business keeping them in limbo, and they enlist Ichiro's help. Naturally, Ichiro hates it, and refuses, and at first the ghosts have to resort to scaring him half to death to get him to cooperate.
Eventually, he gets used to the nagging spirits. They come in all sorts of varieties, and have different reasons for seeking Ichiro's help. There's the father who wants to tell his son that it's okay for his mother to marry again, an old man who happened to die in an undignified position and needs help, and a student who died while still a virgin and wants to see a naked woman before he goes. There's even a phony medium who, although she used to con people by pretending to be clairvoyant, actually developed real powers as a spirit.
Ichiro goes through a lot of personal trials in the midst of all this, slowly but surely learning not to be such a little monster. He learns a different lesson on life from each adventure with a spirit.
The series ends in a nice place, but the manga is apparently still going. Ichiro eventually grows up, and his ability to see spirits is passed on to his son. It would be great to see some new animated adventures at some point, so long as it's done with the same care and skill.
For some reason, Hanada Shounen-shi is a very under-watched slice of life series.
This is a spoiler free review.
The premise is basically about a boy who acquires the ability to see ghosts and he helps these ghosts he comes across finish their unfinished business in their past lives. And I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been done before. However, it does lead to some interesting stories that the boy gets involved in with the ghosts past lives. The stories even have a bit of continuity to them with recurring characters and the like, but they are pretty random for the most part. They usually
are story arcs that last 2 or 3 episodes. Although this is a comedy/slice of life anime so you shouldn't really expect much of a storyline.
Anyway, the stories always start out with a comedic tone and eventually become very sad the more the boy gets involved in the ghost's past life. The stories probably could've used a little more conflict to it's advantage, but then again, conflict is what other slice of life series take for granted and they fall in to forced drama and other such nonsense. This is something that never really occurs here. So you gotta give it credit for that. And it does indeed remain interesting and entertaining with little to no conflict throughout the entire series. Now that is awesome!
In addition, in each story arc there's always some interesting turn of events or twist which extends the story, and you most likely won't see them coming and it's generally done very well.
The story occasionally also involves the boy's school life and such things in which the ghosts are not the focus. Which is a pretty good way to avoid being repetitive and it works.
The thing that kinda bothered me about the story is that the supernatural aspect probably could've been handled better and with more consistency. For example, it is established that the boy can't touch the ghosts, and then in a different circumstance he can touch them for some reason. Another example is that at some point, the boy can literally jump outside of his own body and become a ghost temporarily just for the sake of a particular story arc he stumbled in to. Without really explaining when or how he learned to do that. So that felt pretty contrived.
As for how the story concludes… I'd be lying if I said I was completely satisfied with it. I'm not spoiling anything, but the ending was sort of cute and it fits fine with the series. But it's also quite simple and it didn't resolve that much.
Let's just leave it at that.
The characters are pretty damn funny and they are a lot of fun to watch. Their personalities are established very well even though they are very simple in nature, like the easygoing drunk dad, the sister that always gets in to fights with the MC, the tomboy, the sissy boy etc'.
The main character is a naughty brat named Ichiro who likes being naughty and doing naughty boyish things. He's kinda like Shin Chan (if you're familiar with him) but surprisingly he's a lot more mature, likable and relatable. Because unlike Shin Chan, he's not always naughty just for the sake of being naughty. And he is often scolded by his mother for his behavior because of misunderstandings. He even matures and gets smarter throughout the series, so the character development is there. It's not really done in a very subtle way and nowhere is that more apparent than in the last few episodes. But, overall it was done very well and I don't have complaints about it. I really liked it.
The complaints I have are mostly with the side characters. I noticed the series goes out of it's way to give us detailed backstories of the ghosts Ichiro comes across, who basically come out of nowhere (which is great), and yet hardly tell us anything about the characters that are right in front of us in pretty much every episode. And who I'm referring to is Ichiro's family. Sure they have a lot of screen time, but they're never focused on appropriately or fleshed out very well, they're just there. And these were pretty interesting characters that had some potential (especially his sister) so that was kind of a waste.
So what it comes down to is that the MC is generally well developed all the characters are a lot of fun, even though the secondary characters lack development and focus. The ghosts Ichiro comes across often have very touching/sad stories that will likely make you both laugh and cry. So know that at least on an emotional level this series works great thanks to the ghosts and their life stories.
The artwork is overall really good. Though people are probably turned off by it, because it looks simple and it doesn't have overly cute girls and such. But the fact is that the animation is great, despite what the characters look like. The backgrounds are very detailed and the directing is quite obviously, well above average. It's directed by the same guy who directed 'Monster' and it's by studio Madhouse who usually have very good animation, and this series is no exception to the rule despite just being a simple easygoing slice of life anime.
The opening and ending are by the Backstreet boys… Lol, bet you didn't see that coming. I'm no fan, but they do help create an atmosphere. I never even considered skipping the op or the ed while watching this series..
And together with the very nice and calm ost it has, it works.
I don't know Japanese, but the voice acting is great, with funny voices. Though I must say it was kinda distracting to hear voice actors from One Piece in this series (I heard Franky, Luffy and Ussop's voices in this, lol).
It works very well as a tear jerking comedy. You'd most likely laugh, cry and have a lot of fun. Though the humor is a little toilety and the show might feel kinda cheesy at times. I personally enjoyed it a lot though.
It's really good, But it could've been great with only some little fixes like focusing more on the secondary characters, handling the supernatural element better and an ending that is a little more solid.
Besides that, this anime is really good and it's definitely worth watching if you like slice of life/comedy anime.
Easiy the most underrated comedy anime around. This has the makings of an all time great with an original and refreshing plot following a rebellious boy who after an accedent, has the ability to connect with the spiritual world and has to do favors (usually relectant) for the dead.
What makes this show so great is like Mushishi (which is the depressing mature version of this) its episodic yet doesnt follow the same pattern making it unpredictable and engaging as not every episode has a happy ending, some tragic, some funny and some out right inspirational.
Dont let the cover fool you, this is a seinen anime
and gets better after every episode. My only hang with it is the awful opening and eding choices of songs, other than that, this show is flawless
I came to this page several months ago by chance one night while in search of a new epic series to watch with a couple of friends. We each wanted to see something different so it was decided to try this one out after randomly scrollin around the anime list and clicking a random link to a random series, this ONE was the ONE (if u watch the first minute or so of the series u'll understand the reference... GIVE THE SERIES A SHOT!!). Me and my friends just shot it down immediatly laughing at it as some sort of joke of a series
(because of the OP!). Well its not at all. And im very glad that I came around to this anime again tonight. After rereading the synopsis again and the only review that was on the page I realized I couldnt not watch it just because of the OP.
The story is interesting to say the least not too many series like this at all. I wish someone would make a recommendation!!! if i had to compare it to something IT may HAVE to be "THE SIMPSONS"! The humor is very similare and I love them both. Hilarious they both are but Hanada shounen-shi has the deep theme to it about the after life and thats what makes it dare i say... "BETTER".
The art is perfect for the series. And I love the faces the characters make in pinches and trouble : )
AS I said the OP was a Do not enter sign but if u listen to it and get the lyrics and watch a bit of the seriesthen it does fit. Still the backstreet boys for an anime is... different
The charcters may be the best thing about this series!!! Yes. Ichiro the main character is a cussin potty mouth with a trouble making side but also a kind hearted side. Ichiro helps the dead and calls his sister names. Ichiro is a dirty filthy kid and I cant get enough of that. What u'll also see from him is however a bit "exposing" HAHAH"
I am kicking off my winter break with this series and I am enjoying it to the fullest!!!! Hard to stop watching and get some sleep!