Reviews

Mar 26, 2020
Stark700 (All reviews)
With all the negative news about the coronavirus going on this year, I figured there’s bound to be at least one or more shows to relax and indulge myself in. When I saw the English version of the title, it reminded me that people have been hoarding toilet paper. But upon finishing this supernatural gem, I found myself eager for more. Sometimes in life there comes a surprise that hits you out of nowhere. Sometimes, there’s a show out there that doesn’t seem what meets the eye. And to say that in a positive light, it’s something we need about now.

Based on the manga of the same name, Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun is a supernatural school story detailing events at Kamome Academy, a school shrouded by seven mysteries. Among these mystery is about an entity named Hanako, where a rumor goes around that they will grant a wish for the right price. A plot twist reveals that Hanako is actually a boy after being summoned by a girl named Nene Yashiro. And that’s not all. She becomes his personal assistant! Sounds like a strange character duo paired up together, right?

That’s because Hanako is a social animal, the type with a curiosity around the world and loves being mischievous. Like a prankster, he often sees situation as games for fun but does grow serious under circumstances when needed. For what he represents, Hanako is essentially the supernatural poster boy of the anime. This is somewhat in contrast to Nene, a sweet natured girl who is unaware of the true nature of the outside world. Like most teenage girls of her age, she wants a boyfriend and is one of the main reasons why she took the chance to summon Hanako in the first place – to wish for her feelings to be returned by her crush. However, this anime does not tailor to a romantic comedy but instead takes on the path of a supernatural adventure. Each episode reveals more mystery and fictional lore about the school and hidden truths. What started as a ‘be careful what you wish for’ soon becomes a maze warped with strange abnormalities.

A curious question revolves around what you should really expect from the character cast. To be frank, the characters are what collectively carries the anime together. Sure, the plot itself has a lot of potential with the various arcs but it’s the characters that plays out their roles. Obviously, you have Hanako and Nene together as the main pair and the amount of development we see is evident from the beginning. As time goes on, Hanako begins to truly care for Nene and isn’t hesitant to resort to violence to protect her. Similarly, Nene’s fragile shell begins to open up the more she experiences her newfound life with Hanako. It’s a type of character bonding that naturally plays out by itself and very simple to understand. They’re not the only ones hoarding the attention either as we also have Kou Minamoto, another student that becomes an ally and friend to Hanako and Nene. Being somewhat airheaded, Kou exemplifies the personality of a teenager of his age and sometimes gets himself into trouble. That doesn’t stop him from taking risks to help others and showing acts of courage. Other cast in the series possesses a wide range of personalities such as the unpredictable Mitsuba, popular Aoi Akane, or prideful Sakura Nanamine. They fall short compared to the main cast but still gets enough screen time to be worthy of being watched.

Divided into story arcs, the show typically follows each volume entangled with some of the various supernatural gimmicks of the premise. Most of them deals with the seven mysteries at school but sometimes, we also discover hidden truths from what you’d least expected. But because it’s composed of just 12 episodes, I knew the directors had to omit some content. It doesn’t negate the enjoyable of the series altogether but it’s still an unfortunate reality to accept with a pace of 12 episodes. Fortunately, the anime’s overall comedy excels at delivering quality character chemistry. Every expression has charisma and isn’t shy to be overdramatic. Character gags is also evident especially with the main cast by showing how they react to different situations. It’s easy to fall in love with the humor of the show when every episode does its best to entertain the audience.

One of the show’s trademarks is the unique style of the artwork. It pays tribute to the manga by taking it straight out of its pages and making it come to life. Watching the show feels like jumping right into the anime’s world fiction with its colorful settings. The comic book art-like style is also faithful in adapting the character designs to make them as crisp as possible. By that, I mean the characters look larger than life but enough to be believable for a supernatural comedy. Let’s also not forget the delicate features of Nene and malicious deeds of Hanako. Their actions follows them with the art style every step of the way. And if you ask me, this show has potential to be one of the most eye catchy OP theme songs of the year.

Perhaps Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun attracts more of a niche audience but in the modern world today, this is a safe recommendation that I can suggest to anyone. For a supernatural comedy, the show knows its intentions from day 1 and isn’t afraid to be over the top. But at the same time, it’s confident enough to be right where it feels comfortable. If you’re having a stressful day and wants to catch a break, this anime is your remedy. This world needs one right about now.