Mar 26, 2020
Cdynamo (All reviews)
When you're looking through the seasonals and you see a title like Toilet-Bound Hanako Kun then you can have no expectations except it's going to be really weird and in a lot of cases, Hanako-Kun exceeds at that idea of weirdness it's title promises and a little bit more that genuinely surprised me in more ways than one. It's weird like I've stated but it also giving you wonderful characters and genuinely striking moments that come out of nowhere and yet sticks the landing 90% of the time.

Toilet Bound Hanko-Kun mostly centers around Hanako-Kun, a spirit that appears in the girl's bathroom and grants people wishes, Nene, a sweet, girl with daikon on her head that she calls "hair" with what she calls "fat legs" and a pretty infectious personality, in that she's very likable and Kou, a very goofy idiot that hunts spirits but ends up taking a liking to Hanako and just like Nene, is extremely likable. By the way I'm writing about these characters you can already tell the main strength in this show is the characters and their interactions. They are goofy, eccentric and even at their worst, they are all extremely likable and bursting with personality. Even with the villans and one, in particular, you don't really see much of them personality-wise in the beginning but by the end, they end up being pretty likable too and end up being way harder to root for. For example, Best Boy Hyuuga is complete and total dumbass and he would be frustrating no doubt, but the actor and his whole personality just makes him come across as a dumb lovestruck puppy with the confidence and charisma of a man who doesn't know what he's doing. He's fascinating and just brings the show together in a weird way.

Now while the characters do play a huge role in the show's success, I do believe the aesthetic of the show is another big part of that success. It's just so unique and easy on the eyes. It reminds me of that church glass that's multi-colored but more full in overall backgrounds and designs. It also leads to some trippy visuals that I'm all down for. it also adds to the character designs and they all speak so much to their personalities and it's refreshing to see that in an anime with Kritio #3224. It's just a nice change of pace.

Now that we've gotten the standout parts of the technical side of the show, there's another thing that has to come up with this show: it's lack of animation. Yes, while I did say visuals, I didn't mean the animation, which had a lack of animation or just stuff moving. There's this thing the show does constantly with certain scenes almost looking like manga pages and while that seems like a cool directorial choice, you slowly start to figure out that it's mostly used to put multiple shots into one single shot so they can use less animation and less movement. It becomes painfully obvious in certain episodes like Episode 11 where the second half is mostly the characters staying in the same room with nothing happening and then the whole thing just ends with everyone leaving. The second half has nothing and does nothing. It sucks because it's supposed to build up the finale and doesn't do that.

What this lack of animation reminds me of is Food Wars, specifically the latest season. Not in terms of quality but the lack their of in movement. Both shows have multiple moments of characters not moving and even when something feels epic, it doesn't feel like it. But there is one thing that separates these two: storyboarding. With Food Wars' storyboarding, it's uninspired, full of generic backgrounds basically used more of a template than actually drawing down the events that happen. Hanako-Kun gives time with its' storyboarding and while the manga-like images lose it's charm as the show goes on, with the help of the great visuals and directorial work, the lack of animation isn't really an issue. It also helps that the story is interesting for the most. Yes, it is still a flaw with the show and I will count as that, but it does have some things that make it less obnoxious as a flaw.

The story is, for the most part, your monster (or apparition of the week) and our motley crew of idiots helping them or making them disappear and it's pretty fun. We first get the Mokkis which are adorable and I would buy a plushie of them instantly if I could and there's one involving stairs that's probably the show's best two-parter and then there's Mitsuba, which the best episode and probably gives the best dramatic stakes to the show and I loved it. Hanko-Kun is at it's best when it's a mixture of its supernatural weirdness and genuine heartfelt character moments and when the show nails it, it hits it out of the park.

In terms of negatives with the show, I would say there was wasted potential for some of the things the show does. For example, in the first episode, Nene gets turned into a small fish because of something she drank and it's revealed that she gets turned into a fish when she gets splashed by water. This comes up maybe three times within the series and the times that they do it, you could've done it a different way and it wouldn't have mattered. Her whole fish thing ends up feeling like a waste. There are some weird pacing issues like in one episode they decide to do the first half be a monster of the week and then the next half do a bunch of character moments. While I did state that I like it when the show mixes the weird with the emotional, I don't like it when it decides to split the two off like they can't be intertwined together. Besides those, there were some jokes that didn't land and they would repeat them sometimes which was obnoxious and the show can be a little slow on the occasion, but that rarely comes up.

In the end, I got what I wanted out of Toilet Bound Hanako-Kun. It's weird, got some cool visuals and left me feeling satisfied. I wouldn't call it something explosive but I did enjoy its goofiness and the way it can shift from that to having great character moments that hit hard. I would be so excited for a second season as long as they can fix some of its issues and I believe that they can.

If you're looking for a show to take your eyes off the terrors of the world that has fun with a lot of goofy and supernatural elements with the possibility of making you cry, I would say give this show a shot. So instead of looking at the weird title and not expecting much, maybe see what it offers. You may not be disappointed.