Chika AnzaiAkari KitoMegumi OgataTakahiro Mizushima
Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun
Also known as: Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Director: Masaomi Ando
Writer: Yasuhiro Nakanishi
Original creator: Iro Aida
Actor: Akari Kito, Chika Anzai, Daiki Kobayashi, Megumi Ogata, Minako Sato, Shoya Chiba, Takahiro Mizushima, Yuma Uchida
Keywords: anime, fantasy, yokai
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=21983
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 26 September 2022
Jibaku Shounen Hanako kun
It's an unremarkable but moderately amusing supernatural series, with pretty art. It makes the characters look childlike and unusually manga-like, with big eyes and rounded features, but also it's cute, attractive and has painterly, detailed colouring.
As for the story, it's based on the Japanese urban legend of Hanako of the Toilet. This is traditionally a ghost who haunts a school's girls' toilet. This one's the same, except that he's a boy. (The show never goes near all the worrying questions you're now asking.) He's also a smug tease who carries and uses a big carving knife, which he once used for something very bad. Half the time, he's a pain in the arse. However, he's also one of the school's defenders and very good at his job of protecting people from other ghosts and apparitions like himself.
He's not the protagonist, though. That would be Yashiro Nene, the ditzy idiot schoolgirl who loves good-looking boys and would love a harem, but is trapped in a body with below-average appearance and tree-trunk legs. She's sweet and gentle, but also gullible and easily distracted.
There are also exorcists, with the most important being Kou Minamoto. Apparitions are dangerous and should be destroyed. Kou knows this. It's clearly his duty to exorcise Hanako... isn't it?
The show isn't plot-heavy, but it does have some. There's character development for everyone, often with romantic undertones. Hanako and Nene get a lot of this and it's clear that they're in the process of realising that they're a couple. It's nice, once you've made allowance for Hanako's personality. (For what it's worth, though, he was very different before he died and it looks as if his manner is partly a mask over guilt.) Kou has a crush on Nene, but he's also going to get involved in an all-male love triangle that would be sizzling hot if everyone involved were five or six years older and more self-aware. It hasn't occurred to the boys in question that they're not just really good friends, though. (This is a junior high school and most of the cast are fourteen years old, either in actual years or in pre-death terms. The show's family friendly.)
The show's obviously an adaptation of an ongoing manga. The show makes the last episode feel like a satisfying place to stop, but even so the season ends with none of its big things resolved or explained. Apparently the anime was popular, though, so a second season is likely.
If I were scoring this show out of ten, I'd probably give it a high seven. It's fine. I enjoyed it. The urban legend thing is fun and has some interesting angles, e.g. apparitions can be reshaped by the rumours told about them and in that sense are at the mercy of humans. Its episodic tendencies are stronger than its serialised ones, but there's nothing wrong with that. If we get that second season, I'd expect that to be an improvement since it'll start with more drama to build on. The show's capable of having emotional weight (e.g. ep.8) and could reasonably be described as "fun and perfectly okay".