But for now! it's time to post a review, for it is Review Rednesday! And as promised, we have bumped Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun 2 up in line, and now here it is! Spoilers ahead!
Hold on while I reorient myself. Today has been jam-packed with crossing things off our to-do list, so I have to remember what I'm doing. A review for Hanako-kun 2, that's right.
Let's see... At the start of this volume, our heroes are still on the Misaki Stairs. Naturally, Hanako and Kou rescue Nene, and the team goes on collecting body parts. There is some discussion about getting the Misaki Stairs' weakness--the divine yorishiro, which we opted not to translate. Why? Because as far as we know, there's not really an English word for it. We did worry about it, though, because it's not exactly the easiest Japanese word to say. And it was annoying, because the Wikipedia article specifically pointed out that the yorishiro concept is not unique to Japan, but then proceeded to not give a single example from any other culture. We did some searching, but this is where our burnout is starting to show a little, because we didn't search that long before we were like, "Whatever, we'll just use the Japanese word." When we started working for Yen Press many years ago, we were told to go as literal as possible, so back then it definitely would have been totes okay, but translation trends have changed since then, so...we just left it to the editor. It's not exactly the hardest Japanese word to say, either.
The "innermost reaches" term was a little scary, too, because it literally means "deepest part," and we were like, "Why would the deepest part be at the TOP of the stairs?" But by "deep" that "shin" really means "farthest from the entrance." Fortunately, we were inspired with the word "innermost" without having to do too much digging.
Anyway, the party makes it to the top of the stairs, and we meet the beautiful body they've created. It's pretty hilarious. I think it mostly speaks for itself, though, so let's move on.
Next, we meet Number 2 herself! And a big battle ensues! Kou is super adorable, by the way. Even before he gets turned into a plushie. I'm really not sure how you can cut something (as in, detach part of it from the rest of it) and that somehow turns the thing into a doll instead of, like, severing it, but fantasy series don't always have to obey the laws of physics, and frankly, I'd rather have people turning into dolls than severed body parts everywhere. Although, if presented differently, the doll thing would be pretty scary in its own way. Aoi's head falling off wasn't my favorite part.
I did like when Hanako shoved Nene down the stairs, though. That interaction was just very well done. Hanako can be pretty fun to translate.
So Hanako shoved Nene down the stairs, because they want to find the yorishiro but *shock!* the top of the stairs is not where to find it. And the fastest way to the other extreme is to fall, so there you go. Nene finds Yako's diary, and learns the truth about everything, and finds the yorishiro. There's more fighting, but Nene removes all the yorishiro's power and Hanako defeats Yako. Tadah! Yako's character design is pretty cool, I will say, both in human form and fox form. I'm not generally a fan of so many piercings, but I'm amused that they're jingle bells. And I like how they look like a hair decoration when she's in human form.
All the students change back, and then we finally get some romantic action when Hanako gives Nene a kiss! What! That was so cute. I agree that Hanako's behavior is best explained with the theory that he likes her, but it's way too early to confirm that from a storytelling perspective, and so the Confession Tree chapter turns out to be what it turns out to be. It was adorable, too. When Nene was all, "So this is what it's like to be confessed to!" and he's like, "What are you doing? Hurry and turn me down!" Awww. Poor Nene. But if he's not her type, it's just as well. (Of course we all suspect he will be her type by the end of this, unless they decide to really just be friends.)
And then! we find out that our theory about Minamoto-sempai liking Hanako-kun is not correct. But first, Nene's failed attempt to find out more about Hanako was pretty funny. She already knows he's a murderer, so I'm not sure why he's so reluctant to tell her things. Maybe his reason for killing whoever it was was actually a very bad one. But he's definitely not proud of it either way, so maybe he just doesn't want to talk about it.
And so Minamoto-sempai turns out to be an exorcist, too. I love how Nene was like, "Oh yeah, they DO have the same last name!" But here's something I think I didn't realize until after I wrote the last volume's review: if Teru could see Hanako all along, did he see Hanako take his button in the first chapter? It's possible that Hanako took it while he was at PE or something, though. We may never know. All we know is that Teru hates Hanako more than Kou ever did. Aww, but Kou is so cute trying to defend his beloved's friend.
Now Kou has to prove to his brother Teru that Hanako isn't a bad supernatural, so he skips class to spy on him, and Hanako asks him to help retrieve something the mokke have hidden. It wasn't until Hanako grabbed the thing, and we noticed it kind of resembled the kinds of charms you buy at Japanese shrines, that we noticed that Kou's earring was gone. So we had to flip back and find out exactly where it was that the mokke stole it. That's pretty clever! I wonder how many people noticed right away that the earring was gone.
But then Kou said, "I knew you weren't a bad guy! I'm not going to exorcise you after all!" And Hanako didn't seem to like that idea, so he pulled his knife on Kou and got all threatening and stuff, and that's when Teru showed up again and said, "See, Kou? I told you supernaturals are all bad." And then there's a big battle, and Kou has an existential crisis because he always wanted to be like his brother but he still thinks Hanako is nice! And we see some of Hanako's angst when Teru says it's time to accept his punishment, and Hanako's like, "Yeah, being exorcised would be the easy way out." So I guess there's a theme of working to make up for the bad things you've done, and how we all want a time of preparation before we go back to meet our Maker. Anyway, Kou finishes up with his inner conflict, and confronts Teru! And says, "Oh no you don't!" And Teru says, "Well, I don't want you to hate me, so fine. For now."
Meanwhile! There's a mysterious girl with a Kokujodai who has now made contact with Nene. We can't tell for sure, because of the art style, but most of her hair looks like it at least was originally cut in a bob before it grew out some and got uneven. So is she the girl Hanako? Inquiring minds want to know!
Wow, that review was a little bit all over the place. I think it still makes sense overall if you haven't read the volume, but there are some parts that are like, "Wait, what?" Like the stuff about the Confession Tree. You're just going to have to read the book to find out about it.
This week's releases include...nothing!!! Seriously, what are we even doing all this work for? And the Kodansha site is listing Sailor Moon as not coming out until April!
But maybe now we can take this chance to recommend Sentai Filmworks's streaming service, HiDive, which you can access for free. And why would you want to do that? To watch Mitsuboshi Colors!! which is a hilarious anime that we translate. It's about three little brats who like to pretend they're saving their city. The impressive thing about it is that I still enjoy it even though two of the three main characters are horrible, awful people. They're just so darn funny about it.
And tune in next week! for our review of Fire Force 7! This volume features a new character who's one of our favorites, so if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, I heartily recommended it!
Today I'm thankful for getting our new Chromebook, having plans to experiment with a change in work environment, getting to translate another great episode of Mitsuboshi Colors, getting that volume of Hanako-kun reviewed, and still having chocolate cake to look forward to.