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Alethea & Athena
Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun volume 4 
4th-Apr-2018 05:56 pm
yato
We're working like crazy again, and I'm still doing this thing where I wake up in the middle of the night and feel like I was just exercising. I'm wondering how to stop doing that, because it doesn't seem healthy. It might have had something to do with the dream I was having, which I only mention because it had a joke in it that I thought was mildly clever. In the dream, there was some sort of Harry Potter attraction that was like a real life Voldemort battle experience, so I was confronting Voldemort, and I asked him, "Is the T in your name really silent?" and he replied, "Yesssst." Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, it's Review Rednesday! And this week we present Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun 4! Spoilers ahead.


I don't even remember how long ago it was that we finished this volume, that's how intense this last however-long-it-was has been. We just finished My Monster Secret 13, and we have three other things before it on our list that we finished and haven't reviewed yet. Usually we've managed to keep the to-be-reviewed list down to three at the most, but if we turn this My Monster Secret in, we'll be at four, so we'd better get cracking! ...Now to remember what happened. The main thing we remember is it was intense.

Oh right! The Little Mermaid! Oh, Nene. I almost called her Nana. Sorry, Nene! We worked on Waiting for Spring next. Anyway, Nene. The mermaid's servants came to take her to their world, because the mermaid was getting worried about all the mayhem going on at the school, and they lured her there with the promise of being a princess! Tadah! And Hanako was being weird, so it was that much more tempting. OH!!! And Hanako was being weird because of the super intense stuff at the very beginning of the volume! Silly us, forgetting something like that. In our defense, it turned out to be a lot shorter than we expected. You never know with big dramatic stuff like that that starts at the very end of the previous chapter. Either it's the start of something big, or it's just a quick little hint of major drama to come. Well, in this case, it turned out to be the latter. But what we did learn is that whoever it was that Hanako killed looks just like him! What! But he doesn't stick around long, because Nene gets him with holy water or something. Then Hanako rounds on Nene for some reason, because I guess guys get all weird and violent when they freak out, but he snaps out of it pretty quickly and runs away. He's been avoiding her ever since.

And that is why Nene has to go to Tsuchigomori for advice on the mermaid princess thing, which was great! because I totally forgot he existed even though he's my favorite character! This is not an indication of my lack of love for the series so much as an indication of just how much I've had go in and out of my brain in the last...we'll say several months. Anyway, he tells Nene she should just go for it, because it sounds like a pretty sweet gig. Of course, that wasn't what she wanted to hear, but that's Tsuchigomori for you. The sad part is that he implied that his reasons were based on her career outlook. Come on, she has talents!

Eventually the fish servants come back and they almost get her to join them by promising the companionship of hot merman nobility, and when she learns that the "mermen" are 100% fish...she doesn't get a chance to refuse, because they sploosh her and start to take her anyway. That's when she realizes that she'd have to be a fish for the rest of her life, but they still almost get her by promising her popularity. That's when Hanako finally shows up, as we always knew he would. Oh, he was so sad when Tsuchigomori asked him if he was okay with it. Poor, sad Hanako. But now Hanako and Nene's friendship has been restored and they promise to keep working things out together, or something sappy like that.

And then Hanako is willing to give Nene juuuuust enough information to know that this mysterious other person is his brother. Well, that one's a lot less of a surprise, especially now that we've seen him. It hasn't been stated explicitly yet, but I think it's safe to assume that they're twins, especially since the evil one has a sticker on the opposite cheek with inversed colors, so they've got a kind of creepy mirror image thing going on, AND in the artwork under the cover (I don't know if American readers will get to see it, because this is a digital release), they have a bunch of pictures from when the various characters started middle school, and it looked like Hanako and his brother were starting it together.

Meanwhile, the fish servants saw Hanako's brother earlier, so they go to see if they can recruit him. I bring this up because it gives us a glimpse at just how creepy Hanako's brother can be. And it's weird, because you can't tell if he knows what he's doing, or if it's some kind of childlike "innocent," "let's kill things to find out what make them tick" kind of thing. That's the real creepiness about Tsukasa. It's hard to get a read on him.

Then the story shifts and we focus on Kou. There's a new rumor about a ghost at the middle school entrance, and it finds Kou. Of course now it's picked the wrong guy to tackle, and Kou sees right through his rumor performance to the real ghost underneath. But Kou's given up on vanquishing supernaturals, so he drags the new ghost to Hanako to see what they can do about him. Hanako decides to take a hands-off approach and leaves it to Kou to help this ghost finish his unfinished business. The ghost is an annoying little brat, but at least he's cute, and he's amusing in his annoyingness. He drags Kou around taking pictures until Kou runs into one of his living friends, who says, "Hey, that's Mitsuba's camera. Don't you remember? He was in our class!" And now it finally makes sense that the ghost so stubbornly refused to tell Kou what class he was in. Turns out Kou didn't recognize him, because when he met him in class, Mitsuba was putting on an act so that people would like him and not bully him, like they did in elementary school. But by doing that, he effectively erased the things that made him unique, and so he became utterly unmemorable. I think that's an important lesson for people to learn. We all have our eccentricities, but hiding them won't help anything. On the other hand, I also know what it's like to be the kind of person that not many people can get along with, so...

Anyway, Mitsuba asks Kou, "Do you think we could have been friends if I was still alive?" and Kou replies, "Why can't we be friends now?" And that's when Hanako's brother shows up! Dun dun DUN!! This is where things get really intense, oh my goodness, Tsukasa is evil. See, now that Mitsuba had a friend to remember him, he was ready to pass on to the next life, but he had made a deal with the devil Tsukasa, and Tsukasa wasn't going to let him out of it. And even better! now he could make Mitsuba into a real scary supernatural. He and his minions turn on their radio program and start a more detailed rumor about the middle school ghost--now he'll ask you if you remember him, and if you can't answer with his name, he'll break your neck. I'm really not sure why he had to be friends with Kou for the rumor to be that solid, and to turn into that specifically, but that might just be because it was so long ago I don't remember. The important thing is that the rumor transforms Mitsuba into a scary neck-breaking ghost, and Mitsuba can't do anything to stop it, partly because as the price for granting his wish, Tsukasa takes his mind. This guy is evil.

And he suggests that Mitsuba make Kou his first victim, explaining to this now senseless ghost that if he gives Kou a broken neck like his, they can be friends forever. I hate this, because it really makes no sense, and Tsukasa knows it makes no sense, but he makes it work anyway because he's evil and he has the power to do that. And just before Mitsuba acts on this idea, Hanako saves the day! Tadah! And the best part of this is that we finally learned Tsukasa's name. We were calling him "someone" for his first scene and then "brother" for the majority of the volume. Anyway, this is the guy...it feels like ages ago that we translated volume three, so I forgot that Hanako's former self Amane was always coming to school black and blue. This is the guy who did that. This is the guy that made Amane change his future, and eventually provoked him into killing someone (him). I really, really wonder if something happened to make Tsukasa like that, or if he was just always like that. It seems really messed up. And apparently he was sealed away with a pretty powerful seal, which he's just starting to break out of thanks to his minions Sakura and Natsuhiko. I really have to wonder why they're helping him. Anyway, Tsukasa, apparently, just wants to play with his big brother again. But considering the kinds of games he likes, I can see why Hanako isn't too thrilled by that idea.

Well, basically Hanako kills Mitsuba, but Kou is all, "Wait, you can fix him, right?" and Hanako's like, "No, because there's no such thing as a good supernatural and there's no changing that," and I'm like, "Uuuuuugh, get over it!" and Kou is like, "Nuh-uh, I have powers to deal with supernaturals, which means something can be changed." So he's determined to make a positive difference! I always liked that kid.

And then Natsuhiko comes to see Nene in her class. Dun dun DUN! What will happen next!?


Whew, that review was pretty high-energy. We just turned in volume six of this series last week! And we'll probably turn in volume seven next week, because we appear to be a liiiittle bit behind. Anyway, it's super good, so I hope you check it out!

This week's new releases feature the one and only Fire Force 9! That's the one with Vulcan on the cover! And a squirrel! Vulcan is so the best.

And tune in next week for our review of Beasts of Abigaile 3!

Today I'm thankful for not making the worst progress ever on this thing we're working on, having a pizza to boost morale, amusing myself with dream jokes, getting to take a short break to read work-related manga, and Page being just barely cute enough to make up for her laptop shenanigans.
Comments 
5th-Apr-2018 04:33 am (UTC)
This series does sound interesting, so I'll probably check it out if I can ever figure out how to get the Nook I got from Barnes & Noble at a discount during the Christmas sales working.

Are all these fish servants and mermaids(?) getting access to the school by coming out of the toilet or other haunted bathroom fixtures?
5th-Apr-2018 11:14 pm (UTC)
Ooh, good luck! Our sister had a Nook when they first came out and she loved it, but I don't know how they are these days.

Ha ha, the "toilet-bound" in the title does seem to put undue emphasis on the whole bathroom thing. There's actually virtually no potty humor; the only thing is that the Hanako legend involves a ghost in the girls' bathroom, so that's kind of his base of operations. The Japanese title just says that he's a bound spirit, not specifying a place, so we'd say he's actually bound to the entire school, but they haven't specified yet.

The fish spirits just come in and out of the spirit world at will. They seem to use flat surfaces as some sort of otherworldly water surface, but they're basically just ghosts who happen to be fish.
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