Anyway! Before I get into Review Rednesday! I want to tell everybody that Hiro Mashima's new series, Edens Zero, is available on Crunchyroll, ComiXology, and Kindle! Go check it out! It's basically like Fairy Tail in Space! Perfect for all the people who have an author they like, then read the author's new series, and think, "But it's not the old series..." I think it's different enough, too, that it won't be like, "Ugh, I already read Fairy Tail!" But you'll have to decide that for yourself. At any rate, it's got all the friendship, fantasy, and fun that you have in Fairy Tail, so I hope you enjoy it!
And now for Review Rednesday! This week I believe we're on Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun volume 5? *checks* Yes, that's right! So here it is! Spoilers ahead!
This volume was a liiiittle weird for our own personal continuity, but we started it in the middle of December. ...See, our deadlines for Yen Press aren't clearly defined--we just got a volume one of Forbidden Scrollery one month, and our boss said let's get the first one by this day and all the rest one a month after that. Then we got Hanako-kun, and our boss said to alternate the two series. So our Yen Press deadlines are something like, "Uhh...we'll try to get a volume of something in about mid-month every month?" So we started working on Hanako-kun for that a little late, because we were so busy. And then our boss emailed and asked if we could get it done by January 2, and we're like, "Sweet!" and sort of intended to get it in according to our original schedule, but our other work got in the way, and a trip to Universal Studios got in the way, and our trip to visit family for Christmas got in the way, so we didn't get to our second draft until after Christmas. To make matters worse, we started the second draft after doing a first draft for Fire Force 9, and it was going so well that we thought we could continue to alternate like that, but then the Fire Force edit was hard, and we had to do an episode of Hozuki's Coolheadedness and a chapter of UQ Holder! both in one day, and it was a very talkative anime episode, so we didn't get back to Hanako for about three days, so it was like, "Wait, what happened?"
And sorry about the boring details of our schedule. Let's get back to the fun stuff, shall we? This volume was so great! ...Mainly because I really like Akane. And oh my goodness, he's so kakkoii... But I'll go into that later. There are spoilers involved, so if you don't want to be spoiled, now's your chance to go read the volume first!
First, we have the playboy Natsuhiko show up and mysteriously invite Nene to a tea party. She's happy to go with him, because we all know how boy crazy Nene is, but she's still aware enough of her situation to be like, "So, uh...why?" And he's all cryptic about it, and he's all, "Call me Natsuhiko-sempai[HEART]," and it's stuff like that that really has us wishing editors would understand that the heartmark IS punctuation, okay!? For crying out loud! Don't you see how that totally changes the connotation of the form of address!? Don't you!? But anyway, there's a slight possibility that he would have just taken her to the tea party like a normal person if she hadn't been asking so many questions, but knowing him and Tsukasa, we think the fish bowl would have shown up either way. Nene's like, "Why are you holding a goldfish bowl?" and he's like, "Why do you think?" SPLASH! So they take her to the tea party as a fish, probably just because Tsukasa is a sadist and Natsuhiko is Natsuhiko. I do wonder how they changed her clothes, but the outfit they gave her was adorable. I know Hanako prefers the regular school uniform, but seriously. That dress was adorable. Maybe he just prefers the school uniform over anything his evil brother likes.
So Sakura and Nene use this opportunity to bond. We get confirmation about what has been hinted at before, so now we know that Sakura...well, first of all we know her name is Sakura. Did we learn that in the last volume? I don't remember. But now we know she has a pact with Tsukasa much like Nene's pact with Hanako. But here's the suspicious thing! In the last volume, we learned that Tsukasa has a deal going on a lot like Hanako's, where he hangs around granting wishes for people (for a price...mwa ha ha ha), but he grants the wishes of supernaturals. In that case, since Sakura's pact came as the result of a wish she made, does that mean she's a ghost? But Tsukasa needs a human to help him spread the rumors. Maybe that's where Natsuhiko comes in? Or maybe Sakura is able to use the radio to spread the rumors to living humans. I don't know. I'm sure we'll find out all about it later. But it's cute how Sakura and Nene get along.
What's not cute is that Sakura can't disobey Tsukasa, so when he's all, "Okay, Sakura, remember that thing I wanted you to do?" she trapped Nene in her chair and sank her down to the...weird unnamed place with all the doors. We call it "The World that Never Was" (<--Kingdom Hearts reference). She did seem genuinely sorry to do it. I really wonder what her deal is. She also sent Natsuhiko with Nene, and it was played off as her hating Natsuhiko, but we think it was part of the plan--either Sakura's or Tsukasa's, it's hard to say whose at this point. Because it seems like Tsukasa might just want to get rid of Nene, but he can torment Hanako that much more if he keeps her around, so I'm thinking it was some kind of intricate plot to accomplish something later. Only time will tell.
But this was the best part! because Natsuhiko and Nene together are hilarious. Nene is so boy crazy, and Natsuhiko is so girl crazy, but it still never works out, and it's awesome. The best was when he tried to kiss her and she freaked out and shoved him away, and then she was like, "What have I done!?" I love it. And then Natsuhiko opens one too many dangerous doors and gets taken out of the picture. Of course, we're all pretty sure he'll be fine.
And then Nene meets Hanako from the past! (She went through a door and there he was. The doors open to all places past, present, and future.) Maybe this was the incident that triggered Amane's...descent? Whatever it was that made him change his future. Like, maybe it was what helped him make up his mind to kill Tsukasa. I don't know, I just feel like it's significant somehow, especially since Nene ended up with his keychain. Maybe losing his keychain is what made him give up on all his astronomy dreams. Oh no, that would be so sad. But of course it's significant, because so many of the Seven Mysteries have something to do with time--the Bookstacks tell about the entire history of students in the school, and then there's the Clock Keepers, which leads us to the next part of the story!
Now that Nene is safe again, it's time to meet another School Mystery. This time, Aoi tells her about the Three Clock Keepers who control time in the school. Aoi also starts to tell Nene that she has to confess something...but before she can, there's chaos in the classroom! Everyone's stuff has been ruined, like it's been fastforwarded way into the future! And in Kou's class, two of his friends have aged into old men! What! So Nene and Kou go to consult Hanako about it. Well, obviously, this is the work of the Clock Keepers, because they're the ones with the power to control time and, more importantly, they're the ones we just heard a new rumor about. But Hanako doesn't know how to find the Clock Keepers, because they don't like him and his pervy ways. So I'm liking the Clock Keepers already.
Hanako does know that the Clock Keeper in charge of the present is going around as a student at the school, so they embark on a quest! ...which leads straight to Nene's classroom (who's surprised? anybody?) Hanako's guess is that it's Aoi, partly because Aoi's stuff wasn't harmed in the whole stuff-aging fiasco, but I was like, "I dunno, Mystery Number Two turned her into a doll awfully easily..." But we're going with that theory anyway, because that's where the story's going. In another instance of Noragami-similarity, Hanako possesses Nene. He apologizes about it, but then he gets all kinds of weird with Aoi, trying to interrogate her to get her to confess to being a Clock Keeper. But there's someone who doesn't think too kindly about Nene/Hanako making advances on Aoi, and it's her childhood friend Akane! Oh my goodness, he's the cutest. I like him so much, even if he is a crazy stalker. He drags Nene/Hanako to the roof and demands answers! And when Hanako tries to talk Nene's way out of it, he makes Akane so mad that Akane hits Nene and knocks Hanako right out of her! ...Wait, that's not supposed to happen. Hmmm.
Okay, so we aren't the only ones who have been figuring on Akane as the real Clock Keeper, right? We haven't mentioned him in any previous reviews, but he was there for the whole Confession Tree incident, where we learned that he is madly in love with Aoi, but she refuses to even consider him because his surname is Aoi and if she married him, she'd be Aoi Aoi. Apparently he was out of the running for Clock Keeper suspects, because the Confession Tree made him fall in love with his friend Lemon, but that to me seems more reasonable than Aoi being kidnapped by another School Mystery. Anyway, there was a picture somewhere that had the main characters and said something about all of Nene's friends, and it had a picture of all these minor characters we'd seen but who hadn't done anything significant, and that made me think that these apparently incidental characters were going to turn out to be super important, especially Akane (but also Lemon and duh Aoi), so that's the main reason I figured on Akane being the Clock Keeper. If we'd seen the cover to volume six, we would have known without a doubt.
But Nene is still trying to play it close to the vest with all the supernatural stuff, so after Akane hits her and asks her what's going on, she explains that she thinks Aoi's hiding something, and since he wants to know everything there is to know about Aoi, he agrees to help her find out what it is. So Nene, Akane, Kou, and Hanako all go spy on Aoi as she goes about her day, and it's so cute because all the boys are constantly confessing their love to her, and Nene can't hide her envy, so Kou is like, "I like you, Sempai..." but Nene is too distracted to notice. It really is hard to tell who Nene's going to end up with in all this, because Hanako seems like the most likely candidate, but he's a ghost. And Kou IS the boy who fell out of the sky for her, so...
Hanako decides that tailing Aoi isn't getting them anywhere, so he's going to speed things up. He puts Aoi's life in danger! Dun dun DUN! But it's okay because *gasp* Akane freezes time to save her! Tadah! And oh my goodness, when he goes into Clock Keeper mode, he is so super kakkoii. I guess it's the suit. Suits are sexy; I think this is a proven fact. It's also interesting because he looks so cute and innocent when he's in class rep mode, but in supernatural mode his expression is much more cynical. I guess that's his true nature showing.
That reminds me--there was one thing that made me think maybe it couldn't be Akane, but it's the same thing that would make it impossible to be Aoi: they both knew each other as kids. Well, that's explained, too. Akane wasn't a Clock Keeper originally. Apparently the Clock Keepers of the past and future hire a new present one every six years, who stays a Clock Keeper until he (or she?) graduates. And, at least in Akane's case, they did it in the form of a setup. They put Aoi's life in danger, and offered him the power to stop time to save her. No wonder he hates supernaturals--they all try to kill his beloved. I love his rant about it, though. "I found out later it was a setup. Written in, directed by, and starring themselves!" ...I think it was funnier in context.
But anyway, Mirai of the future has escaped (she was tied up? is this a new development, or did they always keep her tied up? I'm guessing it has to do with distorted rumors) and she's going around aging everything. So now Akane has to track her down and catch her. And there you have it, tadah!
As previously mentioned, Akane hates supernaturals, and...I felt like I had more to say about that, but maybe I don't. It's just another thing to add drama. I do feel like there are a lot of supernatural-haters in this series. Akane, Teru, Kou originally... Akane brings up the whole "Hanako is a murderer" thing, and I was like, "Yeeeah, but have you met Tsukasa? We think he maybe needed to die." On the other hand, dying clearly has not stopped him from wreaking havoc. I am so curious to find out what exactly his deal is.
After the main story, we get a prequel-ish thing about Akane, where we learn more about his twisted love of Aoi and how he came to be friends with Lemon. All we know is that Aida-sensei drew it for a G-Fantasy contest, which indicates that it probably existed before Hanako became a series (and it said as much in the introduction). So we're very curious about whether or not Aida-sensei was intending to give him the power to stop time when she drew that comic, or if it was just a happy side effect. But, like, if he could stop time, he wouldn't have had so much trouble killing Lemon...but maybe that just means he didn't really want to. We don't know.
Anyway. Maybe it's just because I'm tired, but I feel like this review wasn't as interesting as the book. But that's okay, because you should read the book! Oh my goodness, it's so good! I wish I could articulate how much I like it better, but that's all I got. We hope you enjoy(ed) it!
Ah, Hanako-kun. We still have to write our review of volume eight...
Anyway, this week is chock-full of new releases! Like, oh my goodness, you wouldn't believe it! Or would you? I guess it's not fair of me to assume what you would or would not believe. But the point is, SIX of our translations were released today, and that's not even counting Edens Zero! There's Fire Force 10, Missions of Love 15, My Brother the Shut-In 6, My Monster Secret 11, Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun 6 (more Hanako-kun! yay!), and last but not least the first volume of Hatsu*Haru, which is super adorable and I highly recommend it.
Now we have a backlog of a whopping eleven reviews to post! I definitely think we need to speed things up, but I have to figure out how I want to go about it. Suggestions are welcome, of course! Either way, tune in next time for our review of volume five of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight!
Today I'm thankful for getting to see the new stuff at Disneyland, getting to hang out with friends, making sure to go on the Haunted Mansion before they close it to dress it up for Halloween, finishing the chapter of Cramer that was due the same time we were also going to Disneyland, and the premiere of Edens Zero!