In the meantime, it's time for Review Rursday! So come on in and read our review of Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun 6! Spoilers ahead!
We had had a bit of a hiatus from Hanako-kun for a while, because we ran out of books. But then Yen Press remembered that we were working on it, and we started back up again! I think the next volume is very soon on our schedule, actually. But the point is, what with all the other stories jam-packed in our free time, I think we might have been a little more lost on this volume than usual, because the last volume was so far in the distant past. Oh, but it was so cute. Tsukasa was hardly in it at all, and to be honest, I think I like it better that way. He just makes me uncomfortable, I guess. You never know when he's going to get all stabby. But the fact that he's not in it almost makes you forget that there's a whole Hanako storyline, and tricks you into assuming that Nene is really the main character. (I'm pretty sure she is.) Until they have a surprising twist that makes you think maybe Kou was the main protagonist all along. That's the other funny thing about this volume. All the while, it seemed like Kou had this cute little crush on Nene that was never going to amount to anything, but then they make this huge(?) reveal that sends up about a million flags for Kou! But it simultaneously makes an excellent case for Hanako/Nene, so suddenly things are even more unpredictable!
The main thing is, while they're chasing Mirai around in an attempt to stop her from aging everyone and everything, Hanako pulls Kou aside...oh, I forgot! This is important. Mirai ages Kou, but because he's got exorcist powers, she can't age him very much, so instead of turning into an old man, he turns into a hot guy! I mean, he was always cute, but now... And then he says to Nene, "You're cute enough just the way you are," and she's like, "I'm sorry, but could you please stay away from me?" Oh, poor Kou. He tries so hard.
Anyway, Hanako pulls Kou aside and says, "Hey, make sure Mirai doesn't age Nene." And I love this because Kou, despite being the reckless and thoughtless one, is not a total idiot, and he goes, "Yeah, duh. Why would you have to tell me that?" And Hanako's all, "No reason *shifty eyes*" So of course we now know that Mirai is going to get her hands on Nene at some point. And she does, but Nene doesn't turn into an old lady! What! Why!? Well, because she dies before she gets that old, and that's her destiny and there's no way to change it blah blah blah. I did wonder how it was that Nene was able to see Hanako to begin with. Well, now we know! And to be honest, I never really thought that kind of plot twist was that big a deal. We still don't really, considering the fact that hello, they're talking to ghosts all over the place. Clearly death is not an obstacle to spending time with people in this series. But it was still really cute how Kou got all upset about it. And it was even better how he was determined to change it. I love how (and this is a flashback to the Mitsuba volume) he's like, "Why do we even have these powers if we can't change things with them?" The other thing is, we already know that Hanako changed the future, so basically the big plot twist was, "There's a strong possibility that Nene will die prematurely." (Although, based on their definition of Nene's life expectancy, her death wouldn't be premature, because it would have been foreordained. On the other hand, she probably wouldn't be very mature in the maturity sense we usually use, so in that sense, it would be premature, but let's be real, who ever really matures these days?)
I want to say something about Akane, because he really is the best. But I don't think I have much more to say about him than that. Tsuchigomori was in this volume, too! And he's the best, too. But I don't have much to say about him, either, except that it was super adorable how Kou tried to bribe him.
Right, so Kou is now on a mission to save Nene, and really the main question I have about this whole thing is, "But how does she die?" This is really going to affect the plan of action. If it's cancer or something, that's going to make things a heck of a lot tougher. At any rate, Tsuchigomori, being the best, does do a sensible thing and give Kou a glimpse of Nene's future. I like to think that Tsuchigomori was testing him, to see if he could really do anything, and the way it all went down, we're still not sure. Because the book said that Nene and Hanako kiss for the first time, but Hanako already kissed Nene. And that's why Nene thought to kiss Hanako. ...Oh right, I forgot to mention that Nene was looking for Hanako, and she basically tours the whole school trying to find him, and runs into all the major supernaturals that we've encountered in the series. It was kind of like an odd recap. And that reminds me, too! I felt like any time anybody showed up there was a brief recap of who they were, which was especially frustrating for Akane, because I think he was in every chapter of this volume, so it's like, "I think we all know who he is by now." Why all the recap!? I don't understand!!!!
Anyway, long story short, Nene finds Hanako and decides to kiss him. You can just read the book to find out why. But the point is, she actually did kiss him, and then Hanako started acting all suggestive, like he was going to kiss her on the lips, and that's when Kou barges in. So did he stop the kiss or not? Hanako was suddenly cheered up, so it indicates that maybe Kou did successfully change that event (and Hanako would have known about it, because he was just hanging out with Tsuchigomori), but on the other hand, Nene did actually kiss Hanako. Maybe the author deliberately kept it ambiguous. I don't know. I'm still pretty sure that Nene is going to live, though. Unless! the big twist ending is that Nene dies and her ghost and Hanako live happily ever after. That's the thing about this Nene life expectancy thing. At first it was like, "Well, all the flags are pointing to Hanako, so I guess they're going to work that out somehow, but she's alive and he's dead, so I don't know..." Then it turns out she's going to be dead before long, so there you go. But at the same time, it's Kou who's actually making an effort to save her life, and it would be really sad for him if this didn't kindle some feelings in her toward him...and he is the boy that fell out of the sky for her...so now that we're at volume six it's a lot less obvious who she's going to end up with.
But moving on, now we have the hands. It's a fun story, and I don't want to ruin it, and I don't think I can summarize it in a super entertaining way, so just read the book. The curious thing about it, and about all the rumors, is that despite the chronology of their existence, none of them seem to really come to life until Aoi tells Nene about them. And I think this is going to be important, because Aoi was trying to tell Nene about the hands since the whole Clock Keepers thing, and if it wasn't going to be a thing, then the author wouldn't need to tell us about it (unless it was meant to be a red herring for making us think Aoi was a Clock Keeper? but there's probably more to Aoi than meets the eye, too). The point is, the hands have been in those pictures for a long time, but Nene never sees them pop out at her until she's seen the pictures with them. Very curious.
But the best part about the hands is that they belonged to Kou's friend Mitsuba! Awwww, he's back! I'm so glad he wasn't just a one-time thing to create angst for Kou. (Instead he's a long-term thing to create angst for Kou!) I should have known, really, because it does seem like anything that shows up in this series is bound to be important later, as indicated by the first appearance of Kou (when Nene crashed into a middle school kid while trying to bump into Teru). I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads, but only because I have hope that it will have a happy ending like everything else. Everything except the first Mitsuba thing. That's not promising. But surely it will be happy in the end? I don't know; we'll find out!
I also feel like I should mention Teru, because he's a great character, too. But I don't have much else to say about him, either. I do think that, since he knows Akane's whole story, he should be a little bit more sympathetic to his plight and not all, "All supernaturals need to be punished!" I guess he did say Akane was only half forced into that contract, so maybe he thinks that if he had had a stronger will, he would still be a normal kid? I don't know. At least he was nice enough to make those glasses for him. Speaking of the glasses, we kind of got it into our heads that Akane's eyes were shaped differently when he had them off, but closer inspection indicates that it's just that his true cynical nature just shows itself more when the glasses are off. Anyway, I think he's dreamy when he looks bitter. I'm not sure what that says about me.
Anyway. It's another great volume, and I would love to see this series animated. All that amazing voice actors they could cast...
Awww, what a fun series. You guys, we get to translate a lot of fun manga.
Anyway, tune in on Tuesday for our review of Waiting for Spring volume seven!
Today I'm thankful for another reminder of how amazing our job is, making super good progress (relatively speaking, I mean) on work today, getting to watch more Ace of Diamond (so many favorite voice actors!), the stripy kitten coming out after being in hiding all day so we know it's still alive, and Page in the small plastic storage bin (the lid was off; she had no trouble breathing).