In the opening story for After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2 (Houkago Shounen Hanako-kun), “Kokkuri-san,” Yashiro Nene (Akari Kitou) offers viewers a more formal introduction to the vibrant cast of characters and their relationships present in the tale. While brief, these introductions provide a welcome break from the rapid pace of the previous episode as someone new to the series and offer valuable context for the humor and gags that follow. The group teaches the viewer about Kokkuri, reminiscent of an Ouija board, that comes with its humorous warnings for kids not to try this at home.
Thanks to Nene’s unique abilities, she can perceive the spirits they summon, setting the stage for amusing antics, particularly when the summoned spirit is a mischievous Mokke, aligning perfectly with the tone established in the first episode. The character dynamics are light-hearted and, despite a touch of mischief, it’s evident that these friends are simply having fun after school, evoking memories of our own youthful adventures, such as playing with an Ouija board against our parents’ wishes.
In contrast to the first tale, the second narrative in After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2, “Mitsuba’s Operation: Friends,” benefits from a deeper connection to the main series. When a lonely spirit is looking for a friend, Hanako seems like the boy for the job. However, having only the context from the first episode, it was somewhat disconcerting to witness Hanako’s shift from a friendly and quirky demeanor to a slightly darker and more twisted character. This episode marks the first time I felt a sense of being on the outside, as a non-main series viewer in this short series run. If not for a rewatch, I would have mistaken the character in the second story for Hanako himself since he bears a striking resemblance, except for a different color seal on his cheek.
Thankfully, it turns out to be Hanako’s twin brother, Tsukasa (Megumi Ogata), who possesses a darker nature and aspirations compared to Hanako. Upon rewatching After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2, similarly to revisiting a chapter in a manga, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the mention of Tsukasa’s name. Unlike the first story in the episode, the show doesn’t explicitly clarify the twin relationship. As a non-main series viewer, this revelation was a pleasant surprise and stirred my curiosity about the main series, particularly regarding the potential dynamics and interactions stemming from the twin brother relationship among the cast of characters. Something I could not say about the series’s opening episode.
While the show’s brisk pace makes it easily accessible for all viewers, After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2 underscores the value of having context from the main series to enhance the overall experience. The rapid animation may lead non-main series viewers to overlook important details, prompting a pause, or requiring revisiting the scrolling PSA for bits of exposition. For the series’s credit though, the animation remains delightful to look at, making these revisiting of moments not feel like a chore as a viewer. Having scenes ripped from the manga makes every moment feel like there is something in every corner of the screen to admire or at least giggle at.
Despite feeling a little disconnected this week, the charm of the characters and their relationships is compelling, igniting a desire to witness their various escapades and antics in their main series. Ultimately, the stories, After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2 included, consistently conclude on a lighter note, offering a cheerful respite from the chaos of today’s world. Even without full context from the main series, these bite-sized, 10-minute episodes serve as a delightful escape from life’s complexities and pressures.
After-School Hanako-kun is streaming now exclusively on Crunchyroll with new episodes every Tuesday.
After-School Hanako-kun Episode 2
Even without full context from the main series, these bite-sized, 10-minute episodes serve as a delightful escape from life’s complexities and pressures.