REVIEW: ‘After-School Hanako-kun’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

After-School Hanako-Kun

For those looking for something light-hearted to read on a spring afternoon, After-School Hanako-kun will certainly deliver the smiles. The single volume collects a series of comic shorts that served as a spin-off from the main series: Toilet-bound Hanako-kun. The spin-off still features story and art by AidaIro. It is translated into English by Alethea Nibley, and lettered by Phil Christie. The manga is published in English by Yen Press.

The premise of After-School Hanako-kun is simple: what do all these characters do when they aren’t dealing with supernatural incidents? The episodes feature the full range of the supporting cast readers have met up to this point. It is definitely the strongest incentive to purchase this single-volume spin-off. While consisting of only comic mini-episodes more in line with a gag manga, the use of the entire cast is what sells it to those who normally aren’t a fan of this style. The Minamoto family gets an extra spotlight that the main series has only just started in recent volumes. There is a questionable “joke” when little sister Tiara Minamoto comments that she wants to marry her eldest brother when she grows up, which may make some readers cringe. Luckily, this is only one page and doesn’t persist throughout the rest of the episode.

The real scene-stealer in After-School Hanako-kun is the Mokke. The adorable, candy-obsessed supernatural from the main series features prominently in the episodes here, and they have a frequent through-line revealing their “true” motivations for world domination. Due to the episodic nature of this manga, the single-volume collection is strengthened by having one joke that is a consistent element throughout.

Other highlights include learning what happens to supernaturals when they get sick, Natsuhiko being oblivious to Sakura giving him the cold shoulder, and Kou’s classmates trying to sneak a peek at the girl he has a crush on. There is also an episode where a supernatural mishap causes some characters’ sex to change. The episode seemed pretty lighthearted, and didn’t feel as though it was punching down. If anything, the episode jokes that the characters look attractive regardless of their sex; but it should be noted that this reviewer is cisgender. The impact of this scene is a judgement to be left to individual readers. While it is a short story and not the overall focus of the manga, it is worth noting that type of “body-swap” episode is included.

After-School Hanako-kun is clearly for those who have already read the main series. It won’t serve as an introduction and will leave readers confused if they don’t know where in the story it is supposed to be read. Yen Press’s release schedule for this alongside the main series matches it up well, taking place after Volume 8. For collectors of the main series, it definitely is worth a look to add to your shelf.

Overall, After-School Hanako-kun succeeds as a comedic one-volume spin-off collection because it features the entire cast readers have met so far. All the characters get their chance to have laugh-out-loud moments, and additionally, a few even have some small insightful moments. Not knowing this information won’t be detrimental to the main series, but for readers of both, it will serve as a nice cherry on top. There are a couple of questionable jokes, but overall, it is a great addition to a collection for fans of the main series.

After-School Hanako-kun is available now wherever books are sold.

After-School Hanako-kun
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, After-School Hanako-kun succeeds as a comedic one-volume spin-off collection because it features the entire cast readers have met so far. All the characters get their chance to have laugh-out-loud moments, and additionally, a few even have some small insightful moments. Not knowing this information won’t be detrimental to the main series, but for readers of both, it will serve as a nice cherry on top. There are a couple of questionable jokes, but overall, it is a great addition to a collection for fans of the main series.