2015’s Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Volume 2 (Jibaku Shōnen Hanako-kun) is the second tankōbon of AidaIro’s1 fantasy manga series. The series has been serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy since 2014. The English translation of Volume 2 appeared in 2017.
In volume one, Nene Yashiro made a series of discoveries. First, that the legendary Hanako was no myth but a very real magical entity. Second, that Hanako was a boy and not a girl. Third, that asking for magical favours without asking about fine print was a bad idea. Now semi-piscine, Nene is indebted to Hanako for saving her from the worst consequences of her wish.
Nene may not long survive her debt to Hanako.
Hanako is just one of the Seven Wonders of Kamome Academy. Bargaining with Hanako is dangerous enough. The other Wonders can be even more careless of human well-being than Hanako. In the previous volume, Hanako and his unwilling assistant Nene investigated certain untoward activities on the Misaki Stairs. This effort ended on a cliffhanger.
Just as the pair takes an interest in the Misaki Stair, so too does the humanoid manifestation of the Stairs take an interest in the investigators. Each Wonder has an obsession, but what that obsession might be is often unclear. Failure to unravel the Misaki Stair’s secrets will be punished by horrific transformation.
Should the pair survive, another issues waits. Kou Minamoto comes from a lineage of exorcists. As far as the Minamoto Clan is concerned, all supernatural entities are threats to be eliminated. Kou is eager to live up to his clan’s ethos but his skills are, fortunately for Hanako, insufficient to vanish a Wonder.
Being stalked by a bumbling exorcist is amusing. In this case, however, Kou has an older brother. Teru Minamoto is just as fanatical as Kou. Teru is far more competent than Kou. Teru is a legitimate threat to Hanako, so it’s just too bad for Hanako that Teru has decided to deal with the Wonder.
In Teru’s defense, not only is dealing Hanako dangerous in the sense that magic often has a price tag about which the sort of people who ask for wishes do not inquire, but Hanako himself would advise against trusting him. The Wonder is up front about having murdered in the past. No doubt there were mitigating circumstances.
It may have been a sign that despite having enjoyed volume one, it took me nearly three years to get around to volume two. Having finished it, I find myself with no desire to read volume three.
The issue may be the tendency of the characters to rush into things without bothering to ask important questions. It’s amusing (or at least forgivable) when one person does it but “act first, ask questions later” seems to be Kamome Academy’s credo. Ah, well. I do not begrudge the time spent on volume two, but two is enough.
1: The penname represents two people: Iro, the writer, and Aida, the illustrator.