Toilet-bound Hanako-kun tells the story of a ghost boy (Hanako) and a human girl (Yashiro Nene), who is spiritually bound or contracted to assist Hanako in catching the Seven Wonders of Kamome Academy.
Thus, their relationship turns out to be that of master and servant. However, could a mere relationship such as this turn out to be more? Could romance possibly blossom between a ghost boy and a human girl?
1. Will Hanako and Yashiro Nene get together?
We will talk about this question from an anime-only point of view.
However, a disclaimer note has been added below for those of you who would prefer to read spoilers related to this question.
I. Do Hanako and Nene have romantic feelings for each other?
In the first episode of Season 1, we see Kamome Academy student Yashiro Nene walk to a female bathroom that is occupied by a ghost.
Nene believes that if a person knocks three times to summon a ghost, that ghost will grant her wish. It so happens that Hanako occupies the third stall of the female bathroom that Nene walked in.
He is a ghost and one of the Seven Wonders of the academy. As the ghost haunting the third stall of the girls’ toilet, Hanako took an interest in Yashiro and made a deal with her throughout the events of the first episode: he will grant her wish, but Nene must be his assistant.
Season 1 of the anime establishes an employer and employee relationship between Hanako and Nene. But as the series progresses, the audience sees a growing friendship between them.
This is especially true in one episode when Nene literally stumbled to Hanako’s past when she time traveled. As they spend time together as employer and assistant, fans can only hope that Hanako and Nene’s friendship will blossom into romance.
II. Can they get together, considering Hanako is dead?
Seeing that one character is alive while the other is deceased seems to indicate a bleak future between a girl and her ghost.
For one thing, how can Nene and Hanako even get together if they don’t exist in the same dimensional plane? While Nene lives in the near shore (the world of the living), Hanako lives in the far shore (the world of the dead).
A logical answer for them to “get together” is either one of them crossing the other’s boundary. But the million dollar question is, who will do it? Who will cross the boundary between the near shore and the far shore so that they can be considered a romantic couple.
There are many paths that could lead to this outcome, but at this point in the anime, it’s still unclear whether a strong romantic relationship can actually develop between Hanako and his assistant, Nene.
Incredibly, the animation sequence of Tiny Light, the anime’s ending song, showcases the metaphysical barrier between Hanako and Nene.
‘In this particular transition scene’ , the audience sees Yashiro’s red silhouette slowly overlapping Hanako’s white silhouette.
It’s as if she is the one attempting to cross over the metaphysical and red water-like barrier so she can reach Hanako’s hands.
The quick clockwise movements of Yashiro’s red silhouette overlapping Hanako’s white silhouette is animated beautifully. It’s as if it’s hinting the audience that time is running out (hence the quick animation pacing).
III. How did Hanako die?
For those of you who have either read the manga or would immediately like to know recent manga updates, spoilers will be discussed below to talk about the circumstances of Hanako’s death. Manga references will be mentioned as needed.
While neither the anime nor the manga gives us specific answers regarding Hanako’s death yet, this question is a mystery subplot that makes several anime viewers pick up the manga.
More importantly, fans speculate tragic backstories surrounding Hanako’s death. After all, the mangaka has been showing the following items repeatedly in the manga series:
a) Kitchen Knife – This is Hanako’s personal item since episode 1 of the anime. Hanako pulled out a kitchen knife under his coat, but the manga shows that he pulled it out of his abdomen.
The audience can then speculate that Hanako died because a kitchen knife pierced and stabbed his abdomen. Regardless of how he died, the bigger mystery is who killed Hanako? Did he commit suicide, or was he murdered?
b) Rope – There is plenty of rope imagery in the manga, so it’s logical to guess that Hanako could have hanged himself to atone for his past life’s sins.
Whatever his sins in the past as Yugi Amane (his human name before he became the School’s 7th Wonder: Hanako-kun), one theory trumps it all: Hanako fearfully cries upon remembering the fact that he murdered somebody.
There’s a good chance that Hanako murdered his twin brother, Tsukasa, since Hanako stated in Chapter 10, “…simply disappearing [from the living world] won’t atone for my sins.”
This is the reason why Hanako feels terrified whenever Tsukasa’s apparition is present and nearby — Tsukasa reminds Hanako of his loathsome self.
In other words, whenever Tsukasa’s apparition mentions murder, Hanako is reminded of his fears and his worst self even to this day when he is simply residing in the near shore (or in the living world) as the School’s 7th Wonder.
Lerche animation studio gave fans such a thrilling anime that ‘Toilet-bound Hanako-kun won the Winter 2020 Anime Awards’ in the Favorite Mystery or Psychological Award category.
As a fan myself, I believe this is due to the gorgeous animation, intriguing plot twists and interesting music that truly brings the psychological suspense genre of this series.
2. About Toilet-bound Hanako-kun
Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun is a Japanese manga series by Iro Aida. It has been serialized in Square Enix’s shōnen manga magazine Monthly G Fantasy since 2014. It has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes. The manga is licensed in North America by Yen Press.
The famous “Seven Wonders” that every school seems to have are a staple of Japanese urban legends. One of the most well-known of these tales is that of Hanako-san: the ghost of a young girl who haunts the school’s bathrooms.
Kamome Academy has its own version of Hanako-san’s legend. Rumors claim that if one successfully manages to summon Hanako-san, she will grant her summoner any wish. Lured by the gossip, many people have tried to call upon her, yet every attempt has failed.
However, when Nene Yashiro, a girl hoping for romantic fortune, dares to summon Hanako-san, she discovers that the rumored “girl” is actually a boy!