Greetings, from the void. You are listening to Over-Analyzing Anime, the podcast with your host and certified loser Hannah Pietras.
In this episode of Over-Analyzing Anime the Podcast we discuss: the themes and symbols within the anime Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun or if you're a pleb, in english, Toilet Bound Hanako-kun.
Have you heard the rumor? Kamome Academy is home to Seven School Mysterous, one of them being the enigmatic Hanako-san, a spirit that is said to occupy the third stall of the third floor girl's bathroom in the old school building. To summon her, you must knock on the bathroom stall three times and call out if she is there; if you successfully summon her, she'll grant one wish, in exchange for something you hold dear. Despite the warnings, Yashiro Nene, an occult-loving high school girl, knocks on the bathroom door and waits with baited breath for an answer. And an answer she gets, but Hanako-san is nothing like she expects! Hanako-san is actually Hanako-kun! And because of a wish gone wrong, Yashiro becomes Hanako-kun assistant, entangling herself more and more with the world of the supernatural.
Rumor might have its roots in the notoriously poor lighting of elementary school bathrooms.
She can be summoned the same way as within the manga, calling out to you with a "I'm here, or I'm done", but in an innocent, sometimes scared girl's voice as the stall door cracks open a sliver when you ask if she's there or finished(it varies).
Some people say that they have opened the bathroom stall at Hanako-san's confirmation of her presence and have encountered an eight headed lizard, ravenous for human flesh. Children have also said that Hanako-san is a young girl with a scar across her face wearing a old-fashioned red skirt or dress and a bob haircut. Others have claimed they've seen paranormal activity in the bathroom where Hanako-san is said to reside: the random opening and closing of stall doors and the bathroom faucets dripping blood instead of water.
Most people are unsure of Hanako's exact alignment, but most people think that she pulls her victims into the toilet. How exactly you die when you hear Hanako-san's voice also varies. The Yamagata Prefecture says that when you hear Hanako-san's bone-chilling voice, you will die at the talons of a three-headed lizard. Different prefectures believe different things that appear out of the toilet, like a head, a bloody hand, or a large white hand.
According to legends, the only way to defeat Hanako-san is to have perfect grades, but this where the legend splits a bit, with some saying that you must present Hanako a perfect grade on am exam instead. While others attest that Hanako is impossible to overcome once you've lured her out.
There are also apparently rumors that Hanako-san plays in the school yard as well as the bathroom, and if you scrape your knee in the school yard, you'll be cursed with a fungal infection by her that'll spread and mushrooms will begin to fester throughout your body. Teacher's use this part of the myth to prevent students from playing outside without permission.
The themes of Toilet Bound Hanako are enhanced by symbolism that displays the fragility of life and being bound by the laws of fate, as well as the feelings of hopelessness and despair that a set in stone reality can produce within us and the actions we take to cope with these feelings.
Hanako: A 13 year old boy named Yugi Amane who became supernatural after killing his twin brother Tsusaka. He is in love with Nene
He was born in the 1960s around the time of the moon landing. It is implied within the manga in a flashback and and through inference based on Tsusaka’s personality, that Tsusaka was abusing Amane, and his science teacher, Tsuchigomori, often had to patch up the bruises along his arms caused by Amane’s brother and wrap his cuts in bandages after school
The moon: Represents an implausible dream.
The moon rock: Giving up on that dream. Relinquishing yourself to someone else. The moment when fate changed. Hanako’s ability to alter fate is portrayed as a costly exchange and not worth it’s weight, for Hanako is burdened by the weight of taking a life, the life of his own twin no less, and Hanako grapples with the idea of redemption even being possible for past misdeeds. In addition, despite Hanako refashioning destiny itself, he is unable to achieve what he truly wants most in the world: for Yashiro Nene, the girl he loves, to live beyond the age of fifteen
Tsuchigomori is not only Amane’s middle school teacher, but also the fifth school mystery who has dominion as the curator of the 4pm Book Stacks- a secret library that only appears at 4pm that houses books containing all the students that have come to Kamome Academy since its founding’s pasts, presents, and futures.
It is revealed by the first school mystery, The Clock Keepers, three supernaturals who govern the past, present, and future respectively within Kamome Academy, that Yashiro is destined to die soon. This is divulged after The Clock Keeper who governs the future, Mirai, touches Yashiro in order to turn her time forward and transform her into an old lady- which she’s been doing to everyone within the school ever since she escaped from the careful guard of The Clock Keeper’s of the present and past, determined to make the students ``hotter,” in her words. But when Mirai attempts to turn Yashiro’s time forward, it is revealed that Yashiro HAS no more time to turn forward and she is trapped within a non permanent non existence for the time being; and Hanako unveils the rationale for why Yashiro possessed the ability to see Hanako in the first place: because she toed the line between the spirit realm and the land of the living. Hanako made Yashiro his assistant so that he could make sure she made the best out of the time she had left
Hanako traps Nene in the picture world to extend her lifespan. It isn’t exactly what Hanako wants for Yashiro, he’s willing to settle for containing Yashiro within this fictional world in order for her to live the fulfilling high school life she’s always wanted, where she won’t have to worry about her impending demise and can exist in idealized limbo. Hanako wishes that everything could stay the same as it is, enjoying the time he spends with Yashiro and Kou, but the picture world represents how even if we can’t deny fate, we’ll delay or throw it off our tracks as much as possible, for as long as possible, no matter how futile those actions may seem.
Mitsuba's greatest wish is to be alive again, since his most profound being only wants to make friends- something that’s an impossible venture as a ghost who few can see. Mitsuba uses the picture world in order to pretend to be alive and a part of Kou’s school life; even though this world is but a fabrication, Mitsuba insists that they can make it real if Kou just stays long enough. This all a ghost like him could hope for, the best he can do.
Kou: The weakest Minamoto, no one takes him seriously when he says that he'll save Nene. .
Another idea about fate that’s emphasized in Toilet Bound Hanako is intertwined destiny’s. Nene accidentally travels into the past and meets a young Amane Yugi in 1964.