Despite its ridiculous title, this was a really fun book. Hanako-kun is one of the seven mysteries of Yashiro’s school. She summons Hanako-kun one day because she’s heard she can be granted one wish, but Hanako is nothing like she expected. To begin with, he’s a boy bound to a toilet in the girls' bathroom! Yashiro is desperate to be part of a couple, so she eats a mermaid scale and tries to give its matching scale to a boy she has a crush on (as legend says he will be inexplicably bound to her forever), but she chickens out at the last minute. The scale turns her into a fish, but Hanako eats the matching scale to save her from a worse fate, and fights off the mermaid who has come to claim Yashiro. From that point on, Hanako and Yashiro and bound together with a supernatural bond. Yashiro becomes Hanako’s assistant and the two continue to explore the supernatural elements of the school, keeping them from harming the mortal students whenever possible.
There are some interesting elements in this story. While Yashiro is boy crazy, she is also really unsure of her own identity and is using her crushes as a way to mask that. Hanako is not an evil spirit per se, but he has some twisted elements in his past that he is trying to atone for. There are some dark, including anything with the tiny spirits, Mokke, in them. Some of the spiritual bits are a little dark, which might be a little scary for younger audiences. But, while there are dark moments, there are equally cute bits with the tiny, mischievous spirits known as Mokke, who are widely responsible with inconsequential items going missing for hundreds of years (you know the feeling, like when you seriously can't find your glasses anywhere...). The illustrations of this title consist of persistent dark lines, contributing to an overall darker feeing, and everything is fairly well detailed. The era seems ageless based on the dresses and the school style that has mixes of ornate and modern.
Sara’s Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Supernatural
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