I’m making this part up so don’t take it as fact: if there’s a spin-off based on a series, that’s a popular series. Ok, it’s at least a reasonable assumption, no? Publishers definitely won’t be making extra material of a work that’s not popular enough.
So anyways, Toilet-bound Hanako-kun might have been a popular series in Japan, but as far as Western presence, the best we got prior to the anime airing back in January 2020 was Yen Press releasing the manga digitally back in 2017. Just before that though they did announce they would be printing it, so good timing to have some paperbacks out. You never know, if the anime is a hit, it could blow up and be a pop–
So yes, the anime was a major hit, and I can’t seem to remember the last time I didn’t see a volume in ICv2’s monthly Top 20 lists. That means all sorts of Hanako-kun works will be on the way here. Like this one, After-School Hanako-kun.
After-School Hanako-kun is very much the humorous side of the main series dialed up to 11. If you’re an anime watcher, there’re a few characters here that don’t appear there so it’s hard to recommend to an extent. Meanwhile for manga readers, it’s best to read after volume 8, but it’s also possible to read after volume 7. The reasons are fairly simple: the characters, their motivations, etc., are shown here, especially the main “antagonists”. While possible to catch some references and have a good time, it’s likely you’ll have a grand time after catching up to volume 8.
So to wit, I personally did have a grand time reading this spin-off, which ranges from Hanako admitting his idea of a good time definitely meant being in the girls’ toilet to the cute and adorable Mokkes habitually plotting world destruction (just done in a cute way though! Approve of their shenanigans and welcome them as a school mystery already Hanako!). Characters that you know and love, from Hanako getting a cold to Akane once again letting his love for Aoi get the best of him, get their time to stand out. Yes, even the group plotting to take on the school mysteries have their moments. It may involve swapping genders and Mitsuba’s attempt to make friends. That last one goes about as you’d expect.
The humor and pacing is sharp, and it’s drawn as lovingly as the main series. So in essence, you’re getting the Hanako-kun experience, just nothing serious or lore- expanding. If you are in the hunt for that mix though, then this might not be for you. But between the references (Mokke Be Ambitious!) and the arc of watermelon splitting, amongst some of the many fun chapter and character expressions, there’s much to enjoy in this spin-off. There may have a few that were just ok (Tiara, Kou and Teru’s little sister, basically has Mokke as a pet and displays her destructive exorcist powers), but on the whole, if you’re a fan of the original manga, After-School Hanako-kun is worth your time.