Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 423: Termination - Review and Synopsis

Synopsis: Maria and Alice talk a bit about how hard Nagi is working. Maria remarks that Nagi always tries very hard when she’s decided on something but ends up losing anyway. Still, it’s okay because Maria will always be there to comfort her when she messes up.

Meanwhile, Nagi is hard at work on her manga and even Chiharu is concerned as she’s taxing herself by working hard even though she’s a bit sick. We then get a little bit more into the Ojou-sama’s head and how she really feels about the entire situation. Basically, she’s doing things with a heavy heart because she realizes that Hayate has no reason to root for her to win in this competition even if she’s trying so hard. She laments how Hayate would indeed be better off with Ruka, especially after she heard that apparent confession he made in chapter 413 and how Hayate probably doesn’t care for her seeing as he’s never called even though she’s in so much trouble. She begins to doubt whether he would even come if she called for him. Hayate’s promise to protect her both in the past and the future keeps playing over and over in her head.
Better make good on that promise son, or I'mma install a faucet to your side.

Fed up with everything, Nagi slams her hand on her desk causing her to make the ominous fortune that she received at the Kyoto Shrine to come true. In other words, she really did spill ink on her manuscript. Chiharu and Maria rush to try to salvage the manuscript, but Nagi ends the chapter by declaring that she’s had enough.
That silly fortune actually came true.
Review: Didn’t expect this one to be a Nagi chapter, so I’m definitely pleased. Let me start by saying that Nagi needed that emotional outburst in this chapter – she really did. It’s also about time that we saw something more from Nagi’s side of the story in this arc.

This chapter is basically Nagi’s real, long-delayed reaction to witnessing Hayate apparently confessing to Ruka in chapter 413 as well as everything else that Hata has been putting her through in this arc.
Despair. Pure, crushing despair.

I like the way Hata is tying up the seemingly convoluted plot that he began to concoct ever since the Kyoto and Ise portion of this arc. Even the joke-type “Loser! You will spill ink on the manuscript” fortune actually came true with real consequences. I feel that it’s a great twist to the story since with all the build-up leading to this point, many people seemed already convinced that it’s a done deal that Nagi would win the doujinshi competition. This last-minute twist totally screws with that theory and betrays expectations in a positive way as Nagi certainly doesn’t have enough time to draw up a good manuscript before the competition if she has to start from zero again. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear as if she can recover from her current emo mode in time to still make a last-minute desperate effort to draw a decent manuscript. She’s practically given up on the competition at this point with everything seemingly working against her, which I believe is well-justified.

The fact that Nagi is, by all appearances giving up at the end of this chapter is sure to spur on her haters, but again, I would like to reiterate that given chapter 413 and everything else that she’s been through in this arc so far, she was due for an emotional breakdown sooner or later. The only question that remains now is how she deals with her depression. I have high hopes that the next chapter will be quite something to read, so I won’t make any predictions. At this point, instead of making speculations, I think it’s more enjoyable to just wait and see what Hata-sensei has in store for us. The next chapter will be commemorative of 9 years of serialization for Hayate no Gotoku now, and what better way to set it up than this chapter?
Hoho! What have we got here? CTMEOY officially canon?
By the way, don’t think I didn’t notice that apple on page 13 , which is most likely a direct allusion to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Hata is definitely trying to tell us something with this – and I think it’s something like “yes, CTMEOY is canon. Deal with it!”

Also, all you Hayate fans out there might be interested in reading MadMac's post about Nagi's character development at this forum.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 422 Addendum: Ruka's Lie

Ruka: W-what? How dare you! I am a super idol! I haz no lice!
 So... there have been various theories about what exactly Ruka was lying about in this week's chapter of Hayate no Gotoku! and  it just occurred to me that I haven't been able to formulate my own yet. Anywayz, reading through the various theories that people have come up with just gave me the idea that Ruka's lie might be about her falling in love in the first place. What I'm getting at is that the "lie" that Kayura was referring to might be of Ruka being in love with Hayate in the first place. In short, she might have just fallen in love with the ideal of "falling in love" and therefore isn't really in love with Hayate at all. Well... that's about it. It makes logical sense in the context of where the story is eventually heading to anyway. Dun really care to expound/elaborate on this as it was just a random thought that hit me and that I felt like blogging.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 422: We Shimmer In The Hot Air - Review and Synopsis

Old Saber-Nagi fanart by me coz it's another Ruka cover for this chapter
Synopsis: We see a few intermittent panels that Kayura is being sorta missed by her family back home while she’s staying in the Violet Mansion. Continuing the story that she began to tell from last week, Kayura tells Ruka a story about meeting an idol who was singing and dancing with feverish enthusiasm for a newly opened neighborhood supermarket. Of course, this idol was none other than Ruka herself. Kayura was genuinely touched by the idol’s performance; however, when she (Kayura) went closer to shake hands with the idol and get an autographed picture, she noticed that the idol was smiling bitterly and therefore, wasn’t able to keep things professional until the very end. She concludes that the idol, Suirenji Ruka is terrible at lying and therefore, she shouldn’t draw lies and apparently shows her the autographed picture that she received from Ruka that day.

At this point, Kayura decides to help out with Ruka’s manga leaving Chiharu in charge of helping out Nagi. She and Ruka opt to stay at the Rainbow Village in order to prevent tension between the two heated rivals from living under the same roof until the day of the competition.

Meanwhile, we finally get to see Hamster and Maria again after several years (lawlz) and it seems that the Hamster has caught a summer cold. Maria ominously says that these things tend to spread quickly for those who aren’t at their full strength and right on cue, Nagi is starting to catch the same cold in the next panel. Worried that she’s not making enough progress, Nagi asks Chiharu how Ruka is doing and she replies matter-of-factly that Ruka is making tremendous progress and that she should finish with time to spare because she really does have talent
Whose side are you really on, Chiharu?

Meanwhile, Hayate and company finally arrive at their destination in Hokkaido.

Review: Not much to say here as this was merely a transition chapter that sets the stage for the eventual finale of this whole doujinshi competition. There’s still a lot of things that could happen in-between.  
I have no idea what she's getting at, but Ruka does.

Apparently, Kayura gives Ruka a cryptic message with her story that she shouldn’t draw lies. Frankly, I don’t really know what her intentions are by saying that and how she expects Ruka to react, but it seems to work and according to Chiharu, Ruka makes “tremendous progress” with her manga. 

All I can say is that Chiharu is being a bit mean to Nagi by saying all those things to her when she's clearly already down – and I say this because Chiharu's done something like this before when Nagi broke down after her initial lose to Ruka in this very same arc and it ended up with Nagi going emo for a few chapters until she meets Kayura. 

Perhaps this is her way of instilling some “fighting spirit” in Nagi since she really hates to lose, but you’d think the poor girl at least deserves some more friendly “pat on the back” type of encouragement rather than this… well, in any case, it is within Chiharu’s character to be the “stern big sister type,” so I suppose it’s not that bad. In any case, the worse that Nagi gets treated in this arc, the more likely she will be to come out of it as a better person/character. Although, with Can't Take My Eyes Off You being eventually canon, it seems she still reverts to her spoiled brat ways most of the time anyway.

If Chiharu were my helper, I’d shove the storyboard right down her throat, personally. I really hate the whole “I’m helping you by pushing you” mentality that some people encourage – but, it does seem fairly common to do this in Japanese manga/anime.
Hayate: ^_^ Hinagiku-san, did you know that Lamborghinis have the trunk in the front?
So that’s pretty much it for this chapter. It simply sets the stage for the eventual doujinshi showdown. We learn that Hayate, Hinagiku and Kurosu have now arrived in Hokkaido. Hamster is sick and being taken care of by Maria in the Violet Mansion. Staying in the same mansion are Chiharu and Nagi who are working together on Nagi’s doujinshi. Almost everyone has been accounted for except some six year-old ex-love-interest with ringlet curls, a white tiger, and a perverted ghostly priest… or maybe Hata’s forgotten all about them as well. At least the Hakuo baka-trio might still be secretly filming things in the background and I expect Isumi and her sidekick to show up and help out Hayate's party sometime soon.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 421: What Makes You Happy - Review and Synopsis

Yandere Ruka by me :)

Synopsis: Although Ruka made a bold claim to Nagi that she would win the contest and therefore end Hayate’s life as a butler by taking him for herself, her confidence is shaken when Nagi declares that she’s drawn a good storyboard based on the experiences she’d been through while on a trip. Ruka works on her manga alone for a while but gets nowhere as she’s feeling quite anxious. Thankfully, Kayura arrives and to help her out in full cosplay attire. Ruka asks if Kayura can draw manga and she responds by showing Ruka a manuscript that she made when she was 12. 
Kayura: Brace yourselves, for I am about to become awesome!
The quality of Kayura's manuscript totally blows Ruka away, although we never get to see said manga. Apparently, just like Ruka, Kayura was groomed by her parents at a very young age to one day become a professional mangaka – but she herself is not interested in pursuing this career path at the moment and adds that your objective in life should always be to be happy. Basically, Nagi and Ruka are babies compared to her and she knows it.

Ruka shows Kayura the storyboard she’d drawn about a Murasaki Shikibu (AKA Lady Murasaki the author of The Tale of Genji)  traveling to the present in the form of a young girl and being shocked at all the new novel writing techniques being used in modern times. She thoroughly adopts the modern writing techniques in order to prove that she was still the best even in the modern age. Murasaki is however distracted by many fun things along her journey such as eating, playing and love. She began to think that true love was her happiness and her love came true.
You tell her, Ojou-sama!
After reading it, Kayura ends the chapter by saying, “A long time ago… an idol visited a neighborhood supermarket.”

Review: New chapter is out earlier than usual and that makes me a happy blogger :). 

Some people have complained that Kayura has basically become a useless character ever since her shining moment of awesome with her words of advice to Nagi way back in chapter 344. It seems that Hata-sensei plans to remedy that by bringing her back in this chapter. This time, it seems that Kayura’s poised to give Ruka a good reality check by showing her that she’s lost track of her original goal by becoming distracted by so many things – most notably, her obsession with marrying Hayate.

Ruka’s storyboard seems to show her true feelings. It could either be an allusion to her career as an idol or perhaps her dream to become a top-selling mangaka. It’s not all that clear yet, but I believe her storyboard is most likely an allusion to her idol career, so it seems that we might see Ruka come to realize that she really does love her idol career somewhere down the road in this manga yet.

As to Ruka's storyboard, it has a nice premise, but it falls flat at the ending because Ruka basically forced that ending in -- which is most likely the impression that Hata wants to give. Thus, it's gonna take a bit of lecturing from Kayura to set this straight, I believe. It feels like Ruka's going to give up on marrying Hayate and the bet before the competition and she and Nagi might just end up selling their manga together for fun.
Groundless confidence. Pure groundless confidence.
I was honestly surprised to learn that Kayura is that good at drawing manga as this is a side of her that has only been revealed in this particular chapter. If you were holding your breath waiting to find out more about Hayate and company and what they’re up to, I’m afraid you’re in for a disappointment as this is another Ruka-centric chapter. That aside, I really like this development for Kayura since it shows that she’s actually more than just a cloudcuckoolander with a cosplay fetish.

It’s also nice that Hata has somewhat redeemed Ruka in this chapter after making her out to look like some kind of villain in the previous one. We’ll have to wait and see how Ruka reacts to Kayura’s pearls of wisdom next chapter. If she is somehow being influenced by Yozora Housen in order to open the path to the Royal Garden as some people have theorized, then all hell might break loose in the next chapter or the one after that if Kayura’s story takes an entire chapter to tell.

For once, I have no objections with this one not being a Nagi chapter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hayate the Combat Butler Chapter 420: That Which I Can Grasp In These Hands - Review and Synopsis

We getz Nagi cover - Yay!
Synopsis: Just like I called it in the previous chapter synopsis, it’s implied off-panel that Nagi allows Hayate to go and do whatever it is that he wants to do for Ruka. Hayate goes with Dr. Kurosu in her Lamborghini and Hinagiku tags along at the last moment for some reason. Since the Lamborghini is only a two-seater, Kurosu apparently makes Hayate ride in the trunk in the front of the car.

Meanwhile, back in the Violet Mansion, Nagi ponders whether or not she should have asked hayate about witnessing him hugging Ruka from behind and apparently making a declaration of love by saying, “I will make you happy,” however, she realizes that she made the right decision by not asking because if Hayate had answered that he would marry Ruka in order to make her happy, then she would never have recovered.
Nagi's imaginary scenario
The solution for Nagi was pretty simple: all she had to do was win the manga competition and then Ruka would give up. Thus, filled with determination, she works alone on her manga while reflecting on the stuff that she’d been through to get this far. Still it was already August 4 and the deadline was August 14. Her storyboard was 30 pages long while her manuscript was completely blank. She had to draw extremely fast in order to get her manga done in time for the competition. 

Fortunately, Chiharu arrives and after a quick banter, offers to help her by applying the finishing touches to her manga.

At Ruka’s studio, she asks for some time to finish things off with someone.
She arrives later at the entrance of the Violet mansion (and it’s conveniently raining for no apparent reason other than dramatic timing) and makes her 
“declaration of war” to Nagi.

She needs Hayate, so she would take him for herself if she won the manga competition.

Of course, Nagi is having none of that and she responds with “I won’t let you, because Hayate is my butler!” even though she believes that Hayate might be in love with Ruka.

Review: YESSSS! Goooo Nagi! Well, it might not have been such a huge secret that I’m a Nagi fan given the Nagi-centric articles, essays, fanfic and fanart that I’ve been flooding my blog with recently, but I have to tell you that I just love the way she reacted in this chapter since it really shows how much she’s matured as a character while being totally in-character for her – she does hate to lose after all. Also, I'm glad that we didn't get this scenario.
Nagi's solution
Finally, we get another Nagi chapter after so many filler chapters involving Ruka. It’s pretty hard to tell who will eventually win the manga competition at this point, but it’s safe to say that Nagi should get her moral victory over Ruka at the end of this arc. I fully expected her to suffer a breakdown (which would be well-justified) after Hayate’s emotional 1-2 punch in chapter 419, but instead, she decides that she’s not going down without a fight.

Meanwhile, Ruka may be giving up on her mangaka dream, but there’s no way she’s giving up on Hayate and the manga competition with Nagi just yet. I love how the end of this chapter sets up for an epic manga showdown between Nagi and Ruka: dare I say, destined rivals? Of course, given that they’ve both barely started on their manuscripts, we can probably expect them to initiate this “showdown” by helping each other out in the next chapter or whenever Hata plans to continue this storyline as he could unexpectedly throw in a Fumi and Sharna filler after so many serious chapters.
Ruka's giving off some serious villain vibes here.
Also, the Hakuo baka-trio are nowhere to be seen now after Hata made them seem relevant a few chapters back. They might still be filming things between Nagi and Ruka in the background.

At this point, I have only a vague idea of where Hayate and company might be going, but it seems that whatever it is that would “make Ruka happy” has nothing to do with taking Ruka along. With Hinagiku already tagging along, it might involve some degree of fighting and therefore, probably has something to do with Yozora Housen, that picture of young Himegami and probably a King’s Jewel; thus, we can probably expect to see Sakuya and Isumi make an appearance at some point. Also, I’m going to start laughing hard if it turns out that Kurosu is also some kind of martial arts expert who fights with surgical knives – if you know what I’m saying.
Never gonna give you up, never gonna... okay, sorry about that.
Over-all,this was a really satisfying chapter for me as a Nagi fan. I couldn’t care less about what Hayate and company are about to do at this point and am more excited to see how the mangaka battle between Nagi and Ruka eventually pans out. Also, I'm calling it now: Kurosu is totally NOT Ruka's mother. Remember that even though all the obvious clues seem to imply this that Hata never plays his cards straight.

The next chapter comes out in September 18 according to the last page of the manga, so expect it two days earlier on September 16 - depending on where you're from.

Paragon of Justice Crimson Ranger: Episode 9: Rise, Crimson Ranger!

All the previous episodes of Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger can be read here:

I'll add them all to this blog... eventually.

Episode 9: Rise, Crimson Ranger!

It is said that time passes much, much slower in a dream than in physical reality. Thus, even though it might have seemed like several hours had already passed to Pete Robinson who was currently unconscious inside Wrath’s closed space, the truth is that he had simply been asleep for a few short moments – no more than a minute ever since Miss Vanity knocked him unconscious by clobbering him from behind as he was engaged in battle with Wrath.

As Pete gradually regained consciousness, he felt as if he had been having a really incomprehensible dream about a super sentai team and a zombie-making nebula that some celestial author thought was actually funny. At that moment, Pete remembered a scene from some feminist movie that he’d seen while randomly channel surfing. It was all about a wife killing her husband for stalking and physical abuse that also doubles as an advertising stint for Krav Maga martial arts. In any case, he remembered the instructor’s tip for staying awake in case you get hit and are on the verge of unconsciousness.

“Hold on to his voice.”

It was a pretty ridiculous proposal to be sure and there was no guarantee that it would actually work, but Pete decided to go along with it anyway since he was in danger of lapsing into unconsciousness again. He focused all his energy into listening and gradually, faint voices began to ring in his head.

“WAKE UP!” A very loud and annoyingly cute female voice suddenly jolted him back to full consciousness.

“Gaaah! You didn’t have to shout so loud, Giselle. This is seriously gonna give a major migraine later.”

“I don’t think you should blame me for that part, Pete. After all, it was your little girlfriend who whacked you on the head from behind.” Giselle retorted.

“Sigh… you’re right. Anyway, shut up for a bit and let’s listen and try to assess the situation. Looks like I haven’t been unconscious for too long, at least.”

Pete opened his eyes carefully and saw that Miss Vanity and Wrath were talking to each other only a few feet away from where he was lying. They hadn’t realized that he was already awake.

Pete strained his hearing and listened intently while still pretending to be unconscious. He had correctly deduced that he’d fainted for only a few brief moments since his fight with Wrath inside the closed space in the Arcade.

“Now then, Miss Vanity. It’s time for you to prove your allegiance to me! Take the Red One Changer from the Crimson Ranger’s unconscious body and present it to me.”

“Oh surely, Wrath dah-link. I must say, I am insulted that you would doubt where my loyalties lie when I just saved your derriere from yonder Crimson Ranger.”

“Uh oh… this is bad, Pete. If someone like Wrath takes possession of the Red One Changer, he’ll be able to warp the very fabric of reality itself and not just create closed spaces... and then he’ll doom everyone into…”

“I know, I know, Giselle. He’ll doom everyone into a 1984-like doublethink existence because he’s an LGBT discriminator, animal rights activist and all that… I understand the gravity of the situation. Look, I’ll just wait for Miss Vanity to get a little bit closer, then I’ll grab her arm and perform an awesome kara throw and then maybe I can take down the two of them by surprise with Crimson Pwnage Speed Blitz.”

“That’s a pretty sound plan except for the kara throw part, Pete. I don’t think that’s a real martial arts move, y’know.”

“Shh… here she comes. I can smell the scent of her fashionably expensive perfume getting stronger.”

“… you’re gauging her distance based on the smell of her perfume?”


“What are you, a friggin bloodhound?”

“I have lots of experience sniffing the fresh plastic from my Hatsune Miku figures. Not to mention my Hinagiku and Nagi dakimakura covers.”

“Ugh… I shouldn’t have asked, you lolicon.”

Miss Vanity sashayed past Wrath and elegantly walked towards the Crimson Ranger’s fallen body. She leaned over and stretched her hands out towards Pete’s belt where the Red One Changer automatically clasps onto whenever Pete transforms into the Crimson Ranger. However, just as she was about to take the mystical object from Pete’s Belt, she felt something pushing up against her chest which made her cheeks turn beet-red.

“Ack! You pervert! How dare you defile my exquisitely attired body!?”

And sure enough, Pete’s hands were pressed up quite firmly against Miss Vanity’s breasts – basically groping her. Apparently, you should really watch where you’re hands are going when attempting to grab someone’s arm and perform some ridiculous martial arts throw that doesn’t exist.

“Pete, quick! Cancel into a throw for a true kara!” Giselle Orchardwither urged Pete with an annoyingly cute voice.

“Great, that’s a huge help, Giselle.” Pete said sarcastically as he felt himself being raised up into the air.

Unfortunately, reality did not work like in video games. Miss Vanity picked up the Crimson Ranger’s limp body from the ground and raised him into the air by his neck. She then proceeded to slap him several times across the cheek through his thick helmet which caused sparks to fly out everywhere.

“You… dirty… pervert!”

With one last giant slap, she sent the Crimson Ranger flying several feet before landing on the ground and rolling over multiple times before crashing into a Super Street Fighter IV AE arcade machine – destroying the machine’s HD LED screen in the process.

Pete nonchalantly dragged himself away from the Arcade machine’s wrecked screen and dusted himself off. He then thrust out his left palm in front of him while curling his other hand into a fist and raising it just slightly above his head and pointing towards his adversaries. He knew that a fight could not be avoided now if he wanted to leave this place with his life AND with the Red One Changer still in his possession.

“Hmph! So I see you’ve still got some fight left in you, Crimson Ranger. Fine then, I’ll entertain myself with you for a while.” Wrath said coldly.

“Oh, so that’s how it is. Well then, I shall leave you two boys to settle your differences like barbarians and beat each other silly. I for one cannot stand the indignity which the Crimson Ranger has just inflicted upon my person; therefore, I am leaving – goodbye!”

With that, Miss Vanity took out her sword and slashed the air several times. This caused a large door-like panel to fall off from the space wherein she had cut through with her sword – as if she’d cut through reality itself. It was pretty easy to see since Wrath’s closed space was a monochromatic green, but the area where the panel had fallen off was not – even though it looked exactly the same otherwise.

The fashionable masked beauty then stepped into the portal that she’d made and swiftly disappeared from the closed space. The panel of reality that she’d cut then slowly faded back into monochromatic green.
“Tsk. I’ll never understand women no matter how many worlds I conquer… now then, Crimson Ranger, or should I say, Pete Robinson? Shall we continue where we left off?”

Pete clenched his fist tight and nodded.

“Bring it, Wrath!”

“Round-o 2! Get Raidy! Fight-o!” Giselle Orchardwither shouted in an annoyingly cute voice with an obviously fake Japanese accent from inside Pete’s head.

Pete was fairly confident in his chances now. After all, he’d already destroyed Wrath’s ultimate weapon – the giant headphones that allowed him to tune out reality.

To his surprise however, instead of taking the initiative, Wrath simply crossed his arms and stared straight at the Crimson Ranger – or at least it looked that way since it was pretty hard to tell because Wrath was wearing a glorified motorcycle helmet just like Pete.

Time seemed to slow down as Pete pondered his options in his mind. Escape wasn’t probable since the entire arcade was effectively a closed space or some kind of reality marble created by Wrath. Even if he defeated Wrath, there was no guarantee that the closed space would disappear and that he would safely be transported back to reality. Miss Vanity seemed to have the ability to enter and exit this place on a whim – but she’s gone now and it was unlikely that she’d be back. Also, it wasn’t an ability that Pete could possibly replicate with the Crimson Ranger’s offense-based capabilities. This left Pete with only one real option: since Wrath created this closed space, he must have some way to get out of it even without Miss Vanity’s help; therefore, all that Pete needed to do was beat the stuffing out of his enemy and make him retract the closed space.

There was also the coward’s way out which was to admit defeat and beg Wrath to let him out in exchange for the Red One Changer.

“Don’t even think about it, buster!”

But an annoyingly cute voice inside Pete’s head quickly ruled out that option.

“Okay, Pete. Go get him. Crimson Pwnage Speed Blitz now!”

“What am I to you, Giselle? Some kind of Pokemon… still, that’s not a bad idea… here I go! Crimson Pwnage Speed Blitz!”

In the fraction of the time that it takes to blink an eye, Pete accelerated towards Wrath at a speed that was just 20% slower than the speed of light. The Crimson Ranger’s body glowed with a bright red aura as he collided with Wrath.

Sparks flew everywhere from the impact and when the smoke and debris had cleared, it was Wrath who was standing firmly in place with a huge crater that was about 10 meters on the floor around him created by Pete’s Crimson Pwnage Speed Blitz attack.


Pete was lying flat on his back just outside the crater. Blood trickled down from his forehead and there was a huge vertical hairline crack on his helmet’s visor even though the helmet itself was supposedly nigh indestructible.
He tried to recollect what had just happened. Wrath’s counter-attack was so simple that it seemed incomprehensible to the Crimson Ranger how his ultimate move could be countered so easily. At the moment of impact, Wrath simply bent down and extended his elbow in front of him making contact with Pete’s helmet – sending him flying backwards.

“To tell you the truth, Crimson Ranger…” Wrath said matter-of-factly.

“I barely used 10% of my true strength. Those giant headphones from earlier were just a gimmick. Do you really think that I could earn the title of ‘conqueror of worlds’ without being strong by myself?”

“What? Pfeh! You’re obviously lying through your teeth, Wrath. I was just about to pwn you hard if Miss Vanity hadn’t come in.”

Pete struggled back to his feet. It was probably just a lucky shot and fortunately, his suit’s force fields absorbed most of the impact of the blow. He went back into a fighting stance.

“Hmm? You’re still going to fight me after that? You must be effed up in the head something fierce, Crimson Ranger.” Wrath taunted him.

“Pfeh! I think you’re bluffing, Wrath. You’re nothing without your giant headphones that tune out reality.” Pete answered back.

“Oh really? Then… I guess I’ll have to show you a little demonstration.”

Wrath crossed his arms and bowed his head. Pete felt a strong aura rising up from out of Wrath’s black spandex-clad body. It almost seemed as if his body mass had increased ten-fold even though Pete could clearly see that Wrath’s body remained the same size. The villain had undoubtedly grown powerful… very powerful!

“Now I’ll show you 20% of my power!”

In a matter of seconds, Wrath dashed all around Pete destroying the walls and pillars of the Arcade with his bare hands – even the pieces of debris that fell from the ceiling all around them were instantly crushed to powder with a dazzling display of hyperspeed martial arts strikes.

In his mind, a part of Pete was thinking that the logical move would be to attack Wrath while he was busy showing off, but another part of him – perhaps the more instinctive part of his brain, told him that to do that right now would be tantamount to suicide. He was clearly no match for Wrath given what he was witnessing right now.

Pete wanted to do something – anything. Even running away seemed like a good idea right now – futile though it might be, but his legs remained glued to the ground. It wasn’t anything noble like the notion that a hero would never run from battle. I t was just that Pete was experiencing the most primal and natural survival instinct in the world:  true fear. A fear that can either paralyze you or prime your body for battle by charging it with adrenaline – for Pete’s part, he couldn’t even lift a finger at the moment.

“And this…”

Suddenly, Wrath appeared behind him. When it happened, Pete wasn’t even aware of, but the fact of the matter was that Wrath was clearly behind him right now.

“Pete! Move it! It’s dangerous!” Giselle Orchardwither’s warning came just a split-second too late.

“Is 30% of my power!”


Wrath tapped the Crimson Ranger with the side of his hand on a specific spot at the back of Pete’s neck. It appeared to be a very light tap, but to Pete, it felt like a million tons of concrete had suddenly come crashing down on his neck.


Just like that, Pete Robinson, the Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger fell to his knees – unconscious.

“Hmph! I’ll be taking the Red One Changer now. Seriously, this was the famous Paragon of Justice? What a joke.” Hissed Wrath.
A few hours later, Pete woke up inside the arcade – mostly unharmed and no longer in his Crimson Ranger form. Apparently, Wrath didn’t even deem him to be an adversary worth killing. Pete knew it himself. Compared to Wrath’s strength, he was trash.

He tried to get up onto his feet, but his limbs felt sore all over. He probably could have willed himself to get up, but his body wasn’t the only thing that was hurting right now. Pete knew the truth – that he had been soundly defeated by his nemesis and he could never use his Crimson Ranger powers again. Wrath had taken the Red One Changer – the bad guys had won.

Even if Wrath were to conquer the Earth at this very moment, Pete Robinson probably couldn’t have cared less. What made him feel even more dejected was the fact that with all the powers that he had at his disposal, he was still nothing more than a bug, an insect to be squashed and played around with by the conqueror of worlds known as Wrath. What had even made him think that he could stand up to such an entity?

“Pete… get a hold of yourself. It wasn’t your fault. There was no way – not even I could’ve…”

The familiar, annoyingly cute voice of Giselle Orchardwither could do little to ease the emotional pain that Pete was going through.


Pete could not say it – not even to the little girl inside his mind who had been his ally through thick and thin (mostly). He couldn’t say that it wasn’t that he blamed himself for that incident, but that he simply felt bad that he didn’t have the Red One Changer anymore and therefore, he was no longer the Crimson Ranger.

Being the Crimson Ranger had given him power beyond his wildest dreams, but more importantly it had turned him into the protagonist of the superhero movies, video games, manga and anime that he had always idolized and he’d even found some kind of pseudo-love interest in Miss Vanity. He was no longer just Pete, the average, self-sufficient 20-something lackadaisical otaku. No, that had become just a mere disguise for his true identity, the Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger. As much as the world needed the Crimson Ranger as its savior from the forces of Wrath, Pete also needed to be the Crimson Ranger to save himself from his own mundane existence … but it was all over now.

This incident was a huge slap to the face from reality itself. The truth is that he couldn’t be the Crimson Ranger any longer and on top of that, the world was probably doomed thanks to his incompetence.

“Rise, Crimson Ranger.” A deep, throaty voice interrupted Pete’s thoughts of self-loathing.

“What?” Pete Robinson turned his head towards the source of the voice.
The familiar stranger’s horned goat’s mask seemed to shine brightly amidst the glare of the arcade’s multi-colored lights. It was Baphomet, the bad-ass normal antihero whom Wrath had knocked unconscious earlier.

“B-Baphomet… are you ok? You got hit pretty hard earlier.”

“Hmph! I’m fine, Crimson Ranger. My helmet is made of an unbreakable metal alloy of my own design. Not even a kamehameha could destroy it. More importantly… are you ok… in the head, I mean.”

“Huh? I’m fine, but you can stop calling me Crimson Ranger now, my name is Pete R…”


Before Pete could finish, Baphomet slapped him across the face with the back of his hand clad in a heavy padded gauntlet.

“OUCH! What did you do that for?”

“You really are messed up in the head aren’t you, Crimson Ranger? Why do you think I’d even care who you were pretending to be? You ARE the Crimson Ranger – and that is that. I have decided so do NOT argue with me… it’s futile.”

“But I’m not the Crimson Ranger anymore. Don’t you see? I don’t even have the Red One Changer with me now. I can’t transform and access the Crimson Ranger’s powers anymore.”

“Hmph! And you call yourself the Paragon of Justice? Is that all that being the Crimson Ranger was to you? Relying on the powers of some mystical object that wasn’t even yours to begin with? Think about it, Crimson Ranger. You’re more than that… I know. I’ve witnessed you in battle countless times from the shadows. You’re more than the powers and the costume. You’re just too oblivious to see that for yourself.”

“I… I just don’t know. All I know is that all my life, I’ve just been Pete Robinson: slightly out-of-shape, lackadaisical, anti-social otaku; nothing more and nothing less. I don’t know what it is that you thought that you saw in me, but…”


“Ouch! You hit me! You hit me with something long and hard!”

“I did NOT! You just copied that line off of some combat butler manga. All I did was slap you across the face again.”

“Then would you please stop doing that?”

“I will not! I will keep hitting you for as long as you continue with this senseless, emo talk, Crimson Ranger.”

“Geez, you’re as stubborn as some annoyingly cute little girl who only exists in my head, aren’t you?”

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, Crimson Ranger, but I will definitely continue hitting you until I knock some sense into that head of yours.”

Pete was beginning to grow weary of this conversation. He rose and sat down lazily with his legs stretched out on the floor. Also, he’d noticed that Giselle had been uncharacteristically quiet.

“Shut up, Pete. Why don’t you listen to the man. He’s actually making a lot of sense.”

“Sigh… well, I suppose I’m about done with my fifteen minutes of emo mode. Fine, Giselle… but we’re still in big trouble here with the Red One Changer now in Wrath’s possession. Also, I still don’t know much about Viv- er, I mean Miss Vanity and how she fits into the grand scheme of things.”

“Hrmph! I see you seem to have regained some of your spirit now, Crimson Ranger.” Said Wrath.

The masked antihero paused for moment and looked up in an exaggerated manner as if he was pondering something before continuing.

“Listen, Crimson Ranger. You might have lost your powers, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are the hero that the Earth needs right now.”

“Well, that sounds really encouraging and all, Baphomet, but the fact remains that Wrath now has my Red One Changer – and with its powers, he’s all set to conquer the Earth in any number of ways.”

“Hmph! I see, so this Red One Changer is the source of your powers and this Wrath person can somehow use it like a world-destroyer class weapon, am I correct?”

“Yup, though I’m not sure how he would use it exactly, but an annoyingly cute little voice inside my head says that’s about the gist of it.”

“Then the solution is simple, Crimson Ranger. We will simply work together and take back this Red One Changer from the villain known as Wrath.”

“It sounds simple in theory, but I don’t even know where he is at the moment. Furthermore, I’m literally powerless to stop him without the Red One Changer. I couldn’t even get a scratch on him while I was in my transformed state. How do you realistically expect me to take back the Red One Changer from him now?”

“As for locating him, leave that to me, but before that… let me tell you 
something, Crimson Ranger.”


“Happy endings don't happen in real life, that's why superheroes in fiction exist… unfortunately, but, even though you or I may not be real superheroes with real superpowers right now, there is no doubt that I am the hero known as Baphomet and that you are…”

“The Crimson Ranger.” Giselle Orchardwither echoed in an annoyingly cute voice from within Pete’s head.”

“Get ready, Crimson Ranger, I will show you what it means to be a superhero with no superpowers!”

To be continued… See you in the next episode!

Next Episode Preview:  Pete undergoes a training montage and learns the ultimate move: faster than anyone! Like the wind, like my name! Hayate no Gotoku – wait, wrong series! Meanwhile, Primela Rosenkreuz reveals that she is the head of the prestigious Rosenkreuz family who are actually secretly funding Japan’s amateur doujin industry in a long-term plan to conquer the world with manga. Sheryl Harrison buys a PS Vita in order to play Yatagarasu but finds out that the game has now been moved to Android/iOS devices! Oooh the humanity! All this and more in the next action-filled, hypercharged episode of Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger! 

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (Dreamcast): A VIsual Novel Review by Mid-Tier Guard

To Derek Pascarella, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, Lewis Cox, Piggy, Nico, Danthrax4, Lacquerware, EsperKnight, SnowyAria, VincentNL, cyo, and Ha...