Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eyelis - Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Hayate no Gotoku! CTMEOY OP) Subbed by Animax

Here is the opening theme for Hayate no Gotoku! Can't Take My Eyes Off You as translated by Animax. Based on my very limited Japanese knowledge, the translation is pretty accurate. The video was captured using an Eazycap USB video extractor. I'm not sure if it's because of the USB-based video capture card or if it's just my laptop, but there's a slight delay in the audio. 
I love this opening song, by the way. I believe these are the lyrics written by Hata himself. 

Unfortunately, Dailymotion rejected my video in seconds. Here, have a mediafire link:

Gawd! Didn't even see that. Thanks to mad mac and thebrawlbro for pointing out the broken link.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 431: Fireworks - Synopsis and Review

Look what I found while window shopping inside the Mall. Cute pic of Nagi on the cover, eh? (snickers)
Synopsis: Continuing from where they left off in the last chapter, Hayate and Ruka spend a little alone time chatting with each other while holding hands. After demanding for some ice cream, Ruka mentions the bucket list that she’d talked about before with Nagi and Chiharu back at the Violet Mansion. This makes Hayate curious and he asks if he can see it. Ruka’s reaction is priceless! So… I’ll just let the pic do the talking.
This was cute and funny.
After some playful teasing, Hayate suddenly stops with a forlorn look on his face. Ruka moves closer and rests her head against his chest. Hayate says that she shouldn’t be doing this if she plans to return to being an idol. Ruka suddenly blurts out that they could just throw everything away – but as if denying her plea, the fireworks display begins and the noise cuts her off mid-sentence.
Gimme ice cream or I'll scream!
The two marvel at the fireworks display for a while and Ruka teases that Hayate is really unlucky because if she had defeated Nagi, Hayate could have married a lovely idol like her. She then scribbles down a note and slips it into Hayate’s suit pocket. Hayate is shown once more with a sad look on his face and as the fireworks die down, he is shown standing alone – Ruka no longer by his side.
Perhaps Hayate deserves the "forever alone" ending.
He reads the note that she had left him which simply says “Goodbye.” Flipping the note however, there’s another message: “I hope you regret not marrying me for the rest of your life” complete with a doodle of a grinning chibi Ruka. Hayate then admits that he regrets it already – and that’s the end of this chapter.

Review: Okay, let’s not beat around the bush. I’m going to cut to the chase and point out the most striking detail of this chapter as far as I’m concerned: Hayate has literally admitted that he has feelings for Ruka. Unless regretting the fact that he’s not able to marry her can still be the subject of interpretation, this chapter has effectively elevated Ruka to the level of Athena as far as Hayate’s own feelings are concerned. While Hayate has already admitted that he “loved” Athena, he has now also admitted that he already regrets not being able to marry Ruka.
Hata: Sorry, Ruka-tan... denied!
I mentioned in the last chapter review in a conversation with MadMac in the comments that it would be nice to have a few panels showing Hayate’s feelings about this whole matter – and we finally got said panels here in this very chapter. After this development however, all I can say is that Hayate appears to be a very fickle young man – one who falls in love quite easily. Furthermore, no one would dare say that his feelings weren’t genuine – not with those very clear feelings of regret in his eyes scattered all throughout this chapter.

For now however, Ruka has been effectively removed as a current love rival for Hayate’s feelings thanks to her “Goodbye letter.” This does not however prevent her from making a return because this bittersweet parting scene is actually quite reminiscent of the farewell chapter between Athena and Hayate in the Mykonos arc.
The most significant part of this chapter IMO. Hayate HAS feelings for Ruka.
On a less serious note, Ruka was refreshingly funny in this chapter and while many might feel sorry for her, I certainly don’t. Yes, she didn’t get Hayate and she has temporarily stepped out of the picture, but meeting Nagi and Hayate was actually the best thing that could have happened to her. Thanks to these two, now her life is back in order, she’s been reconciled with her parents and she has finally admitted that she does love being an idol. This is a happy ending – no, beginning to the rest of her life and of course, we all know that the “goodbye” isn’t really permanent as she is still shown to be regularly interacting with Hayate and company – although not as frequently in Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

The funny thing about this chapter is that Hata has actually screwed with a lot of the established tropes in the Hayate no Gotoku shipping wars. Athena is no longer secure in her status of being the only girl that Hayate has ever loved since she’s now on par with Ruka while Nagi is still lagging behind all the other girls because she is still the only one that Hayate has never shown any romantic feelings or even just simple physical attraction for. All the ships that everyone have been sailing on (my own included) have been rocked and shuffled around into a new order – one that might take the fans quite some lengthy debates to sort out… meh, leave me out of it, please. I’mma sticking with Nagi no matter what happens and most of my arguments in her favor still hold true anyway. This arc-ender actually kind of seals the deal with the formulaic way it ended.
What could this be...?
With that said, this is a very interesting direction that the manga is taking, but before this entire Ruka arc comes to a close, I’d still like to see a reunion between butler and mistress. I mean, it’s been so long since they’ve even talked to each other apart from Hayate asking for permission to leave in order to do something to “make Ruka happy,” which just turned out to be him fetching her parents.

Hear something? That's the sound of the legion of Ruka x Hayate shippers shedding tears in unison.

In any case, this was a great chapter that really makes Ruka’s character shine while also showing us a little glimpse of Hayate’s own feelings – perhaps those filler anime episodes in Season 1 were correct: He really does mean to “score all the women.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 430: Shining Brightly - Review and Synopsis

Look who's back!

Synopsis: The long day is finally over. Nagi, Hina, Chiharu, Kayura and Hamster go off to find a place to see the fireworks display. Ayumu suggests going to the top of a high-rise apartment building, but Hinagiku is against the idea because they can’t just enter a building just because it has a good view.
These moments are why I like Nagi.
 Surprise! The building belongs to Izumi’s father and she’s there together with the rest of the student council trio, Risa and Miki. At the top of the building, everyone admires the view and Hamster asks where Hayate is. Hina replies that he’s seeing Ruka’s parents off together with Kurosu. Hamster wants to call them and tell them to head to the apartment building afterwards, but Nagi stops her and tells her not to be insensitive and to give her some time alone with her parents.
Hamsters can be so insensitive, eh Ojou-sama?
Meanwhile, Hayate is speaking with Ruka and she proudly declares that she’ll treat him because she has 20,000 yen from selling her doujinshi. Hayate asks her again to make sure and she repeats the figure with a bright smile. Hayate decides to take her up on her offer and totally doesn’t hold back ordering various pieces of dimsum. They then spend the rest of the day on a pseudo-date having fun with each other and eventually finishing off all of Ruka’s 20,000 yen. The chapter ends with Ruka reaching out for Hayate’s hand and stating that all the shining things she longed for might have been “nothing more than this” while looking at a 500-yen mask that she’d bought earlier.
Hold back a little, you gluttonous butler you!
Review: Lovely transition chapter, even if people are going to rage again that it ends with a cliffhanger. I for one do not mind. Let’s go over the things I liked about this chapter.

Nagi – What? She’s my favorite character! Of course I’d mention her FIRST, silly. In all seriousness, it was great to see her do the mature thing and prevent Ayumu (who only has the best of intentions) from interrupting Ruka’s time with her parents as well as with Hayate. It’s just these little bits that help to show just how much she’s really changed throughout this arc – and I believe it’s safe to say that these changes are now permanent even if she does revert to “spoiled brat” mode in less-serious future gag chapters.
This is very significant.
Ruka’s 20,000 yen – Just do your maths. I’m not even that good at it and I could tell the implications of this right away. 20,000/200 yen = 100 copies sold. That’s right, this is Hata’s way of telling us (not so subtly) that Ruka did lose on purpose. Oh! But she had one unsold copy of her doujinshi! Simply put, she had one extra copy printed out because she intended to hand Nagi the win just in case they did tie – which they did. How do I know that she sold her doujinshi for 200 yen each? Go back just a little bit to chapter 426 page 11 and you’ll see that Nagi’s selling her doujin for the same price. It’s logical to assume that Ruka is doing the same thing. Anyway, that’s that. They tied but Ruka wanted Nagi to win. The subtler takeway from all this is that she’s basically given up on winning Hayate through this contest. Want more proof? Okay, move on to the next paragraph.
Read between the lines a little, people. This is super-obvious.
Ruka’s mask – Ruka buys a mask for 500 yen in this chapter. Take note of how she’s looking at it with a sad, but satisfied smile in the last page while stating that the shining things that she longed for might have been nothing more than “this.” The key here is in understanding the imagery that Hata used – a mask. It’s actually pretty simple and quite logical to assume that the mask is a metaphor for Ruka’s “shining things that she longed for,” which are most likely her dreams. Now go back to the previous “filler chapters” in this arc concerning Ruka. What does she long for the most? To be a mangaka who sells a trillion copies? Nope, Hata made it a point to make her appear as clingy and desperate to marry Hayate as possible. Now it’s easy to see why he did this. All those things were building up to this moment wherein Ruka declares that everything was a façade – a mask, so to speak. Think I’m reading too much into this? I don’t think so, but hit me up with your thoughts in the comments. After all, the last few panels also show Ruka reaching out to touch Hayate’s hand.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 429: Ten Years From Now - Review and Synposis

Nagi cover FTW!
Synopsis: Ruka and Nagi discuss how things played out during the competition. Nagi is predictably insightful and points out that Ruka lost on purpose because having just one copy left is a little too convenient, but Ruka says she lost because of the mask that Isumi gave her. She makes up a cockamamie reason that between a mysterious masked person (Ruka) and a cute little girl (Nagi), you’d definitely buy the cute little girl’s book.

Best reason evar!

Ruka then brags that she won in terms of book quality and this urges Nagi to challenge her again. Ruka suggests that they should do this again in ten years since that would be just the right time for her to quit being an idol and pursue her dream of being a mangaka again – to which Nagi makes a bold claim that she’ll keep working hard during those 10 years so that Ruka will be so far behind her that she won’t even see her back.
Bold claim for someone who'll start playing video games as soon as she gets home, Ojou-sama.

Chiharu then arrives with iced coffee for both girls and everyone goes off happily to see the fireworks.

Happy Birthday, you impossibly oblivious butler, you!
Meanwhile, Kurosu and Hayate are having a little chat outside. Kurosu thanks Hayate for helping out Ruka’s parents and asks Hayate about his own parents – to which Hayate responds that they would never feel sorry for what they did. He then talks about finding his brother, Ikusa and describes the cross-shaped scar that he has. Kurosu asks if he has mean eyes and a strong sense of justice… which ends this chapter.

Review: As everyone expected, Ruka seems to have lost to Nagi on purpose… unless you actually believe that silly reason she gave. I love Ruka when she’s cute and funny like that. Interestingly, there’s no mention of Hayate anywhere in the conversation. Perhaps Ruka really has given up on Hayate.

Also, someone on mangahere actually mentioned that Isumi’s mask might have been the cause of Ruka losing and while I’m pretty sure that Ruka just made it up for this chapter, it was funny to see her actually using this as her excuse for losing on purpose – as we all know she did.
I've noticed for a while now that Ruka is pretty short if she's just about an inch taller than Nagi.

I like the promise that Ruka and Nagi made to have this competition again in 10 years time. It’s also a great foreshadowing for perhaps a time-skip epilogue for this manga if, as everyone expects, it actually ends in December exactly one year since Hayate first met Maria and Nagi.

At this point, Ruka and Nagi are finally friends again and it seems that all the tension from the doujinshi competition has at last been lifted. I liked how Hata subtly brought the rumor back in again in this chapter through the interactions between Nagi, Ruka and Chiharu. It just makes me chuckle whenever Chiharu gets called “glasses girl” by Nagi.

In any case, a pretty nice transition chapter with not a lot really happening. It does bring up an interesting plot point as to Kurosu’s larger role in this manga however since it seems she actually knows Hayate’s brother. For now, let’s wait and see. It seems that Hata’s dead-set on keeping on advancing with the plot with no Fumi and Sharna sidestories in sight – which is a good thing in my opinion. Let’s all wait and see where this development takes us in the next chapters.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 428: We Will Race into the Sky - Review and Synopsis

Fanart by me. Inspired by Doughnut Gunso's chapter 427 review. Hayate's monologue taken from said review
What would Hayate say just in case Nagi lost? Doughnut Gunso thought up some pretty hilarious lines in his chapter 427 review and this inspired me to draw the above fanart. Hayate with sparkly eyes down on one knee shamelessly spouting all kinds of cheesy lines... anyway, on with the synopsis and review!

Synopsis: While Hayate, Hina, and Dr. Kurosu wait outside of the Comisun area, the identity of the mysterious suit person is revealed first thing in this chapter. As I predicted, it’s not Hayate. As I did not predict, it’s also not Atsumari but turns out to be Ruka’s father together with her mother.

We finally find out what Hayate, Hinagiku and Kurosu did in order to “make Ruka happy” and it was basically just fetching her parents. It turns out that her parents got into an accident in Hokkaido after forcing their debt on her and running away.

They were apparently seriously injured but were healed thanks to Dr. Kurosu. At around this time, Ruka also announced that she would be taking a break from her idol career due to poor health.
Ruka's parents. Looks like Ruka takes after mom except for the hair color.
Hayate’s only role was to convince Ruka’s parents to see her again since they were basically quite ashamed to show their faces in front of their daughter again and weren’t sure whether she would forgive them.

It’s revealed that Ruka’s parents would support her idol career or her manga career from now on. Outside the grounds again, it’s shown that Atsumari might have helped out with this as she’s shown talking to Hinagiku.
Yes, Hata Kenjiro. An accident. That explains EVERYTHING!
 Inside the Comisun area, Ruka then asks her parents to read the doujin that her father had offered to buy from her and it’s the same story of Murasaki Shikibu who travels to the present world. Tries to become the world’s best novelist, but gets distracted by many things along the way. In a twist to Ruka’s first draft of this story however, she abandons her passion for novel-writing because she thought she would be happy with the one she loved, but she begins to disappear as soon as she says this. It seemed that fate was telling her that she could do nothing but write novels. This mirrors Ruka’s career as an idol and it culminates with both Ruka and her character, Murasaki Shikibu coming to the same conclusion that they took on this dream for their own sake and finally, Ruka declares that she loves being an idol.

Review: Aww… I was wrong. I was so sure that it would be Atsumari in that suit, but it just turns out to be Ruka’s father. That said, I can’t help but feel that this development is not only mundane, but a little bit too convenient for Ruka – in effect, some things feel a bit rushed.

First of all, I find it absurd that Ruka’s parents didn’t even try to get in contact with her after they had their accident even if they were ashamed of themselves for leaving her with that debt. I think most people would forget about stuff like that if they’re on the verge of death – as Ruka’s parents admitted they were. Of course, Japanese culture might be a bit different.

Secondly, and this is more important, while I like the fact that Ruka has finally come to realize that she does indeed love being an idol (I so predicted that!), it just came out of the blue and wasn’t even mildly foreshadowed throughout this manga. Of course, there’s still the possibility that the next chapter will be a flashback covering Ruka’s realizations during her time with Kayura in the Rainbow Village (innuendos are intentional).

Another thing that I found a bit off-putting can be summarized in this question: Why did Hinagiku need to tag along with Hayate and Kurosu? It seems her only purpose there was to take the passenger seat and ensure that Hayate gets to ride in the trunk in the front of Kurosu’s precious Lamborghini. No, really… I can’t think of anything else. It would have been different if they needed to do some puzzle-solving, dungeon-exploring or bad guy ass-kicking, but it was just Hayate smooth-talking Ruka’s parents into seeing her.
Say all the cheesy lines you want. You're still as oblivious as ever, butler-boy!
Finally… ugh, Hayate is free to be his usual oblivious self again thanks to this chapter since all the conflicts that would have required him to make an actual choice between Ruka and Nagi have now been conveniently resolved by Hata in this arc without Hayate’s help.

It’s nice to see that Atsumari isn’t so bad after all as she seems to be involved with the reconciliation between Ruka and her parents. In a way, my prediction wasn’t so far-off. It’s just that Hata chose to resolve the Ruka-Atsumari relationship differently.

So… in the previous chapter, we got Nagi’s happy ending for this arc and then in this chapter, we get Ruka’s happy ending and her return to her idol career. This is all well and good because we’re now steadily moving towards Heaven Is A Place On Earth’s timeline and eventually, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You's. I’m sure that any arguments about CTMEOY being non-canon has already been put to rest with the cover of Nagi’s manga in the previous chapter.
Ruka's moment of awesome.
I didn’t really care much for Ruka’s manga, but it was still nice to see it nonetheless. The story itself felt as rushed as the rest of the developments in this chapter, but the conclusion was nice, at least. It was great to see the shifting mirrored perspectives between Ruka and her version of Lady Murasaki.

To conclude this review, here’s a little something I noticed: Hata has once again implied that Nagi has extremely good luck. He’s said this at least once or twice before during the Kyoto and Ise portion of this arc. This is an important point methinks because everyone knows that Hayate’s special talent is being loved by misfortune. Now what do you think Hata’s trying to imply here? Hmm? Hmm? Tell me, coz it’s sooo not obvious! >D

Okay, fanboy shipping aside, I found this to be a so-so chapter. It’s great that we’ve finally resolved most of the conflicts in this arc and we should be moving along to the Royal Garden and King’s Jewels/Nagi’s fortune part of the story soon, but that doesn’t prevent this particular chapter from feeling rushed and slightly unpolished.  

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...