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)|
|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.”