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.”


  1. I am with you on wanting to see a Hayate/Nagi reunion to close everything out. This arc separated them for good reason but enough already.

    Anyway, it was a really good chapter, (I'm gonna miss Ruka's teasing side.) and the insight into Hayate is interesting. I didn't personally read it as Hayate being "in love" with Ruka, but he was clearly very attracted/interested in her, and came across to me as trying very hard not to fall for her. He may have regrets but he's determined to live with them.

    He did reject her even so, and that's very significant. So much so that even aside from the Ruka shippers, I see a lot of fans of other girls mourning pre-emptively. It surprised me at first, but on second thought I can see why. If having all the advantages that Ruka had isn't enough to win over Hayate, then what chance does anyone else have, really?

    I remember back when Ruka first confessed I wrote something like "if this doesn't cause Hayate to waver, nothing ever will," and completely forgot about it until today. I guess that stands.

    I don't think the overall situation has changed that much. Hayate is still loyal to Nagi above all and he still hasn't truly fallen in love with someone else, that is his "Will I ever again tell a girl that I truly love her" longing at the end of Mykonos remains unfulfilled.

    What this does make clear is hoping that so-and-so could totally grab the winning ring if they just got out there and made their feelings clear is a rapidly fading dream. The deciding moment will be when Hayate decides to confess and not before.

    It really wouldn't hurt if Hata would instead of teasing the Nagi ending as inevitable started actually developing things romantically in that direction, though. At least bring the manga up to speed with the last two seasons of the anime!

    (As an aside, it would totally be fitting for Hayate's neglected upbringing to make him prone to falling in love easily to fill the void but I don't think that's intentional.)

    One more week...

    1. Whoo! Long comment. You should blog this manga as well if you're not already doing so in some unknown part of the internet that I haven't lurked yet. It'd be great to get more detailed individual perspectives on this manga.

      It's true that he hasn't confessed to anyone just yet. I just found that scene wherein he admits to having regrets about not taking Ruka up on her offer quite powerful since as you've said, he's never done that before, not even with Athena. I agree that he's probably not really in love with Ruka (as I believe he is already falling for Nagi even -- he just doesn't know it yet because he has the romantic aptitude of a 5 year old) , but he certainly has some strong feelings for her if he shows that much regret about not marrying her. He's still probably the most enigmatic character in the series despite being the MC just because we see so little of his inner self.

      I don't even believe that Hayate was ever in love with Athena because he seems to have a rather twisted understanding of what it means to be in love (and it was more like two kids playing around anyway -- as you've mentioned on animesuki) -- but I do tend to just go along with what the fanbase says regarding Hayate x anyone. Perhaps I should just put some quotations marks on the word "love" the next time I use it to refer to Hayate x Athena.

      I'd definitely like to see Hata develop the Hayate x Nagi angle more within the manga, but I get the feeling he's delaying it on purpose because it would sink all the other ships -- even if it is the only logical way to end this story unless he feels like using the "shocking swerve" trope.

  2. Oh I used to do long write-ups with pictures and everything for each episode/chapter, not just for Hayate but a couple of series, but I burnt out years ago which is why my "Where I read" thread on the forums is just me posting brief comments now. It's pretty much a legacy thread at this point.

    Plus being a Nagi fan it just gets old arguing the same tired points with the entire internet. I'm more active posting now then I was a year or two partly because the recent anime endings were somewhat invigorating.

    Have to agree that Hayate still doesn't understand this whole love thing. It's pretty sad when his ex-"girlfriend" from kindergarten sends him packing because he's got that glint in his eye while talking about another girl and he still doesn't get it. Oh well. Next week may be something nice. Maybe...

    1. Not really a reply to this comment but... dammit! That last post of yours about Nagi compared to her rivals for Hayate's feelings on animesuki was absolutely brilliant! May I quote/blog it here? No hard feelings if you refuse, of course.

  3. I'd rather you didn't quote me, but if you want to put up a blog along similar lines, go for it.

    1. Ah, I actually wanted to quote what you wrote verbatim. That's ok, though. I probably will make a blog post like that sometime in the future.

  4. Hayate does deserve forever alone ending


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