Monday, December 2, 2013

Hayate the Combat Butler Chapter 432: Shining Brightly - Review and Synopsis

Happy Birthday, Nagi ojou-sama! (December 3) Here's a portrait of you from me on your special day. I had initially planned to tie up Hayate and deliver him bound and gagged on your doorstep, but he used some crazy martial arts move on me and ran away.
Synopsis: Nagi and company are enjoying the fireworks display and notably, even Maria and Alice are present. Ayumu asks Nagi to come over and watch, but it seems she has other things on her mind. Elsewhere, Hayate reflects on what just happened while looking at Ruka’s “goodbye letter.” He reflects on how he could have been happy with Ruka, but he is distracted by all the happy couples around him at the fireworks festival. It makes him very jealous to the point that he wishes that “they’d all just die” for looking so happy.

To add insult to injury, a very lovey-dovey couple who feel the need to proclaim to the whole world – especially to Hayate, just how lovey-dovey they are, even asks him to take their picture – to which he readily complies because he is a wishy-washy excuse for a man after all… or as Sarge Doughnuts would put it… lol a pathetic piece of ass :D.
Yeah guys, rub it in goood!
Hayate returns to the Violet Mansion to find that nobody’s home. He checks his phone and finds a message from the Hamster that everyone went to Izumi’s Dad’s apartment. The message comes complete with a map to help him locate them.

Alone in the Violet Mansion, Hayate thinks back on the times he’s had together with Ruka and once again looks at her goodbye letter. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a masked heroine appears! … to cheer him up.
A heroine appears!
It’s Life-Ender chan… who is of course, Nagi wearing a silly mask. She makes an impromptu attempt to cheer him up, but when Hayate asks exactly how she plans to do that, she doesn’t really know what to do and hesitantly declares that she’d do it with impressions. Of course, Hayate is unimpressed and highly skeptical of just what kind of impressions Nagi Life-Ender chan can do.

Since she’s got Twin Tails and she’s blonde, she goes for a Sailor Moon impression – which fails to impress Hayate. Unperturbed, she then hands him a “wonderful present,” which is nothing more than a very quick caricature of Hayate that she probably scribbled in seconds. She proudly declares that this is an important signed illustration by the trillion selling mangaka, Sanzenin Nagi and that while it may worthless trash at the moment, it will become a brightly shining treasure 10 years into the future so he has to take care of it until then.

This makes Hayate crack up. Hayate’s inner monologue is shown thus, “There are many different kinds of happiness and no happiness is better or worse than another. So it seems to me now… that this was fine.”
Nagi y u so cute?
The chapter ends with a ship-teasing moment between Nagi and Hayate with Hayate praising her for working really hard during the doujinshi competition and Nagi getting slightly embarrassed and showing a little bit of her tsundere side. And that concludes this very epic, multi-year spanning, ship-sinking doujinshi/Ruka arc. Next week, a new story will begin. Let’s all look forward to it!

Review: Right on cue, lordcloudx has written another long-winded blog post about this chapter mere hours since the scanlation was released… lol! Perfect timing. Today is Nagi’s birthday (Dec. 3) where I’m from. Nice day to post my fanart of bishoujo game style Nagi as well as end a very long arc, I’d say.

Hah! What can I say except that I absolutely loved this chapter? Let’s get on with my observations for this chapter, shall we?

First of all, Hayate’s reflections on the life he could have had with Ruka betray his true feelings. He wasn’t in love with her just yet, folks. Note how he contemplates how he and Ruka “could have been lovers,” and doesn’t outright declare that “he loved her” as he did with Nagi beta version Athena. Hey, you think I’m reading too much into this, don’t’cha? All to support Nagi, amirite? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong, but if you’ll don the lens of objectivity for a moment, you’ll find nothing wrong with what I’m saying as well. If Hayate was truly in love with Ruka, then he would have gone after her instead of turning down her final attempt to get him to be with her in the previous chapter, and wouldn’t you think he’d at least shed a tear or two? For your information, that’s obviously a sweatdrop on his cheek there.
This side of Hayate makes me chuckle. Remember all those Dog of Flanders references in the earlier chapters?
If you’ll recall from my previous reviews, I asked for a reunion between butler and mistress, and that’s exactly what we got in this chapter. I liked how the meeting happened in private between the two of them as I fully expected Hayate to just go straight to Izumi’s Dad’s apartment, but instead, he goes home to the Violet Mansion to find that everyone has left – but someone who cares very much for him has actually come back – and who else could it be? What better way to end this arc? (Wait! Rhetorical question! Don’t answer that!)

I said in the previous review that I wanted to have chapter 413 incident, wherein Nagi witnesses Hayate hugging Ruka from behind while declaring that “he would definitely make her happy,” addressed before this arc ended, and while that incident hasn’t been directly resolved, given the interaction between Nagi and Hayate in this chapter, I suppose it’s safe to say that Nagi has no lingering feelings leftover from that incident – so it’s all well and good.
Life-Ender chan? Hah! More like Ship-Ender chan, eh? Ain't it sad, Ruka-tan?
While I did catch that Nagi wearing a mask and snapping Hayate out of his depressed mood was quite reminiscent of the very early “Mask the Money” chapter, what struck me as more interesting is that Hayate actually received a little bit of character development within this chapter. When he declares that “there are different kinds of happiness” and basically admits that he’s not at all dissatisfied with his current life with his mistress and everyone in the Violet Mansion, I took this as a foreshadowing moment for the events of Heaven is a Place on Earth, which should come next in the current timeline.
I also like how Hata is really pushing this “10 years into the future” thing, which might be an indication of a time-lapse epilogue by the time this manga ends. (By the way, Hayate and Athena also first met roughly 10 years ago from the current timeline.) I couldn’t help but be reminded of the lyrics of Hatsune Miku’s Letter Song wherein she asks her self from 10 years into the future if she notices that there is something that has always been by her side and whether or not she has been protecting it. I think this applies very well to Hayate, who should really start to take notice of who has always been by his side and the very reason why his misfortune has begun to change. Hoho! (dons shipping lens) *Sparkling!*
Shipping lens activated! Man, don't I look so bad-ass with my little girl shirt? Protip: people generally assume I'm around 10 years younger than my actual age, lawlz!
Now for some blatant shipping paragraphs. I’ve said while guest posting in Astronerdboy and Doughnut Gunso’s respective blogs that I believe that any of the girls in Hayate’s harem is a better match for him than Nagi. I wasn’t lying even if I support the Hayate x Nagi relationship. The reason is that if we analyze their respective personalities and feelings, Nagi is still definitely lagging behind all the other girls in the romance department because Hayate has not once shown any feelings of physical attraction or inclination towards a romantic relationship with her…. BUT feelings change over time and while he may not realize it just yet, I do believe that the strong feelings (strong enough to dispel magic in Heaven is a Place on Earth) that Hayate currently has of wanting to protect his mistress will eventually be realized into love – the story just works best this way IMO as a writer. I can’t imagine a more satisfying ending to this manga than this – so yes, I am forever on the Hayate x Nagi ship. Got that? FOREEEEVER!

Another reason why I support the Hayate x Nagi relationship is because even if Hayate has declared that he "loved" Athena and he has shown that he has feelings for Ruka, admires Hinagiku and Maria, and at least sees the hamster as a girl, I believe - especially with regard to his would-be relationships with Athena and Ruka that Hayate is looking at dead stars.  He might think that he could have had a happy future being all lovey-dovey with Ruka as well as with Athena, but the truth is that he already gets along quite well with Nagi. In contrast, he doesn't really know how life with Ruka would be and the same is true with Athena, since his experience of living with her was when they were both around six years old. Would it really be the same as back then? 

To quote that short story, "So all these years--since when?--he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens." In Nagi's favor, Hayate already knows what it's like living with her as they are already doing so right now, and as he himself admits in this chapter, this is also a kind of happiness for him. (nope, you can't refute that :D).

Furthermore, I just love the way these two interact whenever they’re together. They don’t act like any brother and sister that I know of, but they definitely have a lot of fun with each other’s company. It’s a lot more interesting for me to read than his interactions with the other girls – although Ruka x Hayate banter is a close second, but I’ve rambled on about stuff unrelated to this chapter for long enough, so I’ll stop here.

So what comes next in this manga? Well, there’s still the fact that Nagi is now a rich ojou-sama again in Can’t Take My Eyes Off You that hasn’t been resolved. There’s also the whole business with Yozora Housen, chibi A-tan and Hinagiku’s sword, and the King’s Jewels – which may or may not be related to Nagi’s return to rich ojou-sama status in Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. There’s also Maria and her insecurities about Nagi no longer needing her. First of all however, the events of Heaven is a Place on Earth should be next in the current timeline. Whatever is in store for us next, bring it on! I’m more than satisfied with the ending for this arc. (next arc: Fumi becomes student council president)
Awww, I didn't forget you, A-tan. You get a fanart as well. Belated happy birthday. (November 30)

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