Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 445: We Still Don’t Know The Name Of The Flower We Ate That Day - Synopsis and Review

Synopsis: Btw, I got the chapter title totally wrong for the previous chapter review. Anyway, this chapter looks like an obvious allusion to Ano Hana. I oughta watch that anime someday. I’ve heard good things about it. I'd put in Hina's cover up there, but you know what... I dun like Hata's cover art this time around - and it has nothing to do with Hina as a character, btw.
Not good enough just yet, Hayate

So like, Hinagiku is somewhere inside some kind of locker room complaining about Hayate’s behavior while still dressed in the bunny girl outfit from the previous chapter. Finally, the “LIFE” building is fully restored by Kotetsu and as thanks, Hayate gives him a ticket (looks like a train ticket) and tells him to use it to leave immediately while calling him an idiot.

Even Maria (still in bunny girl outfit) complains that Hayate is being a little too dirty, but Hayate counters that he needs to use every available option and fast because seaside restaurants don’t get customers during the night. Maria sees his point since according to her, only “wildlife” in the form of nocturnal delinquents with fireworks come out to the beach at night. Thus, Hayate convinces her to keep helping out because there’s really not a lot of time to win this bet with Ikusa.
Sounds legit. Do it, Hayate!
Night falls on the first day and LIFE has made about 200 thousand yen, which according to Chiharu, is an amazing amount, but Kayura points out that it’s nowhere near the 8.9 million yen goal.

Everyone starts pitching in relatively useless ideas as to how to increase sales. Suddenly, Alice (who now probably has all of Athena’s memories) suggests making delicious curry because curry and ramen are standards for seaside restaurants. Hayate asks why she chose curry if Ramen is standard too and she bluntly says that it’s because she likes curry (good one, A-tan).

So now Hayate poses the question: how does one make delicious curry? As usual, Nagi is quick to interject with an obscure manga reference and suggests making “black curry.” Unfortunately, Hayate says it’s illegal because apparently, Black Curry uses drugs in the spices.

Athena comes up with a more sensible suggestion and talks about an island with legendary spices which she happened to hear about while gathering info on Ikusa, and it’s apparently a deserted island within boating distance. Athena offers to lead him there. Chiharu says that a deserted island at night is dangerous and Hamster uses the “nocturnal delinquents with fireworks” gag just like Maria.

At this point, Hina suggests going with Hayate and Athena since she can row a boat as well as handle any “nocturnal delinquents with fireworks.” Hamster is worried for other more obvious reasons about this idea and insists on coming too, but Athena quickly puts a stop to that because with that many people on board, not even the strong-armed gorilla could row the boat there (Hina).
Athena: I'mma zing you while you ain't lookin.
So with that, everyone is set for a little night trip to the deserted island of awesome spices or what-not. The boat is some kind of swan-boat, but that aside, Chiharu uses this moment to tease Hina into making a move on Hayate, but the girl is totally oblivious and is thinking more about getting back at Hayate for the bunny-girl incident and wants to whack him (do it) when she sees an opening.) Hamster is envious about Hina and Hayate being on this deserted island at night, but Chiharu doubts that anything will happen.

The trio finally arrives at Higan island, which is totally deserted and looks like some kind of rpg dungeon. At this point, Athena thinks it’s a good time to let everyone know that there’s a horror story attached to this village (lol). Apparently, a village of 20 used to lie there, but one night, one of them murdered everyone else and then committed suicide and the spirits of the murdered villagers have been haunting the island ever since. Hina senses a ghost and immediately grabs Athena’s head like a plushie (lol) and asks what that was, to which Athena bluntly responds that it was the spirit of a murdered villager.

Next, Hina hears someone going “gyah gyah” and Athena nonchalantly states that it’s probably the voice of the murderer’s spirit. She also adds that overcoming the danger of this place is what makes the curry so delicious. At this point, Hayate automatically enters hyper-gigolo mode and takes Hina’s hand and promises to make sure that he’d… but he never finishes what he was about to say because they both fall through some kind of wormhole in the sand.

Athena finishes Hayate’s sentence and says “I hope he can protect her.”
Best reason evar, A-tan.
Review: As usual, Hata’s penchant for misdirection is showcased in this chapter. You young-uns might call it “trolling,” but I don’t like to use that term, when it’s clearly being used as a legitimate literary device all throughout this manga. It’s more of the author’s style rather than a pointless troll. Yes, I know many of you were expecting the return of full-sized Athena in this chapter, but unfortunately, you’re not gonna get it just yet for this chapter.
Gotta love the contrast in their expressions
If there’s anything that I have to say about this chapter, it’s that Athena was absolutely awesome in it. I love the comedy dynamic between her and Hina – especially when they finally set foot on Higan island. Hina just makes the best straight man/girl for Athena’s deadpan responses.
LOL! Again, the contrast.
“Nocturnal delinquents with fireworks” gag was also pretty funny. Definitely loving the comedy in this chapter.

With that said, looks like this arc is proceeding at a pretty brisk pace, which is quite a refresher from the sluggish developments in the previous doujinshi arc involving Ruka. Speaking of Ruka, I got so bored waiting for the next chapter, that I managed to finish making this fanart of her while awaiting the scanlations. The pose and outfit are based on Risa Oribe and her performance of Oath Sign.
She whose ship has been sunk.
It seems like nothing came of Athena's little talk with Hayate in the previous chapter, or it could be that Hayate's realized the error of his ways, but still needs to push through with his plans in haste anyway. He seems to be treating Maria a little bit better.

Speculation corner: I’m going to add this little section here, because I’ve noticed that I tend to make these speculations every now and then.

So for this chapter, we have some possible hints of development on the Hayate-Hina angle in the next chapter – of course, it could be a red herring again, because Hata just loves those. In any case, when Hayate and Hina’s adventures on Higan island do continue, I expect that Hina might use this opportunity to finally confess to Hayate – which would actually tie in with that seemingly pointless airplane chapter 438 wherein she promises to confess to him if she survives riding the Airplane. In fact, even the caption at the end of this chapter suggests that some kind of romance would begin… maybe. With that said, while being firmly on the dual MC ship, I strangely welcome this latest development.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 444: This Is Not A Sign That The Protagonist Will Lose - Review And Synopsis

Nagi's WTF face.
Synopsis: Nagi asks Ikusa if he’d be ok if she paid the 8.92 million yen, and surprisingly, Ikusa says he’d be fine with that but only if Hayate admits that he’s a pathetic man worth less than a worn-out slipper who relies on little girls to get what he wants. Nagi blurts out that Hayate is worth at least a brand-new slipper, which doesn’t really alleviate the situation.
I like Nagi's playful expression here.
Something snaps inside of Hayate and he accepts the challenge and declares that he will win this bet which consists of bringing the seaside restaurant “Life” back to life within 3 days.
Hayate's mad now.
He puts Ikusa at the same level as his parents as “just another good-for-nothing relative.”

Hayate begins putting his plan into action – like a boss. He summons Kotetsu by using a “secret password.” (Stating that he plans to wear a swimsuit). Then he quickly puts Kotetsu to work by demanding that he rebuild the ruined restaurant within two hours.

Meanwhile, Kayura points out that Hayate might have the skills to pull out a win, but it wouldn’t be a good outcome since he’d never want to see his brother again. Nagi says that they should try to bring Ikusa’s memories back if this is the case, but when asked if she has a plan, she goes: “find out what his favorite foods are and seduce him or something…”
Naturally, she hasn't thought this through as usual.
Back with Hayate and Kotetsu, Maria and Hinagiku ask if there’s anything they can do to help and Hayate promptly puts them to work by making them wear bunny girl outfits to attract customers. To add insult to injury, he also tells Hina to go work in the back after comparing her chest size with Maria’s.

Alice approaches Hayate and tells him that he’s a lot like his brother because when he’s got a complaint, he gets a scary look and makes unreasonable demands. While holding her little power meter, she states that it’s about time…

Review: As predicted, it seems that this beach arc will be Hayate’s time to take center-stage as the main character – which is good, since as I’ve stated before, he really hasn’t received all that much character development despite being the main character. While he’s been put through a lot, he’s never really been made to confront his feelings directly like Nagi has in the previous arc.
Hayate's totally snapped
I like how we’re being a shown a darker side of Hayate here. We’ve seen this side of him a few times already in Ruka’s arc, but never to this extent wherein he actually makes unreasonable demands from innocent third parties like Hinagiku and Maria and even uses Kotetsu’s crush on him to his advantage. He also seems to be developing a serious resentment for his equally unreasonable older brother whom he used to idolize until they actually met.

Of course, this time, it looks Athena plans to intervene and put him back on the right track quickly. That little battery meter she’s holding is now full and this is a pretty obvious sign that she plans to “temporarily” regain her true form soon. I’m sure that all you A-tan fans will have a field day with this chapter and possibly with the next one – so have fun, I suppose. J Don’t read too much into nothing though – a little word of advice.
Hayate x Kotetsu flag triggered
It is my considered opinion that Hayate likes all the girls who are interested in him anywayz. He likes a little bit of Ayumu's naivete, a dash of Hina's tsundere nature, a pinch of Ruka's playfulness and some glimpses of Athena's wisdom... I hope you see what I did there :P.

That said, I like how this arc is going so far. It’s still the same light-hearted non-harem comedy that this manga used to be while also moving the plot along at a slow but steady pace.

That’s about all I have to say for now. See ya in the next chapter… oh yeah, if you haven’t heard of it yet, Hayate’s getting 3 new OVAs bundled with the next volumes of the manga.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 443: Troublesome Relative - Review and Synopsis

Hamster gets a cover too.

Synopsis: Everyone is gathered around Ikusa at the beach and Chiharu and Athena remark that he’s pretty good looking and that he looks quite troublesome. Nagi adds that he walked around the beach while cross-dressing in order to fool his enemy (Eight from the previous chapter).
Cross-dressing runs in the family, I suppose.
Kayura and Ayumu state that Hayate should be having a touching reunion with his brother, but Hayate says that too many troublesome things happened that he’s lost the mood for such a thing and that all he really wants is the King’s Jewel (the one he gave to Ikusa 10 years ago).

Nagi and Maria remark that Ikusa looks like he doesn’t even own a shirt, so how could he have a King’s Jewel? Hamster volunteers to ask him and actually does so – asks him if he owns a shirt, that is.  Ikusa replies that he owns two. Hamster then follows up by asking him if he might own something that he’s had for over ten years and Ikusa shows her the pouch that Hayate gave him on that fateful day ten years ago.
Once again, nice abs, bro.
Hayate immediately recognizes it and asks his brother if he could see it and Ikusa responds by punching him in the face for trying to take it because it’s a precious treasure for him. Hayate retorts that it originally belonged to him, but Ikusa tells him to stop calling him brother. Hayate counters that whether Ikusa likes it or not, he is his brother but it’s just that he’s lost his memories. Ikusa says that he does have vague memories of his brother and he was a small, cute boy of about six, not a huge high-schooler like Hayate.

Ikusa stubbornly refuses to hand over the pouch because it was a precious treasure given to him by his brother (who happens to be Hayate from ten years ago). Suddenly, one of the other Lifesavers characters, Souya appears and suggests that he and Hayate settle it with a competition.
Ikusa smirks and asks Souya if he really thinks he would lose in any competition. (It seems Souya is acquainted with both Hayate and Ayumu). Souya says that Hayate is much more amazing than him, so they’ll never know until they try. Ikusa gives his own personal assessment of Hayate based on appearances and hits the bullseye like totally. (see image)
Spot on, bro!
Ikusa goes along with Souya’s suggestion and agrees to have a competition. Nagi tells Hayate that he can’t beat Ikusa physically and Ikusa is like, “Tsk. Tsk. Why you gotta settle everything with violence… I’m so above that.”
Ikusa: I'm so above violence and all that.

Ikusa says that they would settle things with a beachside restaurant competition and lays out the rules. Basically, Hayate simply has to bring the restaurant called “Life” which was closed down due to bad business, back to life. The catch is that if Hayate loses, he’d have to take on the entire debt of 8.92 million yen. Nagi intervenes by offering to loan Hayate the money because getting the King’s Jewel is her problem after all, but Hayate refuses and wants to settle things with his brother on his own.  Ikusa smirks and hands Hayate over a contract to seal the deal. The contest starts as soon as Hayate stamps the seal. Thus, the battle is on… and we’ll find out what happens next week.
Ikusa x Hamster anyone?

Review:  These recent chapters are really quite reminiscent of the earlier non-harem chapters of Hayate no Gotoku, and to be honest, I’m beginning to really like them. This was actually one of the few chapters since chapter 300-ish that actually genuinely made me laugh – especially when Hamster actually asked Ikusa if he owned a shirt and he answers her so nonchalantly.
Shut up, Hayate. This is a matter of vital importance.
By the way, wouldn’t you think Ikusa would at least recognize Athena since she looks almost the same way she did ten years ago? Ah well, Hata will probably find a way to explain that away, or maybe Ikusa’s just not very observant to begin with.

So, we have Souya, who I believe is the main character of Lifesavers in this manga now. I wonder if we’ll see that girl who looks like Nagi too. I’d love to see them both together.
Ikusa's really glad to see his brother again. Based on his stance, Ikusa knows Karate
As far as this contest with Ikusa is concerned, it appears as if Hayate has no chance of winning given that he’s super unlucky, especially with money, and the contest is basically all about paying off a debt – yet again.  The fact that Hayate is “trembling with excitement,” in his own words, shows that he’s not really all that confident about winning either.  However, Hayate does have quite a few things going for him as well. He has HIna and Maria on his side (presumably if they choose to help out), who are both super-competent at just about anything – so they might help to swing the odds in his favor. Hayate himself is also quite experienced in all kinds of odd jobs and we’ve seen how the manager of Café Donguri relies on him. Furthermore, regarding his bad luck, he does have Nagi on his side who (according to word of God) is super lucky, so just having her around might help to counteract his bad luck. And he also has Hamster who… err… is a good friend. (sorry, Ayumu.) Seriously though, she was a really great help to Nagi during the doujinshi arc.
This one looks like a bishounen
I  like how Hayate is apparently the one being put to the test in this arc since IMO, for being the main character, he hasn’t really received that much growth as a character. It would be nice if this was to be his arc and instead of focusing on the harem side of this manga, we’d see Hayate take center stage and experience some genuine character development – perhaps finally getting over his bad luck just this once.

Everyone seems to assume that Ikusa really has lost his memories here, but I’m not buying it. Why would he even give Hayate this chance to take his “precious treasure” given to him by his cute little six-year old brother from him in the first place?

So uh… Astronerdboy’s still convinced that silhouette marriage proposal girl at the start of these (I’ll call it the seaside restaurant arc) beach chapters is/was Yukariko, Nagi’s deceased mother and while I’m not going to dismiss that just yet, I am more convinced about something mentioned by Doughnut Gunso  - which is that the Silhouette girl was Makimura-sensei. Also, I’ll add in my own crazy theory to the mix which hit me just now: Silhouette girl might be that Lifesavers girl who looks like Nagi… what was her name? Seto? I know… wrong hairstyle, but maybe she had her hair down eh?

Edit: by the way, Ikusa's appearance and personality totally remind me of Kamina from Gurren Lagann

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 442: WIth You Always - Review and Synopsis

Synopsis: So continuing that ridiculous story thread from the previous chapter, Ikusa saves Hayate from Eight’s robo punch and then declares that he will never forgive him for overfishing for octopuses (octopi? Whatever). Eight goes into flashback mode and explains how Makimura promised to marry him only if he wins 600 million yen via Toto (I suppose it’s some kind of gambling game? Lotto, maybe?) Anyway, it seems that with all his robot calculating powerz, Eight just cannot accurately predict the winning numbers, so he resorts to finding a descendant of an octopus named Paul-kun. So just who is this Paul-kun exactly? Nagi arrives by Hayate’s side to explain. Apparently, Paul-kun is an octopus who apparently accurately predicted all the results of the football matches played by Germany. Here’s the wiki entry on Paul-kun.
Hayate: Nice six-pack, bro.
So with the flashback over, Ikusa and Eight resume their fight and Eight pulls out dem missiles and literally goes ballistic on Ikusa. There are explosions everywhere and Hayate  fears for his brother and braves the smoke to find Ikusa, but instead, he stumbles upon Kotetsu who had stalked him there because he wanted to see Hayate in a swimsuit (talk about devotion). Ikusa is perched atop a ledge unharmed and goes all hokuto no ken landing a vicious flying kick on Eight whose parts are scrambled all over.
Oh hai thar, Nagi.
Nagi and Hayate comment that it’s all over, but Ikusa says that he’s a lifesaver, thus he protects all life and he reveals that he saved Eight’s decapitated head… just in time for Makimura-sensei to arrive and collect him – and they have a sorta lovey-dovey reunion. Also, Makimura seems to have won 600 million yen via Toto by herself anyway.
This is a subtle foreshadowing for the eventual Hayate x Kotetsu ending.
Hayate then chases after Ikusa who begins to walk away and asks him if he really is his brother, to which Ikusa replies that he has no brother.
Ikusa: Eight, you are already dead!

Review: Well, we’re continuing on with these silly beach chapters, but at least the plot is moving steadily forward. Nothing of note yet in this chapter and this mini plot-thread was at least resolved pretty quickly. All I can say is, don’t be fooled by Hata though. This is pretty similar to how the Golden Week Arc was slowly developed until one day, BAM! Things got all serious business.

Nanto... gotoku...KEN!

For now, I don't really have much to say about this chapter except that I liked seeing Nagi and Hayate together... as always.
Should be: I'm too epic to have a brother!
In any case, we’ll just have to wait and see where this story takes us. Anywayz, March 3rd is the birthday of the series’ undisputed, most popular character (especially worldwide), Hinagiku Katsura. Now I’m not really much of a Hina fan, but I do like all of the characters of this series to some degree. Hina still ranks pretty high on my list above the minor side characters, in any case… so here’s some birthday fanart from me, Hina-san.
I could totally picture Hayate actually doing this too.

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...