Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 448: An Assassin From The Past -- Review and Synopsis

She gets the cover art, but has nothing to do with the contents of this chapter -- typical.
Synopsis: We start with a flashback to an incident some time ago. It seems Aika tries to return her King’s Jewel, but she is asked by Mikado to literally throw her stone at Athena. On May 7 in the current year, Aika does as asked and Athena effortlessly catches it, just as Mikado predicted. She notices that Midas’ curse on the King’s Jewel has been lifted and gives the Jewel to Machina and tells him to take it far away. Just as Aika turns away to leave however, she is surprised by some kind of noise. She turns back at Athena and discovers that she’s shrunk.
Lookit all dat PLOT!
Aika and the miniaturized Athena go to confront Mikado. At this point, Athena states that this is the curse of the King’s Jewel and she and Mikado engage in a discussion about the powers of the King’s Jewel leaving Aika completely out of the conversation. It seems that those who use the royal power can never use it again, thus, getting touched by the light of the King’s Jewels will result in them getting cursed – reverting their age and memories to the time just after they used the power. When Aika tries to cut in, both Athena and Mikado respond that they’re just discussing what to eat for dinner using code – which is a blatant lie, of course.
Just wanted to note how much she looks like Nagi nowadays
When Mikado asks Aika where the stone is, she lies by saying that it was lost. Athena deduces that Mikado wanted to use her for something that requires no interference from her future self. She speaks with Aika and believes that Mikado probably won’t return her to normal soon, so she hatches her own plan of action to return herself to normal for a few seconds. Aika suggests just hitting him until he gives in – to which Athena declines. Basically, her goal is to find out what Mikado really wants and to do this, she’ll need to speak with Aika as her teenage self and to have the situation explained to her.
Notice how she's wearing the same clothes when she shrinks here
End of the flashback, we return to the current timeline in August 17, Ikusa and Alice (Mini Athena, really) on Murder Island. She finally presses the power button on her battery meter and to everyone’s surprise (knowing Hata), she really does return to normal, wearing her trademark black dress and all. Ikusa nonchalantly asks where her dress came from and she goes “I don’t want to hear that from you,” especially considering that Ikusa’s cloak came from out of nowhere as well. Anyway, that ends the chapter.
Magically, she has different clothes when she grows back into her normal form
Review: Lots of interesting stuff happening in this chapter. Not the least of which is that we learn a little bit more about the King’s Jewels after several hundred chapters. We finally learn how Athena was cursed into her current form and how her little battery meter works. It’s implied that Athena used the Royal Power already, but exactly when is still open for debate, methinks. The only thing we can be certain of is that it was when she was much younger, thus resulting in her “Alice” form. Furthermore, there can be no more room for speculation now that Alice is indeed Athena.

What I find interesting in this chapter is that Athena isn’t just blindly playing along with Mikado’s “evil chessmaster” schemes and in fact, hatches a counter-strategy of her own – even if it’s just to try and find out what the old man is really after.

Also, we finally have a clear idea of where we are in the current timeline. The 17th of August. Note that September should be Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Territory and there should be a little Leeway for the events of Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Thus, there are only a few days to conclude this current arc – but it seems Hata is developing the plot at a rather faster pace than usual for this current arc anyway. The eventual outcome would probably be Hayate finally acquiring a King’s Jewel allowing Nagi to return to her Mansion and millionaire heiress lifestyle.  

Speculation corner: At this point, I’m not sure if anything will really come out of the foreshadowed Hina confession given that the main King’s Jewel plot has begun to move again with this arc. We have seen how Hata can manage several ongoing plot threads at once and somehow make them flow together, but I’m thinking it would be a bit difficult to continue with the Hina confession – which would probably require a longer string of chapters and also continue with Ikusa, Athena and the King’s Jewel storyline. Thus, I’m going to speculate that it’s going to be postponed indefinitely again, or Hayate will just pussyfoot his way around the confession as usual. Of course, it could also happen the other way around and the King’s Jewel storyline could once again be set to the sidelines as Hina and Hayate take center stage for a few chapters. After all, a lot can happen in a day in this manga.

On other things, I find it strange that Athena mentioned that she would speak with Aika as her normal self, but it seems that she’s going to use the few seconds that she apparently has to speak with Ikusa instead. This leads me to believe that perhaps she’s already spoken with Aika and accomplished part of her plans and that there’s more than one method to recharge her powers other than being near the Shirousakura, which is currently with Hina. Of course, it might not be as convoluted as that, it just might be (based on a twitter exchange with DoughnutGunso) that meeting with Ikusa again is just so important to her, that she’s decided to use her time to speak with him instead.

Edit: One thing I remember is that Athena also appeared in her adult form before Hayate once before she made her first appearance as Alice the next day. She did mention that she'd try a few things to get her original form back. Maybe there are multiple ways to do this, but each method can only be used once.

Furthermore, regarding her scheme to try and put Hayate and Hina in danger, it's possible that she doesn't want to put them in any real danger, but she does want to put Hina under enough stress for her to pull out and use the Shirousakura -- since that might result in a longer reversion to her normal form when that happens.

By the way, Nagi hasn’t made an appearance for a few chapters now. Iyam disappoint. Here, have some fanart… make it happen, Ayasaki!
Just let it happen, Hata... just let it happen

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I doubt that we are going to be seeing any of the cast that isn't already on the island in anything but a filler chapter for a good bit unfortunately.


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