Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 470: Santa's Red Is A Blood-Colored Hell 2014 -- Synopsis and Review

This is actually an updated version of a Hayate cover from 10 years ago. Hata posted comparison shots on his twitter account.
Synopsis: It's Hayate The Combat Butler's 10th anniversary chapter! Huzzah!
I'm liking Nagi's updated outfit. It's a lot simpler but it actually makes her look more attractive IMO.

We start things off with some colored pages featuring a redrawn remake of the first chapter of the manga using Hata's current art style, but just as we're getting to the part where Hayate finally meets Nagi, Nagi cuts in by breaking the 4th wall and declaring that she'll have none of that.

She and Hayate have a little chit-chat and she believes that featuring her manga is a much better idea because she's evolved quite a lot ever since the mangaka arc.

Hayate promptly dismisses that idea though -- much to Nagi's protest.
Maria looks creepy with those eyes

Suddenly, Maria cuts in and shocks Hayate and Nagi by using her appearance in the art style from 10 years ago, making her look completely out of place, as noted by Nagi.

Hayate and Nagi talk a bit more about how a lot has happened in 10 years and Hayate asks her what made the biggest impact on her and apparently, it's the part where Hata almost got sued, but Hayate quickly comes to the rescue by stating that it's all been settled and stuff and not to talk about it anymore.

Nagi wants to talk about crossing dangerous bridges, but again, Hayate wants none of that. Nagi says that they should cross any dangerous bridges together in the future. Hayate stares at her with an awestruck expression... and then promptly denies that idea too -- again to Nagi's protest.

Poof! Hayate wakes up inside the Sanzen'in mansion and (presumably) Nagi greets him and asks him how he's feeling -- to which he replies that he feels well enough to cross a dangerous bridge with her.

Review: Well, not much to review here. I'd say this chapter was definitely worth the wait if you're a fan of this manga, but if you expected the plot to continue -- sorry, you're in for a disappointment.
I love that dorky expression on Nagi's face... well, I love any expression on Nagi's face.

So let's talk about the art a bit... well, I'm actually liking Nagi's updated outfit in the redrawn version of chapter 1 and I would say I do prefer the newer art style in general. Of course, my personal favorite would be the transition art style in-between these two and still employed in much of Ruka's arc. Basically, the art style used in Heaven Is A Place On Earth.

Also, it might have been quite a few years ago since some people read chapter 1, but to me, it seems like yesterday... probably because I picked up this manga just a little more than a year and a half ago.

Speculation Corner: Well, if there's one thing that struck me in this chapter, it would be the penultimate page wherein Hayate says "no" to Nagi's idea of crossing dangerous bridges together in the future -- in fact, it's got me pretty worried as a dedicated Nagi x Hayate shipper. The way the panels played out with those lovey-dovey bubbles around Hayate and Nagi and then Hayate rejecting Nagi's proposal is the first time that I would acknowledge that Hayate might have been subtly rejecting Nagi's feelings for him in this manga.

Of course, that could have just been me overthinking things since Hayate does suggest feeling well enough to cross another dangerous bridge TOGETHER with Nagi as soon as he wakes up. Also, I'd like to believe that he was saying no to crossing more dangerous bridges because he just doesn't want Nagi to be in danger in general. Furthermore, he wasn't shown thinking of any other romantic prospect during that scene, at least.

With that said, I'd actually like some input on this matter. What do you readers out there think of that scene?

Fanart Corner: Got quite a lot of fanart done for this chapter... that's partly because I started doing these last week.
Yes! Yes, you are!
I dunno... I just like the way these two interact. I wouldn't be against a Ruka x Nagi pairing, actually.

Also, I'll have you know that I do have the skills to turn this visual novel mock-up into an actual VN... unless you didn't see the tagline on my blog header up thar! 
No, Nagi. They suit you quite fine. Also, I love her outfit here. It's from season 1 and the NDS game.
Bad end. A yandere Nagi is fine as well.
Credits to Doughnut Gunso for this joke.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, Hina-chan!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 469: Recycling Day Can Be Easy To Forget -- Synopsis and Review

Synopsis: Hata basically used this chapter to fill in some plotholes in the manga. It starts with Himegam and a young Yukariko Sanzen'in in front of the tomb that was in the Royal Garden and later found in the secret room of the Violet Mansion. Himegami explains that their family has safeguarded the royal power for generations and that a King's Jewel is needed to activate it. Except that Himegami refers to himself as Himegami Aoi... which probably means that this is an older relative of Himegami Akane -- who was Nagi's previous butler.

It all turns out to be a dream sequence from Nagi. When she wakes up, she tells Hayate all about it and says there's something off about the dream. The Sanzen'in trio basically break the fourth wall while trying to figure out King's Jewel-related business. Maria also conveniently explains away her own origin by casually mentioning that she was taken in by Mikado at a very young age as a genius to decipher the inscriptions on the Mykonos Villa and so was Aika. Unfortunately, she couldn't read the inscriptions but it was eventually deciphered by Athena.
That laid-back, "taking it easy" pose.

We switch to Athena and Hinagiku visiting Yukiji-sensei in the messy room/Hakuo Gakuen guardhouse that she's turned into her room. Athena discovers the ring that she gave Hayate in Yukiji's possession and Yukiji says that she bought it in a pawnshop when she tried to pawn her guitar but couldn't bring herself to do it.
PLOT... this chapter was all about the plot!
Back at the Sanzen'in estate, Hayate discovers two more King's Jewels that have lost their light. Hayate tries to figure things out about this whole King's Jewels thing, but this reviewer will have none of that. :)
How profound!
He says the numbers don't match up and says how it's strange that they shine and that they lose their light. Nagi says they probably have cheap flourescent paint inside and goes LOL.

Back to the Himegami x Yukariko dream sequence, Himegami entices young Yukariko to try out the royal power saying that something amazing will happen. At this point, Nagi figures out that something was off about the dream because that wasn't Himegami.

Review: Well, not a lot to mince words on since Hata sure casually explained away a lot of things here and there. This chapter was basically one big info dump. I did enjoy Nagi's Conan reference though. It's been years since that manga was last alluded to... and yes, just who is the leader of the Black Organization anyway?
Nagi's expressions never fail to amuse me. Conan reference FTW!
Of course, let's not get sidetracked. We have lots of important pieces of information here, including more about the origin stories of Aika, Athena and Maria... yep, definitely looks like we're headed for this manga's eventual conclusion in December.
I'm sooo going to use this line the next time I write a story.
With that said, Athena sure looked rather miserable when she saw the ring that she gave Hayate... even moreso since Yukiji-sensei referred to it as the cheapest thing she could find. Well, I suppose even if a King's Jewel is a jewel, it can't be categorized as a precious or semi-precious stone when no one in the world knows wtf it is... so yeah, too bad, A-tan. 
Well yeah, his name is "Aoi."
Aaanyway, interesting thing about this Himegami Aoi. The most obvious conclusion is that he's a relative of the Himegami Akane who was Nagi's previous butler... with that said, I don't really remember if the "Akane" name was even canon to the manga version of Himegami since my memories of him have been colored with his "Princess God" appearance in the anime... so yeah, readers, tell me if you know better.

Fanart and Speculation Corner: We have a joint fanart and speculation corner this week. I just drew this today, so you'd better appreciate it. Nagi shall now voice out my thoughts for me. (Partly joking and partly serious)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 468: See You Again, Hero -- Synopsis and Review

That is one incredibly short dress she's wearing... not that I'm complaining.
Synopsis: It has only been three months since Nagi has been living in the Violet Mansion -- the same three months that she has been away from her affluent life in the Sanzen'in estate, but already, she has begun to realize just what it is she has lost by regaining her inheritance and therefore, the right to move back into the Sanzen'in estate and retake her former billionaire heiress lifestyle.
Shh... character development in progress
The mansion is big and luxurious -- a little bit too big for one lonely little girl. Just as she is coming to terms with this, Maria and Hayate return. She wants to help out with their respective tasks, but Hayate gently chases her away and Maria won't have any of her "help" given her track record -- which she just made even worse with her enthusiasm by breaking a few expensive ornamental decors here and there.

Dinner is served and while Nagi is amazed at how luxurious the food that Hayate can prepare here is when compared to the Violet Mansion, she is still a little bit lonely and invites Hayate to eat with her, but Hayate is a butler and he has to serve his role -- as such, he politely declines again by saying he has to prepare dessert.
I chuckled when she referred to Athena as "that little one."
Nagi tries to appease her loneliness by telling herself just how good the food here is, but she knows that deep down, she's really just in denial... however, just as she's about to burst into tears, Hayate comes in and asks her if she didn't like the food. Nagi says that it's not about the food, it's just that she realizes that what is truly valuable is something you can't buy (clap! clap!), but before her speech can get anymore emotional, Chiharu suddenly takes the strawberry from her dessert and to Nagi's surprise, everyone from the Violet mansion is here for a visit.

She pretends to get all annoyed that they'd pay such a sudden visit here, but the final panel belies her true feelings.

Review: A nice, sweet Nagi chapter here. More Nagi character development is always good. It's great to see just how attached Nagi has become to her friends and her life at the Violet Mansion -- even going as far as to volunteer to help with Maria and Hayate's respective tasks since presumably, she had to do that back in the Violet Mansion -- although how efficient she actually was is still a bit questionable -- regardless, her heart's in the right place.

Nagi realizes just how much those three months she's spent in the Violet Mansion were really all of three years and then some! (She's spent three months in the manga, but in our world, those three months were serialized for at least three years)

Really loved every moment of this chapter, but there's not much to mince words on. I liked the level of melodrama here with Hata's usual push and then pull strategy. It looked like Nagi was on the verge of tears and was just about to make a solemn, heartfelt speech about "what is truly valuable," but then Chiharu and the other Violet Mansion tenants burst in at just that moment to lighten the mood a bit. Really, these sweet, charming moments are what really sold me before on Hayate no Gotoku! rather than the love polygon subplots, the King's jewel storyline or any of Hayate's combat-butler-esque antics. While moments like these -- such as the arc enders starting with the Shimoda arc few and far between, they are what I look forward to the most when reading this manga. Sure, I'd eventually like the romantic angle to be resolved in Nagi's favor, but that can wait for a long time if we keep getting sweet, charming moments like these every now and then. 
Everyone, including Nagi knew that she was just in denial the whole time.

I suppose all that's left now is for the CTMEOY/Cuties setup of Nagi alternating between living in the Violet Mansion and the Sanzen'in estate so she can be with her friends in the Violet Mansion and still retain a part of her former heiress lifestyle.
She's more adorable than annoying in tsundere mode
Also, this is definitely a different Nagi that we're seeing here from the spoiled heiress Nagi from several hundred chapters ago. She still has that streak of tsundere every now and then, but that just shows that Nagi is still Nagi after all.
Sweet moments like these are what really make this manga special

Fanart corner: No speculation corner for today. I'm just totally elated about this current chapter. With that said, I've made a PS Vita startscreen and a few Homescreen wallpapers featuring my Nagi fanart here. Check em out and feel free to use them if you want.

Monday, October 6, 2014

PS Vita Nagi Sanzen'in Wallpapers and Startscreen

The latest 3.30 PS Vita update comes with something new -- themes. I got pretty excited when I heard about this, so I went ahead and made a new startscreen and a few wallpapers featuring my Nagi-centric fanart in preparation.

Of course, I was a bit disappointed to find out that you couldn't actually make your own custom themes and you had to buy the ones that Sony offers on PSN if you want to use a different theme.  Well... screw that. I'd like to be able to make my own themes -- make it happen, Sony.

Anyway, it wasn't a total loss and I finally got around to customizing my Vita with some homescreen wallpapers and a new startscreen. Here are some screenshots:

And for those who are interested in using the wallpapers I'm showing here, these are the images I used. Feel free to put them up for download in your website for non-commercial use, but please credit me if you do, k? The character/s belong to Kenjiro Hata, the art is mine.


Homescreen wallpapers:

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...