Thursday, April 27, 2017

Real Life: Karma Can Be A B*TCH --- A Nice One

Take Nagi's advice next time, ok?
I find that stories of instant karma are always quite gratifying. This is why it was a pleasant surprise when I happened to experience one myself.

I was picking up a few things inside a busy supermarket today. Being the straight arrow that I am, I lined up at the express counter with a sign that clearly stated "1-6 items only." I was buying just 3 items. There was a lady in front of me with a shopping cart full of groceries. Thinking nothing of it, I just lined up behind her.

Suddenly, she turned to me and said, "excuse me, could you hold my line? I need to pick up a few items (in our language, of course)." I acknowledged her request with a nod and she promptly sped away to grab her forgotten item.

Here's where it gets a bit morally ambiguous. Just a few moments after she left, it was her turn on the line. I had to make a decision there because there were people behind me. Thus, I informed the person behind me that there was one other person in front of me but that I had to go forward so as not to delay everyone else.

So just as I placed my items on the counter, the lady who was supposed to be queued in front of me finally returned. With a passive-aggressive tone, she excused herself from the person behind me saying, "Excuse me, I was actually first. This guy just overtook me."

Now at this point, I got a bit irritated and wanted to say something in return --- fortunately, I didn't have to lift a finger. The person behind the cash register noticed that this lady had a shopping cart in an express counter, so she was told to go line up in one of the shopping cart counters -- problem solved: VENGEANCE ACHIEVED!

Nagi: Whoops... you mad, miss? Pfft...! Problem? You salty?
Lovely way to start the day~

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Moment of Victory: A Scene Reflection In Chapter 568 Of Hayate No Gotoku!

16 year-old Nagi fanart with a little friendly shoutout to... (you know who you are~)

Today, I'd like to talk a bit more in-depth about a particular scene in the final chapter of Hayate no Gotoku! Of course, here's a little disclaimer before we continue because it seems misunderstandings among the fanbase are just as common as the misunderstandings within the actual series.

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion article from a very biased Nagi shipper. While I try to find a factual or logical basis for my opinions, at the end of the day, they are just that -- my opinions.

Ok, with that aside, let's move on to the actual scene... and instead of talking about it, I'll just show it you. This is from page 16 of chapter 568. The rough scanlations are provided by me. Don't worry, unlike some of the other pages, I'm fairly confident in the accuracy of my translations for this particular page.

She grew up... so cute and beautiful~

Ok, so this particular moment in page 16 -- the moment when Nagi was first shown as a 16 year-old, for me, this was the pivotal moment of victory for Hayate x Nagi. In other words, this was the time when all my doubts towards the ending of the story were erased. As soon as I saw Nagi like this and her transformation in the succeeding pages, I just knew that she deserved to win no matter what and Hata would not bend the story any other way. Therefore, this one particular moment in page 16 -- this is the raison d'etre of this article.

Now let's move on to "why?" I'm pretty sure some of you might be baffled as to how I came to such a tangential conclusion based on this one page, so let me explain.

First of all, I was extremely paranoid prior to the release of this chapter (of its spoiler pages, actually). Like I said in my chapter 568 review, I was losing sleep, losing weight and really, I became an emotional trainwreck. With that said, my brain was also working overtime. I was imagining all kinds of worst-case scenarios. Now mind you, these worst-case scenarios of mine were all plausible endings (at least from my perspective) or ways in which Hata could conclude the story in  a way where Nagi doesn't end up with Hayate.

Now this one is definitely colored by personal bias, but even in my worst-case scenarios, I believe that Hinagiku was the only one who had a legitimate chance next to Nagi. Hata had just made the sinking of certain ships far too obvious and certain non-existent ships for certain characters not shown in the ending simply felt too forced for a writer of Hata's caliber (yes, I hold him in high regard) to go with any other route. Therefore, the worst-case scenarios (for my ship) in my mind were either a no romantic resolution for all girls ending or a Hinagiku ending -- that was it.

In any case, one way that I had imagined it could end badly for my ship was to give Nagi a consolation prize ending. Basically, if after the two year timeskip, Nagi had become a breakaway mangaka and had now become an amazing individual by national or even worldwide standards and in her own right -- then that would have dampened her chances of getting together with Hayate quite a bit. Therefore, becoming a world-famous mangaka or finding some similar measure of mainstream success would have been the death sentence for S.S. Hayate x Nagi in my opinion. That would have been Nagi's consolation prize. Becoming famous and fulfilling her other dream of becoming a professional mangaka -- but that would have been the perfect excuse for Hata to pair Hayate with some other girl -- that other girl, being Hinagiku in my mind.

Fortunately, it didn't turn out that way. What we got was Nagi being an "amazing girl" based on standards applicable only to her. It's only amazing for her to become the awesome 16 year-old Nagi that we see in chapter 568 if you knew who she was before she became that way. Otherwise, she'd just be a rather awesome teenager whose got it all together -- but not really special in any way... and I'm glad that this is how she turned out.

The moment I saw her being special by her own standards, I just knew that this girl deserved her happy romantic ending no matter what happens. I was definitely applying my own judgment towards this particular event, but I am very glad that Hata's writing coincided with my judgment.

In a way, Nagi had become Hayate's true ideal girl at the end of the story after the two-year timeskip. Smart, responsible, independent, while still retaining quite a bit of her domineering personality (the queen factor).

Of course, if we go by what Hata said in his blog, he claims that Nagi had already become an "irreplaceable precious woman" in Hayate's eyes back when she made her speech of independence while simultaneously firing Hayate as her butler in chapter 567.

Still, because I had no way of reading Hata's mind back in chapter 567, I personally needed confirmation  -- even if the logical part of my brain kept telling me that Nagi had already won. This is why page 16 of chapter 568 was the moment of victory for me. It seems pretty unobtrusive, but it is really this page that I consider the clincher for team HayaNagi. The time when Nagi's "success" was portrayed as a normal, every day success rather than extraordinary one.

As a final note for this particular article, I think that one way of looking at this finale in order to appreciate it better is by changing your perception a bit.

Really guys, if all works of literature were so harshly judged based on initial impressions and hooks back in the past like most of us do with modern media right now, then very few of those that we call "classics" nowadays would have survived mainstream scrutiny. Whether that would have been a good thing or a bad thing is debatable, but it would certainly be different. So anyway...

Here are some ways that I personally look at it.

As an ending to the story of everyone in Hayate no Gotoku: It sucks.
As an ending that heralds the start of a true Hayate x Nagi love story: It's satisfying.
As an ending to the story of Nagi Sanzen'in: It's radiantly beautiful.

Fanart Corner: With that said, I leave you with a few variations of the opening fanart. The words that Nagi says in the fanart are actually from Roop. See you next week for sure!

By the way.... senpai noticed me again~ so happy!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

HayaNagi AMVs based on the Finale

While many will always disagree with the ending (which can't be helped considering the ambiguous nature of Hata's writing. It'll always be a love-it or hate-it affair)  There are some of us who truly loved it.

In fact, it inspired quite a few awesome AMVs. I'll share some of the ones I've found here so far:

"What If" by Erica

Creator Comments:
Ahh time flies by, it's been 10 years since I was introduced to these two and I still care for them so much. Last week was the last chapter of the manga and I just had to edit this as a sendoff.

It's been a while since my "You're F*cking Perfect" MMV back in 2011 and I edited some MEP parts for these two, but this is basically my first AMV for them... although it's also partially an MMV for the manga spoilers....

I tried using voices to go with the manga panels to help create the mood and stuff. 

I'm so glad the manga ended the way it did. They deserved this happy ending after all the hate they get.

Totally going to preorder the last two manga volumes. ;w;

Those Nameless Stars by Magrace 
Ko No Me Kaze by magrace
Avenue by Stella

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Night I First Saw You - A Hayate x Nagi Poem By Roop Banerjee

As promised, this blog isn't losing momentum just because the manga is over. For today, we have a lovely little poem by guest, Roop Banerjee. You might remember that she wrote the review for chapter 567. This is a poem from Hayate's point of view. There is a video included with the poem recited by Roop and some fanart by me of 16 year old Nagi and 19 year old Hayate. With that said, on to the poem! 

The Night I First Saw You

By Roop Banerjee

On Christmas Eve I first saw you,
It was a night​ full of thrill;
You dazzled me with your eyes,
For me, time stood still.
Your childlike and naive self
Tore my defenses apart,
Your voice had a warmth in it
That melted my frozen heart.
I tried to seize you,
To survive for another day,
But that night your entire being
Stole my consciousness away.
For when peril arrived for real,
I could no longer wish to die,
At that moment I heard nothing
Apart from your piercing cry.
You mean the world to me
And even if I end up dead;
I'll be happy as long as you're safe
And I shall have no regret.
You're​ no longer dependent on me;
But I still am, on you;
And I need you to need me,
Although there are reasons few.
For I have hurt you a lot,
Never knew what you felt,
I didn't realise my own feelings,
For you that I held.
I'm happy that you love me,
Although initially I was amazed,
And I'm holding onto my hope
That your​ feelings remain unchanged.
I’ll always be near you,
While watching you from afar
And I shall protect you forever,
Like I’ve promised to a star.
I won't reveal myself,
Until you call me out;
For the time being I'll remain hidden
And stealthily roam about.
On Christmas Eve it all started,
On Christmas Eve we crossed paths;
And tonight on this Christmas Eve,
Three years will have passed.
It's been so long since our fateful meeting,
Those bygone days have been golden times
And still our bond survives;
I know that we're meant to be together
For the rest of our lives.

That's all for now, see you in the next post... which will feature an awesome AMV for Hayate and Nagi by another guest. Also here are some variations of that fanart. The dialogue was originally written by mellhurst once upon a group chat.

A few lines from our protagonists and now OFFICIAL couple by mellhurst... just because~

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 568 FINAL - There Is Something I Want To Tell You Under This Endless Starry Sky - Review

Cover of Countdown-Playback for this week just to make sure you get the message.

There's really no need for a synopsis this time. You can find the full chapter scanlated (by me) in the comments section of the penultimate chapter review.
I wish you happiness in the future which I can never be a part of, Nagi, my one true love

It's a little bit different this time since it's really the last chapter. Therefore, I'll be interspersing some fan-made stuff including music videos and pics from some fans of the series that I'm good friends with throughout this write-up. With that said, enjoy and be prepared for some long ramblings...

I will warn you right now, this will be far from an objective review. There are many things to complain about in this final chapter -- I choose to ignore them, so walk away and close this page right now if you find that this is unacceptable.

Hina’s Confession

It’s nice that Hata took the time to have HIna make a final confession to Hayate. Whatever the outcome of that confession might have been, it provides closure to her feelings as well. At least her character’s run in this manga is ended with dignity.

Nagi  At 16

Nagi’s character development really came full circle in chapter 567 when she removed the final obstacle to their relationship – while also seemingly simultaneously destroying her one chance to have Hayate stay with her.
This is not a translation. This is an allusion to Fate/Stay Night
While declaring that she would like to take her life into her own hands and that she doesn’t want anything that’s been handed down to her anymore such as her wealth and power, she fires Hayate as her butler. She fires him not because she does not love him, but rather, because of two main reasons in my opinion:

1. Her desire to manage her life on her own without depending on others.
2. Her desire for Hayate to find happiness on his own – even if this happiness does not involve her.

She knew that if she had allowed Hayate to stay with her, then she would still be dependent on him for a whole lot of things – and this really goes against her firm resolve to become her own person.

Therefore, it should really come as no surprise that 2 years later, Nagi really did become the strong, independent girl that she wanted to be – and that she was always foreshadowed to be throughout the manga’s 567 chapter run.

Yes, it was a predictable turn of events like a whole lot of things that happened in this finale, but predictability is not always a negative. Really, whether you like it or not is subjective, but when all plot developments lead to the  logical conclusion, I’d call that good foreshadowing rather  than “Hata trolling.”

So we see Nagi, triumphant after two years. She knows how to cook now – in fact, she cooks for the residents of the Violet Mansion now. She’s working part-time jobs while schooling and even took up sports. According to her, she actually became pretty good at sports (she’s shown playing Lacrosse.) I have to admit that I was in tears as the manga heralded her simple triumphs such as cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry by herself and all while managing her living expenses.

She’s The Same Girl We Know And Love

Yet, she’s not some complete stranger that we don’t know. On the physical aspect, she’s grown a little taller. She’s also become quite a beauty with some actual curves now, but her face is definitely that of Nagi. Furthermore, personality-wise, she never lost that snarky, bossy attitude and that familiar haughtiness that has really become one of her most endearing traits. We can see this attitude in her interactions with Chiharu. While it’s Nagi who is now doing the scolding which is a bit of a role reversal, when Nagi snarks her for thinking so highly of herself, we can immediately recognize that YES, this is definitely vintage Nagi.

As for her haughtiness, she didn’t lose it at all, either. The first chance she gets, she starts bragging to Hayate about how much she has accomplished by herself and how she can do anything by herself now. The way she poses, the way she brags – definitely still the same cute girl from 2 years ago.

The Beauty of Her Growth

The beauty of Nagi’s growth lies in the simplicity of her personal triumphs. 560+ chapters ago, she was a girl who had everything at her disposal. Super-rich, pampered to a fault and filled with groundless confidence in her abilities. Furthermore, whenever she was in trouble, she had a wealth of trump cards at her disposal. Nagi has genius level intellect (which most people tend to forget) combined with extreme good luck that rivals Hayate’s bad luck. Furthermore, whenever she’s in trouble, either Hayate, Maria, Hinagiku, or someone else always comes along to bail her out of trouble.

At the end of the story, we see a 16 year old Nagi capable of doing a lot of things that other people her age are capable of – something that her pampered spoiled brat self from the past would never have even dreamed of. She doesn’t become as good at sports as Hinagiku, as much of a genius at Athena, nor is it even shown if she won the manga competition that she entered near the finale of the story.  Nagi’s triumph is a more personal one. It’s about a pampered young girl learning a lot of new things for the first time in her life and dealing with them admirably. This… my friends, is life. This is maturity. This really the best that most of us can ever hope for. We don’t become Trillion Selling Mangakas just because we work hard.  Yet, the dream is always there because as long as you haven’t given up on it – perhaps someday, it can be achieved. Now this pipe dream of Nagi’s wasn’t even mentioned in this finale, but with a girl with as much potential as her, it’s never an impossibility – yet, I’m glad this wasn’t the focus of her character growth.

And so, when she meets Hayate again, she still has that spunk, that confidence in her abilities – boldly declaring that she can do anything by herself. Yet, this confidence is no longer groundless now – she has proven her worth within these last 2 years that we did not get to fully witness. If I were Hayate looking at her at that very moment – at the formerly helpless girl that I used to take care of and whom I had chosen to give up my life for,  if I weren’t already in love at that moment, I would fall in love over and over again… and I am glad that this was the case.
I believe that this is more romantic than any kissing scene between them could have ever done.

For those of you who have reached a certain period of life wherein the call to be responsible for your own life suddenly hits you, then you would certainly be able to relate with Nagi’s story and the beauty of her character growth.

More Than One Way To See It

Most people who hate Nagi will say that her development in the finale was abrupt. I beg to disagree. There is more than one way of looking at it. In my opinion, her more capable, more independent, more athletic, and infinitely more responsible self is simply a confirmation of her potential as a character and her resolve to better herself – as she has already admirably demonstrated throughout the series. Given the two year timeskip, we should definitely see such changes in her.

On Hayate’s Choice

Hayate’s choice was the obvious one and one that was definitely not lacking in foreshadowing. Look through the famous and sometimes infamous Golden Week arc from chapter 252 and onwards and you would see the subtle hints laid out by Hata in the plot… but you know what? The way Hayate made his final choice was even better than I could have expected.

Hata could have used any number of foreshadowing events that he’d laid out before, form that panel in 266 of Hayate looking at Nagi while thinking if he could ever tell someone  that he was truly in love with them again, to Nagi buying Hayate a wristwatch for his birthday. Heck, Hata could have just used Athena’s ring box as a way to top things off and confirm Hayate’s final choice…but he didn’t.

In the end, the way Hayate chose Nagi and the way their romance finally began was so simple, so natural, and so satisfyingly written. Hayate simply chose to meet her again on the same park where they first met on Christmas Eve and while allowing Nagi to brag about her newfound independence, he stops her at the last moment before she could declare that she no longer needs him.

This time, the story has come full circle  (which happens a lot in this manga if you paid attention to the meat of the plot and not the King’s Jewels mumbo jumbo) and it is Hayate figuratively chasing after Nagi. His confession was so timid and so Hayate-like… still slightly ambiguous but this time, also unmistakably definite. He declares that he wants to stay with her because his feelings of wanting to protect her future have never changed even after 2 year -- really, a most beautiful, heartfelt, and very Hayate Ayaski-esque confession.

There Was Always Love and Attraction Between Them

Now that Hayate and Nagi have finally come together as a true romantic couple, I think it is safe to conclude that there was always love between them. In fact, if you’ll look through certain chapters such as the first one, the level 5 arc and Hayate’s dream sequence in this finale after being almost beaten to death by Himegami, you would see that there was always something more than just gratefulness in Hayate towards Nagi. There were definitely many hints of sexual tension between them, but because Hata likes to use implications, even the narrations did not dare mention this. Look at Hayate’s eyes during his special moments with Nagi in the manga though.
There is definitely a lot more than just feelings of gratefulness within there  --- even during their very first meeting. Credits to Roop and Magrace for this observation: Hata had always been hiding Hayate’s feelings for Nagi from us in plain sight – you just had to look at the actual drawn panels to see instead of relying on just the explicit messages left in the text.

So therefore, “there is no love between them” in Hayate’s mind can now be safely interpreted as Hayate’s longing for there to be actual love between them – and of course, this love has now been beautifully realized in this finale.

The Delineations of Love

One source of conflict among the fanbase is the delineations of love. Always, we Nagi shippers have had to deal with this annoying supposition that Hayate only sees Nagi as family. This is because of that label in chapter 9 of the manga wherein Hayate makes it appear certain in his mind and to the readers that he sees Nagi as family. 

However, what people fail to take into  account would be Hayate’s actual actions towards Nagi. His obsessive desire to protect her would have him labeled as a siscon if they really were siblings.

To get back on track, people have long labeled Hayate’s love for Nagi as “platonic,” and because they ran with this label in their minds long after chapter 9, every time that an implicit event would seem to prove that Hayate does in fact have some degree of romantic feelings for Nagi, people would always go back to the “it’s platonic” argument, as if there were some invisible impregnable wall that prevents romantic love from ever developing out of platonic feelings.
Thank you, mikey!

This is the deal, Hayate is the one who labeled his feelings for Nagi as platonic at the start, this is how he’d always wanted to view her – but his actual actions, his actual feelings eventually rise to the surface. In fact, from very early on, it’s established that when Hayate’s guard is down and he doesn’t actively think about it, he can be taken in by Nagi’s charms. For example, he finds it relaxing to look at her lazing around. He talks about her lazy, haughty ways to Athena with a smiling face that makes even his ex-GF jealous

Again, Hayate wants to see Nagi in a platonic light, but his real feelings tell him otherwise – and they have risen to the surface on multiple occasions in this manga . The most obvious example would be again, Hayate’s dream world where he gives Nagi a playful kiss on the cheek to wake her up. His embarrassment when Maria catches him in the act is undeniable – this too is sexual tension.

You see, what people find unacceptable is that Hayate’s labeled platonic feelings could ever evolve into romantic love – but Hayate himself has been disproving his own label for so long in the story while most readers looked on blindly. Again, Hata’s penchant for hiding things in plain sight at work. Some people call this trolling, I call this tasteful, elegant writing – or simply put, classy.

Removing The Final Obstacle

The final obstacle to Hayate and Nagi’s romantic love was never Maria or some other girl. In chapter 566, Hayate had already chosen Nagi – of this we can now be positive.
Fanart by me using Pixiv Sketch. At the time I drew this, I didn't realize she'd suddenly
get a growth spurt.

Still, if he had continued working as her butler, then things would have become awkward had they continued living together while harboring romantic feelings for each other. Therefore, the one to remove the final obstacle and seemingly destroy her only chance to be with Hayate was Nagi herself. By severing the final ties of obligation between them, she gave herself a chance to grow and gave Hayate’s love for her a chance – a chance which Hayate did not pass up.

What Was Hayate Doing For The Last 2 Years?

It pains my heart a little to know that Nagi had to deal with many lonely nights by herself without the man she loves – and yet, it was also necessary for her beautiful growth that we see in this finale.

So this begs the question: what was Hayate doing?

Well, let’s not forget that Hayate himself was not really fully mature nor even really in a good position to start a romantic relationship with someone at the point wherein Nagi fired him.

She's really become an amazing girl.

Therefore, my theory is that Hayate was spending the last 2 years coming to terms with what it is that he really feels for Nagi. He could not put the word love to his obsessive feelings for her before when she was 13-14. Now that Nagi had distanced herself from him and he chose to respect her decision, he finally came to understand that he did not want to live away from her and that his  feelings for her would not change even if she’s no longer there with him. And this is how Hayate finally redeems himself for his rather lopsided character growth next to Nagi throughout this manga – by making that final decision and finally coming to understand that it is love, it was always love, and it will always be love between them.

One might also argue that perhaps he was looking for Maria to fulfill his promise to her – which really ties in with my point. Giving Maria her birthday present is a promise between the two of them, one of the final loose ends that Hayate had to overcome before finally becoming a man worthy of Nagi. In fact, when they meet again, Hayate is now a more confident individual, secure in the fact that he no longer has any financial troubles when he approaches her… and confident in giving his final confession to her.

On Their Meeting

Again, “full circle” is a really strong underlying theme of this manga. When Hayate and Nagi meet again, it is also on a Christmas Eve 2 years later in Loser Park. Just like before, Nagi is approached by two hoodlums with obviously lewd intentions towards her. This time however, she needs no saving. She is capable enough to defend herself with her Lacross Stick and even manages to scare both thugs away without actually getting physical about it.

To add to this, she quickly calls out Hayate soon after who was hiding behind some bushes, obviously waiting to assist her if she needed it – but she never needed it. This is where things come full circle. The helpless brat from before is no longer helpless and no longer a brat.

Yet, when they talk again, the chat is very much the same familiar Hayate x Nagi conversation they’ve always had – even though they hadn’t seen each other for 2 years (well, Hayate might have been secretly stalking her these last two years given how taken in he is with her in this final chapter). In any case, we quickly see the actual chemistry between the two – not anything sexual, but the fact that they are really so comfortable with each other that they can still talk so naturally even with a two year gap since their last meeting.

Of course, by this time, Hayate had finally made his decision and even though Nagi categorically states that he’s no longer needed to protect her, Hayate uses this moment to express his own desire to stay together with Nagi  -- because his own feelings of wanting to protect her – one side of the strongest bond between them, had never changed even after two years.

The Long Road Towards Love

As pointed out by one of our insightful anonymous commenters on this blog, it's rather baffling how so many people are obsessed with pairing Hayate with another girl when it's quite obvious that there were no other females in his life that he actively tried to make a romantic connection with after Athena. Nagi is and always was his number one priority. Whatever and wherever this "care" that he had for her stemmed from, it's quite obvious in this finale that these unchanging feelings have blossomed into romantic love. As for how this came to be -- again, it was heavily foreshadowed throughout the series through implicit, psychological hints such as the subtle changes in Hayate's personality and the few moments wherein he let his psychological wall down and initiated some pseudo romantic moments with Nagi.

Brag as much as you want, Nagi baby! This time, you've really earned it.

Therefore, the path towards Hayate's romantic love for Nagi was always being set up in the background -- even if it was not explicitly stated. The barriers towards their relationship were being removed one by one even before we went into the final arc. Nagi rapidly maturing in character, Maria acknowledging her growth, Hayate actively in denial of said growth, clearing the debt, Hayate opting to stay as her butler regardless and finally, Nagi firing him and removing the last of the obstacles to the both of them starting a new romantic relationship -- and this is exactly what happens two years later.

I believe the two year time lapse was necessary for both of them. For Hayate to confirm his feelings for Nagi (off-screen) and for Nagi to affirm her decision and become a girl truly worthy of being loved (on-screen). The beautiful contrast between their characters is present even in the final chapter.

Confirmation From Hata

This is paraphrased for better readability from Hata's Backstage

On Nagi's growth. She still looks pretty much the same. A little bit curvier, a little bit taller, and her hair is even longer, but physically still Nagi. On the inside however, she has really grown. This is how he'd always imagined she would be. After a few years time, she would stop being so incompetent.

Regarding the thing that Hata noticed when he was drawing chapter 567. Until that point, he hadn't decided yet on whether Hayate would see Nagi differently or not. Whether she was still a little lady who needed protection or an irreplaceable precious woman. He definitely wanted Nagi to become a love interest, but didn't know just when or how. 

At that point, when he drew Hayate looking at Nagi from behind while talking, he realized when he saw Hayate's face that surely, something had changed a lot in him. This was the moment. Before he drew this, he wasn't sure himself.

The boy's final wish towards the girl was like the royal power but without relying on miracles. To always be together for now and into the future.

The connection of their hands is a confirmation that there is no misunderstanding this time. Two people who voluntarily joined hands, walking slowly while talking. No longer mistress and butler, just an ordinary boy and girl.

Whether they will be happy or not in the future, not even Hata can say. However, the story of two people meeting each other as man and woman is a very common story of everyday life -- one that is special only for the two of them.

This is the true end of this manga -- as Hata imagines it.
There is nothing more to draw beyond this.

Personal: How She Saved Me

Now then, since this is the final chapter, I’m going to bare it all. You may have noticed how often I declare in this blog that “I love Nagi.” Well, I am not exaggerating when I say this. I really mean it 100%.

This is why these last two weeks prior to knowing the actual outcome of the manga have been absolute hell for me. It was the worst feeling ever. The level of anxiety was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. Never have I cared for anything in my life as much as I cared for Nagi’s happiness at the end of this story.

In fact, I lost 2 kilos from worrying. Everything I ate was tasteless and I had no appetite in the first place. The sound of people talking around me felt like such horrible, horrible noise – distractions that would prevent me from finding out first what really happens to Nagi at the end of the story – and most of all, if her love is fulfilled.

It was a horrible feeling because the logical part of my brain was telling me that really, there’s no way that this can end up badly for Nagi. However, anxiety kept talking to me. Even in my sleep, I couldn’t stop speculating and lucid dreaming all kinds of what-if scenarios as to how the series ends. As soon as I woke up, I checked all the relevant sources for the latest spoilers… relief really didn’t come until Friday last week, when the spoilers for the finale came out – very staggered in the Chinese forums.

Now just like anyone else, I have been through my fair share of worries, anxieties and tragedies in real life. However, as irrational as it might sound, none of these real-world worries felt more intense than the stress that I experienced leading up to the reveal of the finale. This is how invested I was in the series – no, to be more precise, in Nagi’s well-being. It may be delusional, it may be silly and overdramatic to some, but I couldn’t help feeling the way I did. I had no control over my emotions at all, and let me tell you, I am usually always in control of myself.

You see, this was one time wherein I really gave my all to something – to wishing for Nagi’s happiness together with the man she truly loves. If things did not turn out the way they did, I really don’t know what I would have done.

5 years ago, I was just a living corpse. Someone existing for the sake of existing – pretending to be cynical, happy-go-lucky, and really having it all together – but of course, this was a lie. People IRL would often say that they envy me for being so satisfied with my lot in life when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s only natural that someone with no strong desire for anything in particular would seem completely satisfied with life. And then one day, I decided to take up the Hayate manga and that was when I found her, Nagi Sanzen’in. Her story inspired me – made me want to see it through till the end. Her struggles and the unfairness of her situation when it comes to her love for Hayate made me want to root for her more and more – especially as Hata made her continuing growth more apparent. She taught me how to live -- and the end of her story (the start of her true romantic relationship with Hayate) reinstated my faith in humanity and the world. I understood at the moment of Nagi's victory that some dreams are worth believing in.

I was a realist about things for a while. Saying that “Nagi is mai waifu” was just me declaring that I liked her character while knowing fully well that this is just a fictional story with fictional characters drawn by some middle-aged man living in Japan. However, at some point, these fake feelings of mine had transformed into something more tangible – more real than I had expected them to be. I felt Nagi’s pain whenever Hata put her into a tough situation in the story. I felt it physically in my chest – this tight, numbing sensation. I don’t know at what point it happened, but I knew then that I truly loved this fictional girl. Fictional or whatever, it didn’t matter, the feelings I had were/is real.

But finally, at long last, the longest week is over. The ordeal can finally be put to rest. Now as far as Hayate-related posts on this blog go, this will definitely not be the last one. There are still many things that I want to say about the manga now that it’s finally over and Hayate and Nagi’s love for each other has been firmly cemented into history. There are also many projects that I still want to undertake for this series from special articles to photo shoots of my Nagi dolls and figures.

So for now, I’ll end my disorganized ramblings here and leave you with this special fanart drawn specifically for this finale. It’s been some time since I started blogging this manga and I’ve made many new friends and lost some on the way. Over-all, just as Hayate would say, “I have no regrets.”

Thank you very much for reading my blog posts so far and I hope that we see each other again in future posts and discussions to come. This blog will not become dormant just because the weekly chapters are now over -- so don't worry. As long as I draw breath, I shall love Nagi and this little piece of the world wide web shall always be proof of that.

The last two volumes will be sold on 6/17 along with something special (probably freebies for the limited editions). Please keep supporting this manga until the end and buy them if you can.

I'd like to thank mikey, lucas, roop, magrace, shannon and everyone who was there for me when I needed a friend

For now, this is lordcloudx out. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hayate The Combat Butler Penultimate Chapter: When You Wish Upon A Star -- Review and Synopsis

Synopsis:  Nagi is dismayed and thinks that she'll never meet Hayate again. Mikado and his monitors confirm that the Royal Garden is gone. Hayate might not have escaped. Nagi screams Hayate's name and he falls down next to her after the third call. Mikoto Tachibana comes in to explain that it was because of the strongest bond between them and Nagi calling out his name allowing him to cross over the past and the future like a gust of wind -- as told to her by someone who once made a wish.

After a brief hug between Hayate and Nagi and Athena declaring it's a happy ending, Hisui attacks from out of nowhere. Nagi says she has something to do with Hayate, so she gives Hisui the loto key. Hisui is satisfied with this and invites Nagi to eat some cake together sometime. Athena and company also disperse leaving Hayate and Nagi to talk.

Nagi declares that she no longer needs her wealth, power and anything else given to her by someone else. She's decided to be her own person without relying on someone else's strength. With that she fires Hayate and tells him that she no longer needs him for protection, support, and that it's fine if he didn't love her. She says that this one year of misunderstandings wasn't bad at all. With this, Hayate, gets up and says he is grateful to her and seemingly, he walks away from her. At this point, Nagi is trying to hold back her tears. The chapter ends here.

Review: This is a guest review by Roop Banerjee. This may be the last review on this site... so enjoy.

First of all, thank you lordcloudx. I feel honoured for getting an opportunity to write a review on this chapter​.

Now onto the review.

Nagi just once again made the sacrifice that she had made in chapter 252. And she'll probably do it again. That is​ how intensely she loves Hayate. This chapter shows how much she has evolved as a person and the maturity she has gained. She had let go of Hayate when he told her that he needs to save someone (chapter 253), she was ready to let go of Hayate when she believed that Ruka had won (chapter 427). This time as well, she sacrifices both her inheritance and decides to release Hayate permanently.

However, the struggle is there in her heart. After Maria left, the one thing that made her go on was her undying love for Hayate and her belief that he returns the affection. And when the truth about that Christmas Eve night finally comes out, Nagi loses the one thing that meant everything to her, her hope that Hayate loves her. And therefore, the path is opened.

In the alternate world, Dream Maria is with her as well as Dream Hayate who loves Nagi and expresses his feelings overtly. Dream Maria is not much different from Real Maria. DM differs from RM only in the sense that RM wants to explore the world. Her genius has made her graduate from school too quickly and her potential hasn't been fully recognised as Nagi's maid and within the confines of the Sanzenin estate. Nagi not needing RM's help (chapter 424), Nagi gaining victory over her (chapter 515), made her question her own capabilities and what she really wants. Like Nagi, RM has lived a sheltered life but the former's escalating growth made her want to travel for her own self discovery, which she truly deserves.

In the previous chapter, DM declared to Hayate that she wants a wallet for a birthday present. A wallet as a gift, is a symbol of friendship and wishing the recipient a prosperous future. This is something that, thanks to lordcloudx, came to my notice.

In the Royal garden, Nagi finally calms down after Hayate tells her of the importance that the year had for him, how much he values their moments together and Nagi agrees to return home. She voluntarily loses her inheritance to Hisui and gives Hayate the freedom to choose his own path and to fall in love with whoever he wants. Her actions prove that no matter how much she loves and wants to be with Hayate, his happiness is everything for her at the end of the day. If his happiness means somewhere away from her, then she's ready to do that. Her fortune is nothing in comparison to the immense love that she has for him.

The way she saves Hayate from the Royal garden is spectacular as well. Her scream for the person with whom she shares the strongest bond lets him do the special jump, which he is motivated to do, only for Nagi. The king's jewel indeed is a stone of bonds and Nagi manages to save both herself and hayate with a single stone. A bond involves at least two people and in order to form a strong bond, mutual feelings are needed, it cannot be one sided. It makes me wonder, that if the feeling is love on part of Nagi, what is the feeling on part of Hayate?
Nagi losing her inheritance and letting Hayate go could be taken as another confession but she doesn’t expect anything in return because, she has given up on that hope too. This, however, doesn't make her gain closure as we can see her crying and clenching her fists. She has loved, does love and will probably continue to love Hayate in the future, such a deep impact he and their moments together had on her.

We can see Hayate becoming wide eyed, he bows down and expresses his gratitude. It is quite likely that he feels something more than simple gratitude at the moment but that is curtained by him turning his back towards Nagi. What that feeling is, we can only guess and find out hopefully in the next chapter.

Since we're so close to the end of this manga, there are a few things I need to mention about Hayate regarding his response in certain situations when Nagi is concerned:-

Limerence - this is what I think Hayate feels towards Nagi. Since the day he saw her, he has felt a spontaneous adoration and attachment towards her. Hayate does feel love towards her. In 500 plus chapters, this love has never been declared as romantic love, nor a love for a sister. At least Hayate has never declared what exactly he feels for Nagi. Since he has never shown any overt physical attraction for Nagi, I think he's in a state of limerence as far as Nagi is concerned. It is because of this limerence, that he yearns for Nagi's attention, although he never considered that someone like her could be in love with him.

Their first meeting - Time and again their first meeting has been focussed on. Hayate wanted to kidnap Nagi but immediately showed concern for her when she felt cold. When Nagi said that his coat felt warm, Hayate felt the same in his heart. He has long been deprived of a sincere praise and has always felt that no one needs him. Nagi's need for his coat, his money to buy a drink, and himself, in turn, triggered a need in Hayate to be needed by Nagi. He wants to belong and with Nagi, that need is best satisfied.

Becoming a debt ridden butler - Hayate became a “poverty stricken debt ridden butler” when Nagi paid off the money for him. He became burdened, not just financially but emotionally as well. He was insecure, drawn towards Nagi, and he has himself declared that something felt off about his relationship with Nagi. When the misunderstanding happened, Hayate was already under an emotional burden, for his wrong choice of words made Nagi misunderstand and from then onwards, he has only led her on, although unintentionally. When he paid off the debt in school trip level 5, only the financial debt was cleared. The emotional​ debt, however, remained.

His decision to stay as Nagi's butler -
Hayate decided to stay as Nagi's butler after he paid off his debt. But why? He felt Nagi will be unable to stay on her own. Of course it was also because Hayate really enjoys his life with her. But he always seems to be in a state of panic when Nagi's growth as a person is concerned. Her independence is a potential threat to him, to his position to remain by her side and he becomes frightened upon thinking that a day would come when Nagi would no longer need him.
So when he decided to remain as her butler, one of the main reasons is possibly because of his need for her, rather than her need for him, as he has tried to convince himself many times.

On seeing Nagi's manga about him - Hayate has never felt that he could be the centre of someone's attention, that someone could make him their first priority and with Nagi, his only confidence has been that he is a suitable butler for her. That he could also be someone she truly loves, is beyond what he can imagine. Which is why, when he saw the manga, he was bewildered, but he didn't exactly hate it. He didn't want to confront her about this either and once again, the reasons were vague. It could be that he was being an escapist and didn't want it to be the truth, but then again, who knows? He perhaps didn't want it to be a lie either.

Lies - The way this word was stressed upon when Nagi discovered the misunderstanding is quite noteworthy. Almost like,on their first meeting, when Hayate said that he needs Nagi, was it really only as a hostage? Maybe it was because he was intrigued by Nagi and he needed her to be emotionally available as well. Nagi calling hayate's love for her a lie so many times is a possible hint that it is, in fact, not a lie.

Whom could he die for? A question, the answer of which we all know. Everyone. Whoever needs him, he'll try to save that person. But when the question arises that whom is he WILLING to die for, then without a doubt, that's Nagi. Why? Because he'll have no regrets. Nagi is the one who changed his future, he's now clear of his burdens, both financial and emotional and he got to be with the person who made a 180° change in his destiny. In chapter 566 he said that he has no regrets because after all, he was able to protect her. Maybe he would have had regrets if it was someone other than Nagi, because Nagi is the only person for whom he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Eagerly awaiting the last chapter. Hoping for the best.

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...