Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The HayaNagi Love Story -- Nagi's Side

Sure, there's a lot of extra stuff in the two Hayate limited edition booklets that came with volumes 51 and 52 but ya know what? I don't really find them all that interesting apart from the Hayanagi-related editorials from Hata. I've also already covered Maria's after story last week.

Anyway, this week, I'd like to talk about one aspect of Sanzen'in Nagi that I really love and that would be: her love for Hayate. Let us proceed:

Underrated Development

When people talk of a "well developed love story" in the context of Hayate no Gotoku!, manga readers would quickly point towards Hayate x Athena and alternatively Hayate x Ruka or Hayate x Hina and even Hayate x Ayumu or Hayate x Maria. Hayate x Nagi is never an option except for Nagi shippers -- and we are very few and far between.

Why is this so exactly? Are we Nagi shippers simply wrong and deluded? Well, perhaps... but as to the question of who is right or wrong, I think that's a pretty bigoted way of looking at things. I think the more fundamental problem here is that of a misunderstanding -- one that abounds in this series and one that abounds among readers of this series -- in my honest opinion.

The main reason why people who do not ship Hayate x Nagi underestimate this ship so much is because of one simple reason: they expect open reciprocity -- which Hayate is never too keen to show us. Therefore, people tend to mistake the reciprocity that Hayate has shown to some degree for the feelings of all the other girls as "romantic development," of course, I beg to disagree.

Nagi's Love Is The Most Well-Developed

So I'm going to go out on a limb and make this bold claim right here: Nagi's love is the most well-developed one in the series. In fact, it is painfully obvious that it was meant to be so.  Again, I know that some of you out there may already be furiously starting to type up comments about how Hayate x Athena is the one with the most romantic development, but that's why I said that there was a misunderstanding here. You see, have you ever thought of the possibility that you might be conflating "reciprocity" and "development?"

Yes, Hayate x Athena looked very romantic because of the reciprocity between the two, but to call it a "well developed love story" and even moreso, to call it "light years ahead of Hayate x Nagi as a love story" would really be stretching the definition. Think about it, how much have Athena and Hayate really interacted, especially in their more mature iterations, that would lead you to believe that they have a "well developed romantic relationship?" As far as I know, the most that Hayate and Athena came to know each other was back in the End of the World Arc when they were like six years old. After that, they met again as teenagers 10 years later but never really got to interact much until Athena became Alice -- and even then, Hayate would spend more time as Nagi's obligatory butler (but of his own volition at that time, I might add) than he ever did with little "Alice."

I love Nagi's monologue in this chapter.
Meanwhile, Hayate and Nagi came to know each other to the extent that they actually came to develop an inviolable bond that was tested time and time again in the series. People were quick to call it a "platonic" bond but these people tend to forget that Nagi's feelings were far from platonic. You can definitely make a case for Hayate like this, but then again, the ending makes such an argument moot because remember, he chose to seek out Nagi on his own again while fully aware that he broke her heart the first time around. If he comes to meet her again with the full intention of "platonically protecting her future," what kind of idiot would that make our titular main character?

You might be tempted to believe that Nagi is just some lovestruck girl who never got over her initial feelings for Hayate -- and perhaps there is some truth to this. However, if you want to claim that Nagi's love for Hayate was nothing more than a schoolgirl crush, then you would be doing all of us Nagi fans and Hata Kenjiro himself a great disservice. You only need to look at chapter 510 of the manga to understand how Nagi's feelings were developed throughout the series.

Yes, it started with a misunderstanding and yes, it was this misunderstanding that became the foundation for Nagi's love for Hayate. Therefore, the start of the relationship was really fundamentally flawed. However, as Hayate himself puts it in chapter 566, the one year that they spent together was not a lie. It was a year wherein both parties really go to know each other and although Hayate's realization may have come really late, there were definitely enough precious moments between the two of them within this one year to justify that Oh... I dunno... that he might actually love her? Yeah, that's a thing isn't it? A thing that became canon at the end of the series but that haters will deny for all eternity.

Anyway, this was Nagi's side of the love story. Next week, I'll talk a bit about Hayate. For now, I leave you with some fanart.

Fanart Corner: Got quite a few pieces to share today. I also started trying out oil pastels recently. They're a bit messy and not quite as precise as colored pencils or as clean as watercolors... but I think I should experiment a bit more with them. I'm not too disappointed with the initial results though.

I made an emoji set out of these.  I use them instead of facebook stickers. They're based on a new line of vocaloid figures.

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