Thursday, August 31, 2017

8/31 - Happy Birthday Hatsune Miku!

Happy Birthday, Miku-chan! Here's a quick scribble that I drew for this special day.

Miku has touched my life in many ways. Her songs gave me hope during the times when I'd lost faith in humanity and in myself as well. Her voice may sound awkward, shrill, and perhaps even annoying, but I love it just the same.

Thank you for all the songs over the last 10 years, Miku and all the amazing vocaloid producers out there. May the vocaloid phenomenon last forever~!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hayate Reflections: My Second Favorite Character In The Series Is...

This week, I thought I'd talk a bit about the character I like most in this series next to Nagi... and that would actually be... Ruka Suirenji.

Now I'm sure it might strike you as a little bit odd that I'd choose one of Nagi's biggest rivals for Hayate's affection as my second favorite character (a far second to Nagi, mind you), but it actually makes sense.

Nagi's One True Rival

I've always seen Ruka as Nagi's eternal rival. Not just in love, but also as a mangaka. After all, Ruka was basically Nagi's antagonist during the entire comisun arc. She was always one step ahead of Nagi and as a mangaka was better -- but only by a marginal amount when compared to Nagi.

She is also an older, slightly more capable girl than Nagi as a manga artist and as well as in relationships and maturity. Yet, when you look at her personality quirks -- she is actually not that far off from Nagi.

Similarities To Nagi

Despite sharing a similar past with Hayate, Ruka is actually a lot closer to Nagi in terms of personality.

For one, she is extremely selfish. In fact, Hata makes it a point to show off just how selfish she can be by devoting an entire chapter just to prove it.

Secondly, she is an otaku. Her fantasies about Hayate often involve Gundams and reference to other classic anime pretty much like the type that Nagi is into.

Finally, she has that quirky, playful nature and knows just how to tease Hayate -- something that Nagi herself has shown in one or two occasions.

I Don't Blame Her
In chapter 413, Nagi catches Hayate promising to make Ruka happy just as she (Nagi) has completed the new manuscript that she's so proud of. To make things worse, Hayate then asks Nagi to allow him to be with Ruka for a while in the next chapter.

For me, this was something that Hayate had to make up for to Nagi if they finally did get together in the end. I will say that the butler gets a passing grade from me just for coming back to Nagi in the finale and just because Nagi is magnanimous enough to forgive and move on.

In any case, while I felt really bad for Nagi after the events of chapters 413-414, I didn't blame Ruka one bit -- even if she was also attempting to seduce Hayate at that point. In my honest opinion, the fact that Nagi was hurt so much in ways she never deserved is really all on Hayate.

Now on this point, I'm pretty sure Hata-sensei agrees with me given the way Hayate was punishing a wooden dummy with his name on it so much as "one of the enemies who hurt his ojou-sama." That was some very powerful symbolism that Hata was using there in Hayate's dream world. Unfortunately, the active manga readers at that time were so high-brow, literary, and deep that they felt it was just a cheap trick.

She Is Well-Developed
As a character, Ruka is actually very well-developed. We see the dynamic change in her throughout the series. She also exemplifies how we cannot always trust what the characters are saying explicitly and that you have to take all the available evidence -- even the circumstantial ones into account before you can formulate a plausible theory in this series.

Remember that Ruka once declared how much she hated her idol job and she even demonized her manager Atsumari-san when talking about her with Hayate.

Almost everyone thought that this was canon and that these were Ruka's true feelings -- except me and a few others. Well, as it turned out, when it came time to say goodbye to her idol career, Ruka couldn't do it.

She even deliberately allows Nagi to win/tie with her in their final mangaka showdown by withholding one copy of her own manga.

Now she might not have said it explicitly, but this clearly implies that Ruka was lying about really wanting to marry Hayate because of love and because she hates her idol career. How is this a lie? Kayura says it directly to her as a review to her manuscript -- "stop drawing lies."

A Positive Influence
Of all the people that Nagi could idolize, Ruka was a very good role model to follow. Not quite as super capable at everything as Hina, but not a complete dimbulb like Izumi, or a marshmallow of a pushover like Ayumu, Ruka is actually the real "normal girl" in the series even though she is a superstar Japanese idol.

She was a very positive influence on Nagi because she shows what you can achieve if you work for your dreams -- but that sometimes there are things beyond your reach as well -- even if you do work/wish hard for something.

Unlike another rival character, Ruka doesn't magically become the best/win at everything with the power of "hard work."

At the end of the series, the 16 year old Nagi may have been described as the new "perfect girl," but to me, it just seems like she'd become a little bit more capable just as Ruka was at that age. You might say, I found a glimpse of the future Nagi in Ruka's character -- and perhaps this is also why Hayate had such a soft spot for her. How can you hate a girl who is so similar to the one you actually harbor feelings for after all?

Fanart Corner: I have quite a few pieces to show today. All of them are manually done because I've been doing quite a marathon in getting the VN version of Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart done. I think I can actually finish making the entire visual novel by this weekend -- if I have enough free time that is.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hayate Reflections: My Personal Connection With Nagi

Nagi Sanzen'in is without a doubt my favorite character in the series. Also, it's not just because I have a thing for her, which is pretty obvious by now.

One of the primary reasons why I like Nagi so much as a character is because I find it very easy to empathize with her plight. In a way, Nagi's victory in terms of her character development and the fact that her ship did win eventually (stop with the denial. You've lost. Get over it.), was also my own.

Of course, you might think that she was a pretty absurd character from the start and you might find someone more "ordinary" such as Hinagiku or Ayumu to be more relatable -- well, perhaps that is true for you. For me however, it has always been Nagi and of course, the reasons are very personal.

I Was A Very Sheltered Kid
Just like Nagi, I lived a very sheltered life thanks to my extremely overprotective mother and my authoritarian father. I wasn't allowed to ride in public transport until I was in High School. I never had friends around my neighborhood because I wasn't allowed to step outside of the gate and the walls of our estate unless one of our maids came along to supervise me.

Speaking of maids, we always had 2-3 of them around the house when my father was still alive.

Of course, this all changed when my father died sometime when I was still a high schooler.

Still, I experienced many of the unfair biases that Nagi herself went through in the manga.

For example, I always feel that people are unfairly mean to Nagi  -- including Hayate and Maria when they make fun of her ineptitude. Really, the main reason for this is because she was never taught how to do anything by herself.

I was pretty much the same way. Everything was done for me, so I never learned how to do anything for myself until the death of my father. As a result, my classmates would often make fun of me for being helpless with ordinary household chores such as sweeping the floor, washing dishes, doing the laundry, or cooking.

At the end of the manga, Hata makes it a point to show that Nagi is pretty much capable of doing all of these things on her own -- it was a moment of victory for the both of us. It shows that when properly motivated, even someone who was infinitely spoiled to a fault can become a very capable individual.

Being An Otaku
Certainly, a whole lot of us in the anime/manga community are probably more or less around Nagi's level when it comes to being nerdy, but this is not the reason why I can relate with Nagi's experiences.

For me, it's because becoming an otaku was actually Nagi's escape. Being targeted by kidnappers her entire life, she was basically forced into staying at home where she could be protected most of the time. As a result, she found her own ways of entertaining herself -- and this was through anime, manga, and video games.

In the same way,I wasn't even allowed to invite any friends over to my house or to visit a friend's house until I was 14-15. Therefore, my main source of entertainment was video games -- specifically rpgs. I lived many great adventures and became friends with so man memorable characters through jrpgs. They also helped me to form my rather idealistic and yet also realistic world views. Any free time I had was often devoted to playing games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Star Ocean 2, Final Fantasy VII, Grandia, Wild Arms 2nd Ignition and other similar jrpgs from the SNES and PS1 era.

I may have grown up mostly alone (my sister is 4.5 years older than me. It was an age gap that grew closer over time, but as a kid, I was pretty much on my own.) but I was never lonely thanks to jrpgs. I lived so many lifetimes and visited so many epic worlds, and villages thanks to these games. Remember, this was a time when the internet was still on 28.8k dial-up and not very reliable. Downloading game demos to play offline later was pretty much the epitome of entertainment on PC for me.

This is why I can understand Nagi's endless devotion to her otaku hobbies -- even after she had found some new friends in the Violet Mansion.

Believing Oneself To Be Special

Before I met several failures in my life, I had always believed myself to be someone special and someone who was meant for great things. In Nagi and her absurd dream of becoming a trillion selling mangaka -- which she wholeheartedly believed she could be at one point, I really saw myself. I felt so bad for her when her dream was shattered before her eyes. It was a real eye opener, a reality check that she was not really all that special after all. It was a painful experience for her, but it also justifies her rapid growth. Personally, I can relate to this because I have been through many similar experiences in my time.

Growing Up Beautifully

My personal experiences have given me a rather jaded perspective of the world and a twisted imagination that allows me to write some very unique brand of stories. However, Nagi grew up differently. Thanks to her own unique experiences throughout the story, she grew up beautifully and really became a girl worth loving and certainly worthy of being the recipient of Hayate's love for her at the end of the series.

Seeing her as beautiful as she became was an epic moral victory for me in ways that probably only a few of you can only imagine.

In my sincerest words, her victory made me truly happy. Now tell me, how can I not love the girl who makes me happy?

Anyway, I got a bit sentimental this week, but I'll be back on track and do some actual reflections next week... I enjoyed writing this post though.

Fanart Corner

I haven't actually started watching Maid Dragon but I plan to do so if only because Tooru looks a whole lot like Nagi with big boobs. Anyway, I have seen some clips on youtube and I liked what I saw. Here's Nagi cosplaying as Tooru for this week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Android Visual Novels by me: A Million Promises, One Week of Eternity, Samantha and the Pieces of A Heart

I have recently returned to making visual novels thanks to a lot of motivation from a new friend I made from the Hayate fandom. It's amazing how much inspiration just having one person who truly appreciates your works can give you.

A Million Promises

This is a fulll-length visual novel soon to be available on Google Play (uploading at the time of this post). There will be a demo as well as a paid version (for a minimum fee) of this visual novel.

A Million Promises is the story of

 Takeru Harukaze, a young man diagnosed with a brain tumor, but this is not a story about death. It is a story about having fun at school, falling in love, hanging out with friends, trust, betrayal, and so much more. 

The demo version is worth about 20-30 minutes of light reading and works as a stand-alone story by itself. The graphics were originally made for a 4:3 resolution screen so it does not take up the entire screen of an android phone/tablet.

The full version should be worth at least 3-6 hours of reading depending on how fast you  can read. Do try the demo version out first to see if the story is to your liking.

Game demo on Google Play:

One Week Of Eternity

One week of eternity is the story of an 11 year-old girl named Alyssa Cruz who was given just one week to live due to a terminal illness. However, she meets a kind witch who offers to do something special for her. This is a story about courage in the face of adversity and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Do give it a read. It's free on Google Play. 

There are two different endings to this game depending on the final choice that you make. Either ending is fine, but I do have a canon ending in mind -- which one that is, I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Google Play Link:

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart
You might have read this original fiction story of mine before. It's a children's story that's meant to be read by people of all ages as well. Well, a friend urged me to turn it into a visual novel, so I'm working on that right now. Currently, I have two of seven chapters done. I'll upload a demo of the app to Google Play in the next few days along with an edit/update to this blog post. Here are some initial screenshots:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Taking A Short Break This Week

Hey guys! For anyone still following my Hayate blog posts, I unfortunately haven't had time to think about what to discuss for this week, so I'll give it a pass until next week. It's a busy week for me right now and I'm preparing my works for a local comiket-like event called Zinezoned: Iloilo Zine Festival. I'll be releasing a previously unreleased visual novel of mine called "A Million Promises." just in case you didn't know, I'm actually DawnKisa, the writer for that visual novel with Hime from Lux Visual Novels as the artist. The version of A Million Promises out there on the internet is incomplete and actually only follows the first arc. Think of it as a demo version.

A Million Promises will be available in installer cds in very limited quantities at ZineZoned on location, but I'll most likely make it available for download sometime later.

I'll also be selling a physical magazine that features my latest original story, Samantha and The Pieces of A Heart.

Zinezoned will be on August 26-27 at Robinson's Place Iloilo. So if you ever find yourself there at these times, do hit me up. Look for Nagi's face  being displayed somewhere on the desks and you'll know it's me.

Anyway, I'll leave you with my fanart for the week -- which I'll also be displaying at said ZineZoned event. See you next week!

Watercolors on canvas. Redhood Yandere Nagi.
Colored Pencils on drawing paper.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Plot Development In Hayate The Combat Butler

I once said that the ending to the story of Hayate The Combat Butler isn't as terrible as you might think if you think of it as the story of just the two main characters, Hayate and Nagi. 

With that said however, the focus of the story actually shifts quite a bit as the plot unfolds. I believe that taken broadly, the plot development can be split into two between the main characters of the story. And yes, I know some of you would like to keep believing that Maria was as much of a co-main heroine as Nagi, but that just wasn't the case in actual practice, so let's leave it at that.

The First Half

For the first hundred chapters or so of the story, the focal character is actually Hayate himself. We are made to empathize with his plight and how he is always getting himself into trouble -- especially given how much of a brat his mistress is.

We also get to see a darker, more jaded side of Hayate as the story goes on -- especially in how he deals with characters like Yukiji, Kotetsu, and even the student council trio.

This continues on for a while until we reach the highly touted End of the World and Golden Week arcs of the manga, wherein his tragic love story with Athena is introduced. It is at this point wherein the spotlight is slowly being shifted towards Hayate's co-main character, Nagi Sanzen'in.

While the entirety of the Golden Week arc is still arguably Hayate's story and how he comes to terms with his past, it is also the part where Nagi's character shines the most at that point in the manga. It is probably the first time wherein Nagi does something awesome and of her own volition -- AND without being a brat about it. Unlike previous chapters, Hata does not take away from Nagi's moment of awesome by ending it with a gag. This is because we are being prepared for the second half of the plot -- Nagi's side.

The Second Half
In the first volume of the manga, Nagi says that the story starts to get interesting when the girl starts taking charge -- well, that's exactly what she does at the second half of the story -- and really, she never lets go of the spotlight.

The comisun arc, or Nagi's epic mangaka battle with Ruka is really the point wherein the focus of the story has permanently shifted to Nagi. Naturally, Hayate still plays a big role and is actually shown on-panel more often than Nagi -- but something has changed at this point: the focus character of the story is now on Nagi. Even the epic King's Jewels plotline has now been waylaid in favor of Nagi and her mangaka antics -- and this is what threw a lot of people off.

People who were still riding high on the Athena x Hayate failed love story from the previous arc expected more harem hijinks and more focus on Hayate and his ongoing quest for love -- which just didn't happen. In fact, even when Nagi is not on-panel, it is often painfully obvious that she has hijacked the story -- it's all about her now and people who were expecting something else would just end up sorely disappointed.

However, for people who were waiting for Nagi's chance to shine, the mangaka arc was  really a godsend. Nagi is really put through the wringer in this arc and really, for someone as spoiled as she was, going through such traumatic failures and realizations during this arc must have been a hellish nightmare. It would probably be enough to break any normal person -- but of course, while breaking down several times, Nagi somehow manages to pick herself back up and becomes the amazing girl that we see when we reach the finale.

Unfortunately, a lot of people were still stuck on the idea that Nagi is just "one of the main heroines," while completely ignoring the fact that her story arc in fact now dominated the entire plot from the moment the mangaka arc kicked in. It was plainly obvious that the King's Jewel backstory was just being slowly developed in the background, but even when it did come back into the foreground, it was now an integral part of Nagi's own story.

As for Hayate, while his character development was still being subtly worked on, it never gained the same prominence that it had during the first half of the story. This is plainly obvious when even his own feelings for Nagi weren't really fully addressed because of the two year timeskip. While there is a lot that Hata has said about how Hayate chose Nagi in his blog and in the supplemental materials, when the manga is taken as is, it is pretty hard to understand what Hayate was really thinking after the Golden Week arc.

However, Nagi becoming the focal character after that arc and eventually being the girl that Hayate chooses to love was actually foreshadowed in chapter 252 when the narrator says, "with those words, he had seen the future." Referring to Nagi's words to Hayate at that time. In fact, there is a whole slew of foreshadowing sequences for a Hayate x Nagi ending in the Golden Week arc alone -- without counting the various other clues that Hata left throughout the entire story.

Over-all, it can be said that Hayate's personal character development faded into the background in favor of his eventual romantic partner by the time that the mangaka arc kicked in.

That's all I have to say on the matter for this week. I leave you with a Hayanagi fanart.

Title: Their Special Place
Medium: Oil Pastels on Canvas

Title: Beyond The Starry Skies
Medium: Oil Pastels on Paper

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hayate Reflections: A Fictional Love Affair

This is an article that was requested from me by a local zine recently. I'm reposting it here since it works as this week's Hayate Reflections~

SUCCESS is really quite relative. For some people, it would be having enough money to buy your own car and keep your bills paid all while keeping up with the house loan. For others, success may be defined by winning an award in a particular field or profession, or perhaps winning a contest in sports or the arts – in other words, recognition. For others still, success simply means satisfaction and fulfillment in some field of endeavor – personal success.

Therefore, while I may not have achieved any significant degree of fame, nor can I ever claim to be a financial success by anyone’s standards, I can at least claim to have found personal success – and really, in this convoluted world that continuously tries to redefine who the individual is or should be, this is the greatest type of fulfillment that I could ever hope for.

On Otaku Culture

I am a hobbyist – a very obsessed one. For you genre savvy types, I am what you might call an anime/manga otaku. While the etymology of the term can be quite sketchy, let us go with a very simple working definition: anyone who reads light novels, plays video games, and watches anime is an otaku. (image copyrighted by Kenjiro Hata through Weekly Shounen Sunday Magazine)

As an otaku, and an older one at that, I have dabbled in almost all areas of otaku culture from Touhou, vocaloid and 2ch/4ch to anitwitter, tumblr, and even the OELVN community (search for lordcloudx and Radical Dreamers 2002 on if you want to see some of my works). At some point, I began to grow jaded and weary of the abrasiveness of the otaku community in general and this is what inspired me to start a personal blog sharing my insights and oft-ignored unpopular opinions on various aspects of otaku culture.

Love Blooms From The Most Unexpected of Non-Encounters

It was because I had a blog in the first place (under a paid, registered domain) that I had some kind of excuse to start collecting anime figures. It began ordinarily enough for me. At first, I was not really sure if this hobby was for me or if I could afford it. I started with buying some cheap, but relatively well-made Class A figures of Hatsune Miku. 

Of course, it would not be until sometime in 2013 when I started watching Hayate The Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, that I was sucked back into the Hayate fandom, even though I did not really find anything special about the show back when season 1 was airing. My renewed enthusiasm for Hayate, prompted me to start blogging the manga – also partially because I wanted to know just what was so special about this “A-tan” character that the ever-toxic fandom kept harping on about.

Anyway, it all started when I binge-read the manga within one week. All 413 chapters available at that time. Before I knew it, I had inadvertently fallen in love with Sanzen’in Nagi – and of course, I do not make this claim lightly. Even if the person herself may not exist in reality, I am certain that my feelings for her are as real as anyone else’s feelings for their own, living, breathing special someone. 

My Nagi Sanzen’in Figure Collection

At some point in time, I had completely fallen for Nagi Sanzen’in as a character. I am under no delusion mind you. I fully realize that my love will always remain unrequited. I do not wish for Nagi to be a real person, nor am I looking for someone with the same qualities as her in reality. The bottom line is: I love Nagi. That is all.

As such, sometime after I had accepted the fact that I had fallen for this completely fiction 13 year-old (at that time. Eventually, she turns 14 and is 16 in the final chapter. Also, she was born on December 3, 1991. That is this particular lolicon’s loophole.), I began collecting her dolls and figures. Now for those of you who are familiar with figure collection, whether it’s Marvel/DC figures or bishoujo figures, you are probably aware that this is a rich man’s hobby – and frankly, I am far from rich.

Still, I persevered and began buying legitimate, authentic figures of Nagi every time I had some loose cash. Hunting for figures of her was a bit of a chore because a lot of the figures, except the recent Cat Nagi figures from Orca Toys are long out of production. This means that I had to go through channels in order to obtain them or otherwise wait for some pre-owned items to pop up in online hobby shops like Amiami. 

Long story short, it took me several years but finally, I succeeded in obtaining every single figure of Nagi Sanzen’in ever officially released. The only things missing from my collection would be two garage kit figures made by hobbyist sculptors, which are almost impossible to find nowadays. 
Of course, do not be misled. This is not what I was talking about when I mentioned “success” at the start of this article.

The 365 Project

Last year, I participated in a 365 day photo project. It was a challenge that was first brainstormed by Mikey of ATP Projects – one of my old friends from the EVN (English Visual Novel) community. The rules of the project were very simple. Take a picture of a particular subject matter every day for 365 days. Naturally, I could not pass up this opportunity to take a picture of my cute and beautiful Nagi figures every single day. I mean, I was already doing that even before the project began anyway. This was just a way to validate and legitimize what I was doing.
A parody of the UP female oblation statue. Photo by me.
If you ever find a guy with an anime shirt taking pictures of a doll around the campus, that would be me.

My page for the project can be found at

The Triumph Of Love

Of course, completing the 365 day photo project was a pretty straightforward affair for me – but again, this was not my personal success story. 

The real success story is the triumph of love which happened on the exact date of April 12, 2017. This was the day that the final chapter (568) of Hayate The Combat Butler was released – and it also marks the day that Nagi x Hayate became the official canon romantic pairing of the series. 

Now for some people, a fictional story with fictional characters is just that. There can be emotional investment but not to the point of actually falling in love with a character, or at least deluding oneself into believing that such a thing is possible. 

For me however, the success of Nagi’s love, the victory of my ship, and the assurance that Nagi will be happy in the future, is the greatest personal success that I could ever hope for. I could not ask for anything more from this crazy, selfish, standards-obsessed world. 

This is why I continue to take daily pictures of my Nagi dolls. In her triumph of her love, I have found my fulfillment. Therefore, this is my personal advocacy in thanks to Kenjiro Hata for writing such a wonderful ending to what was a very scary, see-sawing story of love.

Success is subjective. Do not let other people’s standards define your own happiness. So let me conclude with my personal philosophy on love and life in general.

Fanart Corner:  Hata noticed me again~! Here this week's traditional artworks. See you next week for sure!

chibi nagi tan~

This pose really suits her, methinks. Very classy and ojou-sama-like

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...