Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Betrayal and Expectations

Recently, I made this post in my facebook timeline:

As expected, quite a few people rushed in with likes -- despite probably already knowing the answer.

The reality is that I'm pretty sure most of the likers took my click-bait in the vain hope that perhaps I'd post a real-live person and declare that I might actually like a flesh and blood human being and not a 2D manga girl. Of course, my eventual answer wasn't anything unexpected:

Mai waifu is looking at you this way if you expected something else.

Still, despite all evidence to the contrary all over my timeline (and all over the internet for that matter), many people clicked the like button and set up the wrong expectations for themselves because maybe, just maybe, there's that sliver of a chance that I would go for the twist ending -- that instead of going down the clear, logical path of my actions based on previous foreshadowing events, I would actually do something different from the norm that I had established.

Which brings me to the point of this post: If you felt somewhat betrayed by the ending or that Hata had "trolled you" with all his "teasers," perhaps you need to re-read the manga and re-examine your personal biases inside your head. (There is no need for me to do this. Simply put: I WON! We won, Nagi shippers! :D)

Basically, did Hata really betray your expectations, or perhaps... were you not, to some degree, seeing something where there was actually nothing? The"bits and pieces" of hints towards the Hayate x Nagi ending finally came to fruition in the finale. Certainly, it could have been done better, but it wasn't without any foreshadowing, nor was there a lack of evidence -- Hata, just didn't provide the evidence that coincides with your bias inside your head of what romantic love SHOULD be.

Anyway, with that dead-beaten horse of a topic out of the way, here is this week's art post:

Fanart Corner

This week's art post was inspired by a Hatsune Miku song and comes with a poem. Definitely, our past selves should serve to remind us that we are much stronger than we often give ourselves credit for -- so whatever problems you may be facing in life, just remember that you've been through  worse before! Go,you! Also, see you next week!

I followed the very rounded eyes that Hata used on Nagi as the manga neared the finale. It's just so cute.
I think this goes against expectations too. You would think that the older and more mature version would be the one doing the consoling, but I made it different in this pic.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Golden Week Arc

While many people laud the Golden Week arc as the high point of the Hayate manga wherein things got serious and the plot really kicked in, I personally am not that big of a fan of this arc. In fact, the only reason that I liked it is because in my mind, even before the manga had ended, Hata had confirmed the HayaNagi ending with this arc and had heavily foreshadowed Nagi's turning out to be a capable, responsible individual someday.

Now whether Hata was actually thinking these things when he was actually drawing the arc is something we'll never know unless he's confirmed it somewhere -- which personally, I'm not that interested in finding out. Of course, given that things did turn out heavily in Nagi's favor in the end, I'd say my speculations are at least partially justified.

What's Wrong With Golden Week?
With that said, let's just get straight to what I believe is wrong with the Golden Week arc. No, it's not about having plot holes or that the drama was forced or that it was Athena's arc. After all, it ended in Nagi's favor no matter what.

What I did not like about the Golden Week arc is that it did not seem to fit with the mood of the series at that time. Yes, there had been a few times where the series got serious and abandoned the comedy for a moment in favor of actually taking the characters and their situations seriously, but in the Golden Week (and End of the World arc) arc, the tone of the entire series suddenly shifted. All of a sudden, it seemed as if people could actually die in the series and Hayate's decisions actually had some really serious implications. (Of course, we know this isn't true because no one really died in the series unless you count Yukariko, but she's already dead.)

Up until this point, Hayate no Gotoku! Was still pretty much a gag manga with the romantic and dramatic elements often developed in the background and taking a back seat to the comedy in the foreground. For me, the change was too drastic and it feels like the Golden Week and End of the Week arcs in particular do not fit in too well with the rest of the series.

The Same Could Be Said For The Finale

Actually, the same could also be said for the finale. Most of my criticisms for the Golden Week Arc defnitely apply to the last few chapters of the manga. With that said, I can be more forgiving of the finale, because of two reasons: .

1. It's the finale. It's the manga's last hurrah and Hata's last chance to wrap things up and end it the way he wants. 

2. At this stage, the Golden Week arc from before had already set a precedence. Therefore, when the finale came, the change wasn't as jarring. Also, the build-up to the misunderstanding bomb going off had been gaining ground. Thus, the finale didn't feel as out of place with the rest of the manga as Golden Week.

3.  The transition to the finale felt a lot smoother than that of the End of the World Arc which just came about after Hayate was reminded of Athena by Nagi. There were many permanent changes already set forth by the time of the level 5 arc. The debt was cleared for real. Nagi was maturing quickly -- which is self-evident with the way she ended level 5 with a bang and without Hayate's help.

Fanart Corner

Well, here are some pieces of fanart. Two for today. Also, Hata retweeted me again. Thank you, Hata-sensei! I will love Nagi forever! Naturally, I love the HayaNagi pairing too~

See you guys next week for sure~

Me and Nagi~

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hayate Reflections: News From Japan

I've read some rumors online that Hata's new work will be related to Hayate no Gotoku! I suppose it's not surprising considering that his previous works are also in the same universe. With that said, I'm not all that interested.

Anyway, while the series might have ended, there are still a few celebrations for it here and there. Just recently, there was a "Hayate Only" doujin fest featuring different fan-made manga and other fanworks. I'm really happy to see a lot of HayaNagi content and some illustrations of 16 year-old Nagi. (pic taken from twitter)

Aside from that, there are two more series completion celebrations scheduled for the next few months. Hata-sensei himself will be there doing illustrations and autographs. Also, it seems there'll be some new promotional material such as badges and stuff... speaking of additional material. I bought this Hayate themed box from amazon ages ago, it still hasn't arrived.

The page for the events is here:

November 1-5, the event will be held inside of Fukuoka City, Hata-sensei's birthplace and on December 1-10 in Osaka, the place where Hata-sensei spent his days as a student.

Fanart Corner

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this today. Look forward to the full version next week... I have certain "plans" for this image.

To give you a hint as to what I'm planning. This image is based on a recent Hatsune Miku pic from my favorite vocaloid producer. (vague hint, I know)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Wataru vs Hayate -- Plot-Based Character Analysis

First of all, I have to thank the many haters of my ship. Your irrational, illogical assumptions really inspire me a lot.

So I got requested to do a Wataru vs Hayate analysis. I don't think I have a whole lot to say on the subject. Mostly because my mind has always been made up about it.

Simply put, as a romantic partner, Wataru is leagues ahead of Hayate even though Hayate has a clear advantage in basic specifications in terms of character design/base stats.

Ok, let's go over why. As always, this is a personal opinion blog, so take it as that.

Wataru's Case

There is more than meets the eye to this stellar young man.
While Wataru was arguably pivotal to the plot especially in the early parts of the series, it was clear (to me) from the start to me that he wasn't going to end up with Nagi (they are friends who can rely on each other pretty much like Hayate and some other girl over there whose name is not Nagi.)

With that said, I've always seen his relationship with Saki to be a parallel to Hayate x Nagi -- except Wataru does things right. He does it better than Hayate. Of course, an argument can be made that he never had a pseudo harem like Hayate did, but at the very least, he made his decision much clearer than Hayate did. Now I'm pretty sure there can be no doubt that Hayate chose Nagi in the end, but because he never explicitly said anything to that effect, it leaves haters with much room to speculate.

Anyway, in Wataru's case, the pivotal moment came when he wanted to finally confess his true feelings to Isumi. Until that point, Wataru x Saki was just considered to be for comedy purposes -- even though the non canon s1 of the anime did ship them quite a bit in the later parts as well. This leads me to believe that Hata himself had a heavy hand in those non-canon episodes. In any case, when Wataru confessed to Isumi, his very words were "I loved you."

Now the choice of words is very important here because these were the same words that Hayate and Athena said to end their relationship back in the Golden Week arc. Isumi interpreted it this way and no one in the series would actually argue with her -- most especially not Wataru who then went on to go to Saki to say that what matters is the life that he now starts to build with her.

From this point on, we'd see glimpses of Wataru's slow and steady progress as a character every now and then. Even though he had been relegated to the sidelines, we see little changes in his situation from struggling with his finances to eventually becoming self-made businessman on his own.

Also, since he was still betrothed to Nagi, they eventually made it official that they were never going to get together when Wataru tells Nagi that he couldn't marry her. Of course, Nagi had all but forgotten about this betrothal since she never intended to marry him in the first place and Wataru gets a bonk on the head for even insinuating that much.

At the end of the series, we see Wataru and Saki together with Saki wearing a ring.

Hayate's Case
Even Hayate understands how much he sucks.

Now let's go over to Hayate. Just like Wataru, I believe that Hayate's development phase (or his process of falling in love with Nagi) really kicked off in the Golden Week arc. Prior to this, Nagi might have been important to him, but I don't believe that he was ready  to fully dedicate his life in servitude to her. With the events of the Golden Week arc, Hayate had probably decided (probably because he has never made it clear and never will) to devote his entire life to Nagi -- for as long as she needs him. We learn later on in the Comisun Arc that he does believe that Nagi will not need him anymore sometime in the future.

With that said, he had never even  actively thought of Nagi as a romantic prospect before the penultimate chapter happened. This is an indisputable fact, but with that said, the foundations for him eventually falling for Nagi were already long in place before the penultimate chapter and thus, it is really not as rushed as some people make it out to be -- rather, it is the only logical conclusion to the series unless Hata just wanted to be a hipster and go for something different.

Going back to our subject matter, Hayate's confession of "I loved you" to Athena put a full stop to that relationship -- and because Athena fans clung on to false hope, Athena had to place an exclamation point on it near the finale (that's what you get.)

However, unlike Wataru, Hayate is still the main character of the series and because the drama of Hayate no Gotoku relies on complicated misunderstandings, he began to dig himself deeper and deeper into one web of misunderstanding after another. In contrast, Nagi was slowly unraveling the misunderstandings that got in the way of them being together save for "the bomb between them," which did hit her very hard but also allowed her to beautifully recover while giving Hayate one last chance at redemption.

Therefore, before the misunderstanding bomb went off, Hayate was really irredeemable in my eyes as the main character of the series. Remember that he had already failed Athena once -- the person who was the most important to him. Now as a 16 year-old, I'm very certain that no one would argue that Nagi was (and still is) the most important person to him. Unfortunately, in order to keep the suspense and drama going, Hayate was not allowed to say the one thing that would clear things up once and for all, that he did in fact, love Sanzen'in Nagi. 

In fairness to the blue-haired former butler, he did not have it as easy as Wataru did. Hayate was plagued with many complications including the fate of the Sanzen'in Inheritance, the King's Jewels, and the women who had shown interest in him whose feelings he had only begun to notice (even though it was obvious from the start -- but that's just how oblivious his character is.)

As a result of his being oblivious, Nagi, the most important person to him was hurt more traumatically than he could have predicted and he was the one who allowed it to happen. If he had not met Nagi on that day, then things would have played out differently. If he had noticed Nagi's feelings for him sooner, then he could have done something about it if he really had no feelings for her.

Of course, it also fortunate that he noticed everything after it was seemingly too late. By this point, Nagi just needed a little bit of a picker-upper lecture from him (ironically) and she was ready to take charge and handle everything on her own. It is worth noting that 14 year-old Nagi at this point was actually capable enough to do the things she did because a lot of time had been spent on her character development. She was hit hard by Maria's departure and then followed up by the misunderstanding bomb, but you would be a deluded hater if you think that she should not be able to recover from that given all the character development she had experienced until that point.

So when Nagi had recovered beautifully, it was only then that Hayate's feelings of attraction for her finally surfaced (read Hata's blog if you still want to argue about this. It's a dead-beaten topic that only haters like you would still argue about. Whatever the source material might be, whether it's from the manga or post-justification via word of God -- it's still canon source material -- sorry.)

At the end of the story, he affirms his feelings for her by returning to the same park where they first met -- this time with no strings attached. They then walk off hand in hand with fingers intertwined into the starlit night on a Christmas Eve.

Again, Wataru beats him in this department because Saki had a ring while Nagi just gets to hold his hand and discover that he's been stalking her all this time. Supplemental material would reveal that Hayate had spent his two years away from her becoming a self-made man himself by running his own business. This gives credence to his assertion that "I'm not in any money troubles right now, so I don't need to kidnap you" in the final chapter.


In any case, this is why I believe Wataru is superior to Hayate as a lover as far as the pairings Wataru x Saki and Nagi x Hayate are concerned. Wataru's development was slow, steady, but clear. Meanwhile,  Hayate's development was convoluted, inconsistent and vastly overshadowed by his co-main character and eventual love interest, Nagi.

It's also quite amusing because in terms of looks (arguably), raw strength in combat, and reliability in various tasks, Hayate is vastly superior to Wataru. It's just like with Nagi and her rivals who are deemed to be vastly superior to her in basic specifications. Just goes to show you that it's not always about the cards that you are dealt with, but how you play with them.

Fanart Corner

I have a video to go along with the new fanart I've made for this week. Enjoy~!

Fully digital render

Colored pencils with digital linerart and background

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