Friday, June 29, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Missed Potential

First of all, a shoutout to MeteorD or GLaDOSVista or whatever you like to call yourself. Would have been nice to have one more Nagi shipper on board while the manga was ending, but hey, it’s never too late to poke fun at Hayate’s salty fanbase and talk about how awesome Nagi is together.

Now then, when it comes to the Hayate fandom, when you see the phrase “missed potential” uttered, it is most often about how Hayate should have been all lovey-dovey with some other girl who is not Nagi.  I mean, the salty fans of this series act like a broken record – and I believe it has to do with the lack of creativity of a majority of these salty fans. Don’t worry, if you’re not a salty fan, then this doesn’t apply to you.

Anyway, from personal observation, it would seem to me that most uncreative fans simply rely on the few people from their ships who actually read the manga and have the brain power to make inferences about it – no matter how wrong those inferences actually turned out to be in hindsight. So what these uncreative fans do is simply regurgitate the false information that they see from other fans who are a little bit more creative than they are… but hey, that’s just a speculation from me. Let’s get right down to the actual topic of today’s Hayate Reflections: missed potential.

So while I am obviously super happy with the ending of Hayate no Gotoku which more than favored my favorite pairing of Hayate and Nagi, there are some things that I wish had been executed much better – and here they are.

Athena’s Ring Box

Ok, let’s look back to chapter 266 or the closing moments of the Golden Week arc. It was here wherein Nagi and Athena first met face to face. They would become friends later on when Athena becomes Alice, of course, but it was here in this chapter when the two most important ladies in Hayate’s life (with Nagi being a little bit more important than others) really first met. 

It was a pretty simple scene. Nagi lost her favorite hat (the one that Hayate gave her back in Radical Dreamers – which also happens to take place during the Mykonos Arc, by the way, even if the chapter itself came much earlier.) So the hat was blown by the wind to some clump of trees. Athena, who happened to be there, catches it. She then gives it back to Nagi and impliedly tells her to take good care of Hayate (which a lot of fans misunderstood, of course. They thought that Athena was threatening to take Hayate back as her boyfriend and that she would do so eventually – which was of course, just silly fan speculation with no basis in truth whatsoever). But that’s not where the missed potential lies. 

When Athena departs, she leaves something else in Nagi’s hands – it’s the ring box for the ring that Hayate gave her. This is where the missed potential really is. The ring box was never really brought up again. I mean, you can actually see it inside of Nagi’s room later on near the end of the manga, but nothing really came of it. There was tons of potential for a romantic moment between Hayate and Nagi with this setup, but it was never used. 

Like, it was clearly implying that Nagi would someday fill the gap in that box with a ring from Hayate as well – but of course, Hayate showed his affection for Nagi in other ways – which was fine, but I just saw this as a real missed opportunity for a satisfying romantic moment.

Hayate’s Birthday Present

The second one would have to be Hayate’s birthday present, of course. Remember that sometime early in the series (also covered in season 2), Nagi promised to buy Hayate a birthday present with money that she earned by herself for doing a part-time job at café donguri and when she asked Hayate, he said he wanted a watch so that he could keep it with him all the time. Well, it’s actually brought up several times. At the end of the class trip arc, Nagi actually mentions that Hayate’s birthday is coming up. 

In the end, Hata skipped past Hayate’s birthday completely and then just skimmed over Nagi’s birthday. This was a really missed opportunity to have Nagi give Hayate a watch… or even if she did give him the watch off-panel, it could have been the trigger for him to realize his true feelings for Nagi later on inside of the Royal Garden. Sadly, it was never utilized – but at least Hayate still fell for Nagi in chapter 567, so it’s all good.

So with that said, that wraps up Hayate reflections for this week. Are there any particular scenes in this manga that you think might have been a missed opportunity? Do let me know in the comments.

Fanart Corner

Oh, and here are some fanart for the week. Some of them are a bit lewd, but it’s OK! Anyway, I’ll be on vacation away from my main pc next week, so I probably won’t have any Hayate reflections to show. With that said, I will try to make a blog post, so I’ll definitely still see you next week. This has been Hayate Reflections and this is lordcloudx out. By the way, Hata-sensei noticed my art this week again~ so happy!

Finally got a good shot of this. Prismacolor colored pencils and Nagi's glorious booty.

Dat ass is quite fine~
Actually just painted over an old piece that was becoming faded with age. Original was in colored pencils and felt tipped markers. This one is done in watercolors.

I should scan this one. Watercolors with Sakura brush pen for the outlines.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 7

For our seventh day in Kabankalan, it was business as usual in the morning. Of course, there wasn’t a lot of pressure now because it was the last day and there was really nothing else to be done.  The graduation ceremony together with some presentations from the different groups would take up the entire afternoon. Meanwhile, many of the participants in the Purposive Communication class still had their comprehensive exams for the PhD’s and thus, were absent. 

Time  For... Some CARTWHEELS!

We arrived at around 7:45 AM at the CPSU Arts and Sciences building. Of course, this time, as expected, there were no students around. So my mother and I still took the time to set up the laptop on the big screen anyway.  She wanted to show everyone that the bloopers were now gone in the final video.

Seeing that there were no students around yet, we took to finishing up on some odds and ends such as the requirements to be passed to the administrators of the seminar and grading some of the students’ works that we hadn’t read yet.

It was a pretty slow day, so I had time for… some double cartwheels!
LOL! Well, that aside, I think about 4 students did come in by around 9:00-10:00 AM. We also learned that most of teachers went on a sightseeing tour of Kabankalan with their students. I think my mother was invited along, but she declined.

Lunchtime at City Mall

Since no one else seemed to be showing up, we decided to get back to Kabankalan City for lunch at CityMall with the four students who showed up today. We hitched a ride with a teacher who was on his way there.
I never realized that Nep had her own finance corporation.

There was a funny episode at the Mang Inasal stall inside of the CityMall food court. This conversation took place in Hiligaynon, but I’ll translate it. My mother kept asking the cashier whether she was a girl who was actually a boy quite jokingly. The clerk just kept smiling and said, “No, I’m a girl-girl.” And my mother answered “Of course you are,” with a knowing smile on her face.  Ms. CV, one of the students who accompanied my mother and I to the counter ran away.

You see, the cashier was really a girl, but she had a sort of masculine appearance and body structure, so my mother automatically assumed that she was a homosexual man. Anyway, she did return and apologize to the lady when we told her that she was mistaken at our table.

Departure Signs

Lunch had to be prepared inside of the Mang Inasal stall first, but before that, I was quite touched when the students presented my mother and I with some going-away presents. I was especially thrilled because they got me two 9x12” Sterling sketchbooks along with a 36 color set of Pentel Oil Pastels (the same brand that I actually do use).  I was just really happy that these people whom we’d just met a few days ago would be so thoughtful – and actually even select a present that would really appeal to me. Anyway, this is the first artwork I’ve done so far using the oil pastels that they gave me.

After lunch, Ms. G drove us to the hotel where we picked up a few things for Ms. CV who would be hosting the graduation ceremonies. My mother insisted on dressing her up fashionably. Also,  I accidentally closed the door on my mother’s hand because I took the passenger’s side from the driver’s seat and I didn’t realize that she had put her hand on my side of the door using the bar in-between the back seat and the passenger’s side seat to pull herself up. Fortunately, the pick-up was a new car with a child safety feature.

When we got back to CPSU at about 1:30-2:00 PM, the ceremonies were just about to start, so we made our way to Mt. Balio Hall. There were a few introductory speeches before each class was finally allowed to show their group presentations. Everyone had something unique to offer. Of course, for our Purposive Communication group, it was the video.  The class then presented my mother and I with some additional tokens to show their appreciation for us. I got a nifty red/black Japanese fountain pen. At this point, I started sketching a new drawing of Nagi that I planned to finish painting on this day.

A Short Farewell

After the ceremonies, it was time to say goodbye to everyone. The class actually wanted to treat us to dinner, but my mother politely declined because we were already scheduled to have dinner with the faculty group.

After that, it was once again time to drive back to the hotel. The representative from DENR entertained everyone inside the vehicle during the trip with her ability to do over 50 different voices and make up impromptu short stories with slightly derivative yet somewhat compelling short stories on the fly. It seems she was once a voice talent for a radio station.

We left some of our baggage inside the hotel and then we were driven over to a local restaurant for dinner with everyone. Dinner was fine, but I was actually a bit busy trying to finish my painting before the day was through.

At The Plaza

Everyone went on their separate ways after dinner. My mother and I got some ice cream at a 7-11 that was next to the restaurant and then we took a short walk around the plaza before we decided to ride a tricycle back to the hotel. It's funny because this was actually the first time that we'd had time to walk around Kabankalan City on our own. Unfortunately, most places were now closed.

Kabankalan City seems like a really peaceful place at night. There were even a few kids riding their bikes on the plaza – and it was already about 8:30 PM.
The hotel was only about 5 minutes away via tricycle and we were back in no time flat. It was now time to pack up our things. I finished my painting before this. Luckily, it was a Saturday and I had no work to do.

We would be leaving for Bacolod early the next day, so I took the time to snap a picture of almost all the gifts that the Purposive Communication class gave us together with my Nagi doll.

A Piece Of Me

Come morning the next day, it was time to say goodbye to this Nagi painting that I finished the night before. If you know me, then you would realize that I never ever part with any of the originals of my Nagi paintings… but I wanted to leave this one behind in Kabankalan for the CPSU Purposive Communication students. I never liked the place, really… it’s very scenic, but I’m a city-bred kid who is used to big malls and restaurants and other places that don’t close by 8:00 PM… but still, I wanted to leave a piece of myself in Kabankalan because of the many irreplaceable memories captured through the lens of my smartphone’s camera and the wonderful realizations that this place has bestowed upon me – inimitable moments that I will treasure forever, in the frame of my heart.

This is lordcloudx and this has been my 7-day trip to Kabankalan. See you once again in future travels to come.

I did make a digital version though :)

Friday, June 22, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 6

On the 6th day of our stay in Kabankalan City, I’d like to say that I’m getting used to living in this place – but that would be a big fat lie. In any case, Southland Inn is much, much better than Zaycoland in my honest opinion. We woke up earlier than usual having learned our lesson from the day before. I had the same breakfast of bacon, eggs and rice, and so did my mother. The difference is that this time, we had ample time to finish it.

After we were done, my mother took it upon herself to march straight into the CPSU vehicle and make a point… or something. Well, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure it was done in the spirit of petty revenge, but that’s how we roll~
As usual, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building at about 7:30 and after a short wait, the students all filed into the room by about 8:00 AM. Classes began with a short Zumba session again. This time, there was a demo teaching class performed by Miss C. who discussed how to write an illustrative essay in a very technical manner. Naturally, it was a competent presentation considering that everyone in the class is an educator after all.

After that, it was time for lunch, but I decided to skip it and stay inside of the classroom. This is because I discovered something a bit alarming. The raw footage for the video advocacy project hadn’t been compiled yet.

Time To Grind

Having worked on a tight self-imposed schedule with Visual Novels before, I just knew that there wouldn’t be enough time to compile the video – especially since no one in the class had any actual experience with video editing. With that, I took it upon myself to streamline the project and do the video editing myself. My laptop is an old Acer D732Z. At 2.0 ghz, 2 gb of ram and sporting a 2nd-3rd generation intel HD onboard gpu, it certainly was no powerhouse, which is why I downloaded VSDC the night before. I’d dabbled in the software a bit and I knew that it could run even on older systems like mine. Fortunately, Ms. C brought her HDD with all the raw footage. I spent lunch break taking out bits and pieces of footage from the waterfalls and splicing them together into a semi-coherent video. Rendering would take about 30 minutes, so I had to work against the clock. 

The worst part is that I wasn’t very familiar with VSDC since I use Camtasia Studio to do my video editing on my home desktop. I actually started to appreciate the power of VSDC a lot more after this experience.

In any case, what I did was to completely remove the sound from the raw footage and unfortunately for the students, I had to remove almost the entire plot of their skit. The video itself now just consisted of some really amazing shots of waterfalls and then some text messages spliced in-between. After that, I added in some music from Aquaria which was really fitting for the waterfalls and then used VSDC’s built-in “ripples effect.”

The new hotel has a nice little artificial grotto at the lobby.

By the time everyone returned from lunch, I’d had a somewhat passable advocacy video ready. I also took the time to write some impromptu prose about Mag-Aso falls which I planned to have different people from the class voice in turn. I mostly just took inspiration from the opening narrations of Aquaria.

VSDC To The Rescue

When my mother returned, she had a better idea and had them do the recording as a group via choral recitation. (She is a coach for verse choir, impromptu speaking, declamation, oration, and other similar contests) After that, the icing on the cake was to have one of the students, a Ms. H, who is a professional-level singer sing a local environmental song called “Kapaligiran.” Unfortunately, the recording hardware of my laptop just couldn’t capture her voice very well, so we just went with inserting the actual song ripped from youtube into the video.

Finally, I showed everyone the preview of the video and they found it quite impressive – of course, they did spot the fact that I’d somehow inadvertently spliced in some of the bloopers into the video. It looked ok, but it did kind of ruin the immersion. With that said, it would take 30-40 minutes to render the video, so I suggested that we just run with the bloopers since we were running out of time. It was about 4:30 when the video had finally been rendered and it looked ok. Everyone was pretty impressed with what I was able to do in that short span of time, but personally, I still wasn’t satisfied with it.

With that said, with everything out of the way, Ms. C entertained everyone with her powerful singing voice by plugging her laptop into the TV monitor and audio system and belting out several religious and sentimental songs which she played via a karaoke program on her laptop.

By 6:30, it was dismissal time again and time for dinner at Mt. Balio Hall. Then it was time for the  30-minute drive back to our hotel, Southland Inn. We stopped by CityMall again, so I took the time to buy some snacks for later.

A Little Bit Of Polish

Back in the hotel room, after getting all my work done (in record time because it was much more comfortable to have wifi in the room), I went over the video advocacy project again and after a quick google search, I managed to figure out how to edit them out via VSDC. So yes, I was using VSDC all this time without even knowing how to cut out certain parts of a video.

With that aside, everything was smooth sailing from there. The final day would be tomorrow and this time, there would be no pressure. Some of the students were actually having their comprehensive exams for their PHDs tomorrow as well, so not everyone would be able to make it. Fortunately, they would be graded based on their blogs and on the advocacy video.

Random Thoughts

As I lay on my bed contemplating all the things that had happened over the past week, it got me to thinking about Kabankalan City and how far away it is from the next highly urbanized city of Bacolod. There didn't seem to be any airports in the area, and I dunno, maybe there's a seaport or something? I was just thinking about how, despite the lack of any big shopping malls, 24-hour coffee shops or any of the hangout places that I'm used to in Iloilo City, the people of Kabankalan actually have access to pretty much the same level of technology that we do. Fiber optic broadband, tablets, high-end cellphones, PCs, cars, car service centers. 

Also, the facilities in the hotels and malls are fairly high-tech as well. Keycard system, modern elevators, etc. So it just got me wondering -- how do they transport all this technology as well as the things needed to these things functioning properly here? As far as I knew so far, the only way in and out of Kabankalan City would be by car -- and the nearest airport is a 2.5 hour drive away. I guess this is actually pretty normal in other places in the world? I have no idea, I'm naive about these things admittedly -- logistics and stuff. Still, it was some nice food for thought and it brought me back to the heyday of RTS games like Age of Empires, Starcraft, and Battle Realms and how you'd need resources to advance your technological level in games like these.

Thoughts like these pervaded my head as I eventually drifted off to sleep. See you for the final day!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Walking Around Iloilo City: The Scenic Route From My House To The University of San Agustin

I had a lot of free time this afternoon, so I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. I wanted to see how long it would take to walk over from my house to the University of San Agustin. My mother works as a teacher there and I come over to drive her home (It's not safe for her to drive at night because of her eyesight) in the afternoon. However, today was a bit of an exception because she wouldn't be off until 7:30 PM.

Now usually, I take public transport in order to reach San Agustin, which usually takes about 15-20 minutes depending on the traffic situation. According to Google Maps, my house is about 6.6 km away from San Agustin -- which I can probably run in about 45-60 minutes or less, but I digress.

Anyway, I decided to take a long, scenic walk to reach the place... but while stopping by a few places along the way. Basically, a leisure stroll.

The Walk

My House

I began my journey at 3:14 PM giving myself plenty of time to take it easy. It was drizzling a bit so I took a folding umbrella along... and when I opened it, I discovered that it was broken. Still usable, but definitely broken in its metallic skeleton in some areas, which made it look crooked. There were several spots that caught my attention along the way, which I took pictures of, of course. After about five minutes, I'd already gone by the place where I had some Nagi car decals done for our new car a bit earlier this year.
These guys did an awesome job!

At about 4:00 PM, I was already at Plaza Molo. It was really early, so I took a little detour and made a left turn to Iloilo City Esplannade. I took the original Esplannade 1 walkway. This place is really quite ideal for photos. I regret not taking my wide angle lens along. I'll do it next time. In any case, I still took plenty of pics for painting reference later on.

People Fishing at Iloilo River Esplannade
I'll definitely paint this... with Nagi in it somewhere.
At the middle of the walkway, there's actually a path to the right which takes you to another place -- The Boardwalk,which leads to Smallville and The Atria Park district. I think the entire place is owned by Ayala. Anyway, I turned there because I actually intended to walk all the way to the largest mall (for now) in Iloilo City: Sm City Iloilo. I bumped into my cousin and his girlfriend at Ayala Technohub (part of Boardwalk) and after some brief greetings, I was on my way again.
This road leads straight to Ayala  Technohub Iloilo. There are also some refreshment stands in the parking area.

At 4:30 PM, I was already at The Atria. I stopped by San Jose Cafe there and had for a nice light snack of chicken sandwich and vanilla frappe. At about 250 PHP, it was pretty reasonable for me... although a bit on the expensive side. I started sketching one of the pics from my phone while waiting for my order to be served.
Slightly expensive, but I like to splurge a bit when I'm taking a leisure stroll.
After that, I walked a little bit further along and reached another commercial complex called Plazuela De Iloilo. I decided to stop by there to see if they had anything of interest at the stalls in the middle that sold all kinds of novelty items from earrings to toys, clothes and cellphone accessories... but nope, nothing worthy of note.
Plazuela De Iloilo
So right next to Plazuela is SM City Iloilo. I took the Southpoint route to get inside the mall via the third floor. It was 5:40 PM.

SM City Iloilo... speaking of malls, Robinson's Place Pavia just opened. It's apparently the biggest Robinson's Mall here in Iloilo (there are two others).
Sm City Iloilo is a pretty big place, but my mother and I visit this place practically every other day, so I pretty much know my way around. I went straight to Miniso first (a Japanese novelty store that sells authentic items from Japan) where I bought an umbrella for 299 PHP.

After that, I stopped by National Bookstore because I saw someone from Iloilo post a boatload of new Sakura Koi products on my timeline in FB... I was disappointed to see that there weren't any.

Undeterred, I decided to try looking at the Stationery section of the SM City Department store because I actually did see some unique Sakura Koi products being sold there the last time I looked -- and lo behold, there they were, indeed! And I mean the boatload of Sakura Koi products that I saw on FaceBook.

After taking around 10-15 minutes to decide, I went with a Sakura Micron Pen, Sakura Brush Pen, and the 24 color palette Sakura Koi Watercolors to supplement my 12 palette set when I exhaust it... don't get me wrong though, It's still Gansai Tambi or nothing for me for serious watercolor paintings. Sakura Koi is my "taking it easy set."

After that, It was getting a bit late, so it was time to make the long walk to San Agustin. I actually added about 2 KM more to the trip by making this long detour to SM City... but fortunately, I knew a shortcut that I often took by car.
SM City Iloilo At Night
It was 6:32 PM when I ascended the Overpass to the other side of the road from Sm City Iloilo. It was already pretty dark at this point. Fortunately, there's a nice little walkway for people right by the road. I passed by a smaller newly-opened mall called Gaisano City ICC Mall along the way. I also stopped by a convenience store to grab a bottle of water for 14 pesos.

It took about 20 minutes to get to this shortcut to San Agustin that I was talking about earlier. The place isn't well-lighted though, but I always bring a tactical flashlight along for such a situation (as well as for some degree of self-defense... dun worry, I know enough martial arts to make some use of it barring someone holding me up at gunpoint.)

Anyway, I have to admit that taking the shortcut probably wasn't a very good idea. The road was pretty dark except for the constant two-way traffic from some fast moving vehicles. It probably saved me about 30 minutes of walking time however. I stayed to the side of the road wherein I was directly facing oncoming traffic. It's a pretty simple logic -- no one on a motorcycle or other vehicle can jump me from behind this way since the traffic is facing me.

I kept my flashlight on for the entire trip, which was fortunately uneventful. If you're scared of the dark or don't want to risk getting mugged in general, I'd suggest not taking this route at night on foot -- or even on a bike. It wasn't the best decision in my case, in hindsight. 

I was pretty relieved to arrive here safe and sound and with no random encounters :P 
Finally, I arrived at the Gates of San Agustin by around 7:00. I was already inside by 7:07.
Hey there, bruh! Glad to see ya too. Gimme five~
Over-all, it was a pretty enlightening and really enjoyable walk. Total transport cost = 0. It wasn't very tiring either. If you count the stuff I bought out of impulse along the way though, the entire trip cost about 1724.25 PHP or 32.33 USD.

These are obviously just vanities. The Sakura Brush pen is amazing though.
It just got me to thinking that if you're still young and able and you don't need to get to a lot of places in a hurry here, you really don't need a vehicle nor even use public transport if you live in Iloilo. If you plan it right, you can actually just walk to and from work everyday (assuming you don't get tired easily and you don't have other obligations/quality time to spend at home). Also, it'd probably be pretty easy to get along with just a bicycle or even go on roller blades if not for all the road construction projects and the general recklessness of drivers here. I'd actually contemplated going on roller blades all the way, but I decided not to risk it given just how incompetent and reckless our drivers are in general.

More importantly however, it really did open my eyes to just how much we rely on our personal vehicles and public transport so much in what is basically a one-strip city (a very developed one-strip city, but that doesn't change the fact that Iloilo is actually pretty small.) I wouldn't be surprised if the entire city is actually just within a 40 KM radius.

Anyway, do you live in a Iloilo City or some other small city? Have you ever considered walking to your usual destinations instead of taking your car/motorcycle or public transport? If not, why not give it a try? You might find it just as enjoyable as I did. This is lordcloudx and I'll see you in future travel posts to come.

Oil Pastels on Paper. Found time to do this while waiting for my mother.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Romantic Compatibility

When talking about Hayate or any romantic comedy with a harem for that matter, people always have this tendency to talk about compatibility. Basically, how compatible is X character with Y character?

Now personally, I feel this type of shipping talk is just fine… the problem is a lot of people take this type of argument much more seriously than they should. Taking Hayate as an example, many people dismiss Nagi and leave her out of the harem race completely because all they’re thinking about is that she and Hayate are not romantically compatible because Hayate has never shown any romantic feelings for her – at least not until the very end of the manga, and only through implication – a very strong and definite implication that has been confirmed and re-confirmed by the author time and time again, mind you – but yes, still an implication.

In any case, let’s talk about compatibility then.
Let’s start with Nagi. As far as Nagi is concerned, let’s not even bother with Ayumu’s brother, Kazuki, who was obviously a one-shot side character only meant to confirm Nagi’s strong feelings for Hayate.

I think everyone realizes it by now that Wataru Tachibana, Nagi’s fiancé for almost the entirety of the series is the only other guy who could have ended up with Nagi… and to tell the truth, they have very good compatibility with each other. Sure, at first they were shown to be often at odds with each other almost like cat and mouse and Wataru is introduced to be just as much of a spoiled brat as Nagi was, but in time, his character changed a lot. Unlike Nagi, 13 year-old Wataru is a struggling business owner who only had his 21-year old maid to support him (who was pretty naïve and let Wataru make all the business decisions).

Eventually, as Wataru’s business picks up, he also mans up – much more than Hayate ever did… but I’m not here to talk about Wataru’s path to maturity. Let’s just say that he was a real man before the end of the series and that his compatibility with Nagi grew because of this.

This is best illustrated in chapters 542-543 when Wataru and Nagi indulge in some Godzilla otaku talk. They share the same interests and are obviously quite comfortable with one another – being childhood friends and all. There is a strong sense of “chemistry” between them to the point that no one could doubt that they are romantically compatible – and this is actually mentioned directly by Saki, Wataru’s maid and at this point, his strongly implied love interest (yes, implications are what Hayate the Combat Butler is all about. If you do not want to recognize implications, then don’t ever read this manga because you’re just setting yourself up for a bitter disappointment.)

Saki is feeling insecure because she can’t indulge in the Godzilla otaku talk having understood nothing of the recent movie and she thinks that a girl like Nagi would be much better for Wataru (What a familiar line of thinking… does it ring a bell? Does it sound a bit like YOU, perhaps?) Of course, Wataru mans up and tells Saki via implication that even if you don’t fully understand something, what is important is wanting to understand more about that something because truly understanding  may take a lifetime and even until death… yes, you Gen-Z or Late-Born Millennial, this is actually an implied proposal from Wataru to Saki – and it is very important to understand this scene in the context of Hayate no Gotoku’s primary love story between Hayate and Nagi.

So having established the basic compatibility between Nagi and Wataru, let’s talk about Hayate and the other girls. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this one shorter since I’ll presume that most of you are already fully-aware of his relationships with the other girls at this point.

First off, Hayate and Ruka: Well of course they’re compatible. Ruka is a lot like Hayate with a similar past of being abandoned by her parents. She has a quirky and playful personality but is also a hard worker as far as her job as an idol is concerned.  Most of all, they have the same debt of around 150 million yen. Ruka is also super aggressive about her feelings towards Hayate and even steals a kiss and tries to get Hayate to Marry her as a prize if she wins in a doujin-writing competition against Nagi. Furthermore, she has a cute appearance that Hayate does not seem to dislike and takes her responsibilities  seriously, unlike Nagi. I doubt Hayate would feel incompatible with her.

Secondly, there’s Hayate and Athena: Well duh? They were childhood lovers and they still had strong feelings for each other when they met again as teenagers. Athena is the cool and smart type, but also has her naïve childish moments. Most importantly, while not being actually older than Hayate, she gives off those oneesama vibes with her wisdom and big-breasted appearance. After all, Hayate has declared once that older ladies are relationship material while younger girls are just cute. Obviously, he has no interest in much younger women (coz apparently, three years is a HUUGE age gap). Anyway, you probably agree, they’re compatible, right?

Third, there’s Hayate and Hinagiku: Well why not? Hina is cute, popular, smart, athletic, strong, and everything else in-between and her only weakness is that she’s too tsundere (she has a fear of heights, but that doesn’t count as a weakness to me. It’s more of a moe moe quirk of her personality) to confess to Hayate until the very end. In fact, perhaps if she had successfully confessed earlier at around the point when Hayate had finally paid off his debt, then perhaps things would have gone positively for her. Of course, she didn’t. Of course, as far as appearances go, Hata has mentioned that Nagi’s breasts will actually overtake hers in the future, so there’s that. This is assuming that Hayate likes girls with big breasts exclusively, but of course, that’s not true. After all, Hayate has once mentioned that it would be a dream come true for someone like Hina to confess to him. No question of compatibility here.

Finally, there’s Ayumu and Hayate. Yes, Hayate did reject her early and she has been naively struggling to gain Hayate’s attention in all the wrong ways – but the reality is that she is the type of “normal girl’ that Hayate would have definitely fallen for. She is also cute, not-too-smart, but has a heart of gold that often turns her into a doormat  (or a hamster in Nagi’s words), but which doesn’t make her in any way incompatible with Hayate. After all, in the shared dream sequence with Hayate in the Royal Garden, she and Hayate actually do almost end up together in a hypothetical scenario wherein Hayate had never met Nagi.
Oh and lastly, let’s talk about Hayate and Maria… actually, let’s not. This is incest territory. She is his half-sister after all. Sorry, shippers… but I’m really not sorry. Also, let’s not talk about Izumi since she’s too much of a side-character to be relevant.
So yes, Hayate was definitely compatible with any of the many girls who showed interest in him throughout the series and I’m pretty sure he would have been happy with any of them.

The same is true for Nagi. She was definitely compatible with Wataru, and she probably wouldn’t have been too sad about having him as a romantic partner… BUT
And this is quite a thing, this BUT, thinking about Hayate the combat butlers romantic relationships in terms of compatibility would be completely missing the point of the romance in this series.

This is why I mentioned Wataru and Saki earlier. Wataru made the choice to be together with Saki. Now look at Hayate and Nagi. Nagi didn’t force Hayate to choose her. Not at all. In fact, she totally set him free in chapter 567. It took two years for him to come out in the open and finally make the choice to be with her – and this time, to be with her without any misunderstandings or ties of debt whether it’s a financial debt or a debt of gratitude.

Of course, in Nagi’s case. She had chosen Hayate from the very start. Her feelings were tested and she wavered quite a few times, especially in the finale, but her love had been nurtured throughout the series and matured as gracefully as the lady did herself.

So yes, in a nutshell, love in Hayate The Combat Butler is not about compatibility. It’s about making the choice to love someone and to forge a relationship with that someone towards the future… wouldn’t you say that’s a more ideal, and more beautiful conception of love? I certainly do.

With that said, see you next week for sure!

Fanart Corner

I usually get my inspirations for my fanart from looking at store window mannequins, posters of models, and similar stuff... this week's digital fanart is no exception.

Huggable Nagi~

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 5

Day 5 of the trip and the 4th day of training was a bit of a “taking it easy” day. Unfortunately, from all the excitement at Mag-Aso falls, my mother and I took it a little bit too easy and woke up a bit late. We went down for breakfast at about 7:30 and leisurely ordered the bacon, eggs, and rice… but we only got halfway through our meal when someone pointed our attention to the CPSU transport vehicle which had been waiting for us for awhile. Thus, breakfast was cut abruptly.

A Rough Start

Pretty awful way to start the day, but that was just about the only setback anyway. After the usual 30-minute ride, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building and by 8:00, the students came filing in. Again, things started off with a Zumba session per my mother’s request. After that, it was time for a lecture on communication processes from my mother. Fortunately, she can actually manage to keep a lecture interesting and keep the class actively participating even if it took the entire morning session.

Finishing Up Some Tasks

After lunch, Ms. C called in from her house and requested that the class be moved to her residence in Kabankalan City because they still needed to dub in the voices for the video. Thus, after asking for permission from the people in charge of the seminars, we were off to another trip to Ms. C’s house.

However, when we got there in the afternoon,  there were some technical difficulties and the video hadn’t been compiled by the videographer yet. We talked over how it could be done and Ms. C had quite a few ideas and I actually approved of them. I was just a bit wary since she planned to shoot more footage in the plaza afterwards and there were two days left before the final presentation. The video advocacy would not only form part of their finals grade, but it would also be the presentation of the Purposive Communication class for the culminating activity on Saturday. Having had some experience with working on a tight timetable, I knew that grandiose plans had ways of falling apart… with that said, I’d already made up my mind at this point to install VSDC on my laptop later in the afternoon.
Naturally, Nagi gets her Outfit of the Day shot.

Since recording couldn’t be done, my mother instructed everyone to use the idle time to finish up on their literary analyses – which was what the rest of the afternoon was spent on. I also helped everyone finish setting up their blogs on blogger. We dismissed earlier than usual at about 5:30 PM since the students wanted to do additional shoots and work on the video a bit more. We viewed the raw footage and they looked quite stunning, actually. The problem is that the speaking parts were muffled by the sound of the waterfall. Obviously, they had to be redubbed. Also, this was pure raw footage and the videos were shot in separate files/clips. They had to be compiled – which I really stressed upon everyone. Compiling the video should take priority with such a short amount of time left.
Anyway, Ms. C drove us back to our hotel after class was dismissed. Most of the students left behind had finally set up their blogs at this time, although they still needed to finish writing the 500-word blog post on the Mag-Aso falls trip. 

Some Time To Paint

Since we arrived earlier than usual at the hotel, we took the time to freshen up and take a nice shower before coming down for dinner at the restaurant. The Art Appreciation trainer was having dinner there as well, so we joined her and had a friendly chat. My mother recommended the Asian Salad, which she’d had the day before. 

Gansai Tambi Watercolors on Canson Watercolor Paper
Sakura Koi Colors on Berkeley Watercolor Pad

After a nice dinner, we went straight back to our hotel room wherein I finished up my work for the day (I was actually sneaking in some work here and there during the seminar) and then I installed VSDC into my laptop because I expected quite a bit of trouble having assessed the situation earlier. It was still only about 9:00 PM when I’d finished all the tasks for the day, so I had some time to re-paint one of my Sakura Koi paintings into a larger 9x12 watercolor pad using Gansai Tambi colors.  It also gave me a chance to make use of the new brushes I got at Expressions. I think the new image turned out pretty well. I’m not too sure I like the placement of the umbrella though.

In any case, that wraps up Day 5 of the trip. See you for day 6.

Monday, June 18, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 4

To Mag-Aso Falls

Day 4 of the trip was a bit less hectic than usual. The class agreed that this would be a field trip day, so we didn’t have to wake up so early. The class would meet us over at our hotel in Zaycoland and the CPSU transport vehicle would be taking us to Mag-Aso falls where the students would be recording their raw footage for their final project by Friday: an environmental advocacy video.
Also, we were informed that we would be transferring hotels because our booking for Zaycoland was made on the fly and there were guests who had booked our rooms for the next day. Fortunately, we had already packed up our luggage the night before and we just had to leave them at the hotel lobby and the CPSU transport team would pick them up for us and transfer them to our new hotel later. This meant that we could go straight to the new hotel after classes for the day were done.

Midterms Comes First

Of course, for the students, this wasn’t just a fun little field trip. After all, the midterms was also scheduled for this day and my mother planned to get it out of the way first. Midterm exams consisted of an impromptu speaking exercise wherein the students would individually answer different questions based on general interest topics such as current events, politics, and things related to the educational field (they were all teachers after all).

After a nicer breakfast (than ugh, continental breakfast consisting of  one entire loaf of bread cut into large slices and a banana), the students took the liberty of ordering lunch for us from the hotel restaurant in advance. We would be dining at Mag-Aso falls. It was actually starting to drizzle a bit, but it wasn’t raining too hard.

We left by around 9:00 and arrived at the place at about 9:30. There was a bit of a steep climb to get to the parking area, but the L300 transport vehicle seemed to have a pretty game engine. The security guard informed us that swimming was off-limits for now because there was no lifeguard on-duty… not that anyone planned to do any swimming anyway. (I can’t swim. I can float on my back, dog paddle, and survival swim, but I can’t breathe when doing a basic freestyle stroke – any tips?)

Mag-Aso Falls is quite a sight to behold.
The view from Mag-Aso falls was simply breathtaking. I like how ingenuous the architects were in constructing the man-made pool and the small structures like comfort rooms and rest areas that integrated seamlessly into the waterfalls. The pool itself was at the higher point of the falls and used water directly from the waterfalls. No chlorine used (it was easy to tell from just the smell) and the water from the falls was crystal clear – barring a few leaves from the trees and just a little bit of moss from all the lush vegetation that surrounded the place. Over-all, while the ground at Mag-Aso falls has a tendency to feel damp on the feet, the air feels fresh and clean and very cool.

Judging from the way their voices were trembling and their relieved faces afterwards, I would say that my mother’s midterms was probably quite a harrowing ordeal for the students – nevertheless, with that out of the way, they could now have fun touring the public areas of Mag-Aso falls while shooting video clips for their video advocacy project.

Personally, I just spent most of the day chillaxing and taking some very awesome pictures of Nagi.

In the afternoon, instead of taking the long trip back to CPSU, we got permission to host the rest of the class over at the residence of one of the students in Kabankalan City. It was pretty convenient for us because it was nearer to the hotel. Fortunately, the residence also doubled as a church, so it had ample seating capacity (for only less than 12 people) and a projector and large speakers for my laptop. 

Blogging 101

Part of the requirements for the finals was for everyone to create a blog and to blog about their experiences about Mag-Aso falls. Therefore, I gave a step-by-step lecture on how to create a blog using blogger. After that, I talked about my specific style of blogging and how I am able to write things down very quickly using a particular technique that I’ve developed. Do remind me to talk about it in more detail next time, but basically, the lecture consisted of having everyone pitch me ideas and helping me write one coherent blog post about Mag-Aso falls using their collective experiences. This is the blog and the actual post that I made during the lecture:

After that, it was time for another activity, literary analysis. The subjects were my own Hikari’s Ribbon Remake 2013 version and an anime, Episode 5 of Kino’s Journey : The Beautiful World 2017 (Country of Liars).

I was really quite happy when a few people came up to me and told me that they really preferred the story of Hikari’s Ribbon. Really, it’s not that I’m that starved for attention for my works, but it’s really very rare for random strangers to openly praise me without offering some high-handed advice on “how I can improve.”

Anyway, it was an emotional moment for me, for sure. The literary analysis would be a take-home written output, so at about 6:30, class was adjourned and we’d see each other the next day, hopefully, with the finalized version of the video. We reviewed the raw footage and they were definitely amazing. I was a bit concerned that there were so many long skits and people talking to the camera though. That would mean extensive redubbing and a bit of work in compiling the video. As far as I knew, no one in the class had any in-depth knowledge of video editing.

So we got to the hotel, Southland Inn early, but one piece of luggage got left behind at Zaycoland. Fortunately, the CPSU driver went back to get it for us and all was well… except my mother also took the keys to our Zaycoland room with her – as per a phone call to our hotel room. Of course, it wasn’t much of a hassle and after a short chat, she and the person on the other side of the phone both agreed that she’d just take the keys over to Zaycoland first thing in the morning.  One of the students drove us over. It was quite a nice place and most importantly, it had 4G internet connection and actual working wifi! It was also a building within the city and not a walled-in resort like Zaycoland. We decided to have dinner inside of the hotel’s restaurant – which closed at 8:00 PM as well. The food was really nice – especially the asian salad which consisted of some kind of crunchy, transparent noodles, tomatoes, cucumbers, pork chunks and some lettuce. I also had ribs for dinner, which was quite delicious as well.

Anyway, I was glad to settled down in the new hotel room after that. The room was a bit smaller, but it felt a lot more comfy with a larger TV set and nicer lighting. Also, finally! Real Wifi. Now I could work without worries.  We’d have an early start and free breakfast at the hotel again the next day, so as usual, I had to turn in earlier than I’m used to.

Stay tuned for Day 5 of the trip. We're getting closer to the end.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 3

Continental Breakfast

For day 3 of the trip, we had to get an earlier start than usual. Also, Zaycoland didn’t serve any real breakfast until 7 AM for some reason, so all they could serve us was their version of a “continental breakfast” which consisted of a large banana and a whole loaf of bread (I swear) cut into about 4-6 large-slices along with some butter and jam. Needless to say, I didn’t care much for the meal. Fortunately, we did have some yogurt which we’d bought at a 7-11 the day before. It’d have to do temporarily since we’d be leaving at 7.

After the 30-minute trip to CPSU, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building directly this time. My  mother used the entirety of the morning to give a lecture on the different communication processes. Also, as a picker-upper, she had her favorite Zumba session thanks to one of the students whom I’ll call “F” who brought her subscription-based LTE router along. Sometime during snack break, everyone wanted to see what kind of stuff I wrote so we streamed one of my works, Unpolished (I’ll put the video into this post).

I was really overwhelmed by the positive response. Everyone loved it despite it being a short, text-only piece. I think it helped out that my mother gave them a primer that this was a real-life story that I’d dramatized into fiction and that it was about my older sister’s actual experience. Anyway, many of them admitted to being nearly brought to tears by my piece – which made me misty-eyed as well.  Seriously, this was the first time in my life that one of my writings, one that I’d really put my heart and soul into, was praised so positively by so many people at once. The feeling of euphoria was overwhelming and because of this one single moment, Kabankalan and CPSU will always have a special place in my heart.

Lunch was served at Mt. Balio Hall as usual and we had them with the students and the other trainers and their respective classes.
In the afternoon, after another quick Zumba session with my mother (I never join those, but I can dance… I assure you.) It was time to do the near-impossible: cram one whole course’s worth of Oxford-Oregon Debate into one afternoon. 

Debate 101 -- In One Afternoon

So I went with a pretty dynamic approach. I used my laptop as a whiteboard and using notepad, I typed in some key points every now and then. I went over the basic flow of an Oxford-Oregeon Debate, which includes how to construct arguments for necessity, beneficiality, and practicability and what each side needs in order to win. Also, by the end of the lecture, we’d have a short, actual debate in the class by dividing them into two groups. I also went over the actual conditions needed for the negative and affirmative side to win – really, judges of oxford-oregon style debates should know these things, but in many cases as I’ve experienced myself, they usually don’t… but whatever!

Finally, to top off the lecture, I went over how to write a constructive speech, a rebuttal speech, and the secrets of winning the interpellation – which I won’t reveal here. I will say this though: It’s all about flowchart questioning.

So by around 4:00, everyone was more or less oriented on debate, but it was admittedly quite a bit of information overload. I acted as the moderator for the mock debate, which started at about 6:00 PM. I have to say, with a little bit of coaching from me and my mother in-between, everyone performed quite admirably and the last two speakers especially, actually had what I would consider a high-level exchange during interpellation. We didn’t have time for a rebuttal, but I was happy to see that everyone had really learned something in that one afternoon. I would say they were still a bit rough around the edges and could have used a bit more aggression, but it was actually the opposite of what I’d expected. Usually, when I coach people in Oxford-Oregon debate for the first time, they start losing control during an actual mock debate and go into panic mode just shouting out and being as aggressive as possible in an attempt not to let the opponent get a word in. Long story short: everyone’s performance exceeded my expectations.

After that, it was dismissal time and me and my mother had dinner at Mt. Balio Hall together with the other faculty. Truth be told, I didn’t like the food there… which didn’t matter much since the group was planning to once again take a trip to City Mall.

After the 30-minute ride back to Kabankalan City, we arrived at City Mall. We bought some more provisions in the form of some snacks from the grocery and some take-out food from Jollibee (our version of McDonald’s and yes, we also do have McDonald’s here) and Chowking. I also took the opportunity to buy one more set of artist brushes from Expressions.
Nagi's journey episode 3: A Land WIthout WiFI!

After that, it was back to Zaycoland, wherein I had to do some work downstairs at the lobby since as mentioned before, my 4G connection only works at the lobby area for some reason and getting a connection in Zaycoland’s faulty wifi system is like winning a lottery, they even give you several “raffle tickets” in the form of their vouchers to see if you can connect to a single one of them.
Anyway, with work done, I went ahead and formulated some questions for the impromptu speaking (we call it Extemporaneous locally for some reason. Extempo and Impromptu are interchangeable in the Philippine context. Basically, it means a speech wherein you are given a question and then given around 3 minutes to prepare your answer.)

Odds & Ends

After that, it was time to turn in for the day. I actually watched some old movie starring Van Damme on TV. The good news is that tomorrow would be the scheduled filed trip to Mag-Aso falls where the midterms would take place as well. This meant I wouldn’t have to turn in so early and could have a proper breakfast because yech, “continental breakfast :P”

Stay tuned for Day 4. I'll have it up by tomorrow because I've actually already written it down.
This cup of yogurt didn't come with a spoon, so I made my own spoon using the tinfoil cover.

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...