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~

1 comment:

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