Friday, May 18, 2018

Hayate Reflections Postponed To Next Week

Just a quick heads up that Hayate Reflections is postponed to next week because I was away on a 2-day road trip and because I have something special lined up for next week and need a bit of time to prepare it.

Meanwhile... this week's fanart.

This is a fixed version of her birthday art from 2017. The face wasn't quite right... now it is.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hayate Reflections: The Significance Of "I Loved You"

A lot of manga readers nowadays are quite blind to many of the subtle literary clues left behind by the author and of course, when they can’t detect it, it’s automatically “bad writing.” In fact, in terms of Hayate, some of these clues are figuratively staring at you in the face, yet very few people acknowledge them.  Oh, and before you go off on a tangent, if you will readback on my blog, I have actually acknowledged certain points wherein Hata might have left behind red herrings (as they have been proven to be now) for all the other ships, but as you all know, you’ve lost.

Ok,  so today, we’re going to discuss one blatant clue left behind in the manga which was confirmed and then re-confirmed twice.
What I’m talking about of course, is Hayate and Athena’s iconic mutual confession scene near the end of the Golden Week arc. We all know what they say to each other, right? Obviously, if you haven’t read the manga, then you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Anyway, they both say “I loved you,” in the past tense. Now this is obviously significant because it signals the end of their relationship – which was never rekindled even though Athena shippers were hoping against all hopes and contrary to all evidence that it would be.
Of course, you could say that the “I loved you” thing was one-time only. In fact, you could even have handwaved it into obscurity and claim that the author never put much importance in it… except he did.

A few chapters later, we see that Wataru plans to confess to Isumi and yet, at the point when he does make the confession, he echoes the very same words that Athena shippers so dreaded to hear: “I loved you.” Of course, Isumi’s response was quite lukewarm and we all know who Wataru ended up with – even though he never claimed that he loved Saki at all, did he now? Nope, he just said something about building a future together with her, but that was enough for your nerd logic, wasn’t it? So why isn’t “My feelings of wanting to protect your future haven’t changed,” not enough for Hayate and Nagi? Right, think about that for a bit.
But wait, Wataru’s example wasn’t enough for you? You still think that twice is just a coincidence? Well, let’s fast forward to the finale then. Chapter 565, which I’ve actually covered. And… one of the most resilient and persistent girls vying for Hayate’s heart , Ayumu,says it herself, “I loved you,” and again, it has the same message, the end of a relationship – or in her case, the end of pursuing a possible romance with Hayate. Also, just as a reminder to Athena fans, Athena also definitively sunk her ship just a few chapters before this. It’s not relevant to this discussion, but I just thought I’d let you know.

So here’s the thing: if Hayate were happening in real life and we were to disregard that it was written by a living, breathing, imperfect human being, then yeah, all these coincidences would probably mean nothing. However, because Hayate is a manga that was written by an author named Kenjiro Hata and given the precise and specific use of the words “I loved you” in all these three different, separate scenarios, and all to convey the same meaning, I think it’s pretty easy to conclude that these words are indeed intended to do just what they did: to end a relationship.

Now let’s skip to the penultimate chapter 567. Again, we see Hayate in a tearful farewell scene with Nagi after everything that has happened so far. There is no more misunderstanding between them at this point, yet Hayate would have been willing to stay with Nagi as her butler. This time however, it is Nagi who lets him go, but wait… she doesn’t say the magic words: “I loved you.” How about Hayate? All he says is, “I am truly grateful.” This is because the author never intended for their parting to be permanent – which of course, is confirmed in the final chapter when they get back together, with no misunderstandings, with hands intertwined, in what is the “true ending” to the series, as proclaimed by Hata himself.

This is lorcloudx and this has been Hayate Reflections. See you next week~

Fanart Corner

For this week's fanart, here's a painting that I'm quite proud of. I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors on a piece of 9x12 Canson 200 GSM Watercolor Paper. Oh, and Hata replied to me again. That's nice... considering that he's probably pretty busy with the launch of Tonikaku Kawaii's first volume.
Amazing how different an image can look depending on the camera you're using. This was taken with a digital camera. An old Agfa Precisa 1430.

And this was taken using my cellphone's frontcam. I'm using a Cherry Mobile Flare S Play

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Reality As It Should Be

So in Hata’s new series, Tonikaku Kawaii, the first actual problem between Nasa and Tsukasa has finally been introduced in the form of a new girl and a misunderstanding between the two of them. As someone else has noted, it’s now beginning to look a lot more like Hayate.

Of course, unlike Hayate wherein the story is about a couple who overcome misunderstandings and get together in the end, Tonikaku Kawaii is a story about a couple who are together from the start and then undergo misunderstandings – but hey, don’t quote me on this. I’m just paraphrasing the author himself.
Anyway, I find it rather off-putting how modern anime and manga enthusiasts get triggered by the smallest inkling of a threat on their ship. It’s not even about expectations anymore. Modern fans have become so spoiled that they actually want to have an active part in the development of an ongoing story. Sure, this is fine if you’re playing an MMO, but if you’re just following an ongoing fiction story written by a homogenous author, then I really think that the author’s vision should take precedence and that no amount of fan pressure/bullying should change this vision.

A very recent example would be Darling in the Franxx. People following the series would know that Ichigo forces a kiss upon Hiro while also forcing him and Zero Two apart. In the context of the story, all of her actions – selfish as they may be, actually make sense. She’s always had her eyes on Hiro ever since they were younger and she sees Zero Two as not only a threat to her possible development of a relationship with Hiro, but as a manipulative  individual who is threatening Hiro’s life for her own selfish goals. It’s only natural that she would do what she did.

Yet, when fans saw this, the hatred for Ichigo erupted like crazy to the point that the producer of the anime even got death threats (according to some sources).  Furthermore, social media was suddenly infested with memes about #Bitchigo. Now, I’m not sure how serious some of these fans were, but death threats are definitely not funny in any way shape or form whatsoever. Personally, when I say I want to kill someone, I don’t talk figuratively, I mean it literally.

Well, I went off on a bit of a tangent this week, but I think this general perspective applies to the Hayate series as well. It was especially prevalent during Athena’s arc when the focus was on her and her relationship with Hayate. People were already predicting about how it would be an Athena end and how Nagi doesn’t have a chance being the one girl that Hayate has “NEVER SHOWN ANY ROMANTIC FEELINS FOR.”

People were completely willing to ignore the basic premise behind the ongoing story, which is the relationship between Hayate and Nagi – whatever people may perceive that to be. Platonic or whatever – the fact of the matter is that it is these two main characters who are at the center of everything that happens in the context of the story.

In fact, despite all the gag chapters, the focus on the two main characters never really shifted. It’s just that people were quickly fascinated by what all the new characters had to offer.

This is how stories have always worked since time immemorial – especially in the romance department. Rivals and third parties that threaten the main ship are necessary because they add spice to the story. Of course, as an avid anime fan, you should already know where these types of stories lead to. It’s not about “breaking the mold” or staying with the formula,” it’s just that good storytelling demands a logical plot structure. People tend to apply real world logic and real life experiences in a fictional world, but they fail to take into account the logic of telling a coherent story – which can sometimes betray their idea of a “realistic expectation.”

On a personal level, this is what fascinates me about anime and manga stories in general. It’s not because they tell reality as it is – but because they show us reality as it should be. They show us an idealized version of reality, because as we can perhaps all agree on, reality itself is not always so beautiful.

This has been Hayate reflections and this is lordcloudx. See you next week.

Fanart Corner
Well... I'm still not sure whether you guys want to see some of my more risque Nagi Sanzenin fanart. No nudity, but definitely a bit lewd... as far as the focus of the artwork is concerned. Anyway, here are some new ones for today. The digital one documents how my art has changed through the years. The manual art is rendered in Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. The black is actually hours upon hours of blocking out everything with a black colored pencil. No paint used.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Stop Scientifically Analzying Fiction!

So, one problem that I’ve noticed – and not just in Hayate The Combat Butler, but in almost any work of fiction, especially in the broad spectrum of the otaku fandom, is that people have this tendency to apply “realistic” expectations upon works of fiction.  Yup, you heard that right. I said “realistic” and not “unrealistic.”

Allow me to explain:  I’ve found that this is a common phenomenon all across the anime community at large. People have this tendency to apply real world standards in anime/manga – and this almost always ends up in bitter disappointment. So the point is this: stop applying your scientific theories and Occam’s Razor or whatever to works of fiction –you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.

For example, one youtube video I’ve seen recently talks about how Goku and even Krilyn from DBS/DBZ can definitely beat up Saitama from One Punch Man. The content maker did some legitimate research even quoting several mathematical equations in relation to the feats of each character in order to show how Goku is so far above Saitama in terms of power levels. Now based on scientific facts and what we know about how each of their universes operates, the conclusion that Goku and Krilyn can easily defeat Saitama – which would seem to make sense… HOWEVER, this reasoning handwaves the author’s design for each of the characters. There is no need for an author to explicitly state something for any literature major worth his/her title to realize that Saitama CAN defeat Goku with a single punch… assuming that Goku is a part of the One Punch Man universe. There’s no need for deep research or scientific theories to come to this conclusion. All one needs to do is to watch the series and make an inference as to Saitama’s basic design. Saitama is simply a main character who is leagues stronger than anyone he faces and can in fact defeat them with a single punch. In other words, Saitama could punch out the universe if the author wanted him to do it – and it doesn’t matter how. He just can. That is the logic behind One Punch Man.

Of course, this applies all too often in Hayate as well. For example, a lot of people took to counting the King’s Jewels and speculating about what a huge role they would play by the finale. You could even find checklists in certain imageboards charting which King’s Jewel belong to whom. If Hayate were popular enough, there would no doubt be “Kings Jewels Specialists” on Youtube who could easily identify the location of all known King’s Jewels and perhaps even some theories as to the meaning of the symbols inside each one and how they relate to the story – perhaps even some shipping theories fueled by King’s Jewel and Royal Garden lore (most likely in favor of Athena).  So, to the King’s Jewels and Royal Garden plot experts out there – how did that work out for you?

In fact, the main critics of my ship often cite real-world standards, logic, science, and personal experiences as their main argument as to why Hayate x Nagi should not have happened or some outright deniers (yes, they still exist) who still claim, “It’s all platonic.”

Well, it’s all well and good if you’re doing it just for fun, but please don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is a legitimate way to predict the ending of any fictional story. Take note, I said FICTIONAL story.

The problem with made-up fan theories like this is that it totally ignores the author’s intent – and without the author, there is no story in the first place. Of course, no matter how you attempt to question the authority of the author, the reality is that it is the intent of the original creator of the piece that should prevail. Now in the case of Kenjiro Hata, an examination of his public image, such as the time when he actually asked his own fans to point out any plotholes in his story, as well as the “chill” nature of his blog posts would lead one to reasonably surmise that he really doesn’t care that much about the Royal Garden backstory. Of course, this was actually confirmed in his blog post for chapter 566 wherein he blatantly states in his blog that the Royal Garden was actually created at the start of the story just so Hayate (referred to as “the boy” 少年) could make his final choice that Nagi (referred to as “the girl” 少女) would be the one he would actually give up his life for.

Therefore, at the end of the day, while fan theories and fan canon are all nice if they help to add discussion to the fandom, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that our perceptions and interpretations of the story could ever be superior to that of the original author.

This is Hayate Reflections and I’m lordcloudx. See you next week~

Fanart Corner

Just one new piece today. I actually have several unfinished colored pencil works which I'll call... "anatomy practice." They're a bit risque (but I like em), so I might post them next week. This one was actually a gift painting that I made for my mother. She gave it away to a student of hers as a personalized birthday present.

Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hayate Reflections: I Need To Get This Off My Chest (Also, first VLOG!)

You know, I have a bone to pick with some of you shippers -- especially the lot of you who seemed to have just disappeared (or pfft... do we call that "moved on?") since the release of the final chapter of Hayate -- and after finding out that volume 52 did not sink the HayaNagi ship but in fact, solidified it even further.

Anyway, it seems to me that some of you were quite dishonest and disingenuous about your dishonesty. What I mean is that some of you were backing a ship that was sunk long before the final two chapters and therefore, I believe that you decided to jump from one ship to another all in the vengeful spirit of hoping that the Hayate x Nagi ship would be sunk. In fact, I can remember some of you in particular commenting on various imageboards and blogs about how you proudly spent years making fun of the Hayate x Nagi ship and how you were so sure that it wouldn't happen -- and then you became super salty because it did happen.

For example, I've said it over and over again about how Athena was sinking her own ship, but some of you thought "Athena would never do that, it was Hata who made her do that," as if the author of the story could be possibly separated from the story itself.  THEN, when you saw that Athena did really sink her own ship, you jumped ship right? You had a new ship every 1-2 weeks.

First of all, it was Hinagiku... but oh wait, she seems to have given up pretty early, so let's jump ship. Logically, it was Ayumu next. After all, she was the one whom Athena chose in order to wake Hayate up from his dream. Of course, that ship sunk pretty quickly. Then you turned to Maria. Of course, Maria has to be the one, right? Of course, it had to be anyone but Nagi but... YOU DON'T HATE NAGI, DO YOU? Nope, you don't hate her at all even though you are aware that she won't be truly happy unless she is with Hayate and of course, that she does indeed love Hayate. Nah, you had to go and impose your own standards of what romantic love is and should be based on your personal 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-hand experience (don't even ask me how that works).

Of course, your own personal standards of logic on romantic love (note the irony) and feelings is obviously superior to that of the author, which is why Hayate x Nagi just can't work. Hundreds of other like-minded people agree with you -- hundreds of people this vocal can't be wrong!

You know what that sounds like? Flat Earth Theory. The writing is on the wall. The evidence is there for you to see -- but of course, this evidence isn't "strong enough" for you.

But you know what, I may not believe in the Flat Earth, but I think Zetetic Philosophy at least has some merit. I do agree that it's the most natural method of discovery. Observe, ask questions, experiment and discover -- but don't make up false generalizations and instead, just note things down as they actually are. I think the hypothesis (which the Zetetic method avoids) is pretty overrated, but then again, it does have its place -- just not everywhere.

Anyway, this got off-track pretty quickly. I'm trying out a video recording right now. Might buy a better microphone for next time. See you next week for sure~

Fanart Corner

It's been a while since I guess he's pretty busy with Tonikaku Kawaii, but Hata retweeted my fanart today. It's the acrylic painting from last time. It really underwent quite a few changes since the first draft. I also have a fanart based on chapter 567 (where Nagi's most beautiful look was captured, I'd say) but this time with Nagi taking a selfie :D.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hayate Reflections: On This Day One Year Ago... Hayate x Nagi became CANON!

Ladies and gentlemen... today is a very special day -- April 12.

Exactly over a year ago from this day, I was frantically scanning the internet everywhere for any news of the finale of Hayate.

Those were dark times. After all, the HayaNagi fanbase is quite miniscule and worst of all, not very vocal compared to other shippers -- especially Athena's. Also, to complicate things further, I would say that HayaNagi is probably the fanbase with the most amount of haters -- because as the finale approached, many former shippers who had their own ships sunk immediately jumped ship to any other ship other than Nagi while spouting all kinds of ridiculous claims against my ship.

Of course, at the end of the day, shipping wouldn't really do a thing. At this point, Hata had already drawn the final pages of Hayate and sent it to his publishers. There was literally nothing anyone could do whether or not they supported Hayate x Nagi in order to change the ending.

Still, while being fully aware of this, I couldn't help being totally stressed out. I've said it before, but I lost a good amount of weight just waiting for the ending.

And then the spoiler pages came in the Chinese forums. The Chinese-fluent Maria shippers rejoiced at the prospect that their girl would win because apparently, Hata sunk Nagi's ship back in chapter 567 (he obviously didn't). 

Still, the amount of relief and joy that I felt when I saw those last few colored panels -- as chopped up as they were, was simply indescribable.

Drama aside, we celebrate that day today... well, actually, 24 hours ago if we follow Japan's timeline strictly. The haters could write all the essays they wanted to about how horrible the ending was and how any other girl except Nagi would have been so much more fitting -- but it wouldn't change a thing. NAGI HAD WON! HAYATE X NAGI IS THE CANON ENDING. The naysayers from the western fanbase were frantically editing the wiki and tvtropes articles to write this off as an "ambiguous ending," but of course, these were all lies. Lies which they, to this day, dishonestly propagate.

But don't take my word for it, the writing is on the wall. On Hata's Pixiv, Blog, and of course, in the supplemental material of Volume 52. If you couldn't take the ending in the final chapter at face value, then the additional material is right there to confirm or disprove your beliefs. Check it out for yourself if you still have doubts. It's verifiable, testable, and Hata is still alive and sometimes active on twitter to answer you. He also drew some commemorative artwork today btw. Hata's Twitter:

Thus, we commemorate this day, April 12. The day (in our time) that Hayate x Nagi won.

Anyway, what were your experiences leading up to the finale? Were you on my ship? Did you ship somebody else? I'm not really interested in your personal interpretation of the ending at this point if you think Hayate x Nagi isn't a thing, but do tell me if you have any interesting experiences to share from just a year ago.


Fanart Corner

I've been drawing a lot more lately. Recently started painting in acrylic too. I think I prefer it over oil as a medium. Less messy and easier to work with. Even easier than watercolors, IMO. It's also easier to paint over than watercolors which need to be applied sparingly in order to look good IMO. Anyway, I'm still finalizing the acrylic painting and will have it up next week.

Why is Hata's art for today so similar to mine? I assure you, we both posted it just today.

My goal here was to make her look like a 3D rendered model. Did I succeed?

Did I already post this? I forgot.

I think I posted this last week... oh well.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

On Art And Perceptions of Art

Using light, subtle shades of reddish-blue to depict the contrast between the subject matter and the blurriness of the ocean, the artist captures the fleeting moment when a sand crab is caught for a harmless inspection in gorgeous hues of Gansai Tambi watercolors. The specks of wet sand are visibly apparent on both the handler and the crab itself. The sea creature's claws are relatively unrestrained, yet the handler's gentle fingertips expertly avoid being pinched. It speaks of years of experience in handling similar problems in life -- an existence etched out of clinging to the edge of a blade; always wary of the danger of being cut, yet constantly hungry for all the thrills that life has to offer...

Credits to Mr. Noel G. De Leon for the reference pic used for this painting.

Ok, nope... I wasn't thinking that at all when I painted this. The truth is, I just came across this picture of some guy holding a crab on my timeline and I thought it was aesthetically pleasing, so I decided to paint it -- end of story. As for all that mumbo jumbo up there, that's just me emulating the typical artsy descriptions that come with pieces similar to this one -- which I find off-putting and somewhat disgusting, but that's just me.

Anyway, I am in no way a serious artist and if this is how serious artists roll (like in my parody example at the start of this post), then I'm pretty glad I'm not. After all, I don't believe I have the natural ability nor the patience to call myself a serious artist. I paint/draw most of the time without any innate desire to improve myself or be of service to humanity, or to innovate and express some deep-seated human emotion through splotches of paint on my canvas -- nah man, I'll leave all that fine art mumbo jumbo to others.

I've said it a lot of times before, but my main motivation whether I'm writing, drawing, or creating something else is to create something beautiful -- beautiful by my own standards. Of course, this usually means I end up creating tons of fanart of Nagi coz to me, she is beautiful. In other words, I like to paint pretty pictures -- that's pretty much it.

Now with that said, I also share my art quite often on social media, including on the timeline of my real facebook account. These art posts cover a range of different subjects from Nagi to just about anything that I feel like drawing/painting. Of course, most people I know are aware that I have some degree of artistic competence, so it's no big surprise to them. My posts usually get about 3-10 likes and maybe 5 comments at most from people on my facebook timeline. I get more retweets on twitter from Japanese Hayate mutuals.

Well, my mother happens to be a very gregarious person and has spent a lifetime (literally 30+ years) as a teacher. Her former students are engaged in all kinds of careers and businesses all across the globe. Thus, it's unsurprising that no matter where we go, there's someone that she knows. Naturally, this also carries over to her online status -- she has more than a thousand friends and hundreds more waiting to be accepted. Furthermore, because of her unique personality and memorable teaching style, she has made an impact on the lives of these thousands of people and they are always active on her facebook timeline.

So... I wanted to test a theory. The theory is that: Art is most often all about people's perception of the artist and not necessarily all about the piece itself. As long as the piece itself is competent at a glance, people will praise it if they love the artist.

With this in mind, I took a pic of a recent portrait of my niece that I made using my mother's phone and then posted on Facebook using her account and pretending that she had done it as a way to start a new hobby.

Translated, the post would be:

"Starting a new hobby. I never realized that I knew how to draw as well. Who would have thought this late in my life?" (For your information, my mother doesn't know how to draw and is not interested in learning how to draw or in drawing/painting at all)

So how well did it do? Well, I posted it just over 24 hours ago and here's the result:

238 positive reactions and still growing and several comments (all positive praises) in 24 hours. Compare that to my usual audience of 5-10 or less.

I guess the lesson that we can take away from all this is that if you really want recognition (as an artist in any field), then you might want to think about growing your audience, or in this case, borrowing someone else's  (huge) social network to see how well people respond to your work.

On another note, it also confirms (in my mind) my theory that for most people, it's not about the art, it's about their connection with the artist. So yes, for the people reading this from my mother's timeline, I'm sorry to tell you that I actually trolled you for a bit. My mother didn't draw this piece. It was me all along. I appreciate you coming along with me this far for the ride, though.

The biggest takeaway here for me is that it further confirms my personal philosophy: Everything we do is meaningless anyway. Don't think about being preserved and remembered for posterity. If there is something that you like to do, then just keep on doing it until you are truly satisfied.

This is lordcloudx out.