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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Why Hayate Did Not End Up With Maria

Because she's his sister! 

Kidding aside, I have an art-related post coming up this week plus the possible release of an original fiction short story that I finished writing about a week ago... thus, I thought I'd choose a super-easy topic for today.


Fanart Corner

I have lots of new fanart this week to compensate for this troll-ish topic.
Needed this sign for some idiots who keep peeing on our walls... seriously

This Toga is for real. Senior High School 2018 Graduates: University of San Agustin Iloilo City
Based on a Miku picture. I plan to turn this into a car window decal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Silly Reasons For Team HayaNagi

In the years leading up to the finale of Hayate, I spent nearly every week brainstorming legitimate, or at least logical reasons why Nagi and Hayate should end up together. Now that the battle has been won (of course, with no help from me or any other shippers. It was always all in Hata's hands, but it's nice to pretend you had some kind of impact), It's time to take a step back... actually, several steps back.

Today, Hayate Reflections examines several silly reasons why Hayate x Nagi should be a thing.

They Look Cute Together!

While not exactly a silly reason by itself, when you use this as the main basis of your argument -- even in the face of all the real arguments advanced by the other shippers using actual events and implications in the manga, then it becomes silly.

As a side note, yes, they do look cute together. Of course, as a serious argument towards them developing a relationship, this is just totally off.

Their Hair Colors Mesh!

Right... coz yellow and blue mesh,therefore, Hayate and Nagi will end up together. Do I even need to expound on this? It's almost as silly as someone pushing this "holy combination of pink and blue," if you know what I mean.

Hayate Will End Up With Nagi Because I Read It In A Fanfic!

And it was the best fanfic ever! Seriously, the writer is even better than Hata Kenjiro himself. He/she really knows the characters and what emotional depth and romantic development should be!

Well... I sure hope that writer was me :D... but seriously though, I've actually seen some people actually use this rationale and think it was actually legit.

Hayate Loves Nagi... because... he... will... like... her... or... something...

Ok, this is more of just a pet peeve of mine rather than an actual silly reason. Still, a lot of fans tend to give totally incomplete arguments, half-formed thoughts, or no arguments at all, but simply long clauses held together by ellipses and still think that they have some kind of perfectly good reason. I understand that it can be due to a language barrier at times, but I wish people would be a bit more conscientious about what they write down and at least make sure they can be understood by other people to some degree.

Hayate Will Love Nagi Because I Saw It In The Live Action Drama!

Oh... you mean that same live action drama where Isumi is a guy or something? ... OK, I BELIEVE YOU! Still... perhaps the endings to the anime as well as the live action drama were at least indications of where the manga was eventually headed. It's just amusing that people kept on chasing shadows of what their girl or the potential of their ship could be when there was very little evidence to support it in the first place in the actual manga based on literary context and using fundamental rules of good storytelling :).

Hayate x Nagi Should End Up Together Because (insert other girl's name here) Is Terrible
Ok, even if you are on my ship, if this is the best reason that you can think of in favor of Hayate x Nagi... please get off my ship right now? Please? I mean, you can pick off several legitimate reasons that Hayate and Nagi should end up together (and they did end up together, so keep crying, haters~) from just a cursory reading of the manga, or even just watching one of the many disjointed anime seasons. Hating on the other characters and using this as leverage to support Hayate x Nagi is not only a silly reason, it's a really horrible one as well.

Hayate Will Love Nagi Because My Ship Sunk And Now Nagi Is My Spare Ship
This is pretty silly, but also quite insincere. We all have our biases and I believe it is best to embrace your biases early rather than pretend to be neutral while secretly backing a ship in your head. This is simply hypocrisy.

I Am A Multi-Shipper And I Support Hayate x Nagi as well as Hayate x Any Other Girl (or Guy/Animal)
Sigh... no, just no. I for one believe that there is no such thing as neutrality. Our specific experiences have shaped us to have biases towards certain character archetypes and characteristics as well as certain types of stories. I don't believe that there is such a thing as being a multi-shipper. Of course, it could be that you just don't care about the ships at all and enjoy the story for some of its other aspects -- which I believe is legit.

Just To Be Clear...
If you'll peruse this blog, you'll find that I've written all of my arguments out for Nagi x Hayate and I will definitely write more in favor of my ship in the weeks, months and years to come. With that said, please stop posting about your ship on my blog. They're not welcome here. I won't argue with you. It's moot and academic. Your ship lost and I don't care to discuss about the merits of the story and why your ship would have made for a better story based on whatever sh|t you think would be a good rationale based on your headcanon. Go take that stuff on some other ship like all those salty Athena shippers -- you'll find them out there if you Google a few pages.

Also, let me be just as harsh and blunt as possible with you here: YOUR SHIP SUNK!

In any case, I'm not discriminating against other shippers lurking or commenting on this blog. Just don't try to re-start any moot arguments with me from now on. I will not give you a detailed response. I'll tell you that it's pointless to argue once. I'll repeat the same statement if you reply, and I'll just delete your entire message if you persist -- so thank you for your consideration and see you next week!

Fanart Corner:
Here's a funny one for this week. This was requested by someone, but if he's not resourceful enough to find where I posted this -- then he doesn't deserve to see it! :)

She's giving him a loving massage... probably.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Lewdness... where do I draw the line?

Recently, I drew a rather lewd picture of Nagi and it's not the first time that I've done that, I've done it multiple times before. With that said, I was quite surprised when someone on twitter (who really liked Nagi and Hayate x Nagi) responded to drawing of Cat Nagi (Orca Toys white version) in a provocative position and said that Nagi is a character who should not be lewded. I was actually just really happy to find another person who appreciates Nagi's character  -- even though she did not appreciate my admittedly lewd artwork.

I've done quite a bit of those, actually. Like... a friend of mine on facebook found this one lewd as well. It's just Nagi in a sexy bikini though.

Personally, I can respect that viewpoint. Nagi is an amazing character -- actually, she is the best character ever for me. With that said, I really don't have a problem if people want to lewd her.

The reason for this is because no matter how many lewd pictures, fanfics or other material people make of her -- that stuff is non-canon just like my fanart. It probably is disrespectful to the author and to Nagi herself after a certain point, which is where I draw the line. (Even though I admit that I have drawn pics of her in private that have crossed my own moral boundaries.)

In any case, softcore ecchi is actually ok with me, but anything beyond that is off-limits. For example, full nudity and actually showing her private portions is not ok with me -- unless it was drawn by Hata. With that said, the reason that softcore, sexy pics of Nagi is fine with me is because Hata himself has drawn her multiple times that way. Here are a few. I personally love these:

I decensored this one, admittedly. The originally had a black semi-transparent heat-reveal bar around her panties area.

So as an artist, this is as far as I'm willing to cross the line as well as pics that aren't really lewd (not really showing anything substantial) but are just lewd by implication.

However, if people want to go as far as to draw hentai of her (and they do exist), I wouldn't do that (as far as allowing the public to view it goes), but if other artists do, then I won't object. Like I said, it's non-canon after all. Nagi is still the sweet, pure, lovable girl that she was and that she turned out to be in the canon reality of the series.

With that said, I do encourage you to draw lots of pics of Nagi with Hayate, lewd or whatever you want as long as you draw Nagi, I encourage it. Nagi's fanbase is super small, and most of those who do aren't even aware of the events of the manga that make her even more amazing -- but I do like it better if it's just cute, wholesome and captures Nagi's character, but whoever listens to me, anyway amirite? See you next week!

Fanart Corner

Ok, enough with the lewd stuff. How about something sweet and wholesome instead? This is based on the Mega Jumbo line of Hatsune Miku plushies. I have Santa Miku myself and I keep her in our car so I can huggles her whenever I'm out driving. I wish someone would make a real version of this Nagi plushie though... I'd take her everywhere with me -- and quite shamelessly too.

Eee! It's a baby Nagi! So cutie!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hayate Reflections: A Criticism Of Hayate No Gotoku!

While I am definitely overjoyed with the fact that Hayate fell in love with Nagi in the end (Go ahead and cry if your ship sunk or if you just hate Hayate x Nagi. It's true and it's the conclusion that requires the least amount of assumptions), I am not deluded enough to claim that structurally speaking, Hayate no Gotoku is a competently written story. In fact, as a storyteller myself, I think quite the opposite.

I admire Hata's innate flair for drama and his ability to tell a touching love story (I'm talking about Hayate x Nagi and not Hayate and his ex, Athena) within the complicated framework of pseudo romantic relationships that he has invariably tied Hayate to throughout the run of the manga, but in my eyes, there are many glaring weaknesses to the entirety of the story and how it was handled.

For today's Hayate reflections, I will discuss some of these perceived weaknesses as best as I can remember them. Don't expect me to cross-reference specific chapters since my INTJ personality just doesn't like such a codified form of journalistic writing.

In any case, let's begin:

Inconsistent Characterization

Many characters suffer from inconsistent characterization in the series but for me, the most glaring ones would be Sakuya and Isumi. First of all, Sakuya was supposed to be the slapstick, comedy relief character with her paper fan and all and with Nagi actually drop-kicking her for her silly antics. Sometime after her birthday chapter, she even stopped carrying her paper fan completely and that part of her character just disappeared for no reason. Let me get this straight, I didn't like her wannabe comedian aspect, but there is no denying that it was a prominent feature for her personality and was part of what defined her as a character (even if the comedy aspect is mostly lost in translation across cultural borders). The fact that it just conveniently disappeared and she became this reliable onee-san type character that even Hayate would rely on speaks of inconsistent characterization on Hata's part.

As for Isumi, I think it's pretty plain to see. She used to interact with Nagi, Sakuya and Wataru a lot and even though she was always demure, she had more expressions than just angry, shocked, or bored. Over time however, her dialogue got shorter and more blunt and she stopped caring for anyone entirely unless it was for Nagi's sake. She became Hata's convenient little plot advancer for the King's Jewel Backstory.

The King's Jewels Was A Mistake
The fact that people were actually trying to keep count of the King's Jewels is particularly amusing for me. I had a hunch as to how Hata's mind works and it turns out I was right. All that King's Jewel counting and focus on the technical aspects of the plot all came to nothing in the end. Now I personally do not blame Hata for this because I personally am exactly that type of writer. I was amused at people keeping track of stats on this series because well... that's just not how it was written.

In any event, while I do not blame Hata on how he handled the King's Jewels backstory, I do think it was unnecessary, or rather, it was the wrong plot device to use if all of it was just meant to have Hayate make his final decision to give up his own life for Nagi. There are simpler ways it could have been done and/or better ways it could have been pulled. Heck, I could write a HayaNagi fanfic based on the King's Jewels with more cathartic drama and a more competent conclusion than Hata did.

Too Many Red Herrings
Hata dug his own grave here. Simply put, he used way too many clues within the plot that many of them ended up being either unused or underused.

This can be seen in several aspects of the plot but is most prevalent in the romantic department. Hata kept everyone guessing until the end because he left so many strong, obvious clues for an eventual romantic development between Hayate and all of the other girls in the harem except for Nagi. Of course, as it turned out, we Nagi shippers were correct all along. The fact that Nagi only has subtle clues in favor of her and not blatant, extremely obvious signs of romantic interest from Hayate turned out to be the plot twist that no one wanted but they'll always claim they expected because you do have to save face after being salty from having your ship sunk hard after all, right? With that said, these romantic or "shipping moments" with the other girls were so blatant that it gave many people delusions of grandeur and actually caused them to count Nagi out of the harem race -- rather amusing when there was no actual harem in the end because Hayate never developed romantic feelings for the other girls throughout the one year timeline he was with Nagi and he only developed romantic feelings for her at the very end.

Gag Ex Machina
This is something that Hata himself admits and has dedicated a chapter to, of course. With that said, the reliance on gags to lighten up what would otherwise be a serious plot development can get old after a while. Because Hata used his infamous gag ex machina so often, many veteran readers were in disbelief and denial when events with actual permanence actually started happening in the story. There are many examples of this, but off the top of my head, there's Nagi's strong character development, the debt being actually cleared, Maria leaving Nagi for real, Nagi setting Hayate free and of course, Hayate coming back to see Nagi two years after their rather bitter parting.

There are also some character arcs such as the Segawa arc which are purely gag-based and which do not serve any actual purpose to advance the plot even a little.

Pandering To Fans

I think this is the sad result of Hayate no Gotoku! being a commercial product after all. In the end, Hata, while being a more whimsical author than others, still has to bend and pander to the fans to some extent. Which is probably part of the reason why the other ships (all probably more popular than the canon pair) were kept afloat for so long and Hayate is so noncommittal and indecisive about his relationships with the other girls. Also, this may have influenced the gag-driven nature of the series because if Hata had merely sprinted headlong for the HayaNagi finish, we probably wouldn't have had 568 chapters to read.

It Was And Always Will Be A Hayate x Nagi Love Story

Fortunately, despite all these criticisms, I still love Hayate no Gotoku! That is because I've always seen it as only one way: A Hayate x Nagi love story. When stripped down to its bare elements and without all the embellishments on top, that's what the manga is really all about. And of course, as a love story between the two main characters, it is and will always be the most satisfying story I've ever read.

See you next week for sure. Stay salty if you're a hater~

Fanart Corner
I have a few new ones for today. Here they are~! I'm planning to try out my Gansai Tambi watercolors on canvas to see how they look. I've tried watercolors on canvas before and it actually looks pretty good.