Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Just How Did Ikusa Strike The Right Pillar?

This week's Hayate reflections is really a reply to Roop Banerjee's comment on last week's article about the good old RG.

So a bit of a recap, in chapter 263 of Hayate (which I never covered in this blog, btw), good old tiny A-tan says that in order to exit the Royal Garden, someone possessing a King's Jewel must come to rescue the person trapped inside (who opened the RG with a King's Jewel in the first place).

Then they gotta go to the Abraxas Pillars and while holding hands, slash the right pillar, which is only one out of 365 pillars. So like liddle A-tan didn't want liddle Hayate to try it and she never told him about these conditions coz she just knew that Hayate would suggest they try it. Anywayz, long story short, when Ikusa comes into the garden, he just casually rescues Athena by striking the right pillar. How did he do it? Why, there's a crying girl in front of him, how could he not do it!?

LOL HATA... brilliant explanation there, huh?

So How Did He Do It?

So like, that leaves a huge plothole, like we know that both Ikusa and Athena survived the trial and are happily outside the Royal Garden by the end of the series, albeit, Ikusa has apparently lost his memories -- which again was never expplained.

So really, how did Ikusa strike the right pillar out of 365 and given that he never had a previous bond of any kind with Athena in the first place, why was he willing to risk his life for such a fool's errand?

Well, I have a theory...

He Didn't...

Ikusa never struck the right pillar in the first place. He and Athena died when they tried it 10 years ago. The Ikusa and Athena we see at the end of the manga are actually doppelgangers taking their physical form but inhabited by one of the many lost spirits inside of the Royal Garden. Naturally, they also inherited the abilities of the originals. Because Athena spent such a long time inside the royal garden, the doppelganger who took her place also assimilated her memories. Of course, there was no time to do this completely for Ikusa, which is why he remembers very little about his family and his past.

Fortunately, whether they are the originals or not, the new inhabitants of the host bodies decided to live their lives as Ikusa and Athena. So in a way, they really are the same persons anyway -- even if they are just copies of the originals.

Also, cockamamie theories aside, It seems pretty clear to me that Hata was also side-shipping Ikusa x Athena. The reason that nothing really came out of it by the finale is because Hata didn't want to die just yet -- kthxbai see ya next week~

Fanart Corner

Got two for you today. Enjoy~
Remind me to take a better pic of this painting. Also, I might digitize this next week.

Hayate became happy with Nagi at the end of the series -- why, even Hata-sensei agrees~

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Time To Be Pedantic About The Royal Garden

Ok, let's talk about the Royal Garden this week. See, I've noticed a lot of fans of this series while it was still running really loved to employ double standards a lot and didn't even think twice about it.

Sure I'm guilty of that myself, but I am quite self-aware that I am doing it -- so that makes all the difference. Well, it probably doesn't, but I digress. Let's get back on track -- the Royal Garden.

So this week, I want to be a bit pedantic and list off some complaints/questions off the top off my head about the Royal Garden and how it functions.

Does It Have Magical Electricity?

Based on the what we have been shown about the Royal Garden, it is entirely possible that it does not have electricity. After all, we see here in this panel from chapter 181 of the manga that the mansion is basically powered by magic and as Athena says:

So that would explain how the place gets lighting, but there is a bit of a conflict here. Take a look at these panels from chapter 180.

Here is Athena's sacred bedchamber from chapter 180. The chandelier can be lighted with candles, so it's no big deal, but check out that huge electric lamp as well as the bedside lamp over there. To be honest, this place looks like a more ornate version of Nagi's room.

So yes, if it is a place where eternal flowers bloom, then does it have eternal electricity as well? Is there some eternal nuclear fusion generator buried somewhere in its unexplored depths?

Does It Have Plumbing?

Well, I'm pretty sure it does. If you consider this panel once again from chapter 180.

So yes, we have running water, folks. Homesteaders and preppers would be proud. I suppose given the magical nature of the mansion itself, it probably has eternally running water.  Therefore, bathing, washing dishes, washing clothes and I suppose potable drinking water are fine because the mansion itself most likely has a magical water purification system  -- or Athena can just do that herself with her vast magical powerz, but then, here's the thing: plumbing also means that it needs to have some form of human waste disposal -- so how does that work?

Given that the mansion itself exists in some plane of existence that is clearly different from our reality, then this means that it needs to have a self-contained waste disposal facility. Of course, if we assume that the space around the mansion within the reality of the royal garden is infinite, it wouldn't be too hard for whatever magical entities that created the mansion to provide it with an eternal sewage facility.

Of course, they could just be dumping their sewage off a cliff. That reminds me, how do mansions isolated from the rest of the world which seems to be pretty common in anime/manga deal with their waste material anyway?

How About Food?

This is an issue that was never really tackled during the run of the manga. In fact, we never even see Hayate or Athena eating while inside the Royal Garden.

Given that we have very little facts to rely on, there are quite a few assumptions that we can make.

1. Athena simply enters and reenters the portal at will and goes grocery shopping. Given that she is apparently super rich, that wouldn't be much of a problem.

2. Athena can use her magical powers to conjure food as well. Of course, magic generally consumes stamina in fiction (or mana points/magic points/mp) if this were an rpg. Using the rule of equivalent exchange, this means that Athena can only conjure up as much food as she has the energy to do. Of course, by consuming said conjured food, she can easily restore her stamina/mp and conjure more food. If she is wise (which she is based on her IQ level and lore, not on actual deeds) and stocks up on long-lasting food items, then that easily solves the food problem.

3. This is probably the most plausible. Athena mentioned that flowers bloom eternally in the Royal Garden. Given that it is known as a "Garden," there might be a royal food garden hidden somewhere inside of it as well where eternal fruits and vegetables grow. As long as you get enough molybdenum and other essential nutrients, a vegan diet can actually be pretty healthy.

4. The Royal Garden has an eternal refrigerator that has every food item you can imagine and it is magically restocked after every 24 hours.

5. The Royal Garden is magical. You don't get hungry in the Royal Garden. You can take in food and liquids as much as you want, but your body doesn't need it.

But Seriously, Eternal Electricity Is Such A Fun Idea
We don't really see any electronic items inside the mansion, but who is to say that it doesn't actually have eternal electricity as mentioned earlier? We could attribute the lack of electronic appliances to Athena's penchant for being traditional and old school After all, her character is written to be someone who is not that adept with technology -- although on the other hand, she did develop that hi-tech monitoring facility inside of Hakuo with Isumi -- so yeah...

So anyway, just think about it. You could power up six different monitors at once... oh wait, mai waifu Nagi already did that.

Anway, the point is that you can do something as awesome as that and never have to worry about the electric bill afterwards.
Does It Have Wifi?

Oh shi... Nagi (13 year-old version) would never be satisfied if she were trapped in the Royal Garden instead of Athena.

I mean, Athena and Isumi needed that special facility inside of Hakuo in order to monitor the inside of the Royal Garden. I doubt that normal wifi signals could reach that far considering that it seems to be an alternate reality.

None Of This Matters But...

Of course, these are all irrelevant details and it's really not worth even thinking about these when there are glaring plotholes and inconsistencies which are far more critical to the story than any of the stuff I've mentioned in this article.

Still, I think that it should serve as a warning to future writers that readers can actually get this pedantic, so you'd better be prepared to have an explanation for every nook and cranny of your made-up reality if you choose to go that route.

With that said, this is still one of my favorite stories ever with the girl/woman that I fell in love with now and forever. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Royal Garden and how it works, so tell me what you think in the comments.

So with that said, see you next week~

Fanart Corner:

Hayate's birthday is coming up, so I came up with this watercolor painting. It's actually two different paintings that I put together using digital editing software. I'll make a fully digital version of this by the 11th.

Check out Hayate's pendant.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hayate Reflections Halloween Edition - Dead Stars

Man, my titles are so click-baity nowadays. Anyway, as much as you might be tempted to think that "Dead Stars" refers to some gothic horror theme, it really doesn't.

Actually, today, I'd like to talk about a very old Philippine short story that was originally written in English called "Dead Stars" by Paz Marquez Benitez.

In this story, there's this guy named Alfredo, who is in his thirties. He has a long-standing fiance named Esperanza. Now society takes it for granted that he will eventually marry this Esperanza, but he feels that he is growing out of love recently. Now, once upon a family dinner party, he happened to meet this sister-in-law of a Judge named Julia Salas.

After a brief comedy of errors, he discovers that he had presumed that Julia was the sister of the judge and kept calling her by the Judge's surname of Miss del Valle.

When the judge confronts him about his error, he goes up to Julia to apologize and quite amused, she relates a similar experience she had with a Mr. Manalo whom she kept calling Manalang and the two form a sort of connection. There is all kinds of CHEMISTRY between them!

Anyway, they spend six weeks flirting with each other but nothing sexual and it culminates at the end of Holy Week with them saying a somewhat bittersweet goodbye to each other.

Flash forward eight years later and now Alfredo is married to Esperanza, but he happens to come back to the same place where he met Julia so many years ago. He sees her and of course, his heart starts beating fast... until they actually meet and then have a long, casual conversation together. 

Later on, contemplating on the moment, Alfredo realizes that he is not only quite satisfied with his marriage, but also by the calm order of his life in general. He no longer felt the same way for Julia Salas even though he had never forgotten her over the course of eight years. He likens his feelings of longing for her to the light of a dead star -- seemingly bright from afar, but actually dead when up close.

Well... isn't that familiar? Isn't it sad, A-tan?

Ok, that concludes this week's Hayate Reflections. Have a Happy Halloween and see you next week!

Fanart Corner

It would take I know... a Hata Kenjiro... and he would need the glow of dawn that paints the sky above. To try and paint a portrait of my love~

Hayate's birthday is coming up. This painting will form a part of his birthday art which I'm working on right now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Betrayal and Expectations

Recently, I made this post in my facebook timeline:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fanart Corner

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

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Golden Week Arc

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

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

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

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

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

The Same Could Be Said For The Finale

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

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

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

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

Fanart Corner

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

See you guys next week for sure~

Me and Nagi~

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hayate Reflections: News From Japan

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

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

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

The page for the events is here:

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

Fanart Corner

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

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wataru's Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Fanart Corner

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

Fully digital render

Colored pencils with digital linerart and background