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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

No Hayate Reflections This Week: I have A Splitting Headache

I have a splitting headache this week, so I can't think of a good topic to talk about. Actually, for those of you still reading this blog (assuming there are still readers on this blog), why not use this opportunity to suggest some topics for me to talk about next time?

With that said, I leave you with this week's fanart. See you next week!
So cute and so smug~

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hayate Reflections: How To Handle Someone Like Nagi

Spoiled, selfish, jealous, clingy, annoying, useless... these are just some of the many negative adjectives which Nagi has been described as in the series -- and undeniably, they are/were true to some extent.

So this week, someone asked me the question: If you had a girlfriend like Nagi, how would you handle her?

Fortunately, the answer is pretty short and straightforward: Quite easily.

This is because while Nagi has several negative characteristics, she is actually rather easy to handle as a person. All you really need to do is to reassure her that you do indeed love her and simply put, don't give her a reason to be insecure about your feelings for her. Yes, she can be jealous, clingy, possessive, and everything in-between, but I don't really count these as points against her. It just really goes to show much she values the person she loves -- and it's not like her feelings remain static throughout the series. This is something that is oft-ignored when people do an analysis of Nagi's personality. They tend to view her as a static character who can only be judged through her outward, tsundere traits.

Nagi goes on several jealous streaks throughout the series regarding Hayate and his easily misunderstood encounters with the other girls -- but in most of these cases, her jealousy is actually justified. You have to look at things from her perspective. In her belief, Hayate is her boyfriend and is madly in love with her -- therefore, what business does he have casually flirting with other girls -- or at least doing things that could be easily misunderstood as flirting when interacting with cute girls in general?

And yet, (as I've mentioned several times before) Nagi gradually grows out of her extremely jealous, clingy, possessive, tsundere self eventually. Her love for Hayate matures beautifully as the manga progresses and she passes the ultimate test at 14 years old when after showing several moments of weakness and the even regressing to her needy, clingy side, she overcomes her selfishness and finally makes the ultimate sacrifice -- which ironically also causes Hayate to finally realize his own love for he: she lets him go as her butler and as her prospective lover so that she can grow and become her own person.

In any case, Hayate was really largely to blame for a lot of Nagi's insecurities and her jealous and sometimes violent streaks (though not so often). We could justify that he's very dense so he never knew, but don't pin the blame on Nagi for that (that's victim blaming). As Nagi would say, "I'm not the one who started all this. He did."

Therefore, if I had a girlfriend like Nagi -- I would cherish her and never really give her a reason to be jealous. If she does get jealous and gets angry with me for some petty reason, then I would do my best to reassure her of my love for her. In short, I wouldn't be the oblivious guy causing all the misunderstandings in the first place.

Certainly, I'm not sure if it would work out, but at the very least, I believe in keeping the girl I love happy. Isn't that what really counts?

Anyway, this week's Hayate reflections was kinda different, so thanks to Mao for the idea. See you next week for sure~

Fanart Corner

For today's fanart corner, we have a painting signed in blood. It's the good old (new?) kabedon meme.

As for signing it in blood -- it's a pretty funny story, really. I'd just finished this painting and then I was getting ready to frame it up. I had to cut off some of the edges to make it fit the frame and I accidentally sliced my thumb open with a box cutter.

As I was nursing my wound, my mother suddenly said, "sign it with your blood."

So I was like, "GREAT IDEA!"

So I took out a 00 brush and signed this thing with my blood. With that said, I'm pretty happy with how this image turned out with or without the blood signature.

This is watercolors on paper for those who are curious.

Just in case you thought I was lying about using my own blood to paint.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Humor In Hayate No Gotoku!

Time for this week's Hayate Reflections... so yeah, I'm not exactly in the best condition today as I've been sick for the last two days and I'm just recovering.

Anyway, choosing a topic off the top of my head and right now, I'd like to talk a bit about the comedy in Hayate no Gotoku!

While I'm sure many people have fond memories of the comedy aspect of the show -- especially from the many references in S1, people who dropped the manga 300 or so chapters before the finale might have a hard time getting into it again because the focus of the series just changed so much.

Furthermore, even the side characters that both Hayate and Nagi used to hang out with are not really as involved in the weekly stories anymore. I say the weekly stories here because characters like Isumi and Sakuya as well as Nagi's grandfather Mikado still do play major roles in the ongoing plot, but they do not feature as prominently in the weekly stories that mostly revolve around Nagi's daily life.

With that said, I actually stopped finding the series funny quite a long time ago and was in it mainly just to see what happens to Nagi -- yes, I'm that single-minded and I'm glad it worked out for me.

There are several kinds of humor used throughout the 568 chapter lifespan of the manga and some of them featured more prominently during certain stages of the development of the series. Now don't expect me to make accurate references while I'm sick... you can help me out, though. I'm pretty sure these are present somewhere in the manga, I just can't pinpoint specific chapter numbers.

Cruel Humor
This was of course present throughout the entirety of the manga, but I think it was a lot more pronounced during the earlier parts. We have the very first chapter wherein Hayate is run over by a car and while seemingly on the verge of death, he still makes like a zombie and asks the kidnappers to free Nagi.

Of course, Hayate isn't the only recipient of violence. There's also Kotetsu whom Hayate is quite happy to inflict all kinds of pain on. Even Sakuya is drop-kicked by Nagi in her very first appearance in the manga.

There's also almost forgotten characters like Robot 8 who is almost always destined to end up as a pile of junk whenever he encounters Hayate -- until one day when he didn't and Hayate needed Ikusa to rescue him.

Sometimes the dark nature of the humor in the series is actually a prelude to a more serious backstory. A good example would be Hayate's parents who are often played out for laughs or Hayate's own miserable situation -- especially at the start of the series. The situation is exaggeratedly so cruel and unfair that it's actually kinda funny -- but of course, when Hata does decide to take things seriously, suddenly, all those jokes seem so much more meaningful.

Crossdressing Humor
While mentioning Ikusa, this brings up another aspect of the humor used in Hayate the Combat Butler, which is the crossdressing aspect. Ikusa himself cross-dresses as a beautiful girl -- which is kind of hard to swallow considering his very muscular physique -- but whatever.

Hayate has a very girly face, which is I think one of his most defining aspects as a character. When my sister once said that Hayate doesn't really qualify as a bishounen, I responded with: of course not, he's obviously a bishoujo.

In fact, he even has his own Hermoine Ayasaki figure, which also comes in nendoroid form. Nagi herself enjoys teasing Hayate and cross dressing him (together with Maria) in both canon and non-canon.

Perhaps at some point, these two actually broke Hayate because he starts cross-dressing by himself in the mangaka arc in order to spy on Nagi and make sure she's all right.

Fanservice Humor
When it comes to fanservice, it has to be Hinagiku. I mean, you can probably count more on doughnut gunso to point out specific chapters on this than me. There were also times when Nagi, Ayumu, Athena and some of the other girls were the target of Hata's lewd humor, but somehow, I think Hinagiku and Maria were often exploited for fanservice much more than the other girls.

Off the top off my head, there's Maria and the first bath scene with Hayate as well as the naked in the greenhouse scene -- which even got an anime version. As for Hina, Hayate himself even realizes this when he says that there's a good chance that whenever he walks into the student council room, he'll find Hina changing. The most memorable moment for me would be the scene where Hina is trying to change into her pajamas while sick and Hayate comes in to help her out because that was almost to love ru level fanservice right there.

With that said, while there are those scattered moments here and there, I would say that Hata treats his female characters with a lot more respect than most modern mangaka -- at least.

Self-Referential Humor

Hata isn't beyond making fun of himself and this is usually done through Nagi and Hayate in the extra omakes included in the manga volumes. Also, some of these make their way into the official manga chapters as well -- especially when Nagi just decides to break the 4th wall from out of nowhere. Personally, I find this type of humor to be the easiest to relate to.  Some of them are pretty direct such as talking about the time he got sued or referencing ad astra per aspera. While others are more subtle, such as Nagi talking about what it means to be an otaku.

Ending With A Gag
This is the infamous "this is the type of manga you are reading" aspect of the series. Personally, I really hate it when Hata goes this route, but it had become so predictable  near the end of the series that it's actually a refreshing break when the gag doesn't come. Like how Hayate's debt was actually permanently paid off, which shows that the status quo was really beginning to change in the series (at last.)

Fumi and Sharna
These two deserve a category all on their own because seriously, they have nothing to do with the main cast except the very faint connection that they go to the main school. They could star in a 4koma manga all by themselves and no one would notice. Personally, I'm fine with their presence as they can be used to effectively break up the serious story arcs every now and then -- but other readers might not be so tolerant.

While the gags and humor in Hayate were fun for a while, they were not what really hooked me on the series. Or rather, I was hooked on the series initially because of the gags, but I stayed because I liked the character (Nagi). If you were in the series for the laughs, then you would probably find the display of humor inconsistent as Hata's style has definitely changed a lot throughout the manga's run. As I've mentioned before, there are many flaws with the way the story was written and the use of humor could definitely have been done better.

Fanart Corner: Today, I'm corrupting an old classic with my take on it. This was rendered using watercolors on canvas. With that said, I broke my fine tipped brush, so I had to make do with a slightly bigger one on an 8" x 10" canvas since I haven't bought a replacement yet. I couldn't make the lines a bit finer, is what I'm saying. With that aside, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Also, the new watercolor set I'm using is semi moist and takes a long time to dry unless you really press the paint firmly into the canvas -- didn't expect that, but that's part of the fun in painting... the impromptu stuff where you improvise because the paint didn't behave the way you expected it to.

I actually did sketch a full face on Hayate, but I realized I couldn't paint it properly without my fine-tipped brush. You'll have to do with that vaguely happy expression now, Hayate-kun... ain't it sad?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Getting Back To EVN Development

As you all know, or don't know. I've started writing VNs again recently. Anyway, just a few teaser images for upcoming projects for now. The new VN is not being written by me, by the way.