Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Taking A Short Break This Week

Hey guys! For anyone still following my Hayate blog posts, I unfortunately haven't had time to think about what to discuss for this week, so I'll give it a pass until next week. It's a busy week for me right now and I'm preparing my works for a local comiket-like event called Zinezoned: Iloilo Zine Festival. I'll be releasing a previously unreleased visual novel of mine called "A Million Promises." just in case you didn't know, I'm actually DawnKisa, the writer for that visual novel with Hime from Lux Visual Novels as the artist. The version of A Million Promises out there on the internet is incomplete and actually only follows the first arc. Think of it as a demo version.

A Million Promises will be available in installer cds in very limited quantities at ZineZoned on location, but I'll most likely make it available for download sometime later.

I'll also be selling a physical magazine that features my latest original story, Samantha and The Pieces of A Heart.

Zinezoned will be on August 26-27 at Robinson's Place Iloilo. So if you ever find yourself there at these times, do hit me up. Look for Nagi's face  being displayed somewhere on the desks and you'll know it's me.

Anyway, I'll leave you with my fanart for the week -- which I'll also be displaying at said ZineZoned event. See you next week!

Watercolors on canvas. Redhood Yandere Nagi.
Colored Pencils on drawing paper.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Plot Development In Hayate The Combat Butler

I once said that the ending to the story of Hayate The Combat Butler isn't as terrible as you might think if you think of it as the story of just the two main characters, Hayate and Nagi. 

With that said however, the focus of the story actually shifts quite a bit as the plot unfolds. I believe that taken broadly, the plot development can be split into two between the main characters of the story. And yes, I know some of you would like to keep believing that Maria was as much of a co-main heroine as Nagi, but that just wasn't the case in actual practice, so let's leave it at that.

The First Half

For the first hundred chapters or so of the story, the focal character is actually Hayate himself. We are made to empathize with his plight and how he is always getting himself into trouble -- especially given how much of a brat his mistress is.

We also get to see a darker, more jaded side of Hayate as the story goes on -- especially in how he deals with characters like Yukiji, Kotetsu, and even the student council trio.

This continues on for a while until we reach the highly touted End of the World and Golden Week arcs of the manga, wherein his tragic love story with Athena is introduced. It is at this point wherein the spotlight is slowly being shifted towards Hayate's co-main character, Nagi Sanzen'in.

While the entirety of the Golden Week arc is still arguably Hayate's story and how he comes to terms with his past, it is also the part where Nagi's character shines the most at that point in the manga. It is probably the first time wherein Nagi does something awesome and of her own volition -- AND without being a brat about it. Unlike previous chapters, Hata does not take away from Nagi's moment of awesome by ending it with a gag. This is because we are being prepared for the second half of the plot -- Nagi's side.

The Second Half
In the first volume of the manga, Nagi says that the story starts to get interesting when the girl starts taking charge -- well, that's exactly what she does at the second half of the story -- and really, she never lets go of the spotlight.

The comisun arc, or Nagi's epic mangaka battle with Ruka is really the point wherein the focus of the story has permanently shifted to Nagi. Naturally, Hayate still plays a big role and is actually shown on-panel more often than Nagi -- but something has changed at this point: the focus character of the story is now on Nagi. Even the epic King's Jewels plotline has now been waylaid in favor of Nagi and her mangaka antics -- and this is what threw a lot of people off.

People who were still riding high on the Athena x Hayate failed love story from the previous arc expected more harem hijinks and more focus on Hayate and his ongoing quest for love -- which just didn't happen. In fact, even when Nagi is not on-panel, it is often painfully obvious that she has hijacked the story -- it's all about her now and people who were expecting something else would just end up sorely disappointed.

However, for people who were waiting for Nagi's chance to shine, the mangaka arc was  really a godsend. Nagi is really put through the wringer in this arc and really, for someone as spoiled as she was, going through such traumatic failures and realizations during this arc must have been a hellish nightmare. It would probably be enough to break any normal person -- but of course, while breaking down several times, Nagi somehow manages to pick herself back up and becomes the amazing girl that we see when we reach the finale.

Unfortunately, a lot of people were still stuck on the idea that Nagi is just "one of the main heroines," while completely ignoring the fact that her story arc in fact now dominated the entire plot from the moment the mangaka arc kicked in. It was plainly obvious that the King's Jewel backstory was just being slowly developed in the background, but even when it did come back into the foreground, it was now an integral part of Nagi's own story.

As for Hayate, while his character development was still being subtly worked on, it never gained the same prominence that it had during the first half of the story. This is plainly obvious when even his own feelings for Nagi weren't really fully addressed because of the two year timeskip. While there is a lot that Hata has said about how Hayate chose Nagi in his blog and in the supplemental materials, when the manga is taken as is, it is pretty hard to understand what Hayate was really thinking after the Golden Week arc.

However, Nagi becoming the focal character after that arc and eventually being the girl that Hayate chooses to love was actually foreshadowed in chapter 252 when the narrator says, "with those words, he had seen the future." Referring to Nagi's words to Hayate at that time. In fact, there is a whole slew of foreshadowing sequences for a Hayate x Nagi ending in the Golden Week arc alone -- without counting the various other clues that Hata left throughout the entire story.

Over-all, it can be said that Hayate's personal character development faded into the background in favor of his eventual romantic partner by the time that the mangaka arc kicked in.

That's all I have to say on the matter for this week. I leave you with a Hayanagi fanart.

Title: Their Special Place
Medium: Oil Pastels on Canvas

Title: Beyond The Starry Skies
Medium: Oil Pastels on Paper

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hayate Reflections: A Fictional Love Affair

This is an article that was requested from me by a local zine recently. I'm reposting it here since it works as this week's Hayate Reflections~

SUCCESS is really quite relative. For some people, it would be having enough money to buy your own car and keep your bills paid all while keeping up with the house loan. For others, success may be defined by winning an award in a particular field or profession, or perhaps winning a contest in sports or the arts – in other words, recognition. For others still, success simply means satisfaction and fulfillment in some field of endeavor – personal success.

Therefore, while I may not have achieved any significant degree of fame, nor can I ever claim to be a financial success by anyone’s standards, I can at least claim to have found personal success – and really, in this convoluted world that continuously tries to redefine who the individual is or should be, this is the greatest type of fulfillment that I could ever hope for.

On Otaku Culture

I am a hobbyist – a very obsessed one. For you genre savvy types, I am what you might call an anime/manga otaku. While the etymology of the term can be quite sketchy, let us go with a very simple working definition: anyone who reads light novels, plays video games, and watches anime is an otaku. (image copyrighted by Kenjiro Hata through Weekly Shounen Sunday Magazine)

As an otaku, and an older one at that, I have dabbled in almost all areas of otaku culture from Touhou, vocaloid and 2ch/4ch to anitwitter, tumblr, and even the OELVN community (search for lordcloudx and Radical Dreamers 2002 on if you want to see some of my works). At some point, I began to grow jaded and weary of the abrasiveness of the otaku community in general and this is what inspired me to start a personal blog sharing my insights and oft-ignored unpopular opinions on various aspects of otaku culture.

Love Blooms From The Most Unexpected of Non-Encounters

It was because I had a blog in the first place (under a paid, registered domain) that I had some kind of excuse to start collecting anime figures. It began ordinarily enough for me. At first, I was not really sure if this hobby was for me or if I could afford it. I started with buying some cheap, but relatively well-made Class A figures of Hatsune Miku. 

Of course, it would not be until sometime in 2013 when I started watching Hayate The Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, that I was sucked back into the Hayate fandom, even though I did not really find anything special about the show back when season 1 was airing. My renewed enthusiasm for Hayate, prompted me to start blogging the manga – also partially because I wanted to know just what was so special about this “A-tan” character that the ever-toxic fandom kept harping on about.

Anyway, it all started when I binge-read the manga within one week. All 413 chapters available at that time. Before I knew it, I had inadvertently fallen in love with Sanzen’in Nagi – and of course, I do not make this claim lightly. Even if the person herself may not exist in reality, I am certain that my feelings for her are as real as anyone else’s feelings for their own, living, breathing special someone. 

My Nagi Sanzen’in Figure Collection

At some point in time, I had completely fallen for Nagi Sanzen’in as a character. I am under no delusion mind you. I fully realize that my love will always remain unrequited. I do not wish for Nagi to be a real person, nor am I looking for someone with the same qualities as her in reality. The bottom line is: I love Nagi. That is all.

As such, sometime after I had accepted the fact that I had fallen for this completely fiction 13 year-old (at that time. Eventually, she turns 14 and is 16 in the final chapter. Also, she was born on December 3, 1991. That is this particular lolicon’s loophole.), I began collecting her dolls and figures. Now for those of you who are familiar with figure collection, whether it’s Marvel/DC figures or bishoujo figures, you are probably aware that this is a rich man’s hobby – and frankly, I am far from rich.

Still, I persevered and began buying legitimate, authentic figures of Nagi every time I had some loose cash. Hunting for figures of her was a bit of a chore because a lot of the figures, except the recent Cat Nagi figures from Orca Toys are long out of production. This means that I had to go through channels in order to obtain them or otherwise wait for some pre-owned items to pop up in online hobby shops like Amiami. 

Long story short, it took me several years but finally, I succeeded in obtaining every single figure of Nagi Sanzen’in ever officially released. The only things missing from my collection would be two garage kit figures made by hobbyist sculptors, which are almost impossible to find nowadays. 
Of course, do not be misled. This is not what I was talking about when I mentioned “success” at the start of this article.

The 365 Project

Last year, I participated in a 365 day photo project. It was a challenge that was first brainstormed by Mikey of ATP Projects – one of my old friends from the EVN (English Visual Novel) community. The rules of the project were very simple. Take a picture of a particular subject matter every day for 365 days. Naturally, I could not pass up this opportunity to take a picture of my cute and beautiful Nagi figures every single day. I mean, I was already doing that even before the project began anyway. This was just a way to validate and legitimize what I was doing.
A parody of the UP female oblation statue. Photo by me.
If you ever find a guy with an anime shirt taking pictures of a doll around the campus, that would be me.

My page for the project can be found at

The Triumph Of Love

Of course, completing the 365 day photo project was a pretty straightforward affair for me – but again, this was not my personal success story. 

The real success story is the triumph of love which happened on the exact date of April 12, 2017. This was the day that the final chapter (568) of Hayate The Combat Butler was released – and it also marks the day that Nagi x Hayate became the official canon romantic pairing of the series. 

Now for some people, a fictional story with fictional characters is just that. There can be emotional investment but not to the point of actually falling in love with a character, or at least deluding oneself into believing that such a thing is possible. 

For me however, the success of Nagi’s love, the victory of my ship, and the assurance that Nagi will be happy in the future, is the greatest personal success that I could ever hope for. I could not ask for anything more from this crazy, selfish, standards-obsessed world. 

This is why I continue to take daily pictures of my Nagi dolls. In her triumph of her love, I have found my fulfillment. Therefore, this is my personal advocacy in thanks to Kenjiro Hata for writing such a wonderful ending to what was a very scary, see-sawing story of love.

Success is subjective. Do not let other people’s standards define your own happiness. So let me conclude with my personal philosophy on love and life in general.

Fanart Corner:  Hata noticed me again~! Here this week's traditional artworks. See you next week for sure!

chibi nagi tan~

This pose really suits her, methinks. Very classy and ojou-sama-like

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Elements of Joy - A Hayate The Combat Butler Poem by Roop Banerjee

Elements of Joy -
(by Roop Banerjee)

-They’re rare to find,
But remain hidden
In plain sight.
A beautiful smile,
Unconventional thoughts,
A strange talk.
Cut off by rain.
Expecting help?
No one is there.
More talk,
Whispering mode,
Bitter comfort.
Deafening silence,
The eyes speak all,
Green to blue.
The rain stops,
There's darkness around,
It's shivering cold.
Huddled close,
Moonlit night,
Waiting for death.
Drowsy eyes,
Unwanted conversation,
Slower pace.
Entwined fingers,
Tighter grip,
Latent heat.
Hours go by,
Eyes close shut,
Dreams arrive.
Floating among clouds,
Ceiling of stars,
Galaxy path.
Myriads of colours,
Swirling into depths,
Ring of darkness.
Streams of light,
Rush of wind,
Water droplets.
Wet hair entangled,
Fingers still entwined,
The night has been survived.
Perplexed at the courage,
Expecting death?
Just defeated that.
Beautiful smiles,
Green and blue eyes,
Unconventional thoughts.
An eternal moment,
An endless life,
Everlasting hope.
Elements of Joy,
Remain hidden,
In plain sight.

Fanart Corner: I was able to finish this CG for the week. Her clothes and eyes are based on Eromanga Sensei's art style. I'll share my thoughts on the poem in the comments a bit later. I'd like people to read/listen to it without any preconceived notions first, if possible.

Text: Even if one year, three years, or ten years may pass, my love will remain unchanged. (based on 40mP's "Initial Song")

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The HayaNagi Love Story -- Hayate's Side

Last week, I talked a bit about Nagi's side of the love story. This time, it's Hayate's turn.
I actually used the glossy back cover of vol. 52 as well as a piece of Pokemon art as reference for this one.

When it come to Hayate, his feelings for Nagi are a bit harder to pinpoint because he never overtly admits to anything. It's not something that a lot of people are used to seeing in this day and age, but I think it's also an intentional design by Hata to make both main characters the perfect foils for each other.

Foil and Contrast

There is a lot of contrast in Hayate and Nagi. For one, they are complementary opposites by design. Initially, Hayate is super capable and just about perfect at everything except his bad luck, meanwhile, Nagi, while mentally gifted and blessed with amazing luck is lazy and described by Hayate himself to be a failure of a human being.

Therefore, it is justifiable that while Nagi's feelings were always out in the open and easy enough to read, Hayate's feelings were always ambiguous and require a little bit of interpretation -- but based on obvious clues left behind by Hata.

Let's go over some of these "clues" that I'm talking about.

Hayate Goes Berserk Only For Nagi's Sake

While chapter 566 can be used to handwave the fact that Hayate's special move is reserved only for Nagi and you can justify that it was really because of Yukariko's wish, there is one thing that cannot be denied -- and that is, Hayate goes berserk only for Nagi's sake. Let's assume that all the anime versions are non-canon, but even in the manga, Hayate' has gone berserk several times and all of these times they were all for Nagi's sake. To make a comparison, he has never done that even for the girl that other shippers would insist was his "real love," and that is Athena.

In fact, in Athena's arc, when Hayate goes up against Machina, when he's beaten almost to the brink of death, he is on the verge of going berserk -- and what triggered this exactly? Look back on that chapter. The trigger was his feelings for Nagi.

Naturally, this was not a one-time event. When he was outmatched by Himegami (speaking of which, he never did get a rematch. Some combat butler Hayate turned out to be), he managed to muster one last burst of strength while simultaneously losing his cool -- and the trigger was because Himegami told him that "Nagi will lose everything."

Hayate Really Planned To Give Up His Life For Nagi

For people who don't read Hata's backstage, this is actually the same rationale that he gave back in chapter 566 for Hayate's decision.

Basically, the Royal Garden and everything related to it were all written in so that Hayate could make his final choice to the question of: for whom would you give up your life for?

Now you should all know by now that Hayate is the type of person who would stake his life for Nagi's sake. This is one of the very foundations of the manga after all. Now given this premise however, Hayate has never actually had to give up his life for anyone prior to chapter 566.

This is what makes that particular chapter so special. When he says the magic words to Nagi, something that Hata really emphasized in his blog: "there is nothing that I wish for, only that which I do not wish to lose," and when the boy says these words to the girl with a smile, then at that moment, he has made his decision.

Again, implications are all we have to go by here because that is just the type of character that Hayate is. Get over it, there are people like that as well. Not everyone says things explicitly. Hayate's character design demands that he be ambiguous in the way he words things. This is true to his personality and this is what started the whole chain of misunderstandings in the first place.

However, there was no misunderstanding between them at that time in chapter 566 -- as much as people may wish it to be that Nagi saw it one way and Hayate saw it another way. You can wish for this kind of interpretation all you like, but you will find nothing concrete in the manga to support your views except your own personal opinion -- and that is definitely worth keeping in mind as we move on to our next point.

There Was No Misunderstanding In The Final Chapter

This is very important. Again, people who don't read Hata's blog as well as expect definite and explicit wording will feel quite disappointed with the way Hata chose to let the Hayate x Nagi ship set sail. Naturally, haters will be in vehement denial even until now -- but well, too bad for you.

Anyway, even if you think that it's "bad writing" or "what does it say about the author if you have to read his blog" etc. etc. the fact of the matter is that Hata does have the final say on what he meant to say when he wrote the final chapter.

Fortunately, he makes it very clear not only in his blog but in the supplemental books that come with the limited editions of volume 51 and 52 of the manga. So anyway, you can run it through google translate, read it yourself if you want, or have your Japanese friend (assuming you have one) read it for you, but Hata's words will always carry the same meaning about the ending.

The gist of what he says is that Nagi is no longer a rich ojou-sama and Hayate is no longer her butler. Now theirs is an ordinary story of a man and a woman who decided to talk slowly while holding hands.
Japanese version just because. Personally, I'd love to KO Hayate right about now and take his place.
Here's the clincher: the intertwining of hands is explicitly said to mean that it shows that this time (take note: THIS TIME) there is no misunderstanding. So yeah, Nagi totally understands that Hayate wants to be her butler forever who harbors totally PLATONIC feelings for her and she's totally fine with this because that's such a WONDERFUL way to end things, I suppose. (I realize sarcasm doesn't go over well in written text, but you can't be that dense, right?)

Again, he doesn't say anything explicitly -- in a way, he's just as cryptic as Hayate is, still, the implication of his words is so obvious that only the most obstinate of individuals would still insist otherwise -- as a hater, you're obviously one of those, so yeah, sucks to be you.

To sum things up: Nagi's feelings for Hayate are crystal clear to the reader, while Hayate's feelings for Nagi require a bit of imagination -- but you probably have plenty of that if you like to imagine what-if scenarios for your failed ship, so yeah! I believe in you!

Well, this was partially a vent post, but it is what it is. See ya next week! I leave you with some fanart.

Fanart Corner: Here are this week's traditional art posts. Of course, I also did the digital HayaNagi pic above. The words are from chapter 568.

Oil Pastels on Drawing Paper

Watercolors on Canvas

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku: Light Novel Review

I recently finished reading a light novel that I bought on a whim. I saw it inside a local bookstore and seeing that it was Miku on the front cover and it was in fact a Hatsune Miku novel, I just knew I had to have it.

Anyway, I went into this novel without any strong expectations. Of course, as a vocaloid fan, I was familiar with Cosmo BousouP and the song that this novel is based on. With that said, I had no idea what kind of writer this person was nor was I any more familiar with the co-writer, Muya Agami. Naturally, this has nothing to do with Agami-san’s ability nor fame as a light novelist, but with my own lack of experience in the genre. 

With that said, “The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku: The Novel” just resonated well with me all throughout. It gave me just the right amount of all the little things that I like to experience in a good story and for me, despite a few parts that felt fairly rushed, this was a very satisfying story to read.

A Vocaloid Origin Story

There are many aspects to this novel, but don’t get me wrong. It’s not like it’s overly complex. The pseudo science won’t give western Sci-Fi authors a run for their money anytime soon and this story’s science is definitely nowhere near the believability of something like Steins;Gate. However, looking at it as a vocaloid origin story, it works very well indeed.

In this particular story, Hatsune Miku is first introduced as a very advanced android who was made to be as close to a human being as possible. She is then put in the care of an intern named Shinosato Asano who was chosen simply because his personality tests indicated that he would follow orders without question and he would not be a hindrance to the experiment. Miku then starts living as Asano’s cousin and is introduced to his circle of friends and even his little sister.

Anyway, at the end of the story, without spoiling things too much, let’s just say that the android Miku eventually becomes the Miku that we all know and love.

I like the subtle nods to the actual vocaloid software, such as Miku’s seven personalities: normal, dark, solid, light, sweet, vivid, and soft – which are obvious allusions to her append libraries.

Also, Miku is really talented at singing in this story and everyone who hears her just loves her voice.

A Beautiful Love Story

Of course, you don’t even need to be familiar with vocaloid to enjoy this story as it is. By itself, it’s actually a very beautiful love story between a human and an android. I’d compare it to planetarian but with more focus on romance. I love how Asano eventually comes to terms with his true feelings for Miku.

At first, he is constantly in denial over what he feels for her because he keeps trying to remind himself overtly that this girl is an android and that she doesn’t belong to him. However, when it is Miku herself who confesses her own feelings for him, all his doubts and hesitations are cast aside. Really, if only Hayate Ayasaki had made his feelings just as clear towards Nagi much earlier, then the ship wars wouldn’t have escalated so much and the backlash from the fans over the Nagi ending would have been much less – with that said, that was that and this is this. (I still love the HayaNagi ending for all its flaws, so there!)

What I like about this particular love story is how there is a huge rift between the two of them. Two kindred souls (let’s assume that Miku has a soul. After all, Kunagisa Tomo from Zaregoto claims that the soul resides in the brain) separated by an irreconcilable difference. He is a human being, she is an android made to imitate humans. And yet, both parties are able to cast aside all their differences in the name of love. It’s a love story that may seem cliché for some, but that really sits well with me. Sorry, but not every story needs to have some kind of “avante garde coz I wanna be unique” plot twist.

I also love how Hatsune Miku is never treated as a sex symbol in this story. Asano’s reasons for falling for her are the same things that I believe Hayate must have seen in Nagi: Her smile, her cute ways, the special moments they spent together – nothing about sex or sexual attraction is explicitly or even implicitly mentioned. After all, I don’t think Miku’s creators even built the necessary parts for that sort of thing into her. Still, Asano comes to terms with his feelings and confesses outright that he loves her – so yeah, I love how it challenges some people’s bigoted definitions of romantic love.

Strong But Unobtrusive Side Characters

There side characters in The Disappearance novel all play their roles perfectly without getting in the way of the main story. Their presence is strong enough so that they leave a lasting impression on the reader’s mind, but not so strong that they become the focal point of attention. There’s Ishii Juhachi, a university dropout turned DJ who is actually a very talented hacker. Kurose Aika, Asano’s attractive, strong-willed, onee-chan like co-intern, and Shinasoto Yoruko, Asano’s younger sister who takes a liking to Miku and is convinced that she’s her brother’s girlfriend. In the short time that we come to know these characters, they take on a life of their own and do just enough to come out of their shells beyond their archetypes.

Similarities To My Story

Ever since I started reading this story, I always felt that it was very similar in spirit to my recently completed story: Samantha and The Pieces of A Heart. On the outside, both stories are completely different from each other, but the similarities  in some aspects are so strong, that it almost feels like the author/s of Disappearance and I drew inspiration from the same sources. Is this some kind of shared consciousness in action?

For one, check out these excerpts from actual pages of the novel. Asano makes use of the term “pieces of my heart,” which is already very similar to “pieces of a heart.” To add to this, Miku has seven personalities or “seven hearts” in this story, while in my story, Samantha is looking for seven pieces of a heart.

Also, Samantha is a puppet, or basically a non-human android who wants to obtain a heart to become more human. Meanwhile, Miku in this novel is an android who was specifically built to imitate human behavior.

There are more similarities too. In Miku’s story, the main antagonist is Morisu sensei, Miku’s creator who sees her as nothing more than a tool and eventually a failed test subject to be disposed of. In my story, Professor Ian loathes Samantha because he also helped to create her and like Professor Morisu, he is cold and antagonistic towards Sam because she is deemed as a failed experiment.

Anyway, the similarities to my story were basically just icing on the cake to top things off. All-in-all, I’d say The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku is a must-read for all vocaloid fans. Buy it if you love vocaloid and Miku. Even if you don’t, you will find it to be a very satisfying read.

I must note that the ending can be a bit of a downer, but the journey towards getting there was satisfying enough and foreshadowed the eventual conclusion well enough that I really can’t complain.

The novel is published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment and may still be available at 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The HayaNagi Love Story -- Nagi's Side

Sure, there's a lot of extra stuff in the two Hayate limited edition booklets that came with volumes 51 and 52 but ya know what? I don't really find them all that interesting apart from the Hayanagi-related editorials from Hata. I've also already covered Maria's after story last week.

Anyway, this week, I'd like to talk about one aspect of Sanzen'in Nagi that I really love and that would be: her love for Hayate. Let us proceed:

Underrated Development

When people talk of a "well developed love story" in the context of Hayate no Gotoku!, manga readers would quickly point towards Hayate x Athena and alternatively Hayate x Ruka or Hayate x Hina and even Hayate x Ayumu or Hayate x Maria. Hayate x Nagi is never an option except for Nagi shippers -- and we are very few and far between.

Why is this so exactly? Are we Nagi shippers simply wrong and deluded? Well, perhaps... but as to the question of who is right or wrong, I think that's a pretty bigoted way of looking at things. I think the more fundamental problem here is that of a misunderstanding -- one that abounds in this series and one that abounds among readers of this series -- in my honest opinion.

The main reason why people who do not ship Hayate x Nagi underestimate this ship so much is because of one simple reason: they expect open reciprocity -- which Hayate is never too keen to show us. Therefore, people tend to mistake the reciprocity that Hayate has shown to some degree for the feelings of all the other girls as "romantic development," of course, I beg to disagree.

Nagi's Love Is The Most Well-Developed

So I'm going to go out on a limb and make this bold claim right here: Nagi's love is the most well-developed one in the series. In fact, it is painfully obvious that it was meant to be so.  Again, I know that some of you out there may already be furiously starting to type up comments about how Hayate x Athena is the one with the most romantic development, but that's why I said that there was a misunderstanding here. You see, have you ever thought of the possibility that you might be conflating "reciprocity" and "development?"

Yes, Hayate x Athena looked very romantic because of the reciprocity between the two, but to call it a "well developed love story" and even moreso, to call it "light years ahead of Hayate x Nagi as a love story" would really be stretching the definition. Think about it, how much have Athena and Hayate really interacted, especially in their more mature iterations, that would lead you to believe that they have a "well developed romantic relationship?" As far as I know, the most that Hayate and Athena came to know each other was back in the End of the World Arc when they were like six years old. After that, they met again as teenagers 10 years later but never really got to interact much until Athena became Alice -- and even then, Hayate would spend more time as Nagi's obligatory butler (but of his own volition at that time, I might add) than he ever did with little "Alice."

I love Nagi's monologue in this chapter.
Meanwhile, Hayate and Nagi came to know each other to the extent that they actually came to develop an inviolable bond that was tested time and time again in the series. People were quick to call it a "platonic" bond but these people tend to forget that Nagi's feelings were far from platonic. You can definitely make a case for Hayate like this, but then again, the ending makes such an argument moot because remember, he chose to seek out Nagi on his own again while fully aware that he broke her heart the first time around. If he comes to meet her again with the full intention of "platonically protecting her future," what kind of idiot would that make our titular main character?

You might be tempted to believe that Nagi is just some lovestruck girl who never got over her initial feelings for Hayate -- and perhaps there is some truth to this. However, if you want to claim that Nagi's love for Hayate was nothing more than a schoolgirl crush, then you would be doing all of us Nagi fans and Hata Kenjiro himself a great disservice. You only need to look at chapter 510 of the manga to understand how Nagi's feelings were developed throughout the series.

Yes, it started with a misunderstanding and yes, it was this misunderstanding that became the foundation for Nagi's love for Hayate. Therefore, the start of the relationship was really fundamentally flawed. However, as Hayate himself puts it in chapter 566, the one year that they spent together was not a lie. It was a year wherein both parties really go to know each other and although Hayate's realization may have come really late, there were definitely enough precious moments between the two of them within this one year to justify that Oh... I dunno... that he might actually love her? Yeah, that's a thing isn't it? A thing that became canon at the end of the series but that haters will deny for all eternity.

Anyway, this was Nagi's side of the love story. Next week, I'll talk a bit about Hayate. For now, I leave you with some fanart.

Fanart Corner: Got quite a few pieces to share today. I also started trying out oil pastels recently. They're a bit messy and not quite as precise as colored pencils or as clean as watercolors... but I think I should experiment a bit more with them. I'm not too disappointed with the initial results though.

I made an emoji set out of these.  I use them instead of facebook stickers. They're based on a new line of vocaloid figures.