Monday, December 10, 2018

Hayate Reflections: A Review of Hisui Hatsushiba

This week, let's take some time to take a look at one of the earliest (in terms of timeline) appearances of the main villain of the final arc. She is none other than Nagi's ultra-violent and super greedy cousin, Hisui Hatsushiba.

Based on appearances and context clues in the manga, it can be surmised that Hisui is probably around the same age or possibly even younger than Nagi. She is the elder sister of "Jenny" who looks nowhere near her age based on Nagi's recollections at the time that she found Tama. Also, there seems to be little family resemblance there. Hisui's face may look menacing, but she's also petite (a little bit shorter than 14 year-old Nagi), has the same body type as Nagi -- and if you really look at her, she's actually pretty cute.

Furthermore, Hisui is an expert hand-to-hand combatant and seems to prefer wielding a scimitar in a fight. She is able to stalemate Hayate when he is actually being serious before she gets her huge power-up in the final arc that basically makes her "the strongest" according to Himegami.

In any case, that's enough about that Hisui -- right now, we're going to look at the Hisui from an earlier time. From a time when she was just Nagi's childhood friend -- albeit, still one with hyper violent tendencies. Still, many people seem to misunderstand her character and count her off as nothing more than a cookie-cutter villain. Therefore, this week, Hayate Reflections seeks to challenge that viewpoint.

For this reason, we're using chapter 529. This is a flashback story and it begins with Nagi reflecting on how much of a weak crybaby she was when she was much younger. Some boys had made fun of her manga and she was walking off alone -- crying. That's when Hisui asks her why she was crying from way up a tree. Nagi is shocked to see that Hisui had climbed so high up, but she replies that the view from there was breathtaking. Nagi tells Hisui about what happened and that's when a group of four boys from the party appear before Nagi and start bullying her about her manga again -- even snatching it out of her hands in order to make more fun of her. When one of the boys shoves Nagi, Hisui decides that she'd seen enough and catches her friend from behind. 

She also quickly snatches the manga away from the bullies and gives it back to Nagi while telling her that if she doesn't like something, then she has to fight. Now the bullies, being bigger and older decide that it's fair game to punch a girl -- and so, the biggest of them smacks Hisui right in the face.

So at this point... this is the point of dissent between myself and most other reviewers of this manga. At the time this chapter came out, all that people were obsessed with was how extreme Hisui's response was. For me however, this was the first time that I saw a more human side of Hisui and this was the chapter that elevated her from being more than just a mere cookie-cutter villain. Also, I believe that the ending -- chapters 567-568 prove my point. Hisui was still Nagi's friend even after she'd resigned herself to being a true villain and she was instrumental in giving Hayate's parents the poetic justice they deserve.

In any case, what happened next is that Hisui basically picked up a giant rock as an equalizer and proceeded to beat the living hell out of those four boys. Hisui reiterates that if you don't like something then you have to fight. Nagi is hesitant because she says that stuff like this will happen (getting punched in the face) if you try to fight back... but what Hisui says next is really iconic. She says that it's fine, then you just have to keep fighting until you win.

So yes, Hisui basically beat everyone up in a very bloody manner off-panel -- however, despite the violence, it should be noted that Nagi's feelings at that time reflect the real message of this chapter. In her own words, watching Hisui beating everyone down by force -- all she felt was admiration.

So allow me to explain -- Hisui represents an indomitable will to fight back against adversity. She was facing four bullies, boys, bigger, older -- and probably stronger than her, but she refused to give in because she knew that her cause wasn't wrong. She did it not only for petty revenge, but in order to show Nagi the value of standing up for one's beliefs no matter the odds.

Certainly, this indomitable will would one day become an omnipresent trait in the spoiled, rich Nagi Sanzenin ojou-sama that we came to know and love in the series.

Of course, Hisui's character development is still shaky at best. Because of how rushed the ending was, various characters and subplots weren't really given the chance to fully develop -- and unfortunately, Hisui was one of the unfortunate victims of Hata's non-stop train ride to the Hayate and Nagi ending. 

Still, it is worth noting that even as she is, she wasn't really a bad character-- just that her potential was never fully explored in the story.

So that's Hisui Hatsushiba for you. A villain through and through -- but also someone who stays true to herself and makes no compromises to get what she wants -- at least that much about her is admirable. Also, she's cute. Even Hata-sensei agrees.

Fanart Corner

Got some new fanart to show off. These are both inspired by Avril Lavigne's new single PV Head Above Water. Heh, I've always liked her music and she's not bad looking either.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Happy Birthday Nagi! 12/3/2018

Naturally, I would never forget mai waifu's birthday. Also, my tweet got noticed by Hata~ Huzzah! Anyway, see you next week. Here's my painting process of a HayaNagi pic for Nagi's birthday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Watercolor Painting Nagi Again

I've been absent for quite a while due to IRL stuff. Anyway, I haven't had much time to continue my fiction mini-series (conclude, actually) but that might change this weekend. For now, I hope you'll settle for this short video.

Finished product at the bottom

Berkeley Watercolor Pad. I don't think this is artist grade, but I have no idea what brand of watercolor paper I should use anyway.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Tale Of The Prince's Bride Chapter 6: Listen To The Voices Inside

November 11 is Hayate Ayasaki's birthday, btw. Happy birthday, ex-butler and Nagi's lover.

It is very confusing in the forest of lies. It is different for everyone who ends up inside. It is a forest that reflects the inner truth – the ones that most people try their hardest to hide.

At this point in the prince’s journey to find his would-be bride, he found himself in the deepest part of the Forest of Lies. He had been walking for quite a while with his trusty steed by his side. Finally, he understood the words relayed by the knight of red and white.
“Listen to the voices inside. This forest is fickle and it whispers ever so slight.”
The voices were quiet at first – ever so slight, but slowly, they grew louder, like insect wings in flight.
“Who do you love?” The voices asked in mischievous delight.

“It is none other than the princess in black attire.” Was the prince’s prompt reply.
“Why do you love her? This princess in black attire?”

“It should be quite obvious. It was love at first sight.”
“Love at first sight?” The voices cackled in glee
“And so… what is it you love so much about your bride to be?”
“She is funny, and whimsical, and kind as could be. This is why she means the whole world to me. “
“The truth is it now? Funny, and whimsical, and kind as could be? Dear, prince this is a lie, you see.”
“Whatever do you mean, oh voices that I cannot see? Are you perhaps, making light of me?”

“Not at all,” the voices whispered in glee, “For you see, how can you claim to know so much about your would-be bride, when you admit that you just fell in love at first sight? Tell the truth, sweet prince, or perhaps hide it, if need be, but in the Forest of Lies, you cannot disguise your frailties.”
The prince was at a loss. He knew that they were right. Just what is it that he actually loved about the princess in black attire?
At that moment, as if to clear his mind, a single flower floated down from the sky. It was pretty and frail with petals of yellow and white. He closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for the noise to subside.
And that is when it dawned on the prince with a beautiful face; the reality of the truth that he had to embrace.
At that moment, he looked to the path ahead with unclouded eyes. He could no longer hear the voices in whispers so slight. He had found his way past the forest of lies. This is the truth of the Forest of Lies. It is simply a reflection of what you truly feel inside.

Fanart Corner

Here's my digital version of Nagi as Ruby... not too sure if it turned out so well. Should have used a more 2D anime style.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hayate Reflections: My Impressions of Tonikaku Kawaii

Just finished catching up with all the currently scanlated chapters of Hata’s new manga, Tonikaku Kawaii. It’s now up to volume 3, so if you feel like supporting the author of Hayate no Gotoku!, go ahead and order the manga online through your favourite hobby supply store.

Anyway, this week, I’d like to talk about my general impressions of Tonikaku Kawaii in relation to Hayate no Gotoku!

First of all, I must say that it’s a nice change of pace. There’s the fact that the romantic relationship between Nasa and Tsukasa is established from the very beginning and that no misunderstanding exists between them. The only real mystery is Tsukasa’s true identity and/or what she really is because there are hints that she might actually be thousands of years old. However, as to the two main character’s feelings for each other, it’s established from the start that there is romantic attraction between them, although at this point, I wouldn’t call it love yet. Actually, what they both admit is that they find each other cute – as per the title of the manga.

Nasa himself makes a good point about this. In his own words: “I didn’t marry her because I proved my love. I married her to prove my love.”

He has done a lot to try and prove his love for Tsukasa so far, but at this point, while the couple’s feelings for each other have not been really put to the test, I’d say they’re still a step behind what Nagi and Hayate had for each other at the end of Hayate no Gotoku! It’s not about how many dates they’ve been on, or a matter of how many romantic moments they’ve hard with each other. If an author’s idea of love is that it is to be counted based on quantifying the number of romantic moments that two people have had with one another, then I would stop reading anything ever made by that author – fortunately, Hata is not like that – at least based on my personal perception.

The fact of the matter is that the feelings that bound Hayate and Nagi was put to the test time and time again and at the end of the series, that bond was alive and stronger than it had ever been – that much, not even haters should deny – but they will.

Anyway, moving on, so far Tonikaku Kawaii is definitely a much lighter story to read than Hayate ever was. This is because there is no looming “bomb between them” that threatens to end in tears. With Hayate and Nagi, the misunderstanding between them was established from the very start, and then Hata kept on adding one complication after another into the plot – some of which were never resolved, but most of them, just adding on to that feeling of dread that either Hayate or Nagi would be seriously hurt once the big revelation came about – as it did in the final arc of the manga.

In the case of Tonikaku Kawaii, it seems that Hata took a route that can be pretty much seen as an antithesis to Hayate. First of all, the couple are already married and romantically involved with each other from the start. Secondly, any complications that try to set them apart get resolved almost instantly. There’s Nasa’s neighbour who had a crush on him and was quite dense and thought that Tsukasa was just his relative and that’s why she had the same family name as him. However, in the most recent chapters, she found out that they were married and her moment of heartbreak lasted for about one page. Nasa’s parents already accept Tsukasa and are very glad that their son chose to marry the person who saved his life. Quite the opposite of Hayate’s good for nothing parents. Finally, there’s Tsukasa’s non-blood-related younger sister who was concocting one scheme after another to get them to break up, but in the latest chapters, Nasa used his first-class communication skills (and sincere feelings for Tsukasa) to get her to accept him – possible complication solved.

If you were reading Hayate and got super frustrated by all the complications that Hata threw into the plot just to prevent Hayate and Nagi from getting together, then you’ll find that Tonikaku Kawaii is a breath of fresh air that presents the reader with a lot of similar situations, but which are resolved in a way that just makes you feel good. If Hayate no Gotoku was about building up anxiety under the façade of comedy, then Tonikaku Kawaii is the true definition of comedy, one that gives you a good laugh and also has you rooting for the main couple as they prove their love for each other no matter what complications may come their way – at least for now.

Anyway, this has been Hayate Reflections and this is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

It's Halloween month, so have a dark angel Nagi. Inspiration for this piece came from the video for Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love." Look it up on youtube and you'll see what I mean.

Bento Picasso Watercolors used.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Prince's Bride Chapter 5: The Knight of Red and White

It had now been quite some time since the beautiful prince entered the Forest of Lies. 

There were rows upon rows of tall trees whose branches filled the sky. What is more, the scenery seemed to look all the same after a little while. Still, with one goal in his mind, the prince kept riding straight forward without even batting an eye.
But even so, even with his strong desire to be reunited with his would-be bride. Even the resilient prince soon grew tired.

“How long does this go on? This Forest of Lies?  I have already been travelling for miles upon miles!”

He shouted out to the branch-filled sky, but only the echoes of his voice came back in reply. Soon, even his trusty steed, could no longer sustain its powerful strides. It slowed down to a walk, it was obviously quite tired. The prince dismounted from his noble ride.
“Old friend, you’ve been with me through all this time. Take a rest for a little while.”
A contented snort came back in response from the horse with fur of black slashes on pure white. The journey had been a long one and its eyes were beginning to shut tight.

“Still, I will not leave you here to die. Not inside this cursed forest of lies… so my friend, rest for a while – and when you have recovered, will you at least walk by my side?”

And with one last snort, the horse keeled over on its side. Within its once fiery eyes, the light had finally died.
“I’m sorry, my friend. If only I had not pushed you to make this long and tiring ride… and yet, if I can’t find my way out, then perhaps this forest will also be my demise.”
“Move, move, move, I say! If you don’t get out of the way, then you won’t even make it through this day!”
Suddenly, a lithe figure with a reddish cape, clad in chain mail of red and white, fell from the sky from such a great height.
The prince jumped up several feet high, and snatched the falling figure from right out of the sky.

“I daresay, miss… are you okay?”
“Huh? Oh? You saved me? I didn’t expect things to turn out this way. Still, I must thank you, stranger – and yes, I’m okay.”
The prince put her down on solid ground. The fallen knight looked all around, but her face was invisible – clad in helmet all around.
“What were you doing at such a great height anyway?”

“Ahem… well, it’s a rather embarrassing story, must I really say?”

The knight hesitated for a moment and she started fidgeting every which way.

“Sigh… I was trying to find my bearings, so I climbed up to one of those branches sky –high. It was to find my bearings, if you need to know why! Anyway, when I finally reached top, it suddenly dawned on me – why did I ever climb so high up?”
The knight hesitated again and fidgeted every which way, it seems she was really embarrassed by the next thing she had to say.

She pointed her finger at the prince with a beautiful face – and then cupped her right hand to her heart with a bow.

“Now, look promise me that you won’t tell a soul about the next thing that you will hear from me, okay?”
The prince could only nod in response.

“Okay, okay… I guess I really must tell you anyway. So there I was, way up in the sky – when I suddenly realized, I’m quite afraid of heights! So great was my fear that I started to shake, and that’s when I fell – and thought the next thing would be my funeral wake.”
“Umm… okay, was that really so embarrassing to say?”

“Yes, it was. It really was, okay?” The knight breathed a sigh of relief.
“But… at least I got that out of the way. So anyway, stranger. I couldn’t help but overhear your plight – your voice was reaching me from such a great height. Let me at least you give you one word of advice. I heard this from a hooded figure of rather childish height.”
“Oh, thank you, miss knight. Do you have anything that might help me conquer this forest of lies?”

“She said that you should listen to the voices inside. This forest is fickle and it whispers ever so slight.”

“The voices inside? That sure seems like a riddle that I’ll have to ponder for a while. In any case, thank you for that little insight.”
The knight nodded once in reply.

“Well then, if you’ll excuse me, stranger. I must be on my way. I don’t know about these ‘voices inside’ but if you ask me, I’d rather just force my way through this forest of lies.”
With that she drew her sword, which glistened in the light. It was bluish and translucent and seemed to shine from inside with a faint glow of pinkish light.
“Wait, before you go, won’t you tell me who you are, miss knight?”
“Oh I’m a hero of justice – just passing by. Anyway, stranger, I must be on my way. Bye bye!”
The prince waved farewell to the red and white knight, the one who was deathly afraid of heights. She ran through the forest swinging her sword of pink light as she slowly disappeared from sight.
Suddenly, the prince’s eyes lit up with delight, his trusty steed had stood upright.

“Dear friend! I’m so glad to see you’re okay…” he paused and looked to the path that the knight had made.

“Well then, shall we be on our way?”

The horse replied with a contented neigh.

To be continued...