Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 469: Recycling Day Can Be Easy To Forget -- Synopsis and Review

Synopsis: Hata basically used this chapter to fill in some plotholes in the manga. It starts with Himegam and a young Yukariko Sanzen'in in front of the tomb that was in the Royal Garden and later found in the secret room of the Violet Mansion. Himegami explains that their family has safeguarded the royal power for generations and that a King's Jewel is needed to activate it. Except that Himegami refers to himself as Himegami Aoi... which probably means that this is an older relative of Himegami Akane -- who was Nagi's previous butler.

It all turns out to be a dream sequence from Nagi. When she wakes up, she tells Hayate all about it and says there's something off about the dream. The Sanzen'in trio basically break the fourth wall while trying to figure out King's Jewel-related business. Maria also conveniently explains away her own origin by casually mentioning that she was taken in by Mikado at a very young age as a genius to decipher the inscriptions on the Mykonos Villa and so was Aika. Unfortunately, she couldn't read the inscriptions but it was eventually deciphered by Athena.
That laid-back, "taking it easy" pose.

We switch to Athena and Hinagiku visiting Yukiji-sensei in the messy room/Hakuo Gakuen guardhouse that she's turned into her room. Athena discovers the ring that she gave Hayate in Yukiji's possession and Yukiji says that she bought it in a pawnshop when she tried to pawn her guitar but couldn't bring herself to do it.
PLOT... this chapter was all about the plot!
Back at the Sanzen'in estate, Hayate discovers two more King's Jewels that have lost their light. Hayate tries to figure things out about this whole King's Jewels thing, but this reviewer will have none of that. :)
How profound!
He says the numbers don't match up and says how it's strange that they shine and that they lose their light. Nagi says they probably have cheap flourescent paint inside and goes LOL.

Back to the Himegami x Yukariko dream sequence, Himegami entices young Yukariko to try out the royal power saying that something amazing will happen. At this point, Nagi figures out that something was off about the dream because that wasn't Himegami.

Review: Well, not a lot to mince words on since Hata sure casually explained away a lot of things here and there. This chapter was basically one big info dump. I did enjoy Nagi's Conan reference though. It's been years since that manga was last alluded to... and yes, just who is the leader of the Black Organization anyway?
Nagi's expressions never fail to amuse me. Conan reference FTW!
Of course, let's not get sidetracked. We have lots of important pieces of information here, including more about the origin stories of Aika, Athena and Maria... yep, definitely looks like we're headed for this manga's eventual conclusion in December.
I'm sooo going to use this line the next time I write a story.
With that said, Athena sure looked rather miserable when she saw the ring that she gave Hayate... even moreso since Yukiji-sensei referred to it as the cheapest thing she could find. Well, I suppose even if a King's Jewel is a jewel, it can't be categorized as a precious or semi-precious stone when no one in the world knows wtf it is... so yeah, too bad, A-tan. 
Well yeah, his name is "Aoi."
Aaanyway, interesting thing about this Himegami Aoi. The most obvious conclusion is that he's a relative of the Himegami Akane who was Nagi's previous butler... with that said, I don't really remember if the "Akane" name was even canon to the manga version of Himegami since my memories of him have been colored with his "Princess God" appearance in the anime... so yeah, readers, tell me if you know better.

Fanart and Speculation Corner: We have a joint fanart and speculation corner this week. I just drew this today, so you'd better appreciate it. Nagi shall now voice out my thoughts for me. (Partly joking and partly serious)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 468: See You Again, Hero -- Synopsis and Review

That is one incredibly short dress she's wearing... not that I'm complaining.
Synopsis: It has only been three months since Nagi has been living in the Violet Mansion -- the same three months that she has been away from her affluent life in the Sanzen'in estate, but already, she has begun to realize just what it is she has lost by regaining her inheritance and therefore, the right to move back into the Sanzen'in estate and retake her former billionaire heiress lifestyle.
Shh... character development in progress
The mansion is big and luxurious -- a little bit too big for one lonely little girl. Just as she is coming to terms with this, Maria and Hayate return. She wants to help out with their respective tasks, but Hayate gently chases her away and Maria won't have any of her "help" given her track record -- which she just made even worse with her enthusiasm by breaking a few expensive ornamental decors here and there.

Dinner is served and while Nagi is amazed at how luxurious the food that Hayate can prepare here is when compared to the Violet Mansion, she is still a little bit lonely and invites Hayate to eat with her, but Hayate is a butler and he has to serve his role -- as such, he politely declines again by saying he has to prepare dessert.
I chuckled when she referred to Athena as "that little one."
Nagi tries to appease her loneliness by telling herself just how good the food here is, but she knows that deep down, she's really just in denial... however, just as she's about to burst into tears, Hayate comes in and asks her if she didn't like the food. Nagi says that it's not about the food, it's just that she realizes that what is truly valuable is something you can't buy (clap! clap!), but before her speech can get anymore emotional, Chiharu suddenly takes the strawberry from her dessert and to Nagi's surprise, everyone from the Violet mansion is here for a visit.

She pretends to get all annoyed that they'd pay such a sudden visit here, but the final panel belies her true feelings.

Review: A nice, sweet Nagi chapter here. More Nagi character development is always good. It's great to see just how attached Nagi has become to her friends and her life at the Violet Mansion -- even going as far as to volunteer to help with Maria and Hayate's respective tasks since presumably, she had to do that back in the Violet Mansion -- although how efficient she actually was is still a bit questionable -- regardless, her heart's in the right place.

Nagi realizes just how much those three months she's spent in the Violet Mansion were really all of three years and then some! (She's spent three months in the manga, but in our world, those three months were serialized for at least three years)

Really loved every moment of this chapter, but there's not much to mince words on. I liked the level of melodrama here with Hata's usual push and then pull strategy. It looked like Nagi was on the verge of tears and was just about to make a solemn, heartfelt speech about "what is truly valuable," but then Chiharu and the other Violet Mansion tenants burst in at just that moment to lighten the mood a bit. Really, these sweet, charming moments are what really sold me before on Hayate no Gotoku! rather than the love polygon subplots, the King's jewel storyline or any of Hayate's combat-butler-esque antics. While moments like these -- such as the arc enders starting with the Shimoda arc few and far between, they are what I look forward to the most when reading this manga. Sure, I'd eventually like the romantic angle to be resolved in Nagi's favor, but that can wait for a long time if we keep getting sweet, charming moments like these every now and then. 
Everyone, including Nagi knew that she was just in denial the whole time.

I suppose all that's left now is for the CTMEOY/Cuties setup of Nagi alternating between living in the Violet Mansion and the Sanzen'in estate so she can be with her friends in the Violet Mansion and still retain a part of her former heiress lifestyle.
She's more adorable than annoying in tsundere mode
Also, this is definitely a different Nagi that we're seeing here from the spoiled heiress Nagi from several hundred chapters ago. She still has that streak of tsundere every now and then, but that just shows that Nagi is still Nagi after all.
Sweet moments like these are what really make this manga special

Fanart corner: No speculation corner for today. I'm just totally elated about this current chapter. With that said, I've made a PS Vita startscreen and a few Homescreen wallpapers featuring my Nagi fanart here. Check em out and feel free to use them if you want.

Monday, October 6, 2014

PS Vita Nagi Sanzen'in Wallpapers and Startscreen

The latest 3.30 PS Vita update comes with something new -- themes. I got pretty excited when I heard about this, so I went ahead and made a new startscreen and a few wallpapers featuring my Nagi-centric fanart in preparation.

Of course, I was a bit disappointed to find out that you couldn't actually make your own custom themes and you had to buy the ones that Sony offers on PSN if you want to use a different theme.  Well... screw that. I'd like to be able to make my own themes -- make it happen, Sony.

Anyway, it wasn't a total loss and I finally got around to customizing my Vita with some homescreen wallpapers and a new startscreen. Here are some screenshots:

And for those who are interested in using the wallpapers I'm showing here, these are the images I used. Feel free to put them up for download in your website for non-commercial use, but please credit me if you do, k? The character/s belong to Kenjiro Hata, the art is mine.


Homescreen wallpapers:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 467: Daily Life -- Review and Synopsis

Hey... I think she grew a little bit taller!
Synopsis: This is a two-part chapter. In the first part, A-tan explains how the Royal Garden works to Mikado using varied illustrations that range from Amateurish to semi-pro level. She even draws a shoujo manga version of herself escaping the place. Basically, the Royal Garden is a seal created by King Midas for his power so that even if power comes out of the garden, it automatically returns to it. However, ten years ago, the Shirozakura, which was one of the garden's largest sources of power was taken out when she escaped -- which is why the Royal Garden just has about four months left until it is destroyed and the Royal Power is unleashed upon the world. With her explanation complete, she makes a standing offer to Mikado to negotiate with her if he wants another King's Jewel.

Athena is 100% better as a character with her memories back while still in Alice form.
The second part is about Nagi leaving the Violet Mansion. All the tenants are present and are taken aback by her announcement that she would be going back to her original mansion. Hinagiku notes that it's going to be lonely and the hamster suggests having a farewell party, but Nagi refuses since she says that it's not like they won't see each other again, they just won't be living together from now on. With that, she takes Hayate and Maria and leaves for the Sanzen'in Mansion.
A-tan reminds me of a cross between Tohsaka Rin from Fate/Stay Night and Kuchiki Rukia from Bleach here.
Once they are back at the mansion, Nagi herself is impressed by just how majestic the place is. She jumps onto her bed and then gets up and immediately goes for her PS5 on a huge HD Screen! Hayate tells her not to overdo it and takes his leave to help out Maria. Left alone, Nagi appears to be overjoyed now that she's able to play games on an HD screen once again, but with every action that she takes in the game, she remembers bits and pieces of her life in the Violet Mansion together with the others. The chapter ends at this point.
Shut up, fool! Athena-chan is drawing.

Review: Naturally, I love every Nagi chapter. In fact, any story with tons of Nagi is a good one! (see here, if you don't get the reference :)) I do mean it, though. 
You have an effin PS5, Nagi! Stay true to your otaku roots! You need no friends! Haha! Just kidding, of course.
Athena really is all about the plot and we finally get confirmation here that she does indeed have her memories back in chibi form. She even refers to herself as "Athena-chan" in her drawings. The illustrations were pretty funny, especially the varying levels of effort that she puts into each drawing and her Kuchiki Rukia-like expressions looking so proud of her artwork.
That sparkle! But... authentic shoujo style uses multi-lines, A-tan!
While we apparently had confirmation that Hata was dumping CTMEOY with the appearance of the Kurotsubaki in the previous chapter, it appears that this current chapter actually reinforces its canonicity. It's just circumstantial evidence but remember how in CTMEOY episode 1 (I think) that Chiharu tells Nagi that she already knew what it was like to lose something? Well, this chapter seems to be connected to that moment, which I'll take up in the speculation corner.
Nagi: I'm outta here! kthxbai!
Anyway, while some individuals might take this opportunity to get dismissive of Nagi's behavior in this chapter and claim that she has once again reverted to her old ways, I wouldn't be so quick to judge based on the last page. I think it's pretty clear that she's just putting up a front... which leads to the speculation corner.
She's in denial
Speculation Corner: In ep 1 of CTMEOY, Chiharu tells Nagi that she should already know what it's like to lose something important and Nagi has a panning flashback of the Violet Mansion. I believe that this current chapter is connected to that event in that Nagi will realize just how much she misses her old life with her friends there -- which is why they have that setup in CTMEOY and Cuties wherein she spends the weekends in the Sanzen'in estate, but spends most the weekdays together with everyone else in the Violet Mansion. 
Totally in denial!
Nagi's been growing bit by bit with each chapter and these are permanent character changes that we're seeing here. I don't see why anyone who has been following this manga would deny that unless it's just a one-sided blind hate for the character out of cognitive dissonance... you know it, she's gonna win! >) :) :P 

No fanart for this week. I get tired too, ya know. Anyway, looking forward to the next Nagi-centric chapter. (presumably)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 466: Time of Destruction -- Review and Synopsis

This watch...
Synopsis: Hayate and Radiostar make it out of the dungeon in one piece. Hayate takes the clock as a 
souvenir and lo and behold! It really is the Kurotsubaki (or Black Camelia if you prefer) because it clearly says so in its case.

Anyway, reports back to Nagi, who has just finished watching the final episode of Love Live (I think) in tears. Hayate is a bloody mess, but he is successful in his mission.

Nagi finally confronts Mikado with the King's Jewel and he's all like "No...," but he has no choice but to reinstate her as heiress so huzzah for that. Mikado warns Nagi that now that she's been reinstated, there'll be trouble since Hisui won't just sit still and apparently, she's all serious business. Nagi says to bring it on coz she'll crush them all... using Hayate (bwahaha!)
After Nagi's party leaves, Mikado is confronted by Athena and he tells her that it was all part of his plan to reinstate Nagi as heir and stuff, but as he's playing with his King's Jewel, Isumi makes like a sniper and destroys the King's Jewel from some camping hotspot outside of the castle.
Well, in one piece anyway.
Athena proposes a truce and that she'd tell him where he can find a new King's Jewel since he doesn't have much time until the Royal Garden is going to disappear in December... as long as he tells her how to regain her true form permanently. (Good job, A-tan.)

Review: Well, we've got some major developments here. First off, the clock really is confirmed to be the Kurotsubaki. With that said, I still don't think that's enough to throw CTMEOY out the window just yet. I don't think it even really contradicts the anime because there is still time for the clock to somehow end up in Las Vegas... although the only problem with that is Nagi should recognize the clock when she sees it... still, there are some plothax ways to explain that away.

With that said, what really concerns me more is the text at the end that "time advances toward December." Does that mean we're going to get a time skip and move on ahead to the final arc? Actually, it seems this story itself was part of the final arc all along.

I am also interested in how Shin Hayek will be introduced into this manga since his story of stealing the Kurotsubaki doesn't make sense now that the clock has been shown to still be in Mikado's possession until Hayate took it just now.
Gotta love Athena's expression here.
Also, it seems that Isumi really has a personal agenda with those King's Jewels with her making like a sniper to destroy them twice in a row now. Athena's "just as planned look" was pretty funny.

Over-all, this chapter really did a lot to advance the plot forward. Like, it advanced the plot in one chapter more than the entirety of Ruka's arc did. Still, does this mean that Ruka has been permanently cut out  from the manga now since she'll be in her concert tour and away from the rest of the crew? Anyway, we'll see... but I'm not ready to call it quits on CTMEOY just yet until the manga's timeline finally reaches September and totally contradicts it.

By the way, the manga is already contradicting itself since Nagi specifically referred to the anime as canon in the first few pages of chapter 400. Go look it up.

Speculation corner: Hmm... so, that was probably a mini-arc-ender, so nothing to speculate for now. I'm not really into this King's Jewel plot business, so I'll leave that to the experts on that subject out there. I guess I'll just throw in one thing... Nagi will win anyway! 

I am now also skeptical about the manga ending in December. I used to think that it would be the perfect way to end this, but with the endgame drawing near and Hayate's promise to Ikusa that they'd be back next summer, I wonder if the manga will actually extend to a second year and a new school term just like the season 1 anime did?

Also, Himegami still hasn't even received any significant role in this manga even though he is supposedly connected with this entire King's Jewel business.

Fanart corner: Well now, I just finished this one this week. With the Holy Grail Wars Servant x Master wars looming in the horizon, isn't this quite appropriate? With that said, do you think Nagi can even lift her sword?
Now isn't this fanart appropriate for this chapter?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 465: A Showdown 8 Months (10 Years) in The Making -- Review and Synopsis

Apparently, she's slacking off while waiting for Hayate... that's how much she TRUSTS in him!
Synopsis: Having overcome the cute girl trap (not THAT kind of trap, mind you), Hayate and Radiostar hurry on further down the depths of the Sanzen'in dungeon (not its official name, I'm just calling it that.) 
Radiostar kinda looks like a bishounen here, no?
Both are aware that they are running out of time to find Mikado's King's Jewel and escape the dungeon alive...well, Radiostar's already dead but... aaaanyway, they find themselves inside a majestic looking place and Hayate is greeted by a familiar face, Head Butler Klaus and armed with a sword.

Hayate asks Klaus what he's doing here and Klaus explains that he works there part-time four days a week, pretty much like Konoha. Klaus attacks Hayate from out of nowhere tells Hayate to take the sword. He states that it's been eight months since Hayate became Nagi's butler but Klaus still hasn't fully accepted him, so it's the perfect time for a showdown. 

Hayate takes the sword and tries to think of a sentimental memory involving Klaus but comes up with nothing.
Klaus looks bad-ass and all kinds of awesome here
The two Sanzen'in butlers take their stances and thus begins a duel of epic proportions... or not. Hayate parries Klaus' blade with presumably the same stungun that Konoha used on his watch and zaps the older man into submission without much effort.

With Klaus out of the way, Hayate and Radiostar finally find the King's Jewel inside a glass case. Radiostar wonders how much time they have left and sees what looks like a small pocketwatch and wonders if its time is accurate. The chapter ends here.

Review: Gotta love the play of words on the chapter title. Anyway, this was a rather straightforward chapter, but let's not beat around the bush. The question that is on everyone's minds right now would be: "Is that the Black Camelia/Kurotsubaki shown on the last page of this chapter?" It could be... or it might not be. If it is the Kurotsubaki, then it has definite implications on this manga.

For one, it could do away with all the developments of Can't Take My Eyes Off You (but probably not Heaven Is A Place On Earth) since the Kurotsubaki was supposed to be in Las Vegas as part of Shin Hayek's possessions.

Ladies and gentlemen... it's TIME!
Looking at the clock, it does look similar to the Kurotsubaki, but then again, so does any other pocketwatch. On the other hand, the Kurotsubaki is clearly a transparent pocketwatch, while this one does not seem to be. There's also the month indicator on the Kurotsubaki. Of course, we could just blame that on Hata being too lazy or changes between the anime and manga adaptations. The hands are similarly shaped for both watches as are the Roman Numerals used on the watch face.
Is that really the Kurotsubaki? What do you think?
So anyway, if the Manga starts taking a different direction from Can't Take My Eyes Off You, then it leaves a lot of room for one more big arc until the finale since the whole of September was supposed to be CTMEOY's timeline. It also screws with all the theories regarding the canon status of the supposedly "future anime timelines."

Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing however. Let's face it, as much as I liked the pro-Nagi developments of the future timeline anime, there were tons of plotholes and the entire story itself felt a bit half-baked -- while of course, the finale was still quite satisfying for me. By having the manga take a different direction from the anime, Hata could easily wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and keep the universe of the canon manga free from any of the glaring plot inconsistencies brought about by CTMEOY.

On the other hand, while I'm okay with not having Nagi's CTMEOY confession being part of canon (because it's going to happen even more satisfyingly in the manga anyway), it does feel like Hata is taking the lazy man's way out if he does choose to have the manga take a different direction since that pretty much puts CTMEOY in the realm of a non-canon spin-off -- one written by the author himself.

Therefore, over-all, while I have mixed feelings about this new "development," I don't exactly hate it. On the bright side, it does leave a lot more room for Hata to work in elements of Can't Take My Eyes Off You's story into the manga and make it even better than what we saw in the anime, but we'll have to wait and see if the speculations about the Kurotsubaki are correct in the succeeding chapters of this manga. Don't blink or you might miss it!
Pic because it DID happen
On to other things, while some might say that Hayate using the stungun on Klaus' sword was a cheap shot, don't underestimate what he did. I've personally handled swords and stunguns myself (pic because it did happen)
This is not an easy "cheap shot" to make.
And let me tell you that it's not easy to parry a sword swing with a stungun and have the blade rest accurately between the prongs. You're more likely to get your hand or fingers cut off trying that. In other words, don't belittle Hayate's accomplishment there. Hata might have made it seem like a cheap shot, but it takes a superhuman level of skill to pull that off in real life... well, I just had to point that out.

Speculation Corner: Okay, I'm going to say that the pocket watch that Hayate and Radiostar saw is not the Kurotsubaki but another watch with magical powers that is somehow in Mikado's possession. I dunno why... I just have this gut feeling. 

Fanart Corner: I posted this on twitter and someone immediately got the reference. I tried the same thing on a Facebook Hayate fan page and no one knew where the pose and outfit Nagi's wearing here are from. To YOU, the one reading this blog post, tell me: do you know where I got the outfit and pose from?
Seriously... I thought this allusion would be easy to make out.