Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 459: Stone of Bonds -- Synopsis and Review

Sure, sure. Hina can have the cover this time. I do not mind.
Synopsis: Hayate rushes towards Nagi who turns out to be screaming about nothing but some dead jellyfish. After confirming that his mistress is fine, Hayate turns back towards the possessed Yukiji (Higanman) and Ikusa and it appears that Higanman has turned super saiyan because of the King's Jewel.
Yukiji: Sekai de ichiban o-bake sama!
Nagi asks WTF is going on here and Hayate briefly explains that Yukiji's been possessed and her powers have been amplified by the King's Jewel. 

Ikusa says he can't even touch her when she's that powerful, but Nagi has a plan. She rushes up to Yukiji and then proceeds to bribe her with 500 yen into purifying the evil spirit.
Nagi's a more effective exorcist than Isumi here
Higanman is stopped dead in his tracks and he can't believe that he's geting defeated by a mere 500 yen. Yukiji asks for just a little bit more, so Nagi ups the ante up to 1500 yen for purifying the spirit.
I guess she does tend to solve everything with money, eh?
This time, it really does work and the spirit is purified bathing Yukiji's body in some kind of magical array of lightning bolts. The ghost isn't done just yet though. In order to get some kind of revenge on Hayate, he decides to throw away the pouch containing the King's Jewel into the ocean.
They're finally working together
Hayate and Ikusa team up and Ikusa throws him towards the pouch, but just as the pouch is within reach, the Jewel slips out and is then struck by a stray bolt of magical lightning -- presumably from the evil spirit.

Hayate falls into the ocean feeling defeated and Ikusa dives in to rescue him. Hayate says that he did it again and Ikusa responds by saying that he just has to apologize again while handing him the pouch that contained the King's Jewel.

Review: Really action-packed chapter here. Naturally, Nagi stole the show -- quite fittingly. If you ever doubted the awesomeness of Nagi Sanzen'in, let this chapter clear your doubts.

I'd thought that Hata would make Nagi the damsel in distress again, but she turns out to be pretty useful in defeating "Higanman" - using her brains to outwit the evil spirit and exploit Yukiji-sensei's personality.
At least she didn't get kidnapped again
Looks like one of my speculations finally came true here because I did say that it might just be something insignificant in the previous chapter review. 

Also, I was just joking around a bit about Ikusa x Hayate being a thing, but that panel on the last page sure looks mighty suspicious.
Looks like Kotetsu has a lot more to be worried about than he thinks
On things other than Nagi, I noticed that Ikusa was calling Hayate by his name here and he seems to impliedly acknowledge everything that Hayate said in the previous chapter -- he even treats him more like a brother now -- which is a good thing.

Anyway, a very fun fast-paced chapter and it gave Nagi a chance to shine. I'm a bit disappointed in Hayate being so helpless throughout all of this though.
That was surprising
Still, now that the King's Jewel that he was after has been broken, it either needs to be repaired (which I doubt) or he'll need to find another one to restore the Sanzen'in inheritance to Nagi. Either way, I think this beach arc is just about ready to be wrapped up now.

Speculation Fanart Corner: Okay, not going to bother with speculations this time as this looks like a penultimate arc ender and I really do have nothing to work with this time around. Instead, I'll just show you another piece of fanart requested by some Goddess of Gensokyo. Also, I still don't encourage more fanart on the subject matter.
Umm... just read it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 458: Give a Troublesome Person Something Troublesome And Only Trouble Can Follow -- Review and Synopsis

OMG! Look at Nagi hogging the spotlight! I mean, she's only the CO-MAIN Character, after all. Why does she have to be in this manga all the time, huh?

Synopsis: Nagi wakes up inside the hotel room and after complaining a bit about “working so hard,” she starts thinking about how Hayate is doing right now and that she should help him as his master. Outside the room, she gets a glimpse of Isumi walking past. She sees Maria and asks her about Isumi but Maria says she hasn’t seen her.

No captions necessary (I'll type one in anyway). This one is just pure lulz.

Back at the beach, Hayate and Ikusa are confronted with the “mystery person” from the previous chapter and it turns out to be Yukiji in a mask. She starts calling herself “Higanman” and claims to be seeking revenge on Hayate for yesterday. It seems that the ghost who was possessing Hinagiku has been transferred to her and the ghost now wants revenge on Hayate for taking his treasure (all that boxed curry from the island). Ikusa calmly deduces that she’s been possessed.
Hayate: Nice eight-pack, bro.
An amusing conversation between Hayate, Ikusa and “Higanman” ensues and Ikusa vows to defeat this evil spirit as a lifesaver, but Higanman argues that hurting him will hurt Yukiji too. Of course, Hayate knows how durable Yukiji is, so he has no qualms about it and tries to strike her right in the face, but she successfully evades at least three successive blows from him (two are offscreen). Hayate eagerly tells Ikusa to go all out on Yukiji since she can take it.

Higanman fires some kind of spirit hadoukens at Ikusa, who effortlessly dodges them and then moves in for the finishing blow, but he is taken by surprise when Yukiji blocks his attack with one hand and uses some kind of spirit blow which pushes him back several paces away.

The evil spirit relishes the strength of his host body and shows that he’s even managed to steal Ikusa’s treasure in the scuffle. Ikusa says its war if he doesn’t return it, but the Higanman is unperturbed by his threat.

Suddenly, the pouch glows and gives the ghost even more power and Hayate concludes that it’s because of the King’s Jewel inside, but Hayate’s attention is then taken away with a nearby scream from Nagi.

Review: Whoo! Lots of stuff happening here and another Nagi cover FTW! First of all… all of my guesses as to who the mystery person might be were dead wrong as it turned out to be Yukiji who has presumably contracted the ghost who possessed Hinagiku and made her sick. Pretty sure someone guessed this scenario correctly in one of the forums and/or blogs that I lurk, but I can’t remember who. Anywayz, props to you whoever you are, mystery soothsayer person.

Secondly, wow! Ikusa’s huge! Did you see the difference between him and Hayate? Ok, so maybe Hayate’s in semi-chibi form, but how about how he towers over Yukiji? Betcha he’s at least 183-185 cm.
Ikusa: Hmph! Don't get cocky. I'm only using 10% of my powers!
This chapter establishes several things at least. Now we know almost for sure that the King’s Jewel really is inside that pouch as it gave the ghost some kind of power. So if it’s not the King’s Jewel, then it has to be some other kind of magical artifact, but it’s highly unlikely to be anything else at this point.

This chapter also establishes that both the Katsuras are really top-tier in terms of strength in the Hayateverse with the way Higanman in Yukiji’s body was able to block a blow from Ikusa. Granted, it probably wasn’t a 100% committed blow, but remember that Ikusa has stood on par with Athena’s magical memory recover hammers with just his physical strength alone and has cut off King Midas’ right arm with the Shirousakura pretty handily.

Anyway, enough about Ikusa. Let’s talk about Nagi for a bit. I like how Hata sorta redeemed her character a bit in this chapter what with her getting tired and giving up so easily the last time. This chapter shows that she still cares for Hayate even though she did bail out on him and she’s actually eager to get back and help him out after she’s rested up a bit. With that said, it seems that she’s in trouble again and needs rescuing according to the cliffhanger in the previous arc.

All-in-all, this was another great fast-paced chapter for the beach arc. I wouldn’t say it was worth a one-week wait, but Hata does deserve a break every now and then with the way he’s been churning out these chapters fairly regularly.
Naturally, I have no idea what Nagi is screaming about this time.
Speculation Corner: Okay, I’m honestly all out of guesses here as to who Nagi’s mystery tormentor/abductor could be. Hata just makes it impossible to guess with the lack of information before these cliffhangers – which isn’t a bad thing, btw. I’m just pointing it out. Anyway, I’m gonna go with Yozora Housen on this one… or it could be that she’s just screaming over something absolutely trivial like a giant cockroach getting in her way or something.

Okay fanart time, so that Goddess of Gensokyou from last time requested this one too. I kinda like how moe her face turned out here… although I do not (openly) encourage more fanart on the same subject matter.
If you don't get the scene in this image... good! You don't want to know.
This is other one is also fanart request from a Hintko-chan. Naturally, I don’t support this pairing… with that said, if Hayate continues to be a dunce about Nagi’s feelings, I wouldn’t mind if Himegami or some other new male character started showing interest in her and she actually responded. At least we know that Robot 13/13-kun got a rise out of him a few hundred chapters ago. I’d like to see how he responds if a real rival (other than the Hamster’s brother) started showing some interest in Nagi. I mean, Maria got all those letters from the boys when she was Nagi’s age and I don’t see Nagi losing to her in terms of looks (when they were the same age… nah, Nagi’s way cuter), so why shouldn’t she have a few admirers of her own?
I never have and never will ship Himegami x Nagi
Anywayz, that wraps up this review. See ya in the next chapter!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 457: Ten Year Gap -- Review and Synopsis

Synopsis: Hayate realizes something about this competition due to Fumi and Yukiji's antics. He thanks both of them sincerely and sends Yukiji along to the hotel to look after Hina. He also sends off Fumi to go and help some other people at the beach after thanking her properly.

Hayate finally realizes that he was being a jerk.
Souya and Kotetsu arrive at around the same time and Hayate actually treats Kotetsu like an actual human being this time. He asks Souya where he can find Ikusa and then leaves the restaurant in Souya and Kotetsu's hands.

Meanwhile, Yukiji has arrived back at the hotel and Isumi is tending to Hina who has apparently been possessed by an evil spirit -- but with the same symptoms as a cold. Isumi tells Yukiji that Hina'll instantly recover if someone else gets possessed by the evil spirit -- just like a normal cold.

Hayate finds Ikusa and they finally have a heart-to-heart talk as brothers after ten years. Hayate reveals that he understands why Ikusa made him go through this competition and that he would have given the "treasure" to him win or lose. Ikusa doesn't seem to disapprove, but he still claims that he's not Hayate's brother but that if his faint memories of his brother and family are true, then he would have been proud to have a brother who survived such a past and grew up to be so honest.

The talk is interrupted by someone exclaiming "found you," but we'll have to wait  some time before the next chapter since the manga is taking a one week break.

Review: This was a pretty good chapter. For once, things went as I would have liked them to and Hayate received some degree of character development here by realizing that he was taking the wrong approach the whole time.

Hayate was focused on winning the battle (the competition with Ikusa) when in fact, he wasn't looking ahead at the war (the reason Ikusa made up this competition in the first place). Thanks to his experiences during this beach arc, he now realizes that the competition itself didn't really matter and that he was actually being a jerk to his friends the whole time all because he was so dedicated to getting Nagi's inheritance back.

I have to commend Hata-sensei for his use of psychology in this arc (in the whole manga, actually... but that's a story for another day.) From a psychological standpoint, Hayate thought that winning the competition was the only way to get his "treasure" back from Ikusa, but thanks to the ridiculous things mentioned by both Yukiji and Fumi, he realized that this whole thing wasn't about winning at all. It was really just all about finding out what Ikusa's motivations were really all about with this whole competition. We could say that it's because he has an 8.92 million yen debt, but Nagi already disproved that assertion 3 chapters ago and Ikusa himself confirmed that it was initially just a joke. Thus, you could say that Hayate used a bit of psychoanalysis on Ikusa here.

In any case, I appreciated the talk between the brothers and with things all but wrapped up, I think this beach arc is finally coming to an end. I'd say we have 4-5 chapters or maybe even less to fully wrap up this arc.

While it's not over yet, I'd like to say a few things about this beach arc:
At least we know why Isumi's here now.
I like how things tie in quite neatly in this arc like Isumi suddenly showing up from out of nowhere in the previous chapter. Here, it's revealed that she probably showed up in order to help out Hina because she sensed a ghost or something. 

I really enjoyed the comedy here which is really a throwback to the tone of the series before the serious Athena arcs took precedence. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Athena arcs (mostly because of Nagi's chapters), but I didn't really find them to be all that special when compared to the other arcs (or lack thereof) in the manga.
Who do you think this is? You have 3 guesses! Make em count!
Speculation Corner: Well, there was a cliffhanger with some voice going, "found youuuu!" at the end of this chapter, so we'll focus on that for this speculation corner. I have 3 guesses.

  • Ruka Suirenji: I think that it's nice that Hayate realizes that he doesn't have to win this competition, but it would be even better if he actually did win -- and having Ruka show up and helping him win the competition with the help of her fame and camera crew is one of the best ways to win.
  • Sakuya: Well, Isumi's here. Even though the two aren't always together nowadays, I wouldn't put it past Sakuya to show up and somehow help out. She could do a lot just by herself and with her two butlers as well as machina, or she could just use her wealth to help out somehow, although I don't think Hayate would appreciate that.
  • Nagi and company: Although Nagi and Hamster just recently bailed out, I wouldn't put it past them to come back -- this time together with everyone else in order to help out Hayate. 
Regarding what Ikusa said about someone that he could grow to love in the previous chapter, I jokingly said in a comment that the one who best fits his description would be Hayate -- perhaps this chapter proves what I said to be true after all? In fact, Ikusa never stated outright that it was romantic love that he was referring to.  

Finally, I finished drawing this fanart of Nagi (again) just in time for this week's chapter review. What do you think? Isn't she cutieful? This is also requested by some Goddess of Gensokyo.
Nagi! Nagi! Nagi! Nagi! ... Nagi!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 456: I Can't Do What I Can't Do -- Review and Synposis

I have to admit, this cover makes Fumi look kinda hot.

Synopsis: Picking up from where we left off in the last chapter, Fumi and Sharna follow Ikusa around the beach and Sharna is curious as to what he does for a living. Isumi suddenly pops up from out of nowhere to offer an explanation and tells them that his name is Ikusabe Yamato, he’s a lifesaver, 28 years old and has a strong sense of justice.

Look who's back!
Fumi goes straight to the point and asks Isumi if he’s single since she’s readily volunteering information and Isumi responds with a totally disgusted face. She offers to help out anyway and just goes up to Ikusa and asks him if he’s single because Fumi wants to date him.
LOL! DAT face!
Ikusa tells them that he’s not seeing anyone right now nor does he plan to, but that he would probably fall in love with someone who holds the same ideals of saving anyone who is in trouble just like him.

At this Fumi decides that she needs to become a lifesaver too and goes off to “eliminate” troublemakers from the beach. She eventually stumbles upon Hayate – who, as we all know, is in dire straits having been left all alone to man the seaside restaurant by team Café Donguri last chapter.

Fumi decides she’s going to help him, but not without unintentionally poking fun at his situation first. She proposes selling Takoyaki using a sleazy cost-cutting scheme.

Hayate is unconvinced, but all of a sudden Yukiji pops up because she’d heard that Hina was sick. She proposes the same takoyaki scheme that Fumi suggested.

Hayate dismisses their ridiculous suggestions, but suddenly, his face lights up with a look of realization.

Review: First of all, I need to admit that all of my previous speculations about how Hayate was going to win this competition seemed to have been proven wrong in this chapter. While there is no clear solution yet, it doesn’t seem likely that any of the scenarios that I laid out would come true. Furthermore, I said that we’ve probably seen the last of Fumi and Sharna for a while, but it looks like they’re here to stay for this arc.
Yukiji's here too.
It was nice to see Isumi making an appearance in this manga again – and she’s still as cute and funny as ever. Especially when she semi-trolls Fumi. Looks like Yukiji’s here too, so I guess she really does care about her sister – even if she acts irresponsible most of the time.

One other aspect of Ikusa I’ve noticed is that Isumi implied that she’s on to whatever his plans are and he seems to have planned out things ahead of time – including Fumi’s meeting with Hayate. In other words, Ikusa’s a scheming manipulator just like someone else we know… and I’m not talking about Nagi’s grandfather ;).

Over-all, this was once again a really funny and enjoyable chapter. This beach arc may be going on for much longer than most fans can stomach, but I personally don’t mind if it’s this funny all throughout.

Speculation Fanart Corner: Hata’s given me nothing to work with for this chapter, so have some fanart instead. A certain goddess whispered this scenario into my ear… and I just had to draw it! Open the pic in a new tab/window if you can't read the text. This is a 4koma, so read the right hand panels from top to bottom first.
What do you think? Would Nagi actually try this?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 455: Love Stories Happen Surprisingly Suddenly -- Review and Synopsis

Hamster cover this time. She actually looks nice with the new art style.
Synopsis: Left with only Nagi and Hamster to help him out at the seaside restaurant, Hayate says it would be better to just give up, but with one huge slap from Nagi and some words of encouragement from the hamster, he declares that their determination has reached him and they go on and open the restaurant anyway.
Hit him harder, Nagi. He needed that!
The restaurant is packed and it seems like all is going well with the three of them working together, but after only an hour, both Nagi and Hamster are exhausted and decide to go back to the hotel and support Hayate by watching over him... from the hotel bed.
He should have seen this one coming given Nagi's stamina.
We leave our desperate butler alone for a bit with his predicament and revisit two characters who haven't made an appearance in this manga since forever, Fumi and Sharna.

Anyway, Fumi wants to go to the beach and thinks up some cockamamie excuse to go there and Sharna just humors her and plays along as usual, but not without the usual zingers. They stumble upon Ikusa who picks up a fish sausage that Fumi threw and opens it up for her. He then leaves and tells them to enjoy their time at the beach.
Lewd... (Joking aside, I wonder if the innuendo is intentional)
Fumi instantly falls in love with him and declares that she's now going to stalk him.

Review: Well, I suppose it was about time for Fumi and Sharna to show up, but I'm surprised that Hata didn't show us some of the more significant side characters such as Wataru and Saki as well as Isumi and Sakuya.
This line was kinda funny, actually.
Anyway, I didn't care much for the Fumi and Sharna segment, but I did get a kick out of watching Hayate get b|tchslapped by Nagi. I'm also quite surprised at how easy it was to convince him even though he gave it all that thought that it was impossible from the very beginning. Did he somehow think that they could make it through with sheer determination alone?

Anywayz, looks like he just managed to dig himself into even more trouble this time. 

Speculation corner: One very Hata-ish solution to Hayate's problem would be for Ruka to suddenly show up and endorse the restaurant as well as temporarily man it with her TV crew. In any case, I'm actually kinda glad that Nagi and Hamster are sort of out of the picture as well with this chapter since this whole matter is really between the brothers and I think it's time for Hayate to receive a little bit of character development on his own.

It would be easy to write in Athena suddenly showing up and using her wealth to help him out, but that just wouldn't seem right.

One other way to resolve the problem would be for Nagi and company to return in full force with Athena, Hina, Chiharu, Kayura and perhaps even the Hakuo baka-trio and Fumi and Sharna in tow? Isumi and Sakuya could also just stumble upon them and help out as well. This way, Hayate's problems would be resolved because of the friends that he has to help him out -- as opposed to Ikusa who needs to be invincible all the time because he works alone. Pretty shounen-ish way to end this arc -- and rather fitting too, I might add.

Anyway, no new fanart from me this week. I'll see if I can do a few scribbles for the next chapter.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hayate The Combat Butler Chapter 454: About The Younger Brother -- Synopsis and Review

Nagi cover strike three!

Synopsis: Alrighty… Hayate has a little chit-chat with Ikusa. It’s mostly about his resolve to protect Nagi no matter what happens and his reason for doing so – which is because she saved his life. Ikusa calls Nagi a midget early in the conversation, which really ticks her off, but Hayate ignores it because he thinks that Ikusa might have something more important to say. Nagi starts throwing sand at Hayate in a comedic way. Which is pretty funny considering that he’s having a serious conversation with Ikusa while this is happening. Ikusa also reveals that he’s been huddling together with Hina on that island and doing “all sorts of lewd things” as Ikusa would put it. This ticks off Ayumu as well and she and Nagi decide to throw sand at Hayate together. 

While removing sand from his shoes, Hayate explains why he’s so devoted to Nagi, but Ikusa asks him if he can die for someone and advises him to cast aside his memories and the people he finds important in his life so that no one would be sad if he died. He then leaves and points the way to take out the trash.
Dat Tsundere personality
Nagi is suspicious as to whether Ikusa has really lost his memories or not and adds that she doubts that Hayate would ever need to risk his life. In any case, the competition is still on.
I'll throw sand at you!
Back at the hotel on the next day, Hina is feeling under the weather and the little wisps around her suggests that it might have something to do with a curse from some of those ghosts on that island. In any case, she can’t help out at the seaside restaurant and neither can Maria who will be looking after her. Neither can Kayura and Chiharu who had been staying up all night at the arcade – as pointed out by Athena, who is now back in her Alice form. Alice says she can’t help out either because she has something else to do, which leaves Hayate with team café donguri: Nagi and Hamster.
Good idea, girls. Do it! Do it!

After a bit of contemplation, Hayate realizes that he can’t win with this team and gives up on the competition altogether. We’ll have to wait for the next chapter to see what happens next.

Review: No big reveal yet for this chapter. Ikusa still didn’t clearly say why this competition was “no longer a joke” after last chapter’s cliffhanger. I suppose it's implied that he's testing Hayate's resolve to see if he can live up to his promise to protect Nagi. At least Hayate has made it clear in this chapter that he’s not protecting Nagi because of his financial debt to her – as the anti-Nagi crew would have you believe. It’s still not an “I’m in love with her,” but it’s a step in the right direction, at least.

Sure thing, Archer. They've gotta give this guy Archer's voice if he's ever animated.

The humor was spot-on again in this chapter. Hata’s really gotten back in touch with his humorous side with this latest arc. Nagi is especially sensitive about her height and she resorts to funny, mischievous behavior just to get back at Hayate – although maybe it’s Ikusa she should be throwing sand at, but he looks too mean to play around with. The little interactions between Nagi and Hamster were also funny – although I must admit, not as funny as Athena x Hinagiku.
Dawww moment
It’s heavily implied in this chapter that Ikusa deliberately “cast out” his memories of his life in order to become a hero who can save everyone. Really, this guy – his arrogant attitude, his personality, he acts exactly like Emiya Archer from Fate/Stay Night. (go read the VN, by the way. If you’re only familiar with Archer from the anime version, you’ll find that there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye in the VN. Of course, the UBW anime movie was pretty spot-on except for a few shortcuts.)
There's your lovely, caring, selfless A-tan.
Speculation corner: Anyway, no speculation corner this week as Hata hasn’t revealed enough info for me to make any speculations about anything at all. Made a new Nagi fanart based on Cuties though. Also, just in case you haven’t heard, the first of the 2014 OVAs are out and features Nagi and Hina, as expected. The bigger reveals are that Hina’s chapter features an abbreviated version of the Golden Week Arc and finally animates teenage Athena and that there’s apparently a teaser for the Izumi alternate universe ending comic at the end of the OVA. Well, I haven’t seen it yet myself (I’ll rectify that tonight), so this is all second-hand info based on the discussions in Doughnut Gunso’s blog.

I suppose one thing I can speculate on is that my fanart of Ikusa in a mask and kidnapping Nagi thereby triggering Hayate's demon mode might not be so far-fetched. I wouldn't put it past him to go that far just to test Hayate's resolve. He might be in for a surprise if Hayate pulls out the titular Hayate no Gotoku!
Btw, did I get that Kanji right? I'm like terribad at Japanese, ya know. Nagi: I am always ONLINE! Scrolling... Judging...