Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hayate Reflections: A Criticism Of Hayate No Gotoku!

While I am definitely overjoyed with the fact that Hayate fell in love with Nagi in the end (Go ahead and cry if your ship sunk or if you just hate Hayate x Nagi. It's true and it's the conclusion that requires the least amount of assumptions), I am not deluded enough to claim that structurally speaking, Hayate no Gotoku is a competently written story. In fact, as a storyteller myself, I think quite the opposite.

I admire Hata's innate flair for drama and his ability to tell a touching love story (I'm talking about Hayate x Nagi and not Hayate and his ex, Athena) within the complicated framework of pseudo romantic relationships that he has invariably tied Hayate to throughout the run of the manga, but in my eyes, there are many glaring weaknesses to the entirety of the story and how it was handled.

For today's Hayate reflections, I will discuss some of these perceived weaknesses as best as I can remember them. Don't expect me to cross-reference specific chapters since my INTJ personality just doesn't like such a codified form of journalistic writing.

In any case, let's begin:

Inconsistent Characterization

Many characters suffer from inconsistent characterization in the series but for me, the most glaring ones would be Sakuya and Isumi. First of all, Sakuya was supposed to be the slapstick, comedy relief character with her paper fan and all and with Nagi actually drop-kicking her for her silly antics. Sometime after her birthday chapter, she even stopped carrying her paper fan completely and that part of her character just disappeared for no reason. Let me get this straight, I didn't like her wannabe comedian aspect, but there is no denying that it was a prominent feature for her personality and was part of what defined her as a character (even if the comedy aspect is mostly lost in translation across cultural borders). The fact that it just conveniently disappeared and she became this reliable onee-san type character that even Hayate would rely on speaks of inconsistent characterization on Hata's part.

As for Isumi, I think it's pretty plain to see. She used to interact with Nagi, Sakuya and Wataru a lot and even though she was always demure, she had more expressions than just angry, shocked, or bored. Over time however, her dialogue got shorter and more blunt and she stopped caring for anyone entirely unless it was for Nagi's sake. She became Hata's convenient little plot advancer for the King's Jewel Backstory.

The King's Jewels Was A Mistake
The fact that people were actually trying to keep count of the King's Jewels is particularly amusing for me. I had a hunch as to how Hata's mind works and it turns out I was right. All that King's Jewel counting and focus on the technical aspects of the plot all came to nothing in the end. Now I personally do not blame Hata for this because I personally am exactly that type of writer. I was amused at people keeping track of stats on this series because well... that's just not how it was written.

In any event, while I do not blame Hata on how he handled the King's Jewels backstory, I do think it was unnecessary, or rather, it was the wrong plot device to use if all of it was just meant to have Hayate make his final decision to give up his own life for Nagi. There are simpler ways it could have been done and/or better ways it could have been pulled. Heck, I could write a HayaNagi fanfic based on the King's Jewels with more cathartic drama and a more competent conclusion than Hata did.

Too Many Red Herrings
Hata dug his own grave here. Simply put, he used way too many clues within the plot that many of them ended up being either unused or underused.

This can be seen in several aspects of the plot but is most prevalent in the romantic department. Hata kept everyone guessing until the end because he left so many strong, obvious clues for an eventual romantic development between Hayate and all of the other girls in the harem except for Nagi. Of course, as it turned out, we Nagi shippers were correct all along. The fact that Nagi only has subtle clues in favor of her and not blatant, extremely obvious signs of romantic interest from Hayate turned out to be the plot twist that no one wanted but they'll always claim they expected because you do have to save face after being salty from having your ship sunk hard after all, right? With that said, these romantic or "shipping moments" with the other girls were so blatant that it gave many people delusions of grandeur and actually caused them to count Nagi out of the harem race -- rather amusing when there was no actual harem in the end because Hayate never developed romantic feelings for the other girls throughout the one year timeline he was with Nagi and he only developed romantic feelings for her at the very end.

Gag Ex Machina
This is something that Hata himself admits and has dedicated a chapter to, of course. With that said, the reliance on gags to lighten up what would otherwise be a serious plot development can get old after a while. Because Hata used his infamous gag ex machina so often, many veteran readers were in disbelief and denial when events with actual permanence actually started happening in the story. There are many examples of this, but off the top of my head, there's Nagi's strong character development, the debt being actually cleared, Maria leaving Nagi for real, Nagi setting Hayate free and of course, Hayate coming back to see Nagi two years after their rather bitter parting.

There are also some character arcs such as the Segawa arc which are purely gag-based and which do not serve any actual purpose to advance the plot even a little.

Pandering To Fans

I think this is the sad result of Hayate no Gotoku! being a commercial product after all. In the end, Hata, while being a more whimsical author than others, still has to bend and pander to the fans to some extent. Which is probably part of the reason why the other ships (all probably more popular than the canon pair) were kept afloat for so long and Hayate is so noncommittal and indecisive about his relationships with the other girls. Also, this may have influenced the gag-driven nature of the series because if Hata had merely sprinted headlong for the HayaNagi finish, we probably wouldn't have had 568 chapters to read.

It Was And Always Will Be A Hayate x Nagi Love Story

Fortunately, despite all these criticisms, I still love Hayate no Gotoku! That is because I've always seen it as only one way: A Hayate x Nagi love story. When stripped down to its bare elements and without all the embellishments on top, that's what the manga is really all about. And of course, as a love story between the two main characters, it is and will always be the most satisfying story I've ever read.

See you next week for sure. Stay salty if you're a hater~

Fanart Corner
I have a few new ones for today. Here they are~! I'm planning to try out my Gansai Tambi watercolors on canvas to see how they look. I've tried watercolors on canvas before and it actually looks pretty good.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Don't Cry Nagi

These are some song lyrics for a very old song called "Don't Cry Joni." I made my own version as follows:

Nagi was not your girl next door
I met her about one year before
Nagi set me free of my duties one day
And this is what she had to say

Hayate, go and please be free
I'll grow up someday you'll see,
Becoming independent because of you
I can be a woman too

Nagi milady please don't cry
Don't forget me by and by
You're just fourteen I'm too old for you
Nagi I can still wait for you

Soon I left our little home town
Got me a job and tried to settle down
But her words kept haunting my memory
The words that Nagi said to me

Hayate, go and please be free
I'll grow up someday you'll see,
Becoming independent because of you
I can be a woman too

I packed my clothes and I caught a train
I had to see milady, I had to explain
How my heart was filled with her memory
And ask my Nagi if she'd go out with me

I ran all the way to the park from before
But things weren't like they were before
The stars were sparkling to guide my way
When I told Nagi what I had to say

Nagi, Nagi I could cry
Don't forget me by and by
You were just fourteen I was too old for you
So Nagi I waited two years for you

That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed that and see you next week!

Fanart Corner

Got two new ones today including a Hina drawing because it was her birthday last 3/3.
I think this goofy face is pretty cute, don't you?
Digital Version Coming Soon

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hayate Reflections: My Motivations

Instead of once again tackling the dead-beaten horse of a topic of how Hayate loves Nagi despite all protests from the western fanbase (or those with western sensibilities) to the contrary, let's talk about something a little bit different today.

Today, let's talk about how I love Nagi... which in itself is also a dead-beaten topic -- BUT, that won't prevent me from talking about it anyway.

But before that, let's take a few steps backwards -- back to a time before I discovered that I actually love Nagi.

I have always been a creative individual. This is an objective assessment and I'm not indulging in self-praise here. Basically, I am always fueled by a desire to create something. This is why I often drift in and out of my two primary pastimes -- writing and visual arts.

Personally, I believe that I am more naturally inclined towards literature. I can imagine any number of scenarios for a fiction story and I can basically write about anything that piques my interest without really putting a whole lot of effort into it.

In contrast, when I draw something -- even though it might look simple, I actually have to try really hard just to get it to look good. Even after over a decade of practicing and improving my skills, I still have lots of obvious weaknesses in the way I draw things.

Still, whether I'm writing a piece of fiction, painting something in watercolors, or combining my passions in the form of a visual novel, the motivation -- the driving force behind my creations has always been homogeneous.

I have always been fueled simply by a love for aesthetics. I desire to create something beautiful -- beautiful by my own standards. Something that pleases my senses.

And if one were to ask me: what is the most beautiful thing to you? The answer for me is very simple: It is Sanzen'in Nagi -- the girl, the heiress, the former heiress, the loli, the spoiled brat, the brat who became great -- whatever you may think of her -- to me, she is simply the most beautiful. Therefore, very simply: I cannot help falling in love with her. For me, she is my goddess -- perfect in all her imperfections.

See you next week. By the way, it's Hina's birthday tomorrow. I always draw her on this day, of course... so watch out for my annual Hina birthday fanart on twitter:

In other news, I am currently working on a long-ish novel called "Rivers of Blood."  I plan to post the first chapter on this blog very soon. It's quite different from my usual works, so I hope you'll read it with an open mind.

Fanart Corner

This watercolor painting was done during a livestream just two days ago. The reference for the place is from one of @nyarth's posts on twitter and apparently, the place is the hub at Edinburgh.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Of Hooks and Instant Gratification

Back when I was active in the English Visual Novel Development circles, one of the hottest topics for discussion that never sat well with me was the use of "narrative hooks."

Basically, it is your job as a writer to figuratively "hook" the audience's attention from the very start so that they will continue to read your story. Additionally, proponents of the narrative hook from the EVN Circles, would often claim that it is your fault as a writer if your reader loses interest in your work and doesn't give it a chance to get to the plot twist or climax.

At that time  (and at this time still), I thought that it was a very consumerist approach towards literature and storytelling. They were basically saying that you have to give the readers what they want or you are a failure as a writer.

This was really counter-intuitive for me because I had personally grown up around and come to love a lot of stories that never relied on hooks. There were times when I'd read a story that seemed rather lackluster at the beginning, but only to be surprised by a plot twist near the end of the story that totally changed my perception. I didn't need a narrative hook to keep me going... and I know that a lot of other readers out there still feel the same.

With that said, I will not argue that if you plan to sell your works to a mainstream market and survive in said market; then flexibility, adaptability and willingness to flow with emerging trends is a must in modern times. 

Fortunately I am no longer a part of any literary community or movement, which grants me nearly unlimited literary freedom in what I write. It also allows me to preserve the soul and identity of my writings without feeling like a literary prostitute who figuratively bends over and incessantly adjusts his style to suit the whims of his target audience.

Which brings me to the point of this entire article: instant gratification. In the modern world run by hyperactive adult children with short attention spans catering to other hyperactive adult children with short attention spans and fueled primarily by instant gratification, the narrative hook has really found its home. I'm not sure who or what movements are to blame for this atrocity, but in modern times, it is often the creator, the person who put in the actual effort in order to make something, who is found to be "accountable" for the target audience who "support" his/her work. If your creation falls short of the personal standards of your audience, then it is your job to kowtow to these standards.

For example, take this scenario: Imagine if you were feeling bored and decided to download a free game on your phone. The game you decided to install was more or less well put together, but somehow, it didn't amuse you as much as you would have liked it to. Naturally, this is a travesty that must be corrected. You were bored and this totally free game that you spent five minutes of your life on has failed to deliver in its promise to entertain you!

So what do you do? Of course, you'd type a scathing review of the game on its download page like so. "LOL! Worst game ever. I was bored to tears. Stay far away unless you want a substitute for sleeping pills. Playing with your phone's calculator is far more entertaining than this pile of garbage."

Now let's set that aside for a moment and talk about the females of Hayate no Gotoku!

What sets Nagi apart from other more "deserving females" like Hinagiku and Athena?

Well, it is pretty obvious if you look at them based on how they were introduced in the series. Just listing stats out from the top of my head so let's take a look.

As you can see, not only do Nagi's cons outweigh her pros from the start, but her main rivals for Hayate's affection are obviously more ideal from the very beginning because they either have very little cons (Hinagiku) or none at all (Athena). Of course, throughout the course of the manga, it becomes obvious that both Hinagiku and Athena are more than their basic stats would have you believe, but I'm trying to look at them at a glance here -- which is what many of Nagi's haters have admitted to doing. You can't exactly complain about how a story ended when you claim to have dropped it 400 chapters ago.

In any case, one thing becomes obvious here: Nagi will never win in an instant gratification contest. She is a heroine with no truly remarkable redeeming qualities at the start (especially in comparison to other "more deserving females") who needs to be given time to develop and come into her own -- which she does quite remarkably as the story progresses and she becomes more and more of an ideal girl for Hayate. All of her character development then culminates in a picture-perfect ending wherein the boy finally notices the girl who has been pining away for him all this time.

In conclusion, I believe that the reason that Nagi is oft-considered the worst choice among Hayate's pseudo harem is because she was written for a type of reader from a different generation (It has been 13 years since the series first debuted). She is a bit like the proverbial diamond in the rough -- seemingly crude and unappealing at a glance, but infinitely beautiful  after being cut and polished to perfection.

Unfortunately, she will never appeal to the smartphone generation who will accept nothing beyond instant gratification and what can be seen skin-deep...

See you next week!

Fanart Corner
It was my birthday yesterday, so here is a special video presentation.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Happy Valentine's Day

Greetings! It's Valentine's day today so let's forego the usual biting article aimed at HayaNagi haters. For today, I have a special HayaNagi AMV all ready. I had to use veoh because youtube's copyright bot seems to automatically flag the video. Well, whatevers, here you go~

Watch Hayate x Nagi - Beautiful In White in Anime  |  View More Free Videos Online at

In other news, Hata-sensei's new series, Tonikaku Kawaii starts today. I don't think I'll be following it, but you can give it a shot if you like. If you can't read Japanese, I'm sure some scanlators will pick it up soon.

Fanart Corner

Naturally, I have some Valentine's Day fanart for today. Here ya go~ and see you next week for sure.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hayate Reflections: The Dark Horse In The Harem

First, a little heads up that Hata's new manga is starting and it's called Tonikaku Kawaii (cute anyway). LOL -- that title is so Hata. With that said, I haven't even touched Ad Astra per Aspera, so I dunno how I feel about that. MC kinda looks like a sharper faced Hina, so some of you might like that.

If there was ever a dark horse in the series whom I feared might eventually win Hayate's heart, it would have to be Izumi Segawa.

After all, Hata has always made sure to remind the audience that Izumi is a bit different from the other two of the student council trio, Miki and Risa. While the two have rather indistinct archetypes and very little in terms of character development, Izumi has always been around and has had her moments with Hayate -- even if it was just to bide time until the next big event in the development of the main story triggers.

In fact, Izumi has even had her own mini Segawa arc that had Hayate fighting the Segawa big four (actually six people including Hatsune Miku lol!) and Kotetsu at the end.

In any case, while Hayate detests the student council trio when they are together, he does seem to have a soft spot for Izumi. He tutors her after school (suggested by Yukiji so she wouldn't flunk out of school) and he generally sees her as a nice girl.

By definition, a dark horse is a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.

Izumi definitely fits the bill as a dark horse. For starters, she does have a crush on Hayate and (along with the other student council trio) even has a nickname for him, Hayata-kun. There were also various moments in the manga devoted to ship-teasing them (just like with all the other girls in Hayate's mock harem... some people tend confuse this with "romantic development," how did that work out for you? ... :P)

Meanwhile, very little is actually known about her -- or rather, there is very little controversy surrounding her. We know her father (some very rich corporate businessman), her brother (Kotetsu), and her personality. But there are zero  issues with her. Over-all, aside from being a bit of a doormat and just going along with the antics of her two companions from the student council trio, she is generally a very happy and somewhat innocently oblivious girl. To put it bluntly, Izumi is a bit of a happy idiot.

With that said, Izumi is also the type to show some amazing insight when it really counts. She's that type of character who nonchalantly blurts out the correct answer when the other smarter people around here are racking their brains trying to figure it out. A bit like Mayuri from Steins;Gate. In fact, she has demonstrated this ability before when she figured out that even without his debt, Hayate would not leave Nagi -- which eventually came to pass.

FORTUNATELY, Izumi's ship was definitively sunk in this chapter here, so I could rest easy after that. As for Maria, while some people see her as a dark horse, I never really gave her a chance to be honest. Even if Hayate had seen her romantically (which he didn't, by the way. Seeing her as attractive /= romantic), I just figured that it really wouldn't have worked out based on the plot.

With Izumi however, there were no complications. Like, if chapter 541 hadn't happened, then she could very well have become Hayate's final choice by the end after Nagi sets him free -- of course, THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN and Hayate x Nagi instead became a true romantic couple -- ooooh, you want proof of this? Fortunately, I happened to pass by Hata's pixiv recently and he wrote this in the description: "The final illustration for the countdown. A really sweet couple." link.

Anyway, if you're a hater, stay salty! See you next week!

Fanart Corner
I was actually working on something else recently, but for now... here's a fanart that I drew online. I plan to digitize this for valentine's day. I have one week~ good luck, me!

Proportions look kinda mature, so let's just say that this is the ending Nagi - 16 year-old Nagi.

Nagi cosplaying as Lotte from Astarotte No Omocha. They have similar personalities, looks, and even the same voice actress, so it kinda works. Also, Lotte-chan won in her manga too~!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hayate Reflections: The Talk

"Shall we go then? There is something I'd like to tell you... under this infinitely vast, starlit sky."

If Nagi Sanzen’in’s heart was throbbing with expectation the moment that she’d heard those words – which it must have been considering how she herself had admitted that her feelings for her former butler, Hayate Ayasaki, would never change, her face certainly did not show it at that moment.

She smiled sweetly, sincerely… and yet, quite normally. It wasn’t that she would die of embarrassment if she’d ever let her true feelings rise to the surface. It’s just that her colorful experiences up to this point had made her a little bit more reserved in the way she expressed herself to others.

One might say, that she was indeed the same Nagi that Hayate had left behind on that Christmas Eve exactly two years ago, but a little bit taller, a little bit wiser, and a whole lot more capable than she herself could ever have imagined.

“Is that so?” 

She replied while gracefully sliding her hand next to his. He took the clue immediately – and although he too was nervous, he himself had become more stalwart and decisive than before with age. 

Their hands intertwined naturally, nonchalantly – as if it were the most natural thing in the world for the two of them.

“Then… let’s go, we have a lot to talk about.”

And so the story ends… at least from our perspective. Of course, their story will still continue – as it should. 

But what exactly transpired on that night? Today, Hayate Reflections presents a fan-made scenario, let us continue:

“Your hand is warm… ojou---um… Nagi.” 


Nagi felt blood rushing up to her cheeks. Even with all her psychological defenses in place. Hayate’s words still managed to catch her off-guard.

“W-where did that come from all of a sudden?”

“Uh… well, I was just thinking about the day that we first met.”

Hayate’s eyes seemed to be searching for some faraway place hidden deep within the recesses of his memories.

“Maria’s scarf felt nice and warm as well on that freezing night, but… it was really the warmth of your smile that kept me going, I think.”

Nagi grew more embarrassed with each word that left Hayate Ayasaki’s mouth.


Nagi jerked her hand away from him. She had to – otherwise, she really would have died of embarrassment.

Her voice trembled in that familiar tsundere stutter that Hayate had grown so accustomed to during his tenure as her butler.

“Yes, Nagi?”

“I-Is this what you learned after two years? H-how to say any number of embarrassing lines without reacting?”

Nagi closed one of her eyes and crossed her arms as she peered at him.

“That’s unfair, Nagi… the truth is.”

Hayate scratched his head and smiled sheepishly.

“This is embarrassing for me to you know. After all I…”


Nagi blinked twice… expecting to finally hear the words that she had wanted him to say to her since forever.

“I missed you.”

Nagi breathed a sigh… out of relief and partially out of disappointment. After all, she had been expecting something more. Still, she reminded herself inwardly that she was different now. Nagi 360 Plus One Elite! 16 year old Nagi! A super, pretty, miss-perfect capable of anything!

“I… missed you too, Hayate. Terribly so.”

Hayate grinned. He bowed a little bit so that his bangs would cover his eyes.



“It’s not like I really missed seeing you. I meant more like I missed being able to talk to you like this… then again, I think this is the first time that we’ve ever been able to talk to each other like this… so I missed…umm... ugh!”

Hayate slapped his face with both hands. The truth is that he wasn’t being totally honest with his words. Not to the girl in front of him nor to himself. Inwardly, he steeled his resolve. He had to say it straight or he might miss this opportunity forever and he would definitely not have that.

“Umm… Hayate? You’re making all kinds of funny faces. I didn’t even know you could distort your pretty, girly face like that.” Nagi giggled.



“Oh… that’s right… I keep forgetting. Anyway, Nagi!”


“It’s… It’s not that I missed you. I mean, how could I miss you? I know you like to hang out at Café Donguri after work. I know you work a part-time job as a Christmas Santa selling cakes at the mall. I also know that you converted the Violet Mansion into a multi-level apartment… and that you have become very good at Lacrosse and… and…”

Nagi’s eyes narrowed into slits.


She reached into the pocket of her coat.

“W-wait! Don’t call the police on me, Nagi! I promise I have a very reasonable explanation for everything.”

“Go on… I’m listening.” Of course Nagi’s hand was still in her coat pocket.

“On that night… when you let me go. When you told me to find my own happiness. I wanted to tell you that I didn’t want to leave your side.”

Nagi slowly retracted her hand from her coat pocket with a skeptical look on her face.

“So I didn’t. I kept an eye on you and watched you become the girl… no, the capable young woman that you are now with my own two eyes. I watched you become everything that you declared that you would be and more… Nagi. At times, I had to hold myself back because every time I saw you struggling, every time I saw you in tears, I wanted to come right out and protect you...”

“But I didn’t need your protection anymore…”

“That’s right… you didn't...” The forlorn look on Hayate’s face slowly broke into a smile.

But Nagi was looking beyond that smile. She gazed deep into his crystalline blue eyes. So, so sad; a lost child’s eyes longing for attention, a totally different shade, but so much like her own – because even though their circumstances were different, both understood the pain of loneliness -- the pain of not being needed.

Hayate met her gaze with his own and finally, at that moment, they both understood that the timing was perfect.

“I love you.”

They said it almost but not quite at the same time. It was just a few milliseconds off, perhaps Nagi had said it faster, or perhaps this time, it was Hayate… but the deed had finally been done. The words that would seal the once-broken bond between them had finally been said.

There is no guarantee that this bond will not once again be broken, but one thing is for certain, it can definitely be repaired. Such is the true nature of this bond called "love."

… and of course, the rest is up to your imagination. I trust you have plenty.

See you next week!

Fanart Corner
Well... today's Hayate Reflections was kinda different, but I really felt inspired to do this little scenario, even several other people have actually written their own versions of the ending talk between them. Anyway, this is one of many hypothetical scenarios and to tell you the truth, I'm really glad that the ending -- while leaving things clear enough for any intelligent person to discern, isn't blatant enough in its execution that there's no room for imagination. Hata is a classy writer.

Anyway, this week's fanart features a 16 year-old Nagi meeting a 16 year-old Hayate. Truth be told, that's a scenario that I feel like writing for in a future installment of Hayate Reflections... but we'll see.

Jut how did this happen? Let's just say that it was the "Magic of Love."