Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hayate Reflections: How To Handle Someone Like Nagi

Spoiled, selfish, jealous, clingy, annoying, useless... these are just some of the many negative adjectives which Nagi has been described as in the series -- and undeniably, they are/were true to some extent.

So this week, someone asked me the question: If you had a girlfriend like Nagi, how would you handle her?

Fortunately, the answer is pretty short and straightforward: Quite easily.

This is because while Nagi has several negative characteristics, she is actually rather easy to handle as a person. All you really need to do is to reassure her that you do indeed love her and simply put, don't give her a reason to be insecure about your feelings for her. Yes, she can be jealous, clingy, possessive, and everything in-between, but I don't really count these as points against her. It just really goes to show much she values the person she loves -- and it's not like her feelings remain static throughout the series. This is something that is oft-ignored when people do an analysis of Nagi's personality. They tend to view her as a static character who can only be judged through her outward, tsundere traits.

Nagi goes on several jealous streaks throughout the series regarding Hayate and his easily misunderstood encounters with the other girls -- but in most of these cases, her jealousy is actually justified. You have to look at things from her perspective. In her belief, Hayate is her boyfriend and is madly in love with her -- therefore, what business does he have casually flirting with other girls -- or at least doing things that could be easily misunderstood as flirting when interacting with cute girls in general?

And yet, (as I've mentioned several times before) Nagi gradually grows out of her extremely jealous, clingy, possessive, tsundere self eventually. Her love for Hayate matures beautifully as the manga progresses and she passes the ultimate test at 14 years old when after showing several moments of weakness and the even regressing to her needy, clingy side, she overcomes her selfishness and finally makes the ultimate sacrifice -- which ironically also causes Hayate to finally realize his own love for he: she lets him go as her butler and as her prospective lover so that she can grow and become her own person.


In any case, Hayate was really largely to blame for a lot of Nagi's insecurities and her jealous and sometimes violent streaks (though not so often). We could justify that he's very dense so he never knew, but don't pin the blame on Nagi for that (that's victim blaming). As Nagi would say, "I'm not the one who started all this. He did."

Therefore, if I had a girlfriend like Nagi -- I would cherish her and never really give her a reason to be jealous. If she does get jealous and gets angry with me for some petty reason, then I would do my best to reassure her of my love for her. In short, I wouldn't be the oblivious guy causing all the misunderstandings in the first place.


Certainly, I'm not sure if it would work out, but at the very least, I believe in keeping the girl I love happy. Isn't that what really counts?

Anyway, this week's Hayate reflections was kinda different, so thanks to Mao for the idea. See you next week for sure~

Fanart Corner

For today's fanart corner, we have a painting signed in blood. It's the good old (new?) kabedon meme.

As for signing it in blood -- it's a pretty funny story, really. I'd just finished this painting and then I was getting ready to frame it up. I had to cut off some of the edges to make it fit the frame and I accidentally sliced my thumb open with a box cutter.

As I was nursing my wound, my mother suddenly said, "sign it with your blood."

So I was like, "GREAT IDEA!"

So I took out a 00 brush and signed this thing with my blood. With that said, I'm pretty happy with how this image turned out with or without the blood signature.

This is watercolors on paper for those who are curious.

Just in case you thought I was lying about using my own blood to paint.




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Humor In Hayate No Gotoku!

Time for this week's Hayate Reflections... so yeah, I'm not exactly in the best condition today as I've been sick for the last two days and I'm just recovering.

Anyway, choosing a topic off the top of my head and right now, I'd like to talk a bit about the comedy in Hayate no Gotoku!

While I'm sure many people have fond memories of the comedy aspect of the show -- especially from the many references in S1, people who dropped the manga 300 or so chapters before the finale might have a hard time getting into it again because the focus of the series just changed so much.

Furthermore, even the side characters that both Hayate and Nagi used to hang out with are not really as involved in the weekly stories anymore. I say the weekly stories here because characters like Isumi and Sakuya as well as Nagi's grandfather Mikado still do play major roles in the ongoing plot, but they do not feature as prominently in the weekly stories that mostly revolve around Nagi's daily life.

With that said, I actually stopped finding the series funny quite a long time ago and was in it mainly just to see what happens to Nagi -- yes, I'm that single-minded and I'm glad it worked out for me.

There are several kinds of humor used throughout the 568 chapter lifespan of the manga and some of them featured more prominently during certain stages of the development of the series. Now don't expect me to make accurate references while I'm sick... you can help me out, though. I'm pretty sure these are present somewhere in the manga, I just can't pinpoint specific chapter numbers.

Cruel Humor
This was of course present throughout the entirety of the manga, but I think it was a lot more pronounced during the earlier parts. We have the very first chapter wherein Hayate is run over by a car and while seemingly on the verge of death, he still makes like a zombie and asks the kidnappers to free Nagi.

Of course, Hayate isn't the only recipient of violence. There's also Kotetsu whom Hayate is quite happy to inflict all kinds of pain on. Even Sakuya is drop-kicked by Nagi in her very first appearance in the manga.

There's also almost forgotten characters like Robot 8 who is almost always destined to end up as a pile of junk whenever he encounters Hayate -- until one day when he didn't and Hayate needed Ikusa to rescue him.

Sometimes the dark nature of the humor in the series is actually a prelude to a more serious backstory. A good example would be Hayate's parents who are often played out for laughs or Hayate's own miserable situation -- especially at the start of the series. The situation is exaggeratedly so cruel and unfair that it's actually kinda funny -- but of course, when Hata does decide to take things seriously, suddenly, all those jokes seem so much more meaningful.

Crossdressing Humor
While mentioning Ikusa, this brings up another aspect of the humor used in Hayate the Combat Butler, which is the crossdressing aspect. Ikusa himself cross-dresses as a beautiful girl -- which is kind of hard to swallow considering his very muscular physique -- but whatever.

Hayate has a very girly face, which is I think one of his most defining aspects as a character. When my sister once said that Hayate doesn't really qualify as a bishounen, I responded with: of course not, he's obviously a bishoujo.

In fact, he even has his own Hermoine Ayasaki figure, which also comes in nendoroid form. Nagi herself enjoys teasing Hayate and cross dressing him (together with Maria) in both canon and non-canon.


Perhaps at some point, these two actually broke Hayate because he starts cross-dressing by himself in the mangaka arc in order to spy on Nagi and make sure she's all right.

Fanservice Humor
When it comes to fanservice, it has to be Hinagiku. I mean, you can probably count more on doughnut gunso to point out specific chapters on this than me. There were also times when Nagi, Ayumu, Athena and some of the other girls were the target of Hata's lewd humor, but somehow, I think Hinagiku and Maria were often exploited for fanservice much more than the other girls.

Off the top off my head, there's Maria and the first bath scene with Hayate as well as the naked in the greenhouse scene -- which even got an anime version. As for Hina, Hayate himself even realizes this when he says that there's a good chance that whenever he walks into the student council room, he'll find Hina changing. The most memorable moment for me would be the scene where Hina is trying to change into her pajamas while sick and Hayate comes in to help her out because that was almost to love ru level fanservice right there.

With that said, while there are those scattered moments here and there, I would say that Hata treats his female characters with a lot more respect than most modern mangaka -- at least.

Self-Referential Humor



Hata isn't beyond making fun of himself and this is usually done through Nagi and Hayate in the extra omakes included in the manga volumes. Also, some of these make their way into the official manga chapters as well -- especially when Nagi just decides to break the 4th wall from out of nowhere. Personally, I find this type of humor to be the easiest to relate to.  Some of them are pretty direct such as talking about the time he got sued or referencing ad astra per aspera. While others are more subtle, such as Nagi talking about what it means to be an otaku.

Ending With A Gag
This is the infamous "this is the type of manga you are reading" aspect of the series. Personally, I really hate it when Hata goes this route, but it had become so predictable  near the end of the series that it's actually a refreshing break when the gag doesn't come. Like how Hayate's debt was actually permanently paid off, which shows that the status quo was really beginning to change in the series (at last.)

Fumi and Sharna
These two deserve a category all on their own because seriously, they have nothing to do with the main cast except the very faint connection that they go to the main school. They could star in a 4koma manga all by themselves and no one would notice. Personally, I'm fine with their presence as they can be used to effectively break up the serious story arcs every now and then -- but other readers might not be so tolerant.

Conclusion
While the gags and humor in Hayate were fun for a while, they were not what really hooked me on the series. Or rather, I was hooked on the series initially because of the gags, but I stayed because I liked the character (Nagi). If you were in the series for the laughs, then you would probably find the display of humor inconsistent as Hata's style has definitely changed a lot throughout the manga's run. As I've mentioned before, there are many flaws with the way the story was written and the use of humor could definitely have been done better.

Fanart Corner: Today, I'm corrupting an old classic with my take on it. This was rendered using watercolors on canvas. With that said, I broke my fine tipped brush, so I had to make do with a slightly bigger one on an 8" x 10" canvas since I haven't bought a replacement yet. I couldn't make the lines a bit finer, is what I'm saying. With that aside, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Also, the new watercolor set I'm using is semi moist and takes a long time to dry unless you really press the paint firmly into the canvas -- didn't expect that, but that's part of the fun in painting... the impromptu stuff where you improvise because the paint didn't behave the way you expected it to.


I actually did sketch a full face on Hayate, but I realized I couldn't paint it properly without my fine-tipped brush. You'll have to do with that vaguely happy expression now, Hayate-kun... ain't it sad?







Sunday, September 10, 2017

Getting Back To EVN Development

As you all know, or don't know. I've started writing VNs again recently. Anyway, just a few teaser images for upcoming projects for now. The new VN is not being written by me, by the way.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Conflating Love and Lust

One of the most prevalent arguments against the Hayate x Nagi ship is that Hayate has never shown any "romantic attraction" towards Nagi.

Unlike almost every other girl in his harem, Hayate has never seen Nagi as someone that, to put it crudely, he might want to have sex with.

Now you might think that this is a pretty crazy argument, but I can assure you that there are people out there who have explicitly mentioned this as one of the most compelling reasons why Hayate should not have ended up with Nagi. Because Hayate has not shown any sexual attraction towards Nagi (read as "romantic love"), it is therefore very "forced" that he should suddenly fall in love with her at the end of the series.

Apparently, wanting to have sex with someone is the only way one can truly fall in love with someone in a romantic sense. Well, it is true that sexual attraction has some degree of importance -- but I don't believe we should close our doors to the idea that someone can fall in love in a romantic sense with another person and without ever getting sexual about it. While I am not an asexual individual, I think we're placing a bit too much importance on sex in a fictional story in a manga that makes no pretense about being realistic. Yes, Hayate no Gotoku has some relatable characters with some degree of realism, but to claim that their relationships are realistic rather than idealized would be pretty bold indeed.


It would seem that you're conflating love and lust quite a bit if you think this way.

Personally, I have no qualms about admitting that I am in love with Nagi and yes, that includes being sexually attracted to her -- but that is not what initially made me like her. Consider this saying:

"You fall in love with the little things about

someone, like the sound of their laughter
and the way their smile forms."

So yes, it's the little things that really made me fall for her. Those little personality quirks she has, the way she talks in a high and mighty manner, her cute little ways, that domineering attitude, her sincerity and kindness, and yes, even the way she smiles.

Now, look back on the manga and take a good look at Hayate's eyes whenever he's looking at Nagi's smile or remembering something about Nagi. His eyes look almost the same every time -- and it is exactly the way he was looking at her back in the penultimate chapter of the manga as well.

Suffice it to say, if Hata says he meant for Hayate to fall in love with Nagi eventually, then perhaps he really did leave those little clues behind in the manga for us observant readers to find.

Of course, if you're not that observant, then you need the crutch of explicit, direct storytelling and  lines like "At that moment, Hayate Ayasaki had fallen in love with Nagi" or something to that effect, right?

Well, not that it matters. We Nagi shippers were never looking for that type of narrative in the first place. There was always something special about the bond between Hayate and Nagi since day one and it's really gratifying to know that it was indeed love all along.


Fanart Corner: One piece of digital art and a traditional pencil sketch for today. Enjoy and see you next week!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales: ZineZoned Review




It would be rather dishonest of me to say that I bought this zine during ZineZoned, so I won't.

What really happened is that my mother bought the Zine and the glossy cover attracted me, so I decided to give it a read. While by their nature, zines are naturally thin, this one was at least ripe with enough content to justify its publication.

In fact, I can honestly say that it is a lot more attractive than my zine. Fortunately, there is no need for me to draw comparisons between myself and the author of this booklet, because as I've discovered, we write in very different, contrasting genres.

General Impressions

I read every piece in the Zine except for Sirena -- for the simple reason that it was the only story written in Tagalog and reading such a story would be more of a chore than a leisurely endeavor for me.

Anyway, from my readings of the pieces including in this particular publication, I got the impression that the author has a very Lovecraftian style of writing. The narrative style actually changes a bit with each story, but the elements of her stories always have this eerie, otherworldly feel to them.


In short, this book has some very atmospheric stories. While I will never really want to write these types of stories, I can definitely appreciate them.

Here are the two that really stuck in my head, along with some mild critique.

Pleiades Upon The Stones

This is the titular story and it definitely has that epic feel to it. It follows the journey of one Asper as he discovers a forbidden city of legend and is invited to the other world by a majestic woman seated upon a glass throne.

While the tale seems to be one of wish fulfillment and traveling to another world -- there is a dark twist at the end.

The piece was very well written over-all and I really have no complaints about the writer's facility of the English language. In fact, I'm pretty sure that even native speakers would not be able to tell the difference.

With that out of the way, I had the impression that everything around the story was built towards making that final reveal at the end (which I will not spoil, of course.) -- and it was fine, because it takes a little bit of time for the meaning of the final paragraph to actually set in. While the storytelling is seemingly straightforward, it does hide some clever symbolism in-between.

Also, the allusion to the eye of providence should serve as enough warning to the reader that this was not an ordinary fairy tale story.

It gave me this feeling of emptiness at the end -- like a glimpse of what one might feel from reading an Anne Rice novel or an Alan Moore comic (call them "graphic novels" if you want to be pedantic about it.)

Needless to say, it was an enjoyable read.

My one complaint: I felt that Asper's final decision could have been foreshadowed more throughout the piece by revealing bits and pieces about his personality. This is a very minor complaint, though.


Shoreline

If you have ever seen any of those modern Japanese horror stories that they sometimes show on TV, then you'll know what to expect with Shoreline.

This story is told through the eyes of Emily, who has some kind of connection with her cousin, Elias. As a character, Emily's main concern in her narrations would be her relationship with her cousin Elias.

This particular tale makes no pretense at the very start. It begins inside a drinking establishment where the main character is getting drunk with her female friends with her cousin Elias (who was not yet aware of her presence) who was engaging in obscene, drunken talk with his male buddies. There is tension in their initial encounter because of this type of setting.

Yet, even though Emily often tells the reader how she would like to be rid of Elias, it is pretty obvious that she does not really hate him.

Of course, the story then takes another turn for the strange when the supernatural elements are introduced. Personally, these moments were the best parts of the story because it broke up the monotony of the false expectation that this would be some nearly incestuous love story between kissing cousins -- fortunately, Shoreline is not that type of story -- and prospective readers would do well not to underestimate the author by presuming as much until they've read the piece in its entirety.

I would say that this story was my personal favorite in the zine -- although again, it is definitely not the type of story that I would write myself.

Conclusion

It is not my nature to give a numerical rating as that doesn't say anything about how you actually felt about the piece.

Therefore, I will conclude by saying that Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales is well-recommended if you like seemingly everyday stories with a dark, Filipino lower mythology twist.

The author's blog can be found here: http://malditanglibrarian.blogspot.com 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ZineZoned3: Iloilo ZineFest 2017



"There are two kinds of writers. The people who write, and the people who only write about writing."

Ponder this statement as you read this blog post.

Last August 26-27, I participated in a local comiket-like event called ZineZoned: Iloilo ZineFest. 

As far as I know, the main focus of the event is to empower writers of all levels to write by providing them with a venue to self-publish and showcase their short literary works in small books/booklets called zines. Published authors from Iloilo City may also sell their actual books.

The environment is pretty much like comiket really, because you can sell just about any creative work that you want to in your booth including framed artworks and art prints, and even software -- which is what I did.

Initial Hitches

On day one, there were several hitches which almost made me quit.

First of all, here are the guidelines for the event.

So I think it's pretty clear here that the booth space should be 2x2 meters and that a 2x7 ft. table would be provided. Anyway, upon arrival, I discovered that the table was actually two 1x2 tables put together, or a total space of 2x4 meters, now this was mostly fine, but here's the clincher: the booth space would have to be shared by 4 participants. That means we'd be crammed into a 2x4 booth space. So that leaves just one meter lengthwise of space for a single participant. Well... the problem is that I brought a lot of stuff to display. Fortunately, we brought my own table to the event -- which was allowed.

This wasn't the only problem, however.
You see, I had planned to sell an installer disc with 8 of my visual novels included. I burned 20 mini-discs for this purpose selling them for a hundred pesos each ($2.00) along with my zine (which contains some of my very short stories ) for 50 pesos each ($1.00). 

In order to show prospective buyers what my visual novels were all about, I set up my laptop with a desktop launcher that would allow them to browse and try out my VNs before they buy. Also, as a bonus for buying either the Zine or the Installer disc, I offered a free installation on android phones (via sideload or email) of my visual novel on Google Play: "A Million Promises."

So I paid for two days of electricity, but then there were problems because there was no power outlet near my booth. It took about an hour for the managers of the event to provide for electricity and by then, my laptop (which is old) had almost run out of power.

Although the problem was eventually resolved, I had to buy my own extension cord from the hardware store in the mall so that the mall's engineers could use it to extend their line to my laptop.

Now I'm not sure... maybe this is what happens when you deal with "real people," because someone apparently has this notion that because I write in fantasy that I don't deal with "real people," but I hope you'll forgive my delusions if I think that the way this situation was handled gave me the impression that these were real unprofessional "real people."

At this point, I was just about ready to give up and leave the event but then... someone came along and browsed my zine. I told her about the phone app offer and showed her what A Million Promises looks like via my laptop -- and I got my first sale. Oh, and I also offered a free quick sketch with each sale.



Anyway, my first customer was someone nicknamed Pirin and she asked me to draw her original character from her webcomic. I distinctly remember that she said it was Athena and she looked a bit like Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate except with grey eyes and hoplite's helmet. I got asked to draw quite a few things along the way, such as Ponyo from some Studio Ghibli anime and Louise from Zero no Tsukaima.

After my first sale, I decided that this event wouldn't be so bad after all... and actually, I'm glad I stuck it out. Over-all, I sold 16/18 CDs and 16/20 Zines and several art prints. Not a sell-out, but considering that the buyers were mostly total strangers, I was very happy with my products' performances.

Special Moments

There were quite a few memorable moments that I experienced during this event. Here are some of them:

1. Nagi Doll, The Poem, and The Actresss

First of all, I brought Nagi doll along and some kid couldn't resist clawing at her. As a result, I wrote this little poem.



But that's not all. You see, I needed a reference for the clothing and pose for that drawing of Nagi with the poem. So I looked for the first pic of a cute girl that I could find -- and it happened to be this poster of a Korean model which was on the window of a BENCH clothing store right across my booth. So after the event, I had a little chat with my friend, Roop Banerjee and when I told her that the model's name was Park Shin Hye, she said that there's something that I should know because it's just too much of a coincidence... well, as it turns out, Park Shin Hye actually played Nagi in the live action Korean version of Hayate The Combat Butler -- I told you guys I love Nagi! Look at that CONNECTION! How did I even do that!? ... I am awesome :)

2. Someone likes my art!

One of the people browsing my booth on Day 1 was a member of the Iloilo Comic Con group. Anyway, he was super interested in this one painting of Nagi that I did. He told me to set a price because he wanted to buy it. The thing is, I'll never sell any of my manually painted Nagi artworks... ever! It's not that I think that highly of my art -- it's just that I will never forgive myself if I sell a painting that I worked so hard on and the subject of that painting was Nagi. I love her that much, you see.

So it turns out that one of the main reasons why he wanted that painting so much is because his birthday actually falls on the date that I completed the painting... wow!

Still, I ain't selling this one! An art print is fine, but there's no way I'm parting with the original.



3. Straight From The Heart

On day 2, just as I was preparing to leave because I'd just about sold out and I was a bit tired, there was an unexpected little guest. It was a little girl that I'd pegged to be about 7-8 years old who was together with her grandparent. At first, I thought that she was too young for any of my stories, but I showed her Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart on my laptop.

Her grandmother said that she was actually 10 years old and I was like, "Oh, that's fine then. She might enjoy this story."

Anyway, she started reading most of chapter 1 of the story and I saw her eyes light up and I also saw her give a little smile and a slight giggle every now and then. She said she really liked the story, so her grandmother bought the zine and I installed the app on her phone. I made it clear that this VN was still a demo version, but that I'd definitely send the full version for free once it was completed. Of course, I've finally made good on that promise. Anyway, here is a message from my little fan on facebook.


From the bottom of my heart, even if I had received just a single comment like this one for the entire event -- it would have been all worth it.


The Negatives

1. Prejudice

Of course, not everything about the event itself was good. For one, there was definitely a whole lot of prejudice regarding my works -- especially from older individuals. There were a few friends of my mother's who stopped by the booth. Many of them responded to my works with "oh... anime..." without even actually browsing the zine or any of my visual novels on my laptop. It's as if the cover and in-story illustrations being done in "anime style" just instantly flipped a switch in their brains that I dunno... my works are derivative, mediocre, lacking in depth? I'm not sure what they were thinking, but I am pretty sure the art itself just chased them away from my booth and in a hurry.

Seriously, and I'm sure one of those people was a high brow, literary figure in the local circles -- in short, a celebrated writer who might have won a Palanca award or two or whatever.

Well, although it is a bit frustrating, I suppose my works were never really meant for such prejudiced individuals in the first place -- so it's not such a bad thing after all.

I did make sure to point out this perceived prejudice when it was my time to speak up on stage though.

Seriously, I would think that award-winning writers and critics would be well beyond judging a book by its cover, but apparently not. I'm not generalizing here, but if I saw the same reaction 6/8 times, then I think I'm rather justified in feeling there must be some sort of consensus.

It's really sad that this prejudice exists within the local writer's circles, which by itself is already a niche kept alive by writers buying other writer's publications. Just because my art looks different from what people are used to, they've already established a preconceived concept in their heads about my depth as a writer. At least give my stories a chance to prove themselves, eh?

2. Noise

The event was noisy -- far too noisy to be conducive for interacting with prospective readers. Now I'm fine with a little mood music as well as the speeches by the guest lectureres and some live performances by some extremely skilled musicians/national artists -- however, what really annoyed me is that they hired some barker/emcee/host to remind everyone in the mall in a loud, booming voice about what the zinezoned event was all about like every 10 minutes. This, along with the blaring music in-between the barking made it almost impossible to communicate orally with the prospective buyers. I had to resort to showing them a document with my sales pitch contained inside just to tell them that they would be getting just more than a zine if they bought from me.

A Positive Experience Over-all

Of course, do not let my complaints mislead you. I am a person who will honestly complain and point out the negatives in something, but that doesn't mean I disliked the event. In fact, I would say that it was a great experience over-all because I got my stories out to a few people who genuinely bought my stuff based on what they saw at the event... this was really all I was after with this event and on this simple, selfish wish of mine, it has certainly delivered.



If you are interested in reading my story, Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart, do give it a download on Google Play. Click on the button to get to the download page. ($2.99). For more info on the app, click here.
Get it on Google Play

Friday, September 1, 2017

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart: The Visual Novel -- Android Version


The full version of my new kinetic novel, "Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart" should be up on Google Play anytime soon. I'll update this post once it's there.

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart follows the journey of little Samantha, a girl without a heart.

As a "heartless girl," Samantha is on a quest to find the seven pieces of a heart so that she may have her own. Samantha will meet many people from all walks of life in her journey and at the end of it all, she will discover just where the heart truly exists.

This is a children's story that is meant to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. You can read the text version of this story right here: http://www.jaded-perspectives.com/2017/07/samantha-and-pieces-of-heart-chapter-1.html 

If the story is to your liking, then please consider buying the visual novel version on Google Play.

Thank you very much and see you soon in a future stories to come!

Get it on Google Play

Also,  if a more traditional visual novel is more to your liking, please do consider buying "A Million Promises" on Google Play.

You can try the demo (full chapter 1 which works as a stand-alone story) of A Million Promises by clicking here



Thursday, August 31, 2017

8/31 - Happy Birthday Hatsune Miku!

Happy Birthday, Miku-chan! Here's a quick scribble that I drew for this special day.

Miku has touched my life in many ways. Her songs gave me hope during the times when I'd lost faith in humanity and in myself as well. Her voice may sound awkward, shrill, and perhaps even annoying, but I love it just the same.

Thank you for all the songs over the last 10 years, Miku and all the amazing vocaloid producers out there. May the vocaloid phenomenon last forever~!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hayate Reflections: My Second Favorite Character In The Series Is...


This week, I thought I'd talk a bit about the character I like most in this series next to Nagi... and that would actually be... Ruka Suirenji.

Now I'm sure it might strike you as a little bit odd that I'd choose one of Nagi's biggest rivals for Hayate's affection as my second favorite character (a far second to Nagi, mind you), but it actually makes sense.

Nagi's One True Rival


I've always seen Ruka as Nagi's eternal rival. Not just in love, but also as a mangaka. After all, Ruka was basically Nagi's antagonist during the entire comisun arc. She was always one step ahead of Nagi and as a mangaka was better -- but only by a marginal amount when compared to Nagi.

She is also an older, slightly more capable girl than Nagi as a manga artist and as well as in relationships and maturity. Yet, when you look at her personality quirks -- she is actually not that far off from Nagi.

Similarities To Nagi

Despite sharing a similar past with Hayate, Ruka is actually a lot closer to Nagi in terms of personality.

For one, she is extremely selfish. In fact, Hata makes it a point to show off just how selfish she can be by devoting an entire chapter just to prove it.

Secondly, she is an otaku. Her fantasies about Hayate often involve Gundams and reference to other classic anime pretty much like the type that Nagi is into.


Finally, she has that quirky, playful nature and knows just how to tease Hayate -- something that Nagi herself has shown in one or two occasions.

I Don't Blame Her
In chapter 413, Nagi catches Hayate promising to make Ruka happy just as she (Nagi) has completed the new manuscript that she's so proud of. To make things worse, Hayate then asks Nagi to allow him to be with Ruka for a while in the next chapter.

For me, this was something that Hayate had to make up for to Nagi if they finally did get together in the end. I will say that the butler gets a passing grade from me just for coming back to Nagi in the finale and just because Nagi is magnanimous enough to forgive and move on.

In any case, while I felt really bad for Nagi after the events of chapters 413-414, I didn't blame Ruka one bit -- even if she was also attempting to seduce Hayate at that point. In my honest opinion, the fact that Nagi was hurt so much in ways she never deserved is really all on Hayate.

Now on this point, I'm pretty sure Hata-sensei agrees with me given the way Hayate was punishing a wooden dummy with his name on it so much as "one of the enemies who hurt his ojou-sama." That was some very powerful symbolism that Hata was using there in Hayate's dream world. Unfortunately, the active manga readers at that time were so high-brow, literary, and deep that they felt it was just a cheap trick.


She Is Well-Developed
As a character, Ruka is actually very well-developed. We see the dynamic change in her throughout the series. She also exemplifies how we cannot always trust what the characters are saying explicitly and that you have to take all the available evidence -- even the circumstantial ones into account before you can formulate a plausible theory in this series.

Remember that Ruka once declared how much she hated her idol job and she even demonized her manager Atsumari-san when talking about her with Hayate.

Almost everyone thought that this was canon and that these were Ruka's true feelings -- except me and a few others. Well, as it turned out, when it came time to say goodbye to her idol career, Ruka couldn't do it.

She even deliberately allows Nagi to win/tie with her in their final mangaka showdown by withholding one copy of her own manga.

Now she might not have said it explicitly, but this clearly implies that Ruka was lying about really wanting to marry Hayate because of love and because she hates her idol career. How is this a lie? Kayura says it directly to her as a review to her manuscript -- "stop drawing lies."

A Positive Influence
Of all the people that Nagi could idolize, Ruka was a very good role model to follow. Not quite as super capable at everything as Hina, but not a complete dimbulb like Izumi, or a marshmallow of a pushover like Ayumu, Ruka is actually the real "normal girl" in the series even though she is a superstar Japanese idol.

She was a very positive influence on Nagi because she shows what you can achieve if you work for your dreams -- but that sometimes there are things beyond your reach as well -- even if you do work/wish hard for something.

Unlike another rival character, Ruka doesn't magically become the best/win at everything with the power of "hard work."


At the end of the series, the 16 year old Nagi may have been described as the new "perfect girl," but to me, it just seems like she'd become a little bit more capable just as Ruka was at that age. You might say, I found a glimpse of the future Nagi in Ruka's character -- and perhaps this is also why Hayate had such a soft spot for her. How can you hate a girl who is so similar to the one you actually harbor feelings for after all?

Fanart Corner: I have quite a few pieces to show today. All of them are manually done because I've been doing quite a marathon in getting the VN version of Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart done. I think I can actually finish making the entire visual novel by this weekend -- if I have enough free time that is.






Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hayate Reflections: My Personal Connection With Nagi

Nagi Sanzen'in is without a doubt my favorite character in the series. Also, it's not just because I have a thing for her, which is pretty obvious by now.

One of the primary reasons why I like Nagi so much as a character is because I find it very easy to empathize with her plight. In a way, Nagi's victory in terms of her character development and the fact that her ship did win eventually (stop with the denial. You've lost. Get over it.), was also my own.

Of course, you might think that she was a pretty absurd character from the start and you might find someone more "ordinary" such as Hinagiku or Ayumu to be more relatable -- well, perhaps that is true for you. For me however, it has always been Nagi and of course, the reasons are very personal.

I Was A Very Sheltered Kid
Just like Nagi, I lived a very sheltered life thanks to my extremely overprotective mother and my authoritarian father. I wasn't allowed to ride in public transport until I was in High School. I never had friends around my neighborhood because I wasn't allowed to step outside of the gate and the walls of our estate unless one of our maids came along to supervise me.

Speaking of maids, we always had 2-3 of them around the house when my father was still alive.

Of course, this all changed when my father died sometime when I was still a high schooler.

Still, I experienced many of the unfair biases that Nagi herself went through in the manga.

For example, I always feel that people are unfairly mean to Nagi  -- including Hayate and Maria when they make fun of her ineptitude. Really, the main reason for this is because she was never taught how to do anything by herself.

I was pretty much the same way. Everything was done for me, so I never learned how to do anything for myself until the death of my father. As a result, my classmates would often make fun of me for being helpless with ordinary household chores such as sweeping the floor, washing dishes, doing the laundry, or cooking.

At the end of the manga, Hata makes it a point to show that Nagi is pretty much capable of doing all of these things on her own -- it was a moment of victory for the both of us. It shows that when properly motivated, even someone who was infinitely spoiled to a fault can become a very capable individual.

Being An Otaku
Certainly, a whole lot of us in the anime/manga community are probably more or less around Nagi's level when it comes to being nerdy, but this is not the reason why I can relate with Nagi's experiences.

For me, it's because becoming an otaku was actually Nagi's escape. Being targeted by kidnappers her entire life, she was basically forced into staying at home where she could be protected most of the time. As a result, she found her own ways of entertaining herself -- and this was through anime, manga, and video games.

In the same way,I wasn't even allowed to invite any friends over to my house or to visit a friend's house until I was 14-15. Therefore, my main source of entertainment was video games -- specifically rpgs. I lived many great adventures and became friends with so man memorable characters through jrpgs. They also helped me to form my rather idealistic and yet also realistic world views. Any free time I had was often devoted to playing games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Star Ocean 2, Final Fantasy VII, Grandia, Wild Arms 2nd Ignition and other similar jrpgs from the SNES and PS1 era.

I may have grown up mostly alone (my sister is 4.5 years older than me. It was an age gap that grew closer over time, but as a kid, I was pretty much on my own.) but I was never lonely thanks to jrpgs. I lived so many lifetimes and visited so many epic worlds, and villages thanks to these games. Remember, this was a time when the internet was still on 28.8k dial-up and not very reliable. Downloading game demos to play offline later was pretty much the epitome of entertainment on PC for me.

This is why I can understand Nagi's endless devotion to her otaku hobbies -- even after she had found some new friends in the Violet Mansion.


Believing Oneself To Be Special

Before I met several failures in my life, I had always believed myself to be someone special and someone who was meant for great things. In Nagi and her absurd dream of becoming a trillion selling mangaka -- which she wholeheartedly believed she could be at one point, I really saw myself. I felt so bad for her when her dream was shattered before her eyes. It was a real eye opener, a reality check that she was not really all that special after all. It was a painful experience for her, but it also justifies her rapid growth. Personally, I can relate to this because I have been through many similar experiences in my time.

Growing Up Beautifully

My personal experiences have given me a rather jaded perspective of the world and a twisted imagination that allows me to write some very unique brand of stories. However, Nagi grew up differently. Thanks to her own unique experiences throughout the story, she grew up beautifully and really became a girl worth loving and certainly worthy of being the recipient of Hayate's love for her at the end of the series.

Seeing her as beautiful as she became was an epic moral victory for me in ways that probably only a few of you can only imagine.

In my sincerest words, her victory made me truly happy. Now tell me, how can I not love the girl who makes me happy?

Anyway, I got a bit sentimental this week, but I'll be back on track and do some actual reflections next week... I enjoyed writing this post though.

Fanart Corner

I haven't actually started watching Maid Dragon but I plan to do so if only because Tooru looks a whole lot like Nagi with big boobs. Anyway, I have seen some clips on youtube and I liked what I saw. Here's Nagi cosplaying as Tooru for this week.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Android Visual Novels by me: A Million Promises, One Week of Eternity, Samantha and the Pieces of A Heart

I have recently returned to making visual novels thanks to a lot of motivation from a new friend I made from the Hayate fandom. It's amazing how much inspiration just having one person who truly appreciates your works can give you.

A Million Promises

This is a fulll-length visual novel soon to be available on Google Play (uploading at the time of this post). There will be a demo as well as a paid version (for a minimum fee) of this visual novel.

A Million Promises is the story of

 Takeru Harukaze, a young man diagnosed with a brain tumor, but this is not a story about death. It is a story about having fun at school, falling in love, hanging out with friends, trust, betrayal, and so much more. 

The demo version is worth about 20-30 minutes of light reading and works as a stand-alone story by itself. The graphics were originally made for a 4:3 resolution screen so it does not take up the entire screen of an android phone/tablet.

The full version should be worth at least 3-6 hours of reading depending on how fast you  can read. Do try the demo version out first to see if the story is to your liking.

Game demo on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ampdemo.amp

One Week Of Eternity

One week of eternity is the story of an 11 year-old girl named Alyssa Cruz who was given just one week to live due to a terminal illness. However, she meets a kind witch who offers to do something special for her. This is a story about courage in the face of adversity and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Do give it a read. It's free on Google Play. 


There are two different endings to this game depending on the final choice that you make. Either ending is fine, but I do have a canon ending in mind -- which one that is, I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Google Play Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rdtwok.owoe&hl=en

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart
You might have read this original fiction story of mine before. It's a children's story that's meant to be read by people of all ages as well. Well, a friend urged me to turn it into a visual novel, so I'm working on that right now. Currently, I have two of seven chapters done. I'll upload a demo of the app to Google Play in the next few days along with an edit/update to this blog post. Here are some initial screenshots:





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Taking A Short Break This Week

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

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Plot Development In Hayate The Combat Butler

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

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

The First Half

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Title: Their Special Place
Medium: Oil Pastels on Canvas


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



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hayate Reflections: A Fictional Love Affair

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

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

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

On Otaku Culture

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




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

Love Blooms From The Most Unexpected of Non-Encounters

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

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

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

My Nagi Sanzen’in Figure Collection

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

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

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

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

The 365 Project

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

My page for the project can be found at http://365nagi.tumblr.com

The Triumph Of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



chibi nagi tan~

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