Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Just How Did Ikusa Strike The Right Pillar?

This week's Hayate reflections is really a reply to Roop Banerjee's comment on last week's article about the good old RG.

So a bit of a recap, in chapter 263 of Hayate (which I never covered in this blog, btw), good old tiny A-tan says that in order to exit the Royal Garden, someone possessing a King's Jewel must come to rescue the person trapped inside (who opened the RG with a King's Jewel in the first place).

Then they gotta go to the Abraxas Pillars and while holding hands, slash the right pillar, which is only one out of 365 pillars. So like liddle A-tan didn't want liddle Hayate to try it and she never told him about these conditions coz she just knew that Hayate would suggest they try it. Anywayz, long story short, when Ikusa comes into the garden, he just casually rescues Athena by striking the right pillar. How did he do it? Why, there's a crying girl in front of him, how could he not do it!?

LOL HATA... brilliant explanation there, huh?

So How Did He Do It?

So like, that leaves a huge plothole, like we know that both Ikusa and Athena survived the trial and are happily outside the Royal Garden by the end of the series, albeit, Ikusa has apparently lost his memories -- which again was never expplained.

So really, how did Ikusa strike the right pillar out of 365 and given that he never had a previous bond of any kind with Athena in the first place, why was he willing to risk his life for such a fool's errand?

Well, I have a theory...

He Didn't...

Ikusa never struck the right pillar in the first place. He and Athena died when they tried it 10 years ago. The Ikusa and Athena we see at the end of the manga are actually doppelgangers taking their physical form but inhabited by one of the many lost spirits inside of the Royal Garden. Naturally, they also inherited the abilities of the originals. Because Athena spent such a long time inside the royal garden, the doppelganger who took her place also assimilated her memories. Of course, there was no time to do this completely for Ikusa, which is why he remembers very little about his family and his past.

Fortunately, whether they are the originals or not, the new inhabitants of the host bodies decided to live their lives as Ikusa and Athena. So in a way, they really are the same persons anyway -- even if they are just copies of the originals.

Also, cockamamie theories aside, It seems pretty clear to me that Hata was also side-shipping Ikusa x Athena. The reason that nothing really came out of it by the finale is because Hata didn't want to die just yet -- kthxbai see ya next week~

Fanart Corner


Got two for you today. Enjoy~
Remind me to take a better pic of this painting. Also, I might digitize this next week.

Hayate became happy with Nagi at the end of the series -- why, even Hata-sensei agrees~

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Time To Be Pedantic About The Royal Garden

Ok, let's talk about the Royal Garden this week. See, I've noticed a lot of fans of this series while it was still running really loved to employ double standards a lot and didn't even think twice about it.

Sure I'm guilty of that myself, but I am quite self-aware that I am doing it -- so that makes all the difference. Well, it probably doesn't, but I digress. Let's get back on track -- the Royal Garden.

So this week, I want to be a bit pedantic and list off some complaints/questions off the top off my head about the Royal Garden and how it functions.

Does It Have Magical Electricity?


Based on the what we have been shown about the Royal Garden, it is entirely possible that it does not have electricity. After all, we see here in this panel from chapter 181 of the manga that the mansion is basically powered by magic and as Athena says:


So that would explain how the place gets lighting, but there is a bit of a conflict here. Take a look at these panels from chapter 180.




Here is Athena's sacred bedchamber from chapter 180. The chandelier can be lighted with candles, so it's no big deal, but check out that huge electric lamp as well as the bedside lamp over there. To be honest, this place looks like a more ornate version of Nagi's room.

So yes, if it is a place where eternal flowers bloom, then does it have eternal electricity as well? Is there some eternal nuclear fusion generator buried somewhere in its unexplored depths?

Does It Have Plumbing?

Well, I'm pretty sure it does. If you consider this panel once again from chapter 180.

So yes, we have running water, folks. Homesteaders and preppers would be proud. I suppose given the magical nature of the mansion itself, it probably has eternally running water.  Therefore, bathing, washing dishes, washing clothes and I suppose potable drinking water are fine because the mansion itself most likely has a magical water purification system  -- or Athena can just do that herself with her vast magical powerz, but then, here's the thing: plumbing also means that it needs to have some form of human waste disposal -- so how does that work?

Given that the mansion itself exists in some plane of existence that is clearly different from our reality, then this means that it needs to have a self-contained waste disposal facility. Of course, if we assume that the space around the mansion within the reality of the royal garden is infinite, it wouldn't be too hard for whatever magical entities that created the mansion to provide it with an eternal sewage facility.

Of course, they could just be dumping their sewage off a cliff. That reminds me, how do mansions isolated from the rest of the world which seems to be pretty common in anime/manga deal with their waste material anyway?



How About Food?

This is an issue that was never really tackled during the run of the manga. In fact, we never even see Hayate or Athena eating while inside the Royal Garden.

Given that we have very little facts to rely on, there are quite a few assumptions that we can make.

1. Athena simply enters and reenters the portal at will and goes grocery shopping. Given that she is apparently super rich, that wouldn't be much of a problem.

2. Athena can use her magical powers to conjure food as well. Of course, magic generally consumes stamina in fiction (or mana points/magic points/mp) if this were an rpg. Using the rule of equivalent exchange, this means that Athena can only conjure up as much food as she has the energy to do. Of course, by consuming said conjured food, she can easily restore her stamina/mp and conjure more food. If she is wise (which she is based on her IQ level and lore, not on actual deeds) and stocks up on long-lasting food items, then that easily solves the food problem.

3. This is probably the most plausible. Athena mentioned that flowers bloom eternally in the Royal Garden. Given that it is known as a "Garden," there might be a royal food garden hidden somewhere inside of it as well where eternal fruits and vegetables grow. As long as you get enough molybdenum and other essential nutrients, a vegan diet can actually be pretty healthy.

4. The Royal Garden has an eternal refrigerator that has every food item you can imagine and it is magically restocked after every 24 hours.

5. The Royal Garden is magical. You don't get hungry in the Royal Garden. You can take in food and liquids as much as you want, but your body doesn't need it.

But Seriously, Eternal Electricity Is Such A Fun Idea
We don't really see any electronic items inside the mansion, but who is to say that it doesn't actually have eternal electricity as mentioned earlier? We could attribute the lack of electronic appliances to Athena's penchant for being traditional and old school After all, her character is written to be someone who is not that adept with technology -- although on the other hand, she did develop that hi-tech monitoring facility inside of Hakuo with Isumi -- so yeah...

So anyway, just think about it. You could power up six different monitors at once... oh wait, mai waifu Nagi already did that.

Anway, the point is that you can do something as awesome as that and never have to worry about the electric bill afterwards.
Does It Have Wifi?

Oh shi... Nagi (13 year-old version) would never be satisfied if she were trapped in the Royal Garden instead of Athena.

I mean, Athena and Isumi needed that special facility inside of Hakuo in order to monitor the inside of the Royal Garden. I doubt that normal wifi signals could reach that far considering that it seems to be an alternate reality.

None Of This Matters But...

Of course, these are all irrelevant details and it's really not worth even thinking about these when there are glaring plotholes and inconsistencies which are far more critical to the story than any of the stuff I've mentioned in this article.

Still, I think that it should serve as a warning to future writers that readers can actually get this pedantic, so you'd better be prepared to have an explanation for every nook and cranny of your made-up reality if you choose to go that route.

With that said, this is still one of my favorite stories ever with the girl/woman that I fell in love with now and forever. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Royal Garden and how it works, so tell me what you think in the comments.

So with that said, see you next week~

Fanart Corner:

Hayate's birthday is coming up, so I came up with this watercolor painting. It's actually two different paintings that I put together using digital editing software. I'll make a fully digital version of this by the 11th.

Check out Hayate's pendant.








Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hayate Reflections Halloween Edition - Dead Stars

Man, my titles are so click-baity nowadays. Anyway, as much as you might be tempted to think that "Dead Stars" refers to some gothic horror theme, it really doesn't.

Actually, today, I'd like to talk about a very old Philippine short story that was originally written in English called "Dead Stars" by Paz Marquez Benitez.

In this story, there's this guy named Alfredo, who is in his thirties. He has a long-standing fiance named Esperanza. Now society takes it for granted that he will eventually marry this Esperanza, but he feels that he is growing out of love recently. Now, once upon a family dinner party, he happened to meet this sister-in-law of a Judge named Julia Salas.

After a brief comedy of errors, he discovers that he had presumed that Julia was the sister of the judge and kept calling her by the Judge's surname of Miss del Valle.

When the judge confronts him about his error, he goes up to Julia to apologize and quite amused, she relates a similar experience she had with a Mr. Manalo whom she kept calling Manalang and the two form a sort of connection. There is all kinds of CHEMISTRY between them!


Anyway, they spend six weeks flirting with each other but nothing sexual and it culminates at the end of Holy Week with them saying a somewhat bittersweet goodbye to each other.

Flash forward eight years later and now Alfredo is married to Esperanza, but he happens to come back to the same place where he met Julia so many years ago. He sees her and of course, his heart starts beating fast... until they actually meet and then have a long, casual conversation together. 


Later on, contemplating on the moment, Alfredo realizes that he is not only quite satisfied with his marriage, but also by the calm order of his life in general. He no longer felt the same way for Julia Salas even though he had never forgotten her over the course of eight years. He likens his feelings of longing for her to the light of a dead star -- seemingly bright from afar, but actually dead when up close.

Well... isn't that familiar? Isn't it sad, A-tan?

Ok, that concludes this week's Hayate Reflections. Have a Happy Halloween and see you next week!

Fanart Corner

It would take I know... a Hata Kenjiro... and he would need the glow of dawn that paints the sky above. To try and paint a portrait of my love~

Hayate's birthday is coming up. This painting will form a part of his birthday art which I'm working on right now.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Betrayal and Expectations

Recently, I made this post in my facebook timeline:



As expected, quite a few people rushed in with likes -- despite probably already knowing the answer.

The reality is that I'm pretty sure most of the likers took my click-bait in the vain hope that perhaps I'd post a real-live person and declare that I might actually like a flesh and blood human being and not a 2D manga girl. Of course, my eventual answer wasn't anything unexpected:

Mai waifu is looking at you this way if you expected something else.

Still, despite all evidence to the contrary all over my timeline (and all over the internet for that matter), many people clicked the like button and set up the wrong expectations for themselves because maybe, just maybe, there's that sliver of a chance that I would go for the twist ending -- that instead of going down the clear, logical path of my actions based on previous foreshadowing events, I would actually do something different from the norm that I had established.

Which brings me to the point of this post: If you felt somewhat betrayed by the ending or that Hata had "trolled you" with all his "teasers," perhaps you need to re-read the manga and re-examine your personal biases inside your head. (There is no need for me to do this. Simply put: I WON! We won, Nagi shippers! :D)


Basically, did Hata really betray your expectations, or perhaps... were you not, to some degree, seeing something where there was actually nothing? The"bits and pieces" of hints towards the Hayate x Nagi ending finally came to fruition in the finale. Certainly, it could have been done better, but it wasn't without any foreshadowing, nor was there a lack of evidence -- Hata, just didn't provide the evidence that coincides with your bias inside your head of what romantic love SHOULD be.

Anyway, with that dead-beaten horse of a topic out of the way, here is this week's art post:

Fanart Corner

This week's art post was inspired by a Hatsune Miku song and comes with a poem. Definitely, our past selves should serve to remind us that we are much stronger than we often give ourselves credit for -- so whatever problems you may be facing in life, just remember that you've been through  worse before! Go,you! Also, see you next week!


I followed the very rounded eyes that Hata used on Nagi as the manga neared the finale. It's just so cute.
I think this goes against expectations too. You would think that the older and more mature version would be the one doing the consoling, but I made it different in this pic.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Golden Week Arc

While many people laud the Golden Week arc as the high point of the Hayate manga wherein things got serious and the plot really kicked in, I personally am not that big of a fan of this arc. In fact, the only reason that I liked it is because in my mind, even before the manga had ended, Hata had confirmed the HayaNagi ending with this arc and had heavily foreshadowed Nagi's turning out to be a capable, responsible individual someday.

Now whether Hata was actually thinking these things when he was actually drawing the arc is something we'll never know unless he's confirmed it somewhere -- which personally, I'm not that interested in finding out. Of course, given that things did turn out heavily in Nagi's favor in the end, I'd say my speculations are at least partially justified.

What's Wrong With Golden Week?
With that said, let's just get straight to what I believe is wrong with the Golden Week arc. No, it's not about having plot holes or that the drama was forced or that it was Athena's arc. After all, it ended in Nagi's favor no matter what.

What I did not like about the Golden Week arc is that it did not seem to fit with the mood of the series at that time. Yes, there had been a few times where the series got serious and abandoned the comedy for a moment in favor of actually taking the characters and their situations seriously, but in the Golden Week (and End of the World arc) arc, the tone of the entire series suddenly shifted. All of a sudden, it seemed as if people could actually die in the series and Hayate's decisions actually had some really serious implications. (Of course, we know this isn't true because no one really died in the series unless you count Yukariko, but she's already dead.)

Up until this point, Hayate no Gotoku! Was still pretty much a gag manga with the romantic and dramatic elements often developed in the background and taking a back seat to the comedy in the foreground. For me, the change was too drastic and it feels like the Golden Week and End of the Week arcs in particular do not fit in too well with the rest of the series.

The Same Could Be Said For The Finale

Actually, the same could also be said for the finale. Most of my criticisms for the Golden Week Arc defnitely apply to the last few chapters of the manga. With that said, I can be more forgiving of the finale, because of two reasons: .

1. It's the finale. It's the manga's last hurrah and Hata's last chance to wrap things up and end it the way he wants. 

2. At this stage, the Golden Week arc from before had already set a precedence. Therefore, when the finale came, the change wasn't as jarring. Also, the build-up to the misunderstanding bomb going off had been gaining ground. Thus, the finale didn't feel as out of place with the rest of the manga as Golden Week.

3.  The transition to the finale felt a lot smoother than that of the End of the World Arc which just came about after Hayate was reminded of Athena by Nagi. There were many permanent changes already set forth by the time of the level 5 arc. The debt was cleared for real. Nagi was maturing quickly -- which is self-evident with the way she ended level 5 with a bang and without Hayate's help.

Fanart Corner

Well, here are some pieces of fanart. Two for today. Also, Hata retweeted me again. Thank you, Hata-sensei! I will love Nagi forever! Naturally, I love the HayaNagi pairing too~

See you guys next week for sure~


Me and Nagi~




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hayate Reflections: News From Japan


I've read some rumors online that Hata's new work will be related to Hayate no Gotoku! I suppose it's not surprising considering that his previous works are also in the same universe. With that said, I'm not all that interested.

Anyway, while the series might have ended, there are still a few celebrations for it here and there. Just recently, there was a "Hayate Only" doujin fest featuring different fan-made manga and other fanworks. I'm really happy to see a lot of HayaNagi content and some illustrations of 16 year-old Nagi. (pic taken from twitter)




Aside from that, there are two more series completion celebrations scheduled for the next few months. Hata-sensei himself will be there doing illustrations and autographs. Also, it seems there'll be some new promotional material such as badges and stuff... speaking of additional material. I bought this Hayate themed box from amazon ages ago, it still hasn't arrived.

The page for the events is here: http://websunday.net/news/17101101.html

November 1-5, the event will be held inside of Fukuoka City, Hata-sensei's birthplace and on December 1-10 in Osaka, the place where Hata-sensei spent his days as a student.


Fanart Corner

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this today. Look forward to the full version next week... I have certain "plans" for this image.

To give you a hint as to what I'm planning. This image is based on a recent Hatsune Miku pic from my favorite vocaloid producer. (vague hint, I know)




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Wataru vs Hayate -- Plot-Based Character Analysis

First of all, I have to thank the many haters of my ship. Your irrational, illogical assumptions really inspire me a lot.

So I got requested to do a Wataru vs Hayate analysis. I don't think I have a whole lot to say on the subject. Mostly because my mind has always been made up about it.

Simply put, as a romantic partner, Wataru is leagues ahead of Hayate even though Hayate has a clear advantage in basic specifications in terms of character design/base stats.

Ok, let's go over why. As always, this is a personal opinion blog, so take it as that.

Wataru's Case

There is more than meets the eye to this stellar young man.
While Wataru was arguably pivotal to the plot especially in the early parts of the series, it was clear (to me) from the start to me that he wasn't going to end up with Nagi (they are friends who can rely on each other pretty much like Hayate and some other girl over there whose name is not Nagi.)

With that said, I've always seen his relationship with Saki to be a parallel to Hayate x Nagi -- except Wataru does things right. He does it better than Hayate. Of course, an argument can be made that he never had a pseudo harem like Hayate did, but at the very least, he made his decision much clearer than Hayate did. Now I'm pretty sure there can be no doubt that Hayate chose Nagi in the end, but because he never explicitly said anything to that effect, it leaves haters with much room to speculate.

Anyway, in Wataru's case, the pivotal moment came when he wanted to finally confess his true feelings to Isumi. Until that point, Wataru x Saki was just considered to be for comedy purposes -- even though the non canon s1 of the anime did ship them quite a bit in the later parts as well. This leads me to believe that Hata himself had a heavy hand in those non-canon episodes. In any case, when Wataru confessed to Isumi, his very words were "I loved you."

Now the choice of words is very important here because these were the same words that Hayate and Athena said to end their relationship back in the Golden Week arc. Isumi interpreted it this way and no one in the series would actually argue with her -- most especially not Wataru who then went on to go to Saki to say that what matters is the life that he now starts to build with her.

From this point on, we'd see glimpses of Wataru's slow and steady progress as a character every now and then. Even though he had been relegated to the sidelines, we see little changes in his situation from struggling with his finances to eventually becoming self-made businessman on his own.


Also, since he was still betrothed to Nagi, they eventually made it official that they were never going to get together when Wataru tells Nagi that he couldn't marry her. Of course, Nagi had all but forgotten about this betrothal since she never intended to marry him in the first place and Wataru gets a bonk on the head for even insinuating that much.

At the end of the series, we see Wataru and Saki together with Saki wearing a ring.


Hayate's Case
Even Hayate understands how much he sucks.


Now let's go over to Hayate. Just like Wataru, I believe that Hayate's development phase (or his process of falling in love with Nagi) really kicked off in the Golden Week arc. Prior to this, Nagi might have been important to him, but I don't believe that he was ready  to fully dedicate his life in servitude to her. With the events of the Golden Week arc, Hayate had probably decided (probably because he has never made it clear and never will) to devote his entire life to Nagi -- for as long as she needs him. We learn later on in the Comisun Arc that he does believe that Nagi will not need him anymore sometime in the future.

With that said, he had never even  actively thought of Nagi as a romantic prospect before the penultimate chapter happened. This is an indisputable fact, but with that said, the foundations for him eventually falling for Nagi were already long in place before the penultimate chapter and thus, it is really not as rushed as some people make it out to be -- rather, it is the only logical conclusion to the series unless Hata just wanted to be a hipster and go for something different.


Going back to our subject matter, Hayate's confession of "I loved you" to Athena put a full stop to that relationship -- and because Athena fans clung on to false hope, Athena had to place an exclamation point on it near the finale (that's what you get.)

However, unlike Wataru, Hayate is still the main character of the series and because the drama of Hayate no Gotoku relies on complicated misunderstandings, he began to dig himself deeper and deeper into one web of misunderstanding after another. In contrast, Nagi was slowly unraveling the misunderstandings that got in the way of them being together save for "the bomb between them," which did hit her very hard but also allowed her to beautifully recover while giving Hayate one last chance at redemption.

Therefore, before the misunderstanding bomb went off, Hayate was really irredeemable in my eyes as the main character of the series. Remember that he had already failed Athena once -- the person who was the most important to him. Now as a 16 year-old, I'm very certain that no one would argue that Nagi was (and still is) the most important person to him. Unfortunately, in order to keep the suspense and drama going, Hayate was not allowed to say the one thing that would clear things up once and for all, that he did in fact, love Sanzen'in Nagi. 


In fairness to the blue-haired former butler, he did not have it as easy as Wataru did. Hayate was plagued with many complications including the fate of the Sanzen'in Inheritance, the King's Jewels, and the women who had shown interest in him whose feelings he had only begun to notice (even though it was obvious from the start -- but that's just how oblivious his character is.)

As a result of his being oblivious, Nagi, the most important person to him was hurt more traumatically than he could have predicted and he was the one who allowed it to happen. If he had not met Nagi on that day, then things would have played out differently. If he had noticed Nagi's feelings for him sooner, then he could have done something about it if he really had no feelings for her.

Of course, it also fortunate that he noticed everything after it was seemingly too late. By this point, Nagi just needed a little bit of a picker-upper lecture from him (ironically) and she was ready to take charge and handle everything on her own. It is worth noting that 14 year-old Nagi at this point was actually capable enough to do the things she did because a lot of time had been spent on her character development. She was hit hard by Maria's departure and then followed up by the misunderstanding bomb, but you would be a deluded hater if you think that she should not be able to recover from that given all the character development she had experienced until that point.


So when Nagi had recovered beautifully, it was only then that Hayate's feelings of attraction for her finally surfaced (read Hata's blog if you still want to argue about this. It's a dead-beaten topic that only haters like you would still argue about. Whatever the source material might be, whether it's from the manga or post-justification via word of God -- it's still canon source material -- sorry.)

At the end of the story, he affirms his feelings for her by returning to the same park where they first met -- this time with no strings attached. They then walk off hand in hand with fingers intertwined into the starlit night on a Christmas Eve.

Again, Wataru beats him in this department because Saki had a ring while Nagi just gets to hold his hand and discover that he's been stalking her all this time. Supplemental material would reveal that Hayate had spent his two years away from her becoming a self-made man himself by running his own business. This gives credence to his assertion that "I'm not in any money troubles right now, so I don't need to kidnap you" in the final chapter.

Conclusion

In any case, this is why I believe Wataru is superior to Hayate as a lover as far as the pairings Wataru x Saki and Nagi x Hayate are concerned. Wataru's development was slow, steady, but clear. Meanwhile,  Hayate's development was convoluted, inconsistent and vastly overshadowed by his co-main character and eventual love interest, Nagi.

It's also quite amusing because in terms of looks (arguably), raw strength in combat, and reliability in various tasks, Hayate is vastly superior to Wataru. It's just like with Nagi and her rivals who are deemed to be vastly superior to her in basic specifications. Just goes to show you that it's not always about the cards that you are dealt with, but how you play with them.

Fanart Corner


I have a video to go along with the new fanart I've made for this week. Enjoy~!

Fully digital render

Colored pencils with digital linerart and background

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

No Hayate Reflections This Week: I have A Splitting Headache

I have a splitting headache this week, so I can't think of a good topic to talk about. Actually, for those of you still reading this blog (assuming there are still readers on this blog), why not use this opportunity to suggest some topics for me to talk about next time?

With that said, I leave you with this week's fanart. See you next week!
So cute and so smug~


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