Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The HayaNagi Love Story -- Hayate's Side

Last week, I talked a bit about Nagi's side of the love story. This time, it's Hayate's turn.
I actually used the glossy back cover of vol. 52 as well as a piece of Pokemon art as reference for this one.

When it come to Hayate, his feelings for Nagi are a bit harder to pinpoint because he never overtly admits to anything. It's not something that a lot of people are used to seeing in this day and age, but I think it's also an intentional design by Hata to make both main characters the perfect foils for each other.

Foil and Contrast

There is a lot of contrast in Hayate and Nagi. For one, they are complementary opposites by design. Initially, Hayate is super capable and just about perfect at everything except his bad luck, meanwhile, Nagi, while mentally gifted and blessed with amazing luck is lazy and described by Hayate himself to be a failure of a human being.

Therefore, it is justifiable that while Nagi's feelings were always out in the open and easy enough to read, Hayate's feelings were always ambiguous and require a little bit of interpretation -- but based on obvious clues left behind by Hata.

Let's go over some of these "clues" that I'm talking about.

Hayate Goes Berserk Only For Nagi's Sake

While chapter 566 can be used to handwave the fact that Hayate's special move is reserved only for Nagi and you can justify that it was really because of Yukariko's wish, there is one thing that cannot be denied -- and that is, Hayate goes berserk only for Nagi's sake. Let's assume that all the anime versions are non-canon, but even in the manga, Hayate' has gone berserk several times and all of these times they were all for Nagi's sake. To make a comparison, he has never done that even for the girl that other shippers would insist was his "real love," and that is Athena.

In fact, in Athena's arc, when Hayate goes up against Machina, when he's beaten almost to the brink of death, he is on the verge of going berserk -- and what triggered this exactly? Look back on that chapter. The trigger was his feelings for Nagi.

Naturally, this was not a one-time event. When he was outmatched by Himegami (speaking of which, he never did get a rematch. Some combat butler Hayate turned out to be), he managed to muster one last burst of strength while simultaneously losing his cool -- and the trigger was because Himegami told him that "Nagi will lose everything."

Hayate Really Planned To Give Up His Life For Nagi

For people who don't read Hata's backstage, this is actually the same rationale that he gave back in chapter 566 for Hayate's decision.

Basically, the Royal Garden and everything related to it were all written in so that Hayate could make his final choice to the question of: for whom would you give up your life for?

Now you should all know by now that Hayate is the type of person who would stake his life for Nagi's sake. This is one of the very foundations of the manga after all. Now given this premise however, Hayate has never actually had to give up his life for anyone prior to chapter 566.

This is what makes that particular chapter so special. When he says the magic words to Nagi, something that Hata really emphasized in his blog: "there is nothing that I wish for, only that which I do not wish to lose," and when the boy says these words to the girl with a smile, then at that moment, he has made his decision.

Again, implications are all we have to go by here because that is just the type of character that Hayate is. Get over it, there are people like that as well. Not everyone says things explicitly. Hayate's character design demands that he be ambiguous in the way he words things. This is true to his personality and this is what started the whole chain of misunderstandings in the first place.

However, there was no misunderstanding between them at that time in chapter 566 -- as much as people may wish it to be that Nagi saw it one way and Hayate saw it another way. You can wish for this kind of interpretation all you like, but you will find nothing concrete in the manga to support your views except your own personal opinion -- and that is definitely worth keeping in mind as we move on to our next point.

There Was No Misunderstanding In The Final Chapter

This is very important. Again, people who don't read Hata's blog as well as expect definite and explicit wording will feel quite disappointed with the way Hata chose to let the Hayate x Nagi ship set sail. Naturally, haters will be in vehement denial even until now -- but well, too bad for you.

Anyway, even if you think that it's "bad writing" or "what does it say about the author if you have to read his blog" etc. etc. the fact of the matter is that Hata does have the final say on what he meant to say when he wrote the final chapter.

Fortunately, he makes it very clear not only in his blog but in the supplemental books that come with the limited editions of volume 51 and 52 of the manga. So anyway, you can run it through google translate, read it yourself if you want, or have your Japanese friend (assuming you have one) read it for you, but Hata's words will always carry the same meaning about the ending.

The gist of what he says is that Nagi is no longer a rich ojou-sama and Hayate is no longer her butler. Now theirs is an ordinary story of a man and a woman who decided to talk slowly while holding hands.
Japanese version just because. Personally, I'd love to KO Hayate right about now and take his place.
Here's the clincher: the intertwining of hands is explicitly said to mean that it shows that this time (take note: THIS TIME) there is no misunderstanding. So yeah, Nagi totally understands that Hayate wants to be her butler forever who harbors totally PLATONIC feelings for her and she's totally fine with this because that's such a WONDERFUL way to end things, I suppose. (I realize sarcasm doesn't go over well in written text, but you can't be that dense, right?)

Again, he doesn't say anything explicitly -- in a way, he's just as cryptic as Hayate is, still, the implication of his words is so obvious that only the most obstinate of individuals would still insist otherwise -- as a hater, you're obviously one of those, so yeah, sucks to be you.

To sum things up: Nagi's feelings for Hayate are crystal clear to the reader, while Hayate's feelings for Nagi require a bit of imagination -- but you probably have plenty of that if you like to imagine what-if scenarios for your failed ship, so yeah! I believe in you!

Well, this was partially a vent post, but it is what it is. See ya next week! I leave you with some fanart.

Fanart Corner: Here are this week's traditional art posts. Of course, I also did the digital HayaNagi pic above. The words are from chapter 568.

Oil Pastels on Drawing Paper

Watercolors on Canvas


  1. Hayate is the most desperate and strong only for Nagi indeed. But I notice he could not save her from her two most severe dangers, crushing the jewel and making the wish. Nagi did those on her own wish but knowing the probable results, Hayate should have stopped her. Those two are undoubtedly more serious than mere kidnappings. And Hayate's reflexes are better than what he showed while trying to stop Nagi, as we have seen in many occasions. What do you think why he was so slow those times?

  2. Ah, nice to hear from you again. Anyway, I believe that there were two compelling reasons why he was slow on both occasions. I'm taking into account the writer's perspective on this so...

    1. He had doubts: When Nagi broke the stone and when she made that wish, Hayate was doubting himself and his feelings for Nagi very much. As we learned from Hata, he only realized his feelings for her in chapter 567, and he only made his final choice as to whom he would want to die for in chapter 566. Prior to that, he was a walking timebomb of nerves and self-doubt. These factors could have made him significantly slower because he himself wasn't sure whether he should be stopping her or if he even had the right to stop her or not.

    2. It Was Necessary For The Plot: This is pretty much a cop-out reason, but I think it's a pretty logical one. Let's just say that Hayate suffered a plot induced speed reduction because it was necessary that he couldn't reach her in time. When Nagi made that wish, Hayate really didn't deserve to reach her just yet because he still hadn't even decided on who she really was in his life. When she broke that jewel, it was necessary for Nagi's moment of awesome was well as bailing Hayate out of having to make the decision himself.

    1. Hayate never had doubts that he must save Nagi. And these two are the last things he ever wanted to happen with her. Then seems you are right that he didn't know if he had right to go against her choices. Or maybe he was too torn those times that he subconsciously wanted Nagi to do some actions.
      Nagi's sacrifices are truly needed for the plot. But it's worth noticing that only on these two occasions, Hayate came to know or witnessed it. And thus his feelings began to grow for her. Comparing to seeing Hayate promise to make Ruka happy, crushing the jewel was of lesser pain for her. Hayate was less moved by hearing that Nagi was out on a trip with Isumi. Maybe Hata-sensei chose these two incidents as these makes Hayate feel guilty the most. As crushing the jewel was Nagi's biggest financial sacrifice and making the wish was her biggest mental sacrifice;assuming giving away everything to Hisui made Hayate respectfully assured of her growth rather than feeling guilty and responsible.

    2. I really hated that scene in chapter 413 btw. I would have liked to have seen Hayate's reaction to it had he known that Nagi was watching all along. To add insult to injury, he asks Nagi to let him be with Ruka for a while right after that chapter.

    3. Oh, I was so shocked that time. But to me, that's the speciality of their relationship. Nagi never needed proper explanations of each of hayate's actions. She just knew that Hayate had some important business, and she hardly bothered for any details. Hayate never could speak out properly about his worries, so I think to be with a relationship with him, one must understand him beyond the words he utters.
      Nagi was possessive at the beginning of the manga, but she came out of it surely. Before crushing the jewel, she could perfectly deduce the cause is his worries while the rest could not even by asking him unless he told Hina himself. When Hayate returned that night, Nagi only asked if he succeeded.
      They had their own sacrifices and struggle but never complained or demanded more from the other for those. Over all, they knew they had each other by their side even if not physically present or with the rival. This supreme understanding made this love the best amongst all the stories I have read so far.


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