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.
|There is more than meets the eye to this stellar young man.|
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.
|Even Hayate understands how much he sucks.|
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.
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.
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|