Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Culture Gap In Romantic Love

So I watched No Game No Life: 0 yesterday and I really loved it. You can read the full review here.

While watching the movie though, I couldn't help but be reminded of Hayate and Nagi's relationship in Shuvi and Riku. This is because there was actually no hint of sexual attraction whatsoever from Riku for Shuvi from start to finish. He was always fully aware that she was a machine and he never looked at her in a sexual way ever.

Yet at the same time, he wanted her to be his wife and proposed marriage to her -- which she accepted after initially rejecting him. Also, he unequivocally declares that he loves her several times after this and she does so as well at a certain point in the movie.

The thing is, Shuvi is a machine, an ex-machina in the shape of a little girl and she even outright declares during their first meeting that she doesn't have a hole -- even though her initial goal was to engage in the act of reproduction with Riku so that she could understand the human heart.

Anyway, they both declared that they love each other and they got married so they were obviously romantically in love. However, there was still not a single hint of sexual attraction from Riku nothwithstanding his claims that he loves Shuvi.

I was pretty certain that a particular term would come up in the English-speaking fandom and hoo boy was I right. I saw several mentions of "platonic love" and "brotherly love," (you know, what Hayate feels for Maria and what he doesn't feel for Nagi, obviously). And it really boggled my mind to see this. Again, people were making vain protests against all evidence and mainly because of reasons like, "it's creepy." Sigh... here we go again.

Furthermore, I did a quick search for Sora x Shiro and it turns out that people in the English community feel the same way as well. They'd rather have Steph or Jibril (who I feel have very little chance) or no romantic relationship at all than have Sora x Shiro be a thing.


This is when I began to understand something. This is just a hypothesis but -- there is a culture gap between Japan's concept of romantic love in general versus that of the rest of the majority of the rest of the world. This is why it is so hard for many viewers to accept the Hayate x Nagi ending even though the vocal part of the Japanese community (even the ones who were on other ships) were totally fine with it.

Anyway, I personally don't ship Sora x Shiro because Hayate x Nagi is my one and only one true ship and I won't bother with ship wars again.

I just wanted to point out that if you still feel that Hayate x Nagi is "forced" or you have some kind of personal feelings against it -- perhaps you should consider that romantic love is actually not a universal concept and can vary across different cultures -- just saying. Like, consider the notion that if you shipped Athena with Hayate super hard, what if it's like something that you've always wanted since childhood? When you finally get this thing that you want as an adult -- sometimes, it doesn't feel so special anymore -- yeah ponder that because I'll be talking about it at length sometime.

With that said, I leave you with some fanart and I'll see you next week~

Oil Pastels on Paper. Also, this is still a Hayate fanart -- look at the silhouettes and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No Game No Life: 0 -- Anime Movie Review


I just got back from watching No Game No Life 0 and I knew I had to type up this review right away while the movie is still fresh in my mind. So with that said, here are some of my ramblings on several aspects of this movie. Also, I was one of only two people inside the movie theatre -- not counting  Mai Waifu, Nagi Doll who travels with me everywhere :).

Plot


The story revolves around two core characters, a human named Rikku and an Ex-Machina (basically a killer machine) in the shape of a little girl who is eventually named Shuvi.

Rikku is a boy who was born in Disboard at the time when the various races were still conducting a great big war thanks to their Gods and their obsession with an item known as the Suniaster which would be manifested to the one true god.

Rikku's village was devastated by a group of Ex-Machinas when he was a child. He eventually grows up to become the general of a group of surviving humans who manage to stay alive through subterfuge as the other races fight each other on the frontlines.

As is to be expected, Rikku grows up to be desperate and somewhat jaded individual with an intense dislike for the other races who have caused the world to be plunged into chaos.

It is at to the point when he is most desperate after having sacrificed another one of his comrades just so he could escape that he stumbles upon a cave lair where an estranged Ex-Machina who has been separated permanently from her cluster (Ex-Machinas work as hive minds) is investigating. Upon meeting each other, the Ex-Machina, who would eventually be named Shuvi, insists that Rikku take her with him as she is curious about the what a "heart" is all about. Her hypothesis is that it is what has allowed humans to keep from being extinct despite the state of the world.

Although Rikku seems annoyed with her at first, the two eventually settle their differences, fall in love, and work together in order put an end to the war and to give Tet, the god of games a chance to become the one true God. It is also an origin story of how the covenants were formed and how the current system of games was established.

A Love Story To The Core

At its core, NGNL0 is a love story between the two main characters. Basically, it explores the age-old anime theme of love between a human and a robot -- which is basically what Shuvi is.

This is where the movie truly shines. The development of their love story is extremely satisfying and it also allows the movie to be extremely cathartic despite being based on a less serious anime series (not familiar with the contents of the light novels -- I'm just aware they exist.)

At first, Rikku only sees Shuvi as a convenient tool whom he may be able to use in order to help the surviving humans in his camp. Little by little however, he is taken in by the innocent charm of Shuvi's ways and starts to see her as more of a reliable partner rather than just a tool. It is at the climax of the movie wherein he finally bares it all and confesses his love for Shuvi through a ring with a marriage proposal.

On Shuvi's part, she initially claims that she is interested in being together with Rikku so that she may find out what a heart is all about. However, she does show a strong attachment for Rikku and always does her best to shield him from harm. Furthermore, when Rikku reveals his hatred for other races and beings -- including the Ex-Machinas, Shuvi offers to allow Rikku to stab her in the chest and end her life (or shut her down completely in an irreparable state as she states) so that he may be appeased.

Her initial reaction to Rikku's proposal is a rejection -- which is quite a surprise considering how attached she is shown to be to him all throughout the movie. Of course, the revelation makes logical sense. She was the unit that actually devastated Rikku's village when he was a child, so therefore, she felt unworthy of him.

Fortunately, instead of being angry at her, Rikku reveals that he had an inkling that this was the case all along, but he tells her that it doesn't matter because he made the proposal to her while fully considering this possibility in the first place.

It is a love story tested by many trials and one that pays off in the end. And of course, the best part for me would be that both characters expressly proclaim their love for each other several times throughout the movie. It's really a wonderful emotional pay-off and I can't help but root for the two of them.

It is also a reminder of the different concept of love that the Japanese have. By her own admission Shuvi cannot reproduce -- in short, she cannot have sex. In fact, she outright states that she does not have a hole.

In fact, there is no so-called "romantic development" in both characters in that they do not actually see each other as a girl and a boy in terms of sex. Yet, you can call it platonic or whatever inane phrase all you want, but by the express admission of both characters, it is very clearly romantic love. This movie is a very strong refutation of the sentiment that sex or even sexual attraction is at the core of romantic love.

Nods To No Game No Life

Fortunately, even if you have never seen No Game No Life before, prior knowledge of the series is unnecessary. There are definitely nods and strong ties to No Game No Life, but they are in no way necessary in order to enjoy this movie.

For one, Rikku and Shuvi share the same seiyuu as Sora and Shiro and even their personalities are somewhat similar. Also, if you were waiting for Sora and Shiro and their friends to show up, let's just say that you won't be too disappointed.

Basically, just imagine Sora and Shiro in a more serious setting with their lives actually on the line.

Also, Corone Dola (actually Steph's ancestor from 6000 years ago), the only consistently shown supporting character, who may or may not be Rikku's blood-related elder sister is a strong nod to Stephanie Dola and also has the same seiyuu and personality as her -- minus the comedy relief moments.

The Characters Aren't Invincible

Part of the charm of No Game No Life is that Blank (Sora and Shiro) are basically invincible throughout the entire series. They may be tested from time to time, but we all know that they always come out on top.

On the other hand, Rikku is someone who has clearly suffered nothing but defeat all his life -- this despite being a very clever individual himself with traces of Sora's ingenuity. Shuvi herself is a very powerful machine, but she is not the most powerful being in the movie and not even amongst her own kind. This is clearly demonstrated in her final battle with Jibril.

So yes, this is not the invincible pair that you may have grown attached to in the series, but for the purpose of this movie, the very real flaws in Rikku and Shuvi really add a sense of humanity to both of them -- this despite one of them not actually being human.


Over-All Impressions




That was a wonderful movie wasn't it, Nagi?


I believe I have said enough for anyone to guess my over-all impression of this film. In short: I loved it. While the plot and the mumbo jumbo over Disboard is a bit hard to take in (probably easier if you have read the novels), the love story of Rikku and Shuvi is one to witness. Also, if you ship Sora and Shiro, this movie is great big win for your ship -- through implication. (But hey, that's how Hayate x Nagi won the race)

Watch it if you are fan of No Game No Life. Watch it if you are not a fan of No Game No Life. Unfortunately, it's probably ending its run in Philippine theatres by tomorrow -- but if you can get your hands on this movie - do give it a try. 




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Let Me Tell You Why Your Opinion Is Wrong -- Along With Your Sense Of Entitlement To It

For those who are still hung-up on how the Hayate x Nagi ending was wrong (your subjective opinion no matter how you insist on it being “correct”), I’ll give you something: I don’t completely disagree with you. I just disagree with your reasoning.

I Am Sorry To Tell You This But Your Rationale Is Incorrect

You see, the most common reason that I read online is that “there were no romantic developments” or “Hayate never saw Nagi as a girl,” which, in my opinion – as far as storytelling and plot analysis goes, is a rather lame rationale. Therefore, let me tell you why your opinion is wrong.
See, you’ve got everything backwards. You are so hung up on which girl deserves Hayate that you’ve allowed your myopic perspectives  shaped by personal bias to rule over your rational train of thought. In fact, for certain people, it’s become so bad that you have actually deluded yourself into thinking that you are logically superior and that you can actually get away with passive-aggressive remarks against other shippers. Seriously, you’re so obvious that it’s not even subtle. At least with me, I’ll tell you straight up that I am biased  AF when it comes to Nagi. I’m not going to pretend to be neutral here just so I can claim some kind of moral high ground.

Okay, got sidetracked a bit. Well anyway, you have it backwards. It’s not all about which girl deserves Hayate, it’s also equally about which girl Hayate deserves. Now when we look at it from this perspective, I can actually agree that a Hayate x Nagi ending is a terrible idea. Seriously, why would I want Nagi to be together with that pitiful excuse for a human being who took her for granted so many times – and not even because he loves Athena (pfft… keep dreaming that ship was sunk, resunk, and then torpedoed below the surface for good measure – fact. What you think Hata’s rationale was = subjective opinion. Get it through your head.), but simply because he was super oblivious to her (Nagi’s feelings).


Hayate Doesn’t Deserve Nagi – Not The Other Way Around

I mean, Hayate totally took Nagi for granted in Ruka’s arc. He never even once thought of the suffering she was going through and opted to be together with Ruka instead and help her out with her teenage idol crisis drama. Meanwhile, Nagi was left to fend for herself – albeit, with a lot of help from her newfound Violet Manison friends. As a result, she came out much better and became a true force to be reckoned with at the end of the manga. Based on the merits of what she has gone through alone, Nagi achieved some well-earned character development whether your subjective opinion agrees with the reward she got for it (Hayate seeing her in a romantic light at the end of the manga) or not.

But Hayate Does Deserve Nagi

Still, even though I said that Ayasaki doesn’t deserve mai waifu, he does deserve her after all. No, I’m not backtracking. I’m making a point using contrasting statements for reader impact. It works if you have the basic ability to read between the lines. I’ve heard that many people are lacking in this area nowadays – how sad it must be if you are one of these people.

Furthermore, Nagi deserves to be happy with Hayate after all that SHE has gone through for him. Again, not the other way around.

Back on track, you see, Ayasaki does deserve Nagi because in the end, he was the one who came back and freely chose her as his partner. There is no other way to interpret that ending – especially when you consider “word of God.” The only way you could interpret that as a friendship thing is if you are a literal dickhead who thinks with his wiener and only values women for the sexual aspect of romance and therefore, you require in your little anal headcanon that Hayate must have expressed sexual desire for Nagi in some way within the run of the manga for the ship to be acceptable.

Here’s why you’re wrong (just thought you'd like to know):

The Ending Is Just The Beginning

Yesss, as hard as it may be for your little dickhead to cram this concept into it, the ending of the manga where Hayate and Nagi hold hands and walk off to talk together under the starlit sky in the same park 3 years after they met was just the beginning of the Hayate x Nagi romance. It wasn’t meant to be a full-blown romantic ending but instead, signaled the start of their relationship. It wasn’t “so romantic,” because they were just a new couple. A boy and a girl who happened to like each other and decided to give love a chance. What happens at that point afterwards is something private between the two of them that the prying eyes of us manga readers will never see – and it’s quite fine that way.

Fanart Corner

Ah yes… I love to vent during a Wednesday and especially when I'm feeling sick. The words just roll off the old keyboard. Anyway, here is Nagi displaying her most beautiful smile for you. You can always tell which anime I've been watching based on the style of fanart I draw. These are rendered with Staedtler Colored Pencils that I got from my sister. I did some research online and these are apparently artist grade. I dunno but... it doesn't look that much different from my Faber Castell classic colored pencils which are considered student grade.

I might do a digital version of this next week. Maika-chan's smile seems to suit her well.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Happy Birthday, Nagi! December 3, 2017

Fanart Corner:  First of all, Happy Birthday Nagi!  Nagi was born on December 3, 1991 based on the manga’s timeline, so she would be 25 years old in our time. I was working on this birthday art since last week. I had a more elaborate background planned, unfortunately, I came down with a cold and so it really drained all of my creative energies. In the end, I went for something simple but pretty. When in doubt, go for anime bubbles.



Out of all the clothes Nagi has worn (and she has worn a lot of them), I think this dress from her first meeting with Hayate is the most iconic. They met on a Christmas Eve while Hayate had just been sold off by his parents to the Yakuza while Nagi had just run away from a boring high society party. Two people from two completely different and equally spectacular backgrounds -- who would get together three years later as two ordinary people in love.



Hayate Reflections: Anyway, for this week’s Hayate reflection, let’s talk a bit about S1 of the anime. Specifically, this scene:

While watching it earlier this week, I couldn’t help but notice how similar it was to chapter 566 of the manga. It was almost like the manga was a more serious version of this particular scene.

We have Nagi in some kind of a trance in this episode, while in the manga, she is living in some kind of reality constructed by the Royal Power in order to fulfill her wish. In any case, the essence of it is that she’s running away from reality because she feels that Hayate does not value her.

Therefore, in the anime version, Hayate bakes her a cake and asks her to remember all the happy times they spent together. Nagi then takes a bite of the cake and is snapped out of her trance – which prompts Hayate to hug her from out of nowhere.

It’s a bit more dramatic in the manga but it’s basically the same thing. Hayate asks Nagi not to replace the days they actually spent together with an illusion, then with the help of a king’s jewel and a picture with a message that he got from Maria, he convinces Nagi to leave her illusionary world with him.


This makes me suspect that even though this part of S1 was non-canon, that Hata had a heavy hand in it. Which one you prefer is up to you. I’m just here to point out the similarities. I personally prefer the manga version btw. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, I thought the finale was quite well done apart from the loose ends that couldn’t be tied up. They weren’t deal-breakers for me as much as they may be to some of you.

Also, someone from another fandom posted something really brilliant via twitter. 



I think this applies to a lot of things – especially to the polarized opinions regarding the finale, so I shall paraphrase it as such:

People don't seem to realize that there's a difference between subjective (opinions) and objective (facts). No matter how many times you say "Hayate ended horribly" or "the finale had bad writing" it's always going to be subjective. Take a hint.

With that said, this concludes this week’s Hayate reflections. Once again, a happy birthday to the love of my life, Nagi Sanzen’in.  I wish you and Hayate happiness in the future that I can never be a part of.

See you guys next week for sure~!