Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Power Level Tier List (Mine)

While the series is known as "Hayate the Combat Butler" in English, and while the first season of the series may have been known for its funny, over-the-top battle sequences, it is rather undeniable that the part of the series not covered by any of the anime adaptations so far has become more of a romantic comedy rather than anything else.

With that said, I thought it would be fun to make a combat prowess/powerlevel tier list for this series, so let's get started. Here's my tier list for the series along with my rationale for each one.

1. Ikusa Ayasaki

While Ikusa does not have much in terms of feats as we've never actually seen him go toe to toe with any of the heavy hitters in the series, it feels like he was basically designed to be the Seijuro Hiko of the series (if you're familiar with Kenshin). We have actually only seen him square off (unscathed) against Midas, destroying robot Eight with a kick, dodging and destroying Athena's magical hammers and then fighting against a possessed Yukiji with some assistance from Hayate -- however, despite his lack of feats, the amount of hype surrounding his character and the fact that he has never even been in any real type of trouble in a combat situation puts him at the top of this list by implication.

2. Yozora Housen

If we were to disregard Ikusa's existence, then there is no doubt in my mind that Yozora Housen rightfully deserves to be at the top of this list. However, I like to keep the author's own headcanon (as I perceive it) in mind -- which is why I rank Ikusa above her.

Unlike Ikusa, Housen has various feats throughout the manga to her name. She once took on Hayate, Isumi, and Tama all at once and managed to escape unharmed. She was also fighting pretty evenly against a full powered Isumi and a weakened Athena although she was having trouble based on Hisui's assessment.

Also, Housen is shown to be able to utilize the hands of Midas and some limited degree of magic unlike Ikusa who basically just brute forces his way out of any situation. Let's not forget that she also managed to defeat Machina off-screen with some difficulty.

3. Hisui Hatsushiba

Pre-power up, i would actually rank Hisui pretty low as a fighter. However, given her ruthlessness and the power-up that Housen granted her, she sits comfortably at number three in my list. Also, I don't think there is a huge gap between her and Housen. The reason I rank her below her servant is because Hisui is a more aggressive and thus, less tactical fighter. We see proof of this in her sword fight with Hayate wherein Hayate had figured something out about her movements and was just about to defeat her before Yozora interrupted the fight.

I like to think of the power difference between Housen and Hisui as similar to Supergirl vs Superman. Supergirl may be more ruthless and generally hits her enemies harder than Superman, but that doesn't mean she's actually more powerful than her cousin.

4. Isumi Saginomiya

Let me get this straight -- Isumi is strong -- very strong, but she's more like a glass cannon. Her feats are pretty evident all throughout the manga. She can effortlessly blow up reinforced gates and other things with her magic and she can snipe a king's jewel from god knows how far away.

By her own admission, her power level is about on par with Athena, but I think Isumi tends to sell herself short because of her personality. Let's not forget that she managed to take on a powered up Hisui for a little while and that her appearance is often the reason that the bad guys decide to regroup and retreat.

Of course, I do not think she is any more durable than an average girl her age, as we've never actually seen her engage in close combat with anyone worthy of note in the series. As such, she is probably not very damage-resistant but makes up for this with defensive magic and just being agile enough not to get hit in general.

5. Himegami Aoi 

... Just why did his name change from Akane to Aoi anyway? Sigh... Hata... anywayz, I rank Himegami below Isumi for one simple reason: he does not appear to be able to use magic proficiently. As a close combat fighter, he's shown to be stronger than Hayate as he handily defeated him while Hayate was already in berserk mode for Nagi's sake -- of course, perhaps we should also consider the fact that Hayate's feelings for Nagi were quite confused at that time, which means he wasn't at his best.

He can even hold off strong magic users like Isumi and Athena combined at once. Of course, I still rank him below Isumi because he never actually defeated her and he was already having trouble fighting against Isumi and Athena until Hisui bailed him out.

Himegami can also fly and is possibly able to use some limited form of magic as well as having his own special attack.

6. Athena Tennousu
I'm ranking Athena below Himegami because while being touted to be a very strong magic user as well as a formidable swordswoman, she performed quite poorly in the actual combat situations she has been in -- especially at the finale (yes, she wasn't at full power, I know).

Pure speculation, but Athena should probably be at the same power level or perhaps even stronger than Isumi as a magic user, but the problem is that she hasn't been constantly in combat situations that required the use of her power unlike Isumi. Furthermore, when called on to actually fight, she seems to prefer to rely on Isumi to do the fighting for her -- or at least help her out.

7. Machina
All we know is that this guy defeated a non-berserk Hayate pretty easily, which means he should be stronger than Hayate normally and that he actually managed to give Housen some trouble and broke her visor during their fight. With that said, we haven't seen much about how he fights so I'll just blindly assume that any of the strong magic users in the series can take him out.

8. Yukiji Katsura

As the elder of the Katsura sisters, Yukiji is rather powerful on her own. Although she regularly wrangles with her sister with no clear winner between them, her greatest feat would be when she was possessed by a demon and she managed to surprise even Ikusa with her raw strength. Also, Hayate has no qualms about going all out and actually trying to hurt her because he was very sure in his mind that she could take it. While possessing no magical items nor magic of nay kind, Yukiji is perhaps something like the female version of Ikusa who can simply take on anything with pure brute strenght.

9. Hinagiku Katsura

Hinagiku is probably not far behind her sister, but I'm placing her one rank below the elder Katsura on the tier list simply because I feel that Yukiji is the more experienced fighter and acts calmer when in a fight (I believe this is important when assessing power levels in a shounen series). With wooden masamune (broken by Himegami) and Shirosakura at her disposal along with her natural combat ability and instincts, Hinagiku Katsura is definitely no slouch. While one could count it as a surprise attack, she even managed to take down the more powerful Himegami using a simple bokken and the Shirosakura as a hoverboard.

10. Hayate Ayasaki

Sure Hayate is far below on this tier list, but I think our titular combat butler deserves some mad respect for various reasons. Normally, Hayate is strong enough to handily take on mooks and Robot Eight (until one day when he couldn't), but we always see him in all sorts of trouble and needing someone else to bail him out (usually Isumi, Hinagiku, Athena, or even Nagi) when he is in a serious fight.

The one thing that triggers his natural fighting instincts would be seeing or knowing that his lady (which can only be Nagi) is in danger. This is when we see the best of Ayasaki when he enters his berserk mode. Arguably, he would have been able to defeat Machina or at least give him some trouble if their fight had gone on.

With that said, I think that Hina is still a bit stronger than him because of her ability to command her weapons at will and being a bit more resourceful than Hayate in a fight. Hayate beat her once not by taking her own directly but by using her fear of heights to end the fight without ever fighting.

Hina appears to view Hayate as an equal when it comes to combat and it's implied that Hayate probably feels the same about her.

Hayate also has a super strong nuke-like attack called "Hayate no Gotoku" that propels him to Nagi's side like a gust of wind. The problem is that he has no control over this attack and he needs Nagi to call on him in order to activate it.

Well, that concludes my tier list. I might have missed a few people like Nonohara, but I think they're a bit too insignificant in the series over-all to take into account anyway.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Do you have your own tier list? Share your thoughts in the comments and see you next week!

Fanart Corner

For this week's fanart corner, we have some fanart of mai waifu from Denzil. Thank you for the Christmas Card! I love the Santa Nagi that came with it. It came in a bit late due to postage and customs in my country, but I really love the fanart! Thank you again!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hayate Reflections: I Have Hayate's Luck

Luck -- one of the main contrasting characteristics of the manga's main couple, Hayate and Nagi. We all know that Hayate has extremely bad luck, but it is later on revealed that Nagi is his polar opposite in this regard and has extremely good luck. It is especially prevalent when she actually relies on her brains combined with her good luck to defeat Maria in a game of roulette in the penultimate arc of the series.

In any case, even before I started watching/reading the series, I feel as if I have always had the same type of luck as Hayate. For example, if there were 45 people on a boat -- all strangers, and they had to vote off one person at random, that person would be me by a majority vote.

To give you a more concrete example though -- there is this promo that my local gas station runs wherein you can get freebies from a restaurant chain called Chowking everytime you gas up. You just press this button and wait for the machine to decide whether you won something or not. If you win, the machine will print out your prize coupon and send the code to your phone. You'll need both to claim your prize at any Chowking store.

It's supposed to be super easy to win. Anyway, I failed to get a prize on all three attempts I did -- which is unsurprising. I have Hayate's luck after all -- but wait, Hayate's bad luck often leads into a comedy of errors at his expense. Cuties episode 1 is a good example of this.

Well, here's the thing: I actually managed to win a prize on my fourth try. So I thought, "whoa! My luck must be changing?"

So when the machine printed out my prize... it ran out of paper and failed to print out the code needed for the coupon. Also, I'm 100% sure I entered my phone number correctly to have the code sent to my phone -- but the message never came. The machine cannot reprint the same code nor resend it to the winning phone. In other words, I won on record, but I couldn't even claim my prize.

Truth be told, I wasn't all that excited about the prize. It was more of a matter of principle. I just wanted to see if I could win something purely by chance.

Of course... my luck isn't all that bad, I suppose. I rooted for Nagi and she won after all. I may have used up all the good luck permitted to me in this lifetime with Nagi's victory, but I will always be super happy with the results.

I kept it nice and light today. Pretty sure a more thorough discussion on how luck affects the plot of the series is in order some day -- but not today!

Fanart Corner
I bought a set of 24 Prismacolor Premier colored pencils recently and used it to render this quick fanart of Nagi. I must say, these colors are really quite vibrant and they blend seamlessly. Anyway, see you next week~

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hayate Reflections: A Tale Of Double Standards

Ok, feeling better so I can actually make a post today.

Let us imagine a hypothetical scenario:

Let's say that on new year's eve, a young girl happened to die. She is unaware of the circumstances of her death, but an angel promises to grant her any wish. She wishes to be able to be with her crush.

The angel tells her that it's hard because that would be two wishes. First, she would have to be resurrected, and only than can her original wish be granted. However, an exception may be made for her if she can get the guy to kiss her just before she dies on New Year's eve.

She is then resurrected and sent back exactly 24 hours before New Year arrives. At the moment she resurrects, her guy best friend is right there to greet her and he is super happy that she didn't die after all.

She then explains the situation to him. After hearing her out, he promises to make her wish come true and he goes out of her way to help her out. They then proceed to make a few plans that wouldn't spook her crush because she's supposed to be dead. They spend the day discussing and then decide on buying a disguise for her.

When they are near her crush, she starts to realize that her guy best friend seems to really care about her a little bit too much. He then pushes her out in front of her crush while simultaneously confessing that he loves her.

She is hesitant about what to do, and so she decides to explain the situation to her crush -- who gladly obliges because she looks cute. All this time, she is thinking about everything that her best friend did to help her out.

It is only after the kiss that she realizes that her best friend actually died alongside her while they were trying to rescue a drowning cat.

She talks to the angel who tells her that he did indeed die and in order to be resurrected, he must kiss the one he loves before the new year. She then rushes over to him just before new year arrives and kisses him while declaring that she is happy that he fell in love with her.

At that moment, she renounces her wish and fulfills his wish instead -- causing her to disappear into nothing...

The guy then begins counting down to the new year and when the countdown ends... poof! The girl reappears right in front of him and they share a hug... because his wish was to always be with her. The kiss was just the condition to fulfill the wish.

A nice, happy love story isn't it? This is actually one of the stories included in the manga "Only One Wish" (as published by Del Rey books) by Mia Ikumi. Buy it if you can. It's a good manga.

Now... what if the story was in reverse and it was the girl who was always doing her best because she loved the guy... but the guy always had some other girl at the back of his mind and never realized his feelings for the girl until the very end? Does it seem like it wouldn't feel right? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

In any case, if it doesn't feel right for you, then perhaps you should consider the possibility that you are simply using double standards to justify your personal biases. Yeah, go on... think about it.

Fanart Corner

Not much of a fanart corner today. Just a quick watercolor of an older piece that I did as an example while teaching my niece how to use watercolors.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hayate Reflections Postponed To Next Week

Well, I have a really bad sore throat right now and I'm a bit busy with IRL stuff as well, so I'll have to postpone Hayate Reflections to next week.

See you then!

Meanwhile, here's a video of Hata drawing Nagi shared by a commenter on this site. It actually gives you a lot of insight as to how he constructs his drawings -- especially the faces. It seems he uses a more anatomically correct technique nowadays: