Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hayate Reflections: My Digital Art Process

I have a new Hayate-inspired story that I'll be featuring next week. For now, let me walk you through my digital art process in this video.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Nagi's Character Development Part 2

Lordcloudx here again and this week, we’re picking up right where we left off and discussing Nagi’s character development. So let’s get right down to it.

Beating Maria and not being afraid of the dark anymore

The next stage of Nagi’s character development came in the closing moments of the level 5 arc in chapter 515. At this point, Maria had gotten into the act and it culminates into a roulette battle between Nagi and Maria. This was a pretty iconic moment for Nagi. It marked the first time that she had ever beaten Maria in any game – since one of Maria’s quirks is that she’s basically invincible at games. Secondly, Nagi won without relying on Hayate or any other outside factors except the traits she was born with – an amazing intellect and even more amazing luck, which she was well aware of.

Needless to say, both Hayate and Maria were shocked by her victory. It is at this point wherein  her two pseudo guardians would disagree in their assessment of her. Maria notes how she has been sleeping on her own without being afraid of the dark for a while, but Hayate, in total denial says that nothing about her has really changed. At this point, Hayate is conflicted because he is probably well-aware of Nagi’s rapid development, but at the same time, he wants to retain the status quo.

Climax - heart broken

Next, we move on to the climax of Nagi’s development in chapter 561 and onwards.  And of course, this was the point when Nagi found out that Hayate never confessed to her all along and it leads to an explosion of negative emotions from her that was strong enough to open the path to the royal garden.

It’s also worth noting that delusional Nagi haters thought her ship had sunk at this point because Hayate had nooo romantic feelings for her. How did that turn out for you?

Ahem… anyway, her character development seemed to have taken a step back here since she wished for a world where Hayate loves her and thus, the royal power granted her wish by sending her into an illusory world where she could live with a fake Hayate and Maria forever.

Chapter 566

Of course, her redemption wouldn’t take too long. Near the end of the manga, Hayate manages to convince her that the time that they spent together wasn’t a lie even if he hadn’t noticed her feelings for him. This continues on into chapter 567 when Nagi’s character development reaches its true climax. It is here that Nagi gives up her inheritance to Hisui and then subsequently sets Hayate free, choosing to live on her own and become the woman that she had always aspired to be. Hayate stares at her with a lovestruck look on her face – which is easy to confirm if you will visit Hata’s blog – but if you’re in denial, then that’s too bad.. for you.

Also, let me take this moment to say that… of course Hisui was ok with just leaving and not causing any more harm after everything that’s happened. Nagi gave the inheritance to her. She got what she wanted. Furthermore, no matter how violent and greedy she was portrayed to be, Hisui never once tried to directly harm Nagi nor did she ever show that she hated her childhood friend.

And of course with that, there’s nothing left to do except to confirm Nagi’s character development – and this is adequately done when we see her two years later as a 16 year-old. Able to take care of herself in all aspects and most importantly – being stalked by Hayate for the last two years until she finally calls him out to confess to her for a happy, lovey-dovey ending.

Fanart Corner

Just a painting of Nagi in casual clothes this time. Reference was some Korean model, I think. Used White Nights watercolors for this one.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Manila Trip 2018 - Day 6 (Final Day)

We spent most of the day packing up our things. We just finished off the food we had left inside the fridge for breakfast. After making sure that nothing had been left behind, we made our way downstairs with our luggage to check out. There was a bit of a misunderstanding because they requested us to deposit 4000 php as security on the first day, which would be returned when we checked out. However, the receipt they gave us only said 2000 php. Of course, my mother and I were pretty sure that we gave 4000 php, we just failed to check the receipt. My mother was about ready to explode on the woman behind the front desk at this point because she was actually the same employee who made the request when we first checked in. Fortunately, she just asked us to sign a paper acknowledging that we received our 4000 php back and there was no need for us to make much of a protest. Pretty sure the hotel would just settle things amicably rather than risk having us go public with it via social media and ruin their reputation anyway.

We then opted to just stay in the lobby for a while to wait.

A relative would be picking us up in her car for lunch. By about 12:00, the car arrived and after loading our luggage into the back of the car, we were off to the Power Plant Mall for lunch. It was just a short drive away.

I figured that since this was our last day, it was a good time for some last-minute shopping. We met another relative inside the power plant (both of them were women about 20 years or so older than me, by the way).

Anyway, while they were choosing a restaurant at the ground floor of the mall, I excused myself to go to the restroom. After that, I took a little detour up to the top floor and the Fully-Booked store over there. I browsed around the manga section for a bit to see if there was anything I wanted to buy -- nope.

Next, I went over to the art supplies section and bought three packs of 4x6" watercolor paper from Tokyo Finds and some black paper (these would be great for colored pencils and pastels).

At this point, I also took Nagi's last picture in Manila for a while.
See you again, Manila!

I rejoined my mother and relatives for lunch -- which was nice, except I forgot the name of the restaurant. Anyway, they had a mixture of different Asian food ranging from Thai to Indian and Chinese.

After a little bit of chit-chat, they wanted to see some of my watercolor paintings and they each asked for one -- and I was like, yeah, why not? Interestingly, they choose the ones that I rendered with Sakura Koi and not the Kuretake Gansai Tambi ones.

So with lunch done, we walked back to the carpark to go to our next destination. Dali's son came to pick her up at this point and we parted ways there. "Nene," the one who came with us to the mall would be accompanying us all the way to the airport. Fortunately, our flight was still at 11:40 PM, we had the rest of the day ahead. It was about 1:30 PM.

We had no idea where to go next so we let Nene decide. She asked us if we wanted to visit the house of our other relatives living here and we agreed. It took about 45 minutes to get there, but unfortunately, they were out of the house. Thus, we went on our way. She took us to a nearby SM Mall where our relatives were waiting. It was a mall that we'd never been to before. This place was on the outskirts of Manila, actually. Outside of the main city.

The mall was a bit smaller than most Manila malls, but it was quite passable. We walked around inside for a bit and finally met up with our relatives -- including her husband, children and grandchildren. It was a sort of mini-reunion. We found a place to sit inside of Pizza Hut and they ordered extra-large pizzas for everyone. My mother and I just ate a slice each because we were still full.

We spent quite some time chatting and reminiscing about our other relatives in Iloilo and all across the Philippines. I just mostly listened and let my mother do all the talking. I'm really not good with this type of stuff. In any case, they were really nice people and I definitely didn't feel uncomfortable nor left out.

After that, it was about time to get to the airport. It was around 6:40 PM when we parted ways with everyone and Nene drove us off to the airport, NAIA Terminal 3.

On the way there, she shared her own stories and heartaches with us -- especially about her singing career and her parents.

She dropped us off at the entrance to the airport and recommended that we see the Casino that was connected to terminal 3. 

After checking in our heavy luggage, we considered the thought, but ultimately decided against it because of how bulky our handcarry luggage was. Fortunately, terminal 3 has a mini-mall on the second floor with its own food court and several shops. We walked around the shops for a bit and then decided to eat a little bit for dinner. It was about 8:30 PM at this point. There were several restaurants there, including some high end ones. In the end, we opted for something simple at Wendy's.

I noticed there were several Caucasians in the restaurant as well -- and I noticed they acclimated to the "Filipino way" pretty quickly... and by that, I mean leaving their trash right on their table without even bothering to fix things up a bit for the waiter. Hah! Looks like we Filipinos aren't the only ones who act like lazy slobs when given the chance.

Heh, with that aside, we went straight to the waiting area after that and awaited our flight home. It took about 4 anime episodes on my phone before boarding time.

And that concludes our 6-day Manila trip for 2018.

Final Thoughts

Over-all, I'd say that this was the most fulfilling of any of our trips to Manila. Over the course of our trip, I'd heard the many colorful stories of people from all walks of life who have etched out a living in this massively diverse city. 

We were never really at a loss as to what to do in Manila and a part of it is because we were pretty familiar with the city at this point and which places we wanted to visit there. My only regret is that I never got to try ice skating while over there -- although we do have our own skating rink in Festive Walk Mall that opened fairly recently. A video of the Skating Rink shows that it's probably about the size of half a basketball court or less though... that's kinda pathetic.

Personally, I think Manila is a place that I could get used to living in pretty quickly. The city is so big that almost everyone on the street is a stranger -- unlike Iloilo City, which is so small that you're bound to run into someone you know if you hang out in the malls and other densely populated areas for a while. Being in such a massive city with so many people going about the daily rat race of life within the massive network of roads, skyways, and buildings that characterize Manila sort of serves as a reminder of just how insignificant we really all are in the grand scheme of things. I realize that most people see this as a negative, but for someone like me, an antisocial individual who doesn't quite value self-importance the way others seem to, I find it comforting -- reassuring even. 

I think I wouldn't dislike such an existence; being someone totally content to be nothing in a world where every other person is aiming to be something. 

With that said, this has been our 6-day trip to Manila and this is lordcloudx out. See you again in future travels to come.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Nagi's Character Development Part 1

Greetings, lordcloudx here and this week, I'd like to talk about an often-understated portion of Hayate no Gotoku and of course, this would be Nagi's character development.  I mean, sure, it’s pretty much in-your-face if you were paying attention throughout the series, but I say that it’s understated because people often purposely ignore her character development to talk about the imaginary romantic developments they perceive with Hayate and all the other girls in his harem except for Nagi.

Therefore, let’s try to rectify this. I’ll keep things nice and simple.

Starting A Part Time Job

Now let me get this straight. I’m fairly certain that Nagi’s character development was always a work-in-progress that actually culminated in the penultimate chapter of the manga, but in my opinion, there were several key chapters that really highlighted her character development and of course, taking on a part time job was one of the first triggers.

At this point in the story, Nagi had just decided to burn a winning ticket for some small-time prize that Hayate had won. She was wondering why Hayate was so upset about it. Therefore, a little bit later, she asked Hayate what he would like for a birthday present and when Hayate said that he’d like a watch if it was from her so that he could always keep it with him, she decided to take on a part time job at the Café where Hayate and Hina work – Café Donguri. This triggers an episode wherein she totally shows up Ayumu when it’s shown that they’re both clueless about working in a café but that Nagi actually learns pretty fast.

It may not have seemed like much, but this was one of the first times that we were shown a more competent side of Nagi – even if it was played off for laughs.

Chapter 252

Chapter 252 needs no introduction, but for non-manga readers, I’ll do it anyway. This was the turning point for Nagi’s character development, basically. It was during this time when Nagi broke the King’s Jewel for Hayate’s sake. Her grandfather Mikado had said that the stone should be protected at all costs because it was the proof of her inheritance. On the other hand, Hayate had been informed by Nagi’s friend Isumi that his childhood sweetheart, Athena, needed the stone to be broken in order to be freed from the curse of King Midas. As you can imagine, Hayate was put into quite a predicament. 

He had to choose between saving the woman that he arguably loves and the girl who became his savior at the lowest moment of his life. Of course, while Hayate was agonizing over the decision he had to make – Nagi made that decision for him by breaking the king’s jewel herself and therefore, putting Hayate out of his misery. In effect, she actually gave up her inheritance just to see him happy – but wait, here’s the best part: Nagi was totally unaware of just how serious the matter was for Hayate since she had no clue about the curse of King Midas nor of Athena’s case. 

She broke the stone only because she saw that it was something that was troubling Hayate – in short, she did it out of a pure and honest love for him – however you may choose to label this love – platonic, romantic, whatever.

Writing Her Own Manga

The next stage of Nagi’s character development came in the mangaka arc. As you all know, she and Ruka were competing in a self-imposed doujin competition here with Hayate at stake. If Ruka won, Nagi would set Hayate free from his debt and allow him to marry Ruka. On the other hand, if Nagi won, then the status quo would stay and Ruka would continue being a pop idol and not bother her about Hayate again.

In the end, beyond the matter of who actually won the competition, the entire point of this arc was simply to show Nagi accomplishing a personal victory of her own – writing a manga from the heart and selling it herself despite having her manuscript almost destroyed just a few days before the due date of the competition.

Nearing The Finish

Nearing the end of the manga now, the next phase of Nagi’s character development happened in the Level 5 arc in chapter 510. It was during this time when Nagi began to reflect on her feelings for Hayate and about how her feelings of love were closely connected with the debt that he had with her at that time.

What she said at that time was: “I didn’t fall in love with him because he said he loved me. There must be times when someone falls in love with someone else upon first laying eyes on them.  Hayate, a lot has happened since I met you. They were busy and turbulent times, but they were still happy times. Is that why? Once that happiness became commonplace and the liveliness grew normal… I found I wasn’t sure of something. I didn’t know why you were by my side. Was it because you loved me? Or… was it because of your debt? Unlike formless love, solid numbers are powerful. At some point, those solid numbers had bound the two of us and become a strong support for my heart. But if not for that… Hayate, would you still stay by my side? Can I still believe in that formless bond? Hayate, my feelings for you have not changed.”

And then it stops as the alarm clock wakes her up… anyway, in this chapter we can see the reaffirmation and growth of Nagi’s love for Hayate. Yes, it may have started as a simple crush, but at this point in the story, surely, those feelings have blossomed into love – not yet reciprocal at this point… but now we all know what happens in the future.

She didn’t know it at that time, but it was also in this chapter when Hayate would permanently pay off his debt of 150 million yen to her – while still choosing to remain as her butler.

Anyway, this video is getting a bit too long, so I’m going to cut it up into two parts. This has been Hayate Reflectons and I will see you next week for part 2 of my personal analysis of Nagi’s character development. This is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

Hata-sensei noticed me again this week~
Link to twitter post:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Manila Trip 2018 - Day 5

The 5th day of our trip fell on a Saturday. While we woke up pretty early, there was really not much to do since my mother's former High School classmates would be picking us up by 10:00-10:30 for a mini get-together that they would be having. I'd be tagging along, of course.

We had breakfast just inside our hotel room. The refrigerator was stocked with provisions that we hadn't used up yet -- including several cups of yogurt and ice cream. 

Anyway, by 10:30, two of my mother's classmates picked us up in a Mitsubishi Adventure SUV. It was actually a short drive to where we were going -- a place called "Paluto" just in the outskirts of SM Mall of Asia. 

Paluto was a pretty rustic place. There was a wet market at the center and several places where you could have your raw food materials cooked. They had fish, vegetables, and meat, as well as some miscellaneous items like sunglasses and cheap children's toys in their wet market. The way it works is that you buy your own groceries there and then head inside one of the many restaurants to have them cook the food to your specifications. There's an extra charge for that service, of course. Part of the reason why I think my mother's classmates chose this place is because the owners were "Ilonggos" from Iloilo City.

Anyway, we were led to a large long table where a few of my mother's other classmates were already waiting. Some of them wouldn't arrive until a few minutes later. Me having nothing much to do, I settled down to completing another mini painting. I was really loving these 4x6" pieces of watercolor paper.

When the food was finally prepared, I was quite impressed. The vegetable dish that they cooked made out of broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and a few greens was really something else.

The group spent quite a while taking selfies, asking me to take group pics of them and just having a fun chat reminiscing about old times in general. 

By about 2:30, it was time for everyone to go on their separate ways. We were driven back to the hotel, of course.

Back at the hotel, we rested up a bit until about 5:30. We'd be meeting a younger batch at SM Mall of Asia -- some of my former seniors at the University of San Agustin Publications, and one younger individual who also went through the USA Pub and was a close friend of my mother's.

We took a GRAB car to SM MOA and it took just a little bit above 15 minutes to get there -- it was actually really close to where we were staying. When we arrived at about 5:30, no one was there yet. I decided that this was a good time to buy a few more clothes for Nagi. We went to a local toy shop called Toy Kingdom, where I picked up three more dresses for her. While I was paying at the counter, one of the people that were to meet, Jakeson, arrived. He worked at Call Center here and as I learned, was also into SEO and other virtual assistant stuff -- pretty much, what I do. Also, he'd become much, much more muscular since I last saw him. Oh, and he does Acrylic paintings too. He showed me a few pics of some paintings that he did on T-Shirts and canvas shoes. He's got some pretty competent skills.

We walked around a bit more and into the department store where my mother managed to buy some piece of makeup or something as a "pasalubong" for someone back in Iloilo City. A little while later, the youngest individual we were to meet, Pietros,  To my surprise, he seemed like a rather reserved young man -- even moreso than I am IRL. (Yeah, yeah... I know it's hard to picture me as an introvert based on how I write, but you'll have to take my word for it that I really am.)

The last person who would be joining the group said texted us that he was still somewhere in Ortigas -- which was still a bit far away considering the traffic situation since it was the weekend. We decided to find a place to have dinner at this point. The group chose some kind of Asian-Filipino restaurant. We ordered in advance for the group. Greg, the last person to join us, finally arrived at about 7:00 PM, just about time for our food to be served. I was quite surprised at how fit and slim he'd become since we last met as well.

It was really nice sitting down and just chatting with this group. We learned a lot about each other and what everyone else has been doing the past few years. We also learned that everyone shared a mutual dislike for our current president -- because honestly, no matter what kind of progress our compatriots may perceive is happening, that doesn't justify the rampant murders being left unresolved in our country. We also talked about all kinds of things such as our views on literature, art, career paths and our personal philosophies. This is the kind of group that I like to be with, personally -- people who want to make more than just small talk and really dig deep into different issues. I also managed to complete another Nagi drawing on the paper placemat.
Now if I could only remember the name of this place...

It was about 9:30 by the time we left the place. Greg, an attorney who was currently working for a local advertising agency, offered to picked up the bill. We couldn't really disagree.

After this, we took a taxi to a 24-hour Tim Horton's that was actually just a few blocks away -- of course, given how massive the buildings are in this area, a few blocks away probably translates to about 4-6 kilometers.
If you don't know where I am in this pic... you really need to get a clue.

We ordered some vanilla, coffee and a few light snacks at Tim Horton's. There, the group continued discussing different topics that just flowed one after another -- including mutual acquaintances and our experiences with San Agustin. It was a lot of fun but at about 11:40, it was about time to call it a night for everyone. We booked a grab car and had planned to have the car drop us off at multiple locations so we could chat a bit more while in the car. Unfortunately, the car we booked had already scheduled multiple drop points with two other passengers with whom my mother and I shared the ride with. So with that, we parted ways with everyone.
I recently sent one of my paintings to Greg as thanks for his genuine hospitality during our trip

There was no more traffic at this time of the night during the drive back to the hotel. We arrived at exactly 12:00 AM. We started packing up our things a bit at this point, since we would be leaving tomorrow.

With that said, day 5 of our trip to Manila ends here. See you soon for the last day of our trip.