Well, we surely have had quite a few darker and more depressing chapters. Our “good guys” lost almost everything other than their own lives, the “bad guys” walked away with an almost flawless victory. Not to mention the very dark colour tone throughout the last few chapters, although that had more to do with the fact that the battle took place at night.
Whether you like it or not, this chapter has taken a much lighter tone. It tried to offer some fun, it didn’t carry all the heavy weight like the last few chapters, it involved a lot more other characters, and it took place during the day. Personally I think this is a much welcomed break after a rather intense but painful-to-watch battle over something that I never really cared that much.
In any case, it turned out that nobody was that seriously hurt during the fight, as all three of our heroes managed to recover from their injuries after a night’s sleep. This little fact seems to justify the claim that Himegami and Hisui were not that much more powerful than Hayate and co. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that Himegami and Hisui at least managed to leave the scene on their own feet, while Hayate and co. needed Sakuya’s help.
Am I the only one wondering who undressed the unconscious Hayate?
Hayate being Hayate can’t help himself but reinforcing his misunderstanding with Nagi again. The “misunderstanding”, as we can see, has always been a matter of a lack of a proper and common context. The problem for both Hayate and Nagi is that, the difference in their different contexts seems to have gotten bigger and bigger, while they were totally unaware that they were definitely not talking about the same thing.
You have to wonder how much a night’s separation had done to these two. Nagi was even more convinced than ever that Hayate would marry her after a girls’ talk with Chiharu. Hayate was even more determined to protect Nagi after Himegami and Hisui putting him through Hell. With both sides having their own context reinforced by different events, the gap in their misunderstanding kept on getting bigger and bigger.
Imagine how Maria saw the situation. There had been a bomb since the very beginning. Yet instead of trying to dispose the bomb, the squad somehow managed to pile up the explosives, set a fire to the scene and get as many people as possible around the scene. With every passing day, the damage of the inevitable explosion got bigger and bigger.
Should Maria take things into her own hands, trigger the bomb and hurt both Hayate and Nagi, and get blamed for the whole incident? I think she was smart enough not to do so, but staying away would certainly cause a problem with her conscience. This would be a tough decision.
The rest of this chapter focused on the interaction between Athena – now returned to her full glory – and the residents of the Violet Mansion. More precisely, the focus was on the interaction between someone who recognised the others and the others who didn’t recognise her. More importantly, Athena never knew what went wrong until the final panel. This seems to be a rather proper birthday present for Athena – remember, this chapter was published on 30 November, Athena’s birthday.
The “others” we mentioned above include Ayumu, Chiharu, Kayura and Hinagiku. Now, while all of them had lived with “Alice” for quite a while, Athena was a total stranger to the first three on a personal level. Ayumu (Shiomi High) and Kayura (new Hakuou student) never ever knew whom Athena was. Chiharu might have seen Athena at Hakuou before, but it seems that they had never ever talked before. To them, a total stranger had just visited their home and talked to them like they were friends. Imagine Donald Trump coming to your home and asked about your day, and you have the idea.
That brings us to Hinagiku, who was a personal friend of Athena, and shared a room with “Alice” for a few months. For some reason, Hinagiku was not able to put two and two together and reach the conclusion that it was Athena who had lived with her all this time. To her, an old but astray friend had just turned up at her home and talked to her like nothing had ever happened. Imagine… well, it isn’t really that difficult to understand how weird this feels.
Remember that Hayate managed to figure out that “Alice” was in fact Athena in two chapters. Hinagiku, as Athena’s closest friend other than Hayate himself, really should have no excuse for failing to notice just how much “Alice” looked like a young Athena. One might argue that Hinagiku was too rational to believe in such supernatural things, but this is a failure that means she was blind…
In any case, Athena suggested that they would need to talk later – presumably after her bath. I don’t know how Hinagiku would react to Athena’s sudden return: being happy to reconcile with Athena, or being embarrassed to share a room (and a secret) with her without knowing. Athena, on the other hand, might opt to jump straight to the Royal business.
I think that Hinagiku could be a lot more useful to the final battle than just opening the gate to Hakuou Academy, but whatever.
At the end of this chapter, Athena finally realised why everyone was not talking to her normally. The return of her boobs means that she has returned to her adult form, which nobody at the Violet Mansion recognised. As to why Athena did not notice this earlier? Simple: Athena forgot that she looked different to the others because there wasn’t a significant change in her height!
You see, even after she returned to her true form, she still had to face up to talk to Ayumu, Chiharu and Hinagiku. The experience of a conversation with them wasn’t that much different from before, so why would she notice? The “different” experience finally came when she looked down, not up. It proves that sometimes you need to look somewhere closer to yourself for the truth.
So… welcome back, Athena.