It’s quite interesting. Although, admittingly, this chapter was no ship-builder, and was pretty much close to a ship-teaser, I actually found this chapter more acceptable than expected. Make no mistake, I don’t like Hayate-Hina ship-teasers, but the way Hata presented this chapter successfully persuaded me to give him one or two more chances. In the following I would try to explain my position.
Before anything, we were given a side-story of Nagi, Maria and Chiharu discussing the lack of their Hakuo Academy school life after the Golden Week. In fact, after the Golden Week, there were only 2 chapters that had anything to do with school life: Ch. 267 focused on Hina’s donkey ears, and Ch. 273 was mainly about Hayate’s gigolo power. Nagi and Chiharu were not quite involved in these 2 chapters, so it’s understandable that Nagi complained that she hasn’t been shown going to school. However, her comment was not entirely correct, because according to Ch. 273, she did go to school, just that she hated PE lesson and went to the infirmary. It’s a good thing that Nagi came to think about school, though. Let’s wait for her to be in her school uniform again!
So we were back in the coffee shop, while Hina was trying to calm down from the shock of the indirect kiss in last chapter. Her reasoning was funny but sad: “Hayate-kun isn’t even aware that anything happened.” After all the things happened over the past few months, Hina has a good understanding of Hayate’s dumbness, but she could do nothing about it. She didn’t even have the courage to take a revenge on him by indirectly kiss him back, though honestly I was grateful for that, because she would be falling too low if she “revenged”… When she could do nothing in the end, she became completely silent, and the atmosphere became so tense that even Hayate could feel that something was wrong.
Make no mistake. Hayate was in no way aware of Hina’s feelings. It was just that he sensed that the “Volcano Hina” has been activated because of her feelings, and the last thing he wanted was an eruption. He was always afraid of Hina’s wrath, because, for whatever reason, he found an angry Hina extremely scary, to the point that he would actually be killed. He knew that he has to do something, so to, at the very least, stay alive.
Conversation was not the best choice. Past events had shown us that when Hina was angry, she would bottle herself up until she reached the threshold. Yet Hayate opted to talk, and he mentioned that it was the first time the two of them talked after Golden Week trip. Well, these two were both busy people, so they seldom had time to talk between themselves. The situation was of course understandable, but in a (possible) relationship this was never a good thing. I think this partly explained why these two had little progress in their relationship: They did not have time to talk over their misunderstandings and get to the real minds of each other. To a certain extent they mutually understood each other, but to the very same extent they mutually misunderstood each other. That’s the problem.
Speaking of the Golden Week trip really stirred the mind of Hina, though. As she suggested, a lot of things happened. She helped Hayate out of his troubles almost everyday they were together, grabbed but lost the chance to confess her feelings, and witnessed the reunion of Hayate and Athena. In the previous post-Golden-Week arcs she showed little concern about the horrible experience during the trip, which was honestly impossible. Her asking Hayate if he had contacted Athena after the trip showed that she actually cared. Athena was not out of her mind as her love rival, and perhaps as her friend. As Hina was Athena’s only friend other than Hayate, when Athena finally returned to Japan, perhaps we could see some more Hina-Athena moments?
It was hard for me to understand what Hayate was thinking behind suggesting to call Hina “Hina-tan”. It was of course a response to Hina’s teasing that he was calling Athena by that cutesy name even after he was dumped, but that would not result in addressing Hina as “Hina-tan” from then on. I think, either Hayate thought that it was not really a serious business to address anyone as “-tan”, or that he thought Hina could fall into the same category as Athena. For now, I think the former would be a safer bet. In any case, Hina rejected the offer, so it was likely that we would not hear Hayate mentioning “Hina-tan”, at least for a long while.
What had to come would come, and finally Hina noticed the cart and the box, and she once again demonstrated how good her observation was. Tama was horrified, and he decided to take Hina down before she could reach the truth. Hayate defended Hina from Tama’s attacks, and as a result we had the highlight of this chapter.
As he could not offer Hina the correct explanation, Hayate thought hard for the justification of his behaviour, or the “Volcano Hina” would erupt because of the body contact. The excuse he came up with, however, was one of if not the worst: It was a prank on Hina. Well, I think no matter if the girl had feelings for the boy, such a prank hurts, and it was all too natural for “Volcano Hina” to… explode. There had been so many volcanic eruptions from Hina before and during the Golden Week, while it was the first time after. A lot of such eruptions were not reasonable, but this time, I think Hayate completely deserved it.
Although we knew that he was “just kidding” about embracing Hina, the interesting thing was that, technically speaking, Hayate had not lied to her. It was true that he embraced Hina without thinking, and it was also true that he did not embrace her because she was lovely – he was only saving her from Tama. The only questionable part of his statements was, therefore, whether he honestly found Hina lovely. Well…?
I suggested in the beginning of this article that this arc was closer to a ship-teaser than a ship-builder, but I would tolerate this one although I hate ship-teasers. The reason was that I think this chapter was slightly different from the recently previous ones, as it demonstrated Hayate’s effort in his relationship with Hina. Post-Ch. 239 Hina arcs had been focused on Hina’s fruitless efforts in the ship, either because of Hayate’s dumbness or Hina’s own bad luck. Such a one-way portrait of the ship has become more and more boring, and at the same time it reduced the status of Hina further and further below. This chapter, however, finally showed what kind of effort Hayate would put on Hina. Although his attempts were a horrible failure, his attitude should be acknowledged, and I would be willing to give him some more chances.
And how could I resist the joy of Hina finally gaining an upper hand in post-Ch. 239 Hayate-Hina confrontations? She might not be able to grab Hayate’s attention on her love of him, but he always has the full attention of Hina’s wrath at him. It was usually not a good thing, unless Hayate knew that he had done something wrong. At least, this time, he knew that he pulled a lousy prank. And if, by any chance, he would remember to apologize to Hina on the following day, things would be even better.
This chapter ended with Hayate carrying Tama again, while thinking how to apologize to Hina on the following day. Then a firework rocket hit the box, and the box was quickly on fire. So who threw that rocket on the box? Was Tama alright? Let’s wait for the answer in the next chapter.
… After I re-read what I have written, I can’t help but ask myself: What’s with the dull tone in this article…?