Nagi was lost.
She had dreamt of becoming a mangaka for a long, long time. In order to fulfil her dream she kept drawing, hoping that her talents would be recognized one day. Now that her dream has suddenly become out of her reach, and she didn’t know what to do. Given her devotion to her dream, this was more than understandable. I don’t reckon she had given herself an alternative to her life, i.e. she seldom thought of what to do with her life if she could not become a mangaka.
Nor had she allowed herself to try on everything, to see if she had other interests, in school. She didn’t like to go to school, after all. What’s more, even she showed some talents and interests in finance, it was never her ambition to earn a lot of money – she had been living with a lot of money before she lost her inheritance.
Her problem, therefore, was that she no longer have a “purpose of life”, and, just like anyone who was living without a dream, she wandered. She had no parents, she had no money, and she had no dream. “But she had Hayate!” Well, yes, but certainly Nagi did not take it that way. “Hayate” was not an alternative for “mangaka”, you see.
That was what Chiharu had been talking with Hayate on their way to clear out the old furnitures. By the way, how on earth had there been so many items left in the house, if nobody had been living here for 30 years?
No, things are becoming a bit more interesting. I don’t remember Klaus has a love in magic, and he told us that he did not live in the Violet Mansion, so he would not be the one who brought in the books. On the other hand, we saw Yozora’s dog again… Had it been here before?
I am beginning to think that Yozora might have once been living in the Violet Mansion, and she was the person who had been torn away from that photo. Well, this is mere speculation.
To everybody’s surprise, Nagi went to school on her own will. “I want to have a proper career in the future, so I need to focus on my studies now.” So true but so shocking were her words, and that petrified the SC Trio. Indeed, since when had Nagi think of even going to work?
On Nagi’s side, she might be taking the whole thing bitterly. She did not like school, but now she would have to be stuck in school for a few more years. She did not like to go to work, but she would have to work. All the things she was doing and would be doing are completely against her wish. This is something very hard to take.
On the Trio’s side, there was also one thing hard to take. Nagi was supposed to be one among them, not studying hard – although Nagi scored high marks in exams. Miki said it all: “If she acts all seriuous like that, then we stand out too much!”
So true, as Yukiji was already very shocked by Nagi handing in her report.
Yet, even things in school turned badly for Nagi. To be fair, though, she was only suffering from the consequences of her pre-Golden-Week laziness. 706 out of 800 marks made her 10th of her year (or class), but that was a drop from 5h last year, so Nagi took it badly. Risa wanted to comfort her by saying that nobody could be No. 1 in everything, but one person came into Nagi’s mind, and that person appeared right at the moment, in the shape of Katsura Hinagiku.
While Risa and Miki scolded Hina for appearing at the wrong moment, Nagi asked her for a visit to the Kendo Club. If we say that there was somewhere for Nagi to begin admiring Hina, the Kendo Club would be the place. So, at this place, Nagi would once again look at the person she admired, and seeked a private talk with her.
Well, Nagi might have admired Hina, but the thing was that, she never followed Hina’s ways. Indeed, Hina was good at study and sports, and Nagi hated both; Nagi loved manga and video games, which Hina knew none. It would therefore be very surprising that Nagi admired Hina – Why would you admire someone who was almost your direct opposite? If you admired someone, why had you never tried to learn from her?
Actually, Nagi tried, by joining the Kendo Club, but she gave it up fairly quickly. It may not be a fault, but her admiration of Hina would be questionable.
Which bit of Hina has Nagi admired, anyway? Nagi answered that question in this chapter: It was the impression that Hina could be the best in anything easily. In other words, it was no more than a football fan admiring Messi for his magical tricks which all looked so easy.
Hina understood that such an impression was wrong, and she went straight in telling Nagi that “There is nothing that’s come easily to me straight away.” Indeed, while people admired her success, almost nobody cared that she put loads and loads of efforts to achieve. Any true winner has been a loser at some point of their lives (Ozora Tsubasa doesn’t count.), and the only thing is whether we had ever witnessed their defeat.
What’s hidden in Hina’s words, therefore, was that it is not the end of the world when you lose, especially when you are at the beginning of things. If you hate losing, though, you would have to fight again and again until you achieved victory. It is one thing to hate losing, and it is another to accept losing and keep fighting.
This was a piece of advice not only to Nagi, but also to Hina herself. We readers never saw how Hina had fought to her success in study and sports, but we have been watching her failures in her love life. “There is nothing that’s come easily to me straight away”, and let’s not forget that Hina had only fallen in love with Hayate for only 2 months.
Hina addressed her own problem after seeing that Hayate was peeking. “There are plenty of things that I can’t do the way I want to!” Remember her mental image of a confession in Ch. 238? That was just one example, but we witnessed it, and came to the conclusion that she was a loser. Well, currently she is a loser, but who knows if she could replicate her success in other areas, and becomes No. 1 in love life too?
There are at least three foreseeable obstacles. One is Hina’s slight hypocrisy in not practising what she lectured people: She told Yukiji and Hayate to knock before enter, but she did not knock (Or rather, we did not know even if she knocked.) when she entered Hayate’s room; She told Hayate not to be afraid to confess to Athena, but she did not confess to Hayate. If this time she told Nagi to work hard but did not work hard herself, then of course we would not be seeing any success. The second obstacle is that, honestly, romantic love is not something that always come with hard work. Some people work hard all their lives to get to the one they love, and in the end they fail. The third one is that, even if she worked hard, she was not the only hard worker. Just look at Ayumu.
Yet, it would be far too ironic for a hard-worker-who-would-not-succeed to tell a not-very-hard-worker to work hard. If Nagi and Hina were to be a pair of hard workers on their own matters, they would need proof from the other one that their way works. This might be my own idealism, but I wish success for Nagi on her manga life, and Hina on her love life. We have seen too much teasing and failures on both of them, to be honest.
Back to the topic. Just how much Hina’s words has got into Nagi’s mind? Very little, I would say. Imagine Messi telling you that he failed to hit the ball in the beginning, and I am sure that your response would be “Yeah, but you are different, because you are Messi, and I am nobody.” Of course Nagi heard Hina, because she was thinking what Hina told her, but when Nagi was so sure that she could not do what Hina could do, then Hina’s words were no more than crap.
Then there came Chiharu with Luca’s doujinshi, and when Nagi read it again, her spirits were suddenly lifted. She now had a good look at some artworks other than Ashibashi-sensei’s, and came to understand that not every mangaka was so unreachable as Ashibashi-sensei. Nagi wanted a stage to prove that she had talents, and Luca’s level, with all due respect, was reachable for her. If she could do it, then she could prove her talents, and the “There is nothing that’s come easily to me straight away” advice would then be applicable to her. This is what I think Nagi was thinking.
So, Chiharu, upon seeing that Nagi has her spirits back, invited her to help in the Doujinshi Convention. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Next chapter we would have a coloured cover and the announcement of the third Character Poll. I have bad-mouthed about the Character Poll too much so my following sentence would not be convincing, but still… Please look forward to a good and meaningful poll!