The third Official Hayate no Gotoku! Character Poll takes place between 13 and 27 October. Non-Japanese like me cannot fill in valid information they are asking, and so would not be able to take part in the Poll – that is, if we are honest to ourselves and not playing tricks.
As I could not vote myself, all I could do now is to make some predictions on the outcome. Here I list my predictions on the Top 10 rankings, the vote counts and the reasons behind them. Please be aware that these are only my personal predictions and are not supposed to stir up any hard feelings.
So, here we go!
No. 10: Segawa Izumi (600 votes)
To be fair, Izumi has done nothing wrong in these two years. She remained a happy classmate of Hayate, a happy member of the SC Rangers, and a happy subordinate to Hina (A little too happy, perhaps?). In other words, she did not deserve to lose votes and suffer a heavy drop in rankings.
The only thing is that, as the story goes, she has become a little bit more insignificant than expected. Instead of becoming a strong contender for Hayate, she joined Miki and Risa again and reformed the happy SC Trio. It might be expected, but nonetheless disappointing.
Hopes are not dead for her, but as the other characters have outshone her recently, it is not impossible for her to drop to No. 10.
No. 9: Ayasaki Ikusa (700 votes)
If there is any new character who could hit Top 10 this time, it has to be Ikusa.
The mysterious ally of justice who came to set Athena free, cut one of King Midas’ arms, and looked handsome and cool and everything… Well, if you would want to name a male hero in this series, I think you would name him rather than Hayate.
His man-ness would be a great asset, because, as you all know too well, there is no real man other than him. Surely he would attract a lot of hero fans. What’s more, a lot of people seem to be okay if their favourite girl could have him…
No. 8: Saginomiya Isumi (750 votes)
The mysterious, adorable and very powerful girl has always grabbed the fans’ heart.
She could make you laugh by her words, thoughts and actions which make no sense at all, and yet when the time came for her to do serious business, she would show you how fearful she could be.
The very epic Battle of Athens was indeed a great boost for her. She could actually hit 7th if the following person has not been performing so well recently.
No. 7: Harukaze Chiharu (850 votes)
She has been quite popular among fans for being a cool student and a funny maid, but the recent arc is what would be essential for her to rank up.
Indeed, she was not involved in the Golden Week trip, but she made sure that she would be a vital character in the “Mangaka arc”. She proved to us that she could be a caring big sister for Nagi, and provide great support whenever it was Otaku-related.
The best of all, the “Mangaka arc” is something ongoing, so fans would have a fresh impression of her, and could be more willing to vote for her.
No. 6: Ayasaki Hayate (900 votes)
Well, you might find it surprising that the main character could fall this far, but I would say he is just not good enough. What’s worse, if he is unlucky enough, he could be knocked to 7th by Chiharu…
The thing is that, sometimes he shine, but other times you would find him letting you down. His reunion with Athena was very touching, but a lot of fans are not happy that he decided to mention how good Nagi was right in front of the one he (supposedly) loved. He said he was dumped, and I would say he deserved it. He has been extremely useless in the current Mangaka arc, so it actually became Chiharu’s job to guide Nagi out of her difficulties.
We might say that this guy has unlimited gigolo power, but at the same time this guy also has unlimited power to make fans mad. His genuine lack of delicacy upset the girls who loved him, which in turn upset the fans who support those girls.
He might look like a nice guy, but he was only good at his loyalty to Nagi and his butler abilities. Other than that, he was only a very average person who is fully deserved to be knocked out of Top 5.
No. 5: Nishizawa Ayumu (1100 votes)
Another person who shone in recent arcs, and has developed into a very great character.
Perhaps she was just a normal person, but her heart made her the greatest friend you would ever have. She cheered Hina on her love matters, and she cheered Nagi on her manga ambition. She was the bigger sister to both of them.
It seems that, after all these years of try and error, Hata finally knows how to maximize her “Hamster power” and get the recognitions and love she always deserved. She came through a long path of growth and became a very matured person who was much more supportive to the story than expected.
She might not be the most loved girl in the series, but perhaps she is the least hated one. Interesting, isn’t it?
No. 4: Maria (1700 votes)
Maria has a strong fan-base so I do not see her losing a lot of votes, but she would still find it difficult to keep her position as the second favourite.
For a person of her popularity, Maria was surprisingly inactive during the Athena saga, and she did not do much better in the new era either. She has always been the maid who stands behind the crowd, smiling, and watching things go without too much care – until she was asked to be in action.
There is nothing wrong to be a spectator, but you couldn’t ask for a lot more fans to fall for a spectator either. The problem for Maria is that, while there are at least 2 opponents who would be gathering a lot more votes than last time, she might find it difficult to gather the same number of votes to herself. If you can’t keep up with your opponents’ growth, sooner or later they would overtake you. Simple as that.
That is to say, it is not that Maria is not good enough to keep her position, but there are characters doing better jobs and are ready to overtake her.
No. 3: Sanzen’in Nagi (2400 votes)
A lot of things happened during and after the Athena saga, and finally we could say that the world is now beginning to revolve around Nagi.
Being the one who claimed Hayate at the end of the Athena saga, and the main heroine of the current arc, and the one character who is showing signs of significant growth, it is quite impossible for her not to have a great boost in votes. Would that be enough for her to be ranked higher is another matter.
The timing of the current Character Poll might do her a favour as well. She is currently performing strong in Japanese Anime Saimoe 2010, and by the date of publication she is a confirmed finalist, and no HnG character other than her has ever reached that far. Surely, Anime Saimoe is not the only tournament, and its significance is questionable, but for those who care, it is surely a great boost in morale.
So, who knows? If her fans could be motivated by all these great news, and actively cast their votes, she might give us a big surprise in this Poll.
No. 2: Tennosu Athena (2700 votes)
Somehow, the popularity of Athena is unquestionable. Many people expect her to be one of the most favourite characters, and some people even suggest that she would be the one who take Hinagiku down.
This is a valid argument. She has already gathered over 1000 votes by one long arc. Then there came the whole long Athena saga in which Hayate declared that Athena was the one he loved. She was really under the spotlights, outshining most if not all characters. Her abilities were set so that it would almost be impossible to defeat her in any single way except physical height. How could she not, then, be the fan favourite?
However, Hata has not been very kind to her fans. Ever since the end of the Athena saga, her appearance was limited to one panel, and that was when Hina brought her name up to discuss with Hayate. Surely, her lack of appearance might be her greatest disadvantage.
Still, I don’t think real harm has already been done, and even if Athena would not be as strong as she was during the Athena saga, she would still be strong enough to secure a position in Top 3 and even make it to second.
No. 1: Katsura Hinagiku (3300 votes)
One single sentence could sum up the year 2010 for Hinagiku: This is not her year. Endless teasers in the story combined with her first round exit in Japanese Anime Saimoe 2010 would be quite enough for her fans to take. Glory-hunters should have already run away in horror, to say the least. For this reason, I don’t find it too surprising if she would lose 900 votes or so…
If you want to point at some fault for Hina to deserve her bad luck, I would say that I couldn’t find any. She has done extremely well in the Athena saga, taking up major roles nicely and sent the fans’ emotions on rollercoaster rides. As I have already pointed out, those who appreciate her efforts would simply love her more, and that should be applicable to all Hina fans.
How many votes Hina would get, and whether she could keep her “favourite character” tag, really depends on her fans’ attitude then. If they could stay strong with their love of Hina, then Hina would still have very good prospect in winning this Poll. If they give up on Hina and skip the Poll or even vote for other characters, then… she might end up getting less than 3300 votes.
If there is any meaning to Hina other than the infamous “Death Flag theory”, it would be a test on the faithfulness of her fans. My fellow Hina fans might protest that I underestimate them, so… prove me wrong, won’t you?