Oh, yes, for those who care, today is the 22nd birthday of Ayasaki Hayate, so… CONGRATULATIONS!
Luka – a.k.a. Luca, Ruca, Ruka… just pick any version you like. I pick Luca.
For the argument’s sake I would assume Luca was a girl. This is the general consent, and if it turns out to be wrong, then the whole setup since Ch. 268 would be the biggest trap in the Century.
We have heard this name in Ch. 268, which started with Nagi cursing it. In the cross-page coloured cover we could see one unknown character, and we put two plus two together and understood that the unknown character was called “Luca”. In Ch. 280 we saw her grabbing a debt note with the name “Luca” printed on it. Chiharu told us that it was a she, and that she was a person very similar to Hayate. In Ch. 289 she was on phone with Chiharu, who promised to help in an event later proven to be the Doujinshi Convention. During the Convention, Luca dressed in a mascot uniform and visited Sunshine 60. There she witnessed Nagi defending her work even though they never knew each other. Finally, Ch. 296 had its titled named after her.
Therefore, it took 7 months, or 29 chapters, for Luca’s “formal” introduction. Now I want to kill Hata, seriously.
As a chapter for character introduction, it doesn’t have much to talk about. Basically Hayate met Luca and had a first impression of her, and she requested him to take her to somewhere. Yozora, on the other hand, didn’t look like she would retreat, rather she followed Hayate with a new Getter Robo.
Well, as we are talking about first impression, let me share with you my first impression of Luca. Of course, to say that this is my “first impression” is not entirely correct, because I already had an impression of her before this chapter. So, precisely speaking, I am sharing with you the impression I got based on Ch. 296.
I think many of you would agree that Luca was indeed very similar to Hayate. She had a debt of 150 million yen, more or less the same as Hayate’s. She had to work hard to repay the debt, so she had very little money with her – 12 yen, to be exact. She had a very strong body and mind, and would force herself to respond to others’ requests (or orders?) even if she was injured. Not to mention the similar hair style and colour… For a long time we had been suggesting that Hayate and Hina were very similar people, and while we are still debating whether similar people should end up together, there comes another character who was prima facie quite similar to Hayate. Whether Luca was indeed the “female Hayate”, and the implication behind such settings, would remain to be seen.
While we can justifiably accuse Hayate for being oblivious and insensitive, he seemed to have a slight crush on Luca. He blushed when she put her hand over his mouth. He understood that she didn’t want anyone to know that she was injured – Yes, you heard me: Hayate finally read someone’s mind correctly. He had a heartbeat when she glared at him with pleading eyes. He had the determination to respond to her request for her sake… All the evidence pointed to that Hayate would have a personal feeling for this girl, and the way Hata drew this chapter led me to think that he wanted to work more on the so-called Hayate-Luca ship. I hate to say, as a Hina fan, that the first Hayate-Luca scene looked much more romantic than the first Hayate-Hina scene.
Of course, it is still too early to come to any conclusion on shipping or Luca’s role whatsoever. Actually, the Hayate-Luca similarity and ship might end up either way, and we could interpret them either way. If they really came together, we could say that similar people should indeed be together. If their ship sank, well, it just proves that people who are too similar really can’t come together.
No matter the results, the sailing of the Hayate-Luca ship could add to the spice of the current plot. Now it looks like that Nagi and Luca would work together on the doujinshi fight against the Maizumi guy. The love rivalry between co-workers would of course create tension, and some readers would find that interesting. Well, just count me out.
If you ask me, I don’t really see there is hope for the Hayate-Luca ship to reach the other end of the Atlantic Ocean. Hata has shown to us that he could build up a ship at his pleasure, and he could destroy a ship at his pleasure. I just don’t see why Hayate-Luca would be better than any other ship – and let’s not forget that those are girls far more well-established and popular than Luca.
Speaking of popularity, it seems that the results of the Character Poll would be announced on 8 December, and Hata suggested on his Twitter that the results are “interesting” – No, for God’s sake, no knee-jerk reaction, please. So, there would be one more month to wait, and in the meantime let’s see where Hata would lead us to with his God Game on love pairings.
To be honest, I don’t really care.