Come to think of it, although the Violet Mansion was an old building, the current residents were all very young: Hayate (16), Nagi (13), Maria (17), Hina (16), Chiharu (16) and Alice – most probably Athena (16). In other words, none of them were legally adults.
The fact that there was no grown-ups living with them was somehow… bizarre, and it might justify the stupidity of the four girls attempting to repair the boiler by themselves in the last chapter. That was only one of the moments when everybody failed to act with enough maturity.
This chapter, by contrast, began with 3 of the more senior members in the series having a drink together, and talking about world economy. Yukiji (28), Makimura-sensei (22) and Saki (20) had a combined age of 70 and were all legally adults, so… welcome to the world of the adults!
As Yukiji and Makimura-sensei were both teachers at Hakuo Academy, it was very natural that they would come out together. The question was why Saki, who was neither studying nor teaching at Hakuo, and barely seen befriending Yukiji and Makimura-sensei, would join them at all. Ah well, it doesn’t really matter.
Women of their age would inevitably talk about marriage, because women commonly expect themselves to be married at around 20 to 25. It means that, although there was still some time left for Makimura-sensei (22) and Saki (20), Yukiji (28) was already on the wrong side of things…
But, not to worry, as Makimura-sensei suggested them to try on “marriage hunting”. To be honest I don’t quite understand Makimura-sensei’s explanation. All I could figure out is that, in this practice, men would be referred to as “objects”, and those who earn over 10 million yen annually would be regarded as “high-quality”.
When asked whether she had a “high-quality” object, Yukiji came to think of Kaoru. Although it means that Yukiji really had serious thoughts for Kaoru, she was wrong with one thing: We knew from Ch. 165 that the annual income of Kaoru was 5.4 million yen, so unfortunately he was not a “high-quality” object.
But then, Saki was even worse than her. Wataru might be a business boy, but with all due respect I don’t see him earning over 10 million yen a year. Well, if he did, why would she complain that the video store “hasn’t been doing too well”?
The gathering ended, and Yukiji wandered alone on the streets. She thought to herself that it indeed was about time for her to think about marriage, but she lacked a partner. Then she thought again about Kaoru. Obviously she did consider him as a possibility, but em…
Right at that moment she came into the Yakuza and Ashibashi-sensei. It seemed that Ashibashi-sensei was taking pictures of the Yakuza, and Yakuza being Yakuza was not impressed by this. It looked like Ashibashi-sensei was going to lose a tooth, or two…
Yukiji stepped into the fight, and defeated all the Yakuza gangsters with her Drunken Fist. Let us not forget that she was the older sister of Hina, and although she might not be as strong as her sister, Yukiji was far too good for the Yakuza.
For some reason Hata wanted to note that Ashibashi-sensei “had a fateful meeting”. Yet, as Hata’s “Destiny Plans” take ages to come into working I would put this issue on hold. Anyway, Ashibashi-sensei asked for her name, and she replied in a pretty cool fashion. God, if only she can always be so cool…
On the next day, Miki asked Kaoru fairly straightly the progress between him and Yukiji. Combined with the fact that she had also asked Yukiji twice about her and Kaoru, it is very obvious that, after the Athena saga, Miki has been extremely active in pushing Kaoru and Yukiji together.
Kaoru acted as if he was not interested at all, and even asked Miki what she was talking about. Miki, who was pretty sure that he was only acting ignorance, sent him a warning: If you keep ignoring her, even someone like her will get taken by someone else.
Kaoru snorted at her suggestion. He did not believe that any bloke in his right mind would fall for Yukiji. This might be true, but is it really okay for you to look so down on your love interest? But then, there he was, the one bloke without the right mind, and it is always risky to think that you are the only one.
A car arrived at school, and Ashibashi-sensei emerged from it. He saw Yukiji and claimed that he had been looking for her. Perhaps he simply Googled “Katsura Yukiji” and “teacher” and he found out Yukiji was teaching at Hakuo.
Surely, a mangaka as busy as he was wouldn’t have too much time for a person he met only once? I sense Koutarou screaming yet again just how little time they had before the next deadline. But then, there he was, and he asked Yukiji out.
That struck Kaoru like a lightning bolt. No way! There could be no one who would fall for my Yukiji, and my Yukiji would not fall for someone like him! In his monologue he already showed a hostile prejudice towards Ashibashi-sensei, didn’t he?
But then, he asked, she answered. Yukiji blushed (although not as fiercely as her sister) because of Ashibashi-sensei’s invitation, and the next thing we knew was that Yukiji jumped into the car and they were off!
Kaoru collapsed. Miki was right, Yukiji had been taken away. Hayate, who happened to be passing by, did not understand his reaction, and so he asked why. Chiharu, who also happened to be passing by, pointed out that Kaoru had a crush on Yukiji. Hayate could not believe it, and he asked Kaoru whether this was true. Perhaps Hayate wasn’t only oblivious about his own love issues…
Kaoru replied that he had been loving Yukiji since elementary school, but then everything was over. Yukiji would not love a PE teacher who could only make figurines. Chiharu offered him some encouragement: “You need to believe that the days you spent together with her were not in vain. If you can get that across…”
No, that did not foreshadow anything for Hayate, for if we talk about “the days Hayate spent together with her”, this sentence could apply to 80% of the girls in the series, and I doubt if anyone can point out with confidence who the girl was. Indeed, if we are not sure which girl we are talking about, then we can say nothing about foreshadowing.
In the restaurant, Yukiji was firing questions at Ashibashi-sensei, but most of them were about money. She noticed the difference in economic power between the two kinds of “sensei”, and then she made up her mind… to become a managka.
Back at home, Hayate and Nagi were thinking what happened that afternoon. It was just so difficult to understand “this falling in love thing”. It was really so difficult…
So far, Yukiji had not shown any observable interest in Ashibashi-sensei. Upon knowing that Ashibashi-sensei was rich, she did not ask him to marry her, but asked how to become a mangaka herself. It seemed that Kaoru could relax a bit for now.
Still, Yukiji expressed the wish to become a mangaka, and the one sitting in front of her was arguably the best mangaka on Earth. If she was really serious about being a mangaka, it was all too natural that she would ask Ashibashi-sensei to teach her.
In other words, if what happened in this chapter was not an one-off event, we could actually look forward to a Ashibashi-Yukiji “master and apprentice” relationship. Then, the next Doujinshi Sale would be 3 weeks later. Could Yukiji also enter the “Doujinshi competition”?
As for Kaoru, gone were the days when he could ignore his love issue with Yukiji. Now that he realized there was a possibility – no matter how small it was – that Yukiji could fall for another man, he really should act more aggressively!
So, how would things turn out? Would Yukiji really join the Doujinshi competiton? Could Kaoru take a courageous step forward to pursue Yukiji? Let’s look forward to future chapters!
And let’s not forget that Hayate would make the cover page of the next issue of Shonen Sunday!