Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 321

The first time, and perhaps the last time, we see Hina in glasses.

Let’s get this Chapter Review started with something out of the chapter.

On this week’s BS, Hata suggested that the “circle members of each side” have been settled. By “sides” of course he means “Side: Nagi” (Title for BS Ch. 319) and “Side: Luca” (Title for BS Ch. 321). On the evidence, these two sides look like this:

Nagi’s side: Nagi, Ayumu and Chiharu
Luca’s side: Luca, Hayate and Hinagiku

Nagi’s side and Luca’s side

On both sides, there is a mangaka-in-the-making (Nagi and Luca), a Shiomi High alumli (Ayumu and Hayate) and a Hakuo Academy student (Chiharu and Hinagiku). Both mangakas-in-the-making were not really good so far, while the circle members cheered for and supported them.

Back in Ch. 319, Hayate and Maria talked about “the other day”, when both sides had a meeting at the same time. Now, let’s have a look at what both sides had been doing!

Nagi’s Side

In Ch. 319, Ayumu suggested Nagi to redo her previous doujinshi, perhaps with the addition of a H*ll* K*tty. Chiharu obviously thought that something was going wrong, but for some reason (As Luca suggested, it might be that Chiharu did not want to hurt her friends with sharp criticisms.) she said nothing. That would mean the discussion on Nagi’s douhinshi has ended.

With that, you couldn’t blame Nagi for turning to trivial subjects like her circle’s name. She genuinely thought the important things were settled, after all.

“… Westlife.”

Ayumu thought hard for a good circle name. She began by taking the word “Nishi”(西 – in English, “West”)from her surname. It was funny and childish, but it also showed her willingness to be part of Nagi’s circle. You wouldn’t name a group by your own name if you didn’t like to be an active member, after all.

Surprisingly, it was Chiharu who gave an even more funny suggestion. “Mega Drives” – so, what is a Mega Drive?

Mega Drive

I remember that when I was four, my father asked me to choose between a Super Famicom and a Mega Drive. Without any clue, I chose the former, and for some years I regretted that decision, as I later found a Mega Drive “cooler” than a Super Famicom… Just why did you ask a kid to make such a difficult decision, father?!

Ah, sorry for annoying you with a Doughnut Gunso short story. Anyway, I am not sure if Chiharu was old enough to have played with a Mega Drive.

Luca’s Side

To be honest, their circle didn’t even exist before this meeting. This was the first time Luca met Hina, and Hina responded to her request immediately. What was Luca’s request again? Yes, she wanted honest opinions on her manga, and so Hina gave hers.

Spot the difference – other than Hina’s line.

And it turned out that Hina was extremely brutal when making criticisms. Hina spoke three times on Luca’s manga, while Luca yelled in pain three times and had been knocked down twice. Merciless she might be, but Hina had very high expectations for Luca. At the very least, she expected Luca to be able to overcome the pain of being criticized. The thing, though, was that her critique might be a little too hard for Luca to take.

So, what had Hina said? Was her opinion correct, or at least fair? Let’s go through them one by one.

  1. A dolphin protagonist is hard to empathize with.” – To be honest, this is a matter of personal opinion. Some people could empathize with the dolphin – Hayate claimed he felt sorry for him. But then, some people couldn’t. Indeed, no matter how human-like you make your dolphin to be, dolphin remains a dolphin, and there are people who simply cannot understand other species. Don’t you think it makes things a lot easier if the protagonist were a human?
  2. I can’t tell where the story is going.” – We can’t really tell whether it was a fair comment, for what we know so far about Luca’s manga was a short introduction back in Ch. 297 (And that was half a year ago…), and we don’t really know how the story went. However, if people couldn’t understand what is going on and what would be going on, they are more likely to get bored. If you want an example for this statement, you can just look at this series. Readers often complain about filler chapters which don’t contribute to the plot, and that is because we can’t see where these chapters are going.
  3. And it is hard to look at.” – In other words, “I can’t bear to read any more.” This is Hina’s personal opinion, with nothing substantial to offer to Luca. It explained why Luca struggled to sell her doujinshi, though. If readers think they couldn’t bear to read any more in 5 minutes, there is absolutely no reason for them to buy a copy.

    Hina the Otaku?

It is true that her advices were more subjective than objective, and were not entirely correct. However, you can’t expect too much from her, as she didn’t really know manga too much. She knew that herself, as she thought she wanted to give Luca more concrete advices next time. In order to understand manga a bit more, she decided to start reading manga…

… Don’t you think you have gone a little too far, Hina?

It is the second time in the series Hina had decided to cheer on somebody. In the first time, she told Ayumu that she would cheer her on with her romance with Hayate. However, as a serious conflict of interests arose, it is fair to say at the very least that Hina did not keep her word to the end. This time, Hina decided to cheer Luca on her manga. So, is there a chance that Hina would fail to keep her word again?

Not really, for there is, so far, no conflict of interests this time. Hina herself was not likely to draw manga, so there was no conflict between her and Luca. The only possible conflict would be with Nagi’s or Hayate’s interest, so if Luca decided to harm Nagi or Hayate in the future, Hina might need to have second thoughts on her promise. That, though, would be a matter far, far later.

Nagi was her rival, Hina was her ally.

It must be pointed out that, on the evidence, Luca held absolutely nothing against Hina. In the heat of the critique, Luca called the name “Hina” – not “Katsura-san”, not “Hinagiku-san”, not even “Hinagiku”, but “Hina”. As we all know, “Hina” is actually a nickname, and only people who befriended Hina would call her this. By using the nickname “Hina”, Luca showed her affiliation towards Hina.

What’s more, Luca considered Hina’s opinions “valuable”, and would use them to help with her next manga. She asked Hina to read her new manga when it was finished. Hina said she wanted to cheer Luca on, and would begin reading manga only to give her more concrete advices. I doubt if anyone could have forseen this, say, 10 chapters ago, but it looked like a lovely friendship was born in this chapter.

Why were we looking at the sky?

Perhaps the meeting of Hina and Luca was so important that Hata had forgotten to give Hayate and Hina a ship-tease, Hina did not blush, Hayate said nothing stupid, and the two had a chat in the most natural manner. It really looks as if the two would work best when they were dealing with the same thing together, instead of dealing with each other.

In the end, it was Hayate who offered to “cheer on Luca-san’s manga together“. You seldom see Hayate inviting Hina to anything on his own, but this is one of the very, very few times. On his matters with Luca, Hayate decided that Hina would be his partner, and he invited her to join in.

He brought this up, not her.

One thing interesting is that Hina never persisted on forcing Hayate to tell Luca that he was a boy any more, and it was Hayate who brought the issue up. Even then, Hina simply replied “That’s true…”, and changed the subject right away. Once they had decided to cheer Luca on together, Hina said nothing about Hayate’s lie, and in the end, Hayate said it himself – “I think I am going back and tell Luca-san I am a guy.”

Somehow, I think that this is much better than having Hina ordering Hayate to tell the truth. With her (almost) complete silence, Hina allowed Hayate as much room as he would like to think on his own. He had some thoughts, and came to a decision – the decision Hina thought was right – on his own. As a Hina fan, this is what I like most: Instead of being ordered to do anything, Hayate chose to do what Hina wanted him to do all on his own.

Hina is truly back!

In these two chapters, I think Hata had shown to us some of the very best of Hina. She was decisive, she was empathetic, and she was supportive. In her presence, Luca set out to be a better mangaka, and Hayate chose to tell Luca the truth. If we had to assess on Hina’s effort in this arc so far, I would give her a straight A. Really, really well done, Hina!

Some say that she would gain a bonus point if she returned to Luca’s apartment with Hayate, but that is arguable. After all, it was a business between Hayate and Luca, and as far as she knew that he decided to tell Luca the truth, her job was done.

How did she crash out of her door…?

It was unexpected to Hayate and Hina, as well as a lot of readers, that Luca suddenly collapsed. We don’t really know what has happened to her. A lot of guessing is guarenteed. Some say that she had a heart attack, some say that it was ulcer, and some say that she was only over-exhausted.

For me… well, why guess? We probably would know the reason next week, so let’s look forward to that!