Have I told you that I had, once again, lost track of the date?
I haven’t really put up the effort to look at the previous chapters, but what I could figure out is that…
- Ch. 311 was set on May 30. A set of “Hayate’s sex crisis” followed to the next day (May 31), when Hina came to know about Ruka (Ch. 315).
- Next, on a certain day, Ayumu (Ch. 319) and Hina (Ch. 321) offered advices to Nagi and Ruka respectively. Ruka collapsed in her apartment, and Hayate took charge of her health management (Ch. 322).
- After several days (we think), Ruka finally came to know that Hayate was a boy (Ch. 326), and after that event he stopped cross-dressing in front of her.
- On another day Nagi asked for an assistant, and Ruka joined forces with her – or at least helped her with the artwork (Ch. 328).
Examine some of the details (like Hayate’s “dress code” and Nagi’s target to make 1000 offset books) closely, and you would see that the above events happened one by one on a linear timeline, and there could be no Flashforwards or Flashbackwards. Even if we take out Wataru’s arcs, these events should have taken up a week, or at least 3 to 4 days. It is therefore most surprising to me that Ch. 332 is set on June 1, as it means that all the events in points 2 to 4 must have happened within 24 hours. This setting not only makes these 24 hours most eventful, but it also leads to a very shocking conclusion. I’ll come back on it later.
Anyway, Ch. 332 brings us (back) to June 1, i.e. after Ayumu provoking Nagi into making 1000 offset books. It should have ended the “date debate” above, and bring the new arc on.
Time was really running short for Nagi, as there were only 12 days left to Comisun (The Doujinshi Showdown). I mentioned before it would take at least 3 days for printing shops to make 1000 offset books, but according to Chiharu, the situation was much worse: most printing shops would not be able to make it in 12 days at all. Nagi was already too late, and the only option left for her would be to make possibly fewer – a lot fewer – copies of copy-bons on her own.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), Rikiyou Company made itself available for the challenge. If Nagi could have her manuscript ready by 10 am on June 10, then she could have her offset books ready for sale on Comisun. The problem with their plan was – you got it – the cost. It would take about 210K yen for the printing and delivery, and it was indeed a huge sum – for you and me, and the now in-poverty Nagi. To break even, Nagi would have to sell 700 copies, an achievement only very few would make.
Yet, Nagi did not even hesitate. She aimed at selling 1000 copies, so 700 would mean nothing to her. In fact, if everything went well, she would make a profit of 90K yen. The 210K yen would, therefore, be a worthy risk to take. Nagi had the money ready, and told Chiharu to proceed.
Just then, Maria jumped out from nowhere, and begged Nagi not to take away the money for Tama’s food. It turned out, however, to be only a “good-for-nothing skit”. Yet, there might be something behind Maria’s show. She might honestly disagree with Nagi’s judgement, but she also knew that Nagi would not listen to her, so her protests were really “good-for-nothing”. Yet, she voiced out, as a final warning. If – I say, if – Nagi failed in Comisun, Maria would have the high ground to tell Nagi “I told you so”.
Chiharu took the money to Rikiyou Company, and Hayate stopped her for a word. Chiharu admitted to Hayate that, ordinarily thinking, Nagi could not sell 1000 copies of her doujinshi. Yet, she did not stop Nagi, because Nagi was betting with her own money, and what else could anyone say? Besides, Nagi had so far been stubbornly staying in the world of fantasy. It would take her a real and huge blow to realize that she was not good enough. If Nagi failed, then at least she could learn the painful lesson.
Speaking of failure, just how damaging would it be to Nagi if her decision to make 1000 offset books went wrong? Some people say it would hurt deeply, some people say it would not hurt at all. What we lack here is, very simply, a bit of Maths:
- Nagi put all her 20M yen into the stock market. Her 210K yen was most likely come from selling some of the stocks.
- Of all the 3 tenants, only Chiharu was clearly stated to be paying rent at 40K yen per month.
- The 40K yen was spent on meals for 6 people and 2 cats, one very big.
- If Nagi sold nothing, then it would take 5 months worth of Chiharu’s rent to compensate the loss – presuming that everybody did not eat.
- Nagi could sell some more stocks to compensate the loss.
My conclusion is that, whether it would be a huge financial loss to Nagi would depend on her attitude with her stocks, and the performance of the stock market. If, for some reason, she could not sell her stocks, then she would be in serious trouble.
Nagi was not ready to sit back and wait for her own demise. In fact, prior to making the above decision, she started making preparation, and according to the narrator, “the direction of the wind changed greatly”.
A few days ago, Nagi secretly (Well, at least Hayate knew nothing about it…) created a Maria website, in which Maria was a fictional idol. The site reported Maria’s everyday life, and any news the real Maria thought was interesting. From this site, Nagi also generated 5 fan antenna sites, aggregating news from 5 different genres. On June 1 she created 3 more similar sites, and it means she would have 15 antenna sites for 15 more genres… Is everyone keeping up?
The site(s) turned out to be hugely successful. The Maria site attracted 530K hits per day (1000 times more than mine…), and each antenna site attracted 20K hits a day. At this rate, Nagi’s goal of attracting 1 million followers was not too far from reach.
Nagi did not create these sites just for fun. She intended to try on stealth marketing, a kind of manipulation by referrals. Nagi could spread the news on the Maria site that an interesting doujinshi would be on sale in the coming Comisun, and then refer the news to her antenna sites. It would create a buzz among the followers, and Nagi could actually join in the buzz, “naturally” persuading people to go and have a look and, in the perfect scenario, buy one copy.
Nagi did not expect everyone to buy her doujinshi. She hoped that 10% of the 1 million people to be interested, and 1% of them to be buying her doujinshi. 0.01% of 1 million makes 1000. On paper, this plan was perfect. Hayate exclaimed in his head that Nagi was really “a genius when it comes to money”, and rightly so.
Yet, the next panel suggested that he could be a bit worried. Without the ability to read his mind, I still tried to compile a list of reasons, and here it goes:
- Nagi used Maria to attract readers. Hayate had a crush on Maria and felt uncomfortable seeing her exposed to the public in such a way, for such a reason.
- Nagi’s plans looked good on paper, but there remained a question of whether it would work.
- Stealth marketing, no matter how good you make it look like, is a kind of manipulation – something inherently “evil”, and Hayate did not like it.
- As Hayate suggested, Nagi was “a genius when it comes to money”. However, her purpose of joining Comisun was to make herself a better mangaka. Even if her stealth marketing campaign was successful, Nagi would only be a successful businessperson, not a successful mangaka.
Not everyone would agree with me, but I think the last point would be a very important lesson for Nagi to learn.
On his visit, Hayate told Ruka the stealth marketing campaign of Nagi. Obviously Ruka was impressed by Nagi’s plan, and she decided to make offset books as well. What she didn’t realize is that she was missing the point. Nagi did not plan on making offset books, she planned on stealth marketing. Whatever she had decided, however, Hina told her not to, because there was no point copying the others and advertising.
Let’s us not assume that Hina thought that Nagi’s plan wouldn’t work – she didn’t say anything about it. It might simply be that, the said campaign was Nagi’s idea, and she had already been working on it. If Ruka followed Nagi, she would always be trailing behind, so it would only gave Ruka a huge disadvantage. Besides, many people had already seen Nagi’s site(s), so they would know that Ruka was copying the others, and that would ruin her own reputation.
Instead, Hina asked Ruka to do what she could do – or, more precisely, what Hina thought Ruka could do. She could focus on making her own doujinshi, with a budget (making copy-bons costs much less) and a goal (30 copies) more… realistic. Ruka would then not be as desperate as Nagi to sell a lot. Her life as an idol was stressful enough, so it might be better to have an easier life when selling doujinshi. Yet, selling 30 copies would be no small achievement. It was almost 3 times the number of her previous 2 sales put together.
In short, Hina set Ruka a goal which was high enough for her to feel successful, and not too costly even if she failed. In almost all sense, it was the direct opposite of Nagi’s.
Then, Hina offered Ruka her “more detailed and solid advices” – the advices which she could give after reading manga herself, and putting up researches. Her methodology earned her top grades in school, so how did it work on manga?
One word: marvelously. Hina knew exactly what it means by “popular”. It means that a lot of people from different genres like it. As such, she did not aim to attract “only” young boys and girls, but also adults, professional and even foreigners. She set a very clear and highly ambitious – and supposedly not very difficult – goal for Ruka: to draw a manga which everyone would read to the end, which everyone would like.
After that, Hina went into practical instructions. She offered Ruka very detailed and clear guidance on what to do and what not to do. The funny thing is, Hina was doing quite a lot of talkings in a single page, so if we take this page out and examine it, we could see that Hata actually failed on Hina’s first advice: “Have less dialogue”.
Ruka listened to Hina, and she began drawing. It looked as if Hina’s voice was with Ruka as she was working. After a while, she finished her storyboard, and gave it to Hina.
Hina read and smiled. Clearly she was satisfied with Ruka’s efforts. She then offered the storyboard to Hayate, for a second opinion. Her own satisfaction didn’t mean the manga was “popular”, after all.
Hayate did not really want to do it. He did not want to lie to Ruka, but he did not think his honest opinion would make her happy at all. He intended to turn down Hina’s offer, but Hina insisted, so he began reading.
As Hayate picked up the storyboard, he automatically began telling his “white lies”, but after reading a bit closely to the manuscript, he shut up. His eyes were focused on the papers, his face serious, and he said “It was good”. From my feeble understanding of Hayate as a person, he could not be lying.
It would mean that Hina’s advice worked very, very well on Ruka. With only a few words, she managed to guide Ruka to draw what she had expected of Ruka. Of course, Ruka had to be a very talented “student” to work on Hina’s advices so quickly. To say the very least, Hina was of great help to Ruka.
The thing is that, Hina was supposed to have decided to read manga on May 31, and on June 1 she gave advices good enough to turn Ruka’s manga into something interesting. The shocking conclusion I want to mention is that the clueless-in-manga Hina turned into a good manga adviser in one day. If Hata was serious about his timeline, then Hina’s intelligence must be spot on.
In this chapter, both Nagi and Ruka made some progress in their manga-making. Nagi had her marketing campaign ready and going strong, while Ruka managed to write a good storyboard. If these two sides combine their powers, the Maizumi guy would be absolutely nothing. Still, as both parties wanted to do their own manga, a Nagi-Ruka combination might not happen – at least not before the June 12 Comisun.
Next week would be big for Hayate no Gotoku!, as we will have coloured cover and coloured title page. The best of all, the movie will come out next Saturday! Let’s look forward to all of them, and of course the next chapter!