What a week! The past seven days were filled with many things, good or bad: my blog reaching 200,000 hits, Manchester United went from winning to losing the title in 2 minutes, the birthday of Nishizawa Ayumu, the sales event for Diablo III in my place (and the big surprise of the presence of a Collector’s Edition in my house)… These things indeed drove my emotions up and down, and suddenly I realize that I have completely forgotten about Ch.362.
As such, I am trying to write up the Chapter Review while Diablo III is installing at the background. This isn’t an easy task, this Review will be rushed, but please forgive me for this once: I am a bit of a Diablo-mania, and it has been many years of waiting.
One more thing though before I move on (Installation 43%!!): I must thank you all for visiting my blog, and I am so happy about reaching 200,000 hits. I never ever dreamed that my blog could be popular, let alone having so many hits. Hope I’ll see you again when this blogs reaches 300,000 hits!
Speaking of being popular, Ch.362 of Hayate no Gotoku! focuses solely on someone who is popular: idol singer Suirenji Ruka. Almost 100 chapters since her introduction, Hata is finally giving us the back story of Ruka, which we have been expecting for so long.
(Installation 52%!!) The first thing we know about Ruka is her birthday: January 8, 1989. This makes her 2 months younger than Hayate and 2 months older than Hinagiku. She also beats Hinagiku to be the first in line for birthday celebration. If the rumour about this series ending on Christmas Day is true, however, we would unfortunately be missing Ruka’s birthday chapter/arc/saga.
For your information, January 8, 1989 is the beginning of Heisei period, the current era inJapan.
We also know that both her parents were unsuccessful artists. Of course they were not happy about their dreams not fulfilled. Understandably, they wanted their only daughter to live up those dreams – “I want to shine brightly in the world of show business”. They began to train Ruka thoroughly, and even started a performance office – which was named “Fly Dolphin” – for her. Their determination was so strong and clear.
In order to train Ruka with the best possible methods, huge sums of money were needed. “Fly Dolphin” did not make much money for the Suirenjis, and the family debt kept on increasing. Mr. Suirenji, however, refused to give up. While it is true that he did not want to lose to the world of show business again, it would also be clear that should they give up, all their investments would be wasted and they would have no way to earn anything back. They couldn’t give up on Ruka; they simply couldn’t.
(Installation 77%!!) Things were getting worse for the family, and while they did not give up, they fell into despair. Ruka had no response when her parents expressed their disappointment of her right in front of her. She only had one thing in mind: to shine brightly for her parents’ sake.
A large performance office was holding an audition and Ruka signed up for it. Her skills through those years of trainings, and her desire to shine, made her the brightest star in the audition. She was signed by the office, and “with the backing of that major office”, Ruka became famous.
The above words in quote were the reason for the problem ahead of her. As she was signed and backed by a major office”, she did not achieve success with Fly Dolphin. To her parents, Ruka’s success was a betrayal to them: instead of avenging her parents with their powers, she took the powers from the “enemies”. Although their letter to Ruka said that they could not face her, I see that they hated Ruka for betraying them. After all, if they were ashamed of seeing their daughter, they should be more ashamed of abandoning her and leaving her with a huge debt!
(Installation: 100%!!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!) Ruka’s career as an idol is now “tainted”. As her office paid the debt off for her, Ruka has become their “slave”: she works not to earn for them; she works to repay them. She works not because she likes to work; she works because she has to work. The fine difference is easy to see but difficult to explain.
It has been argued that Hayate, Hinagiku and Ruka have similar back stories, but now we can clearly see that Ruka’s story is much more similar to Hayate’s, while Hinagiku actually has a slightly different one. After all, both Hayate and Ruka took up their debts when they were teenagers, and as they had their debts paid off by third-parties (Nagi for Hayate, and the office for Ruka), they have to devote their lives to those third-parties.
Of course, the relationship between Hayate and Nagi is very different from that between Ruka and the office. This has been made very clear in the manga and the movie. Their lady-butler relationship, however, isn’t really enlightening to Ruka, since her relationship with the office is not likely to go beyond that of employee and employer.
As we can see, being an idol is not Ruka’s own dream. The thing she really loves is manga, which gave her happiness between the harsh lessons. She wants to become a mangaka herself, and draw something that could make people happy. However, her dream was almost broken when she visited Ashibashi-sensei’s studio.
Just like Nagi, Ruka was stunned by the high quality of Ashibashi-sensei’s manuscript, and she lost confidence in herself. Unlike Nagi, Ruka was rather quick in picking herself up, and she decided to practice her skills by participating in doujinshi sales. There she met Chiharu, who saw through her paper-thin disguise because she disguised herself as well. They quickly became friends, and through Chiharu, Ruka met Nagi and Hayate – hold on, is someone being ignored again?
In any case, Ruka had a rather successful Comisun, and she finally tasted the sweetness of her dream coming true. She wants to take her next step towards her dream, and she begins to think of what to draw next. She is happy about working as a mangaka.
Somebody does not like it, however. Atsumari, Ruka’s manager, finally get her hands on a copy of Ruka’s most recent doujinshi. Something in the doujinshi makes her to conclude that she has to put a stop to this. Maybe it’s because she thinks that Ruka is putting too much efforts on her doujinshi, that she might not be as devoted in stage performance as before. Remember: Ruka is the slave of her office, and she must work hard to repay her debt to them.
So, what would Atsumari do to stop Ruka? How would Ruka respond? Would anyone be able to support Ruka in her own dream, rather than her parents’ dream and the demands from the office? Let’s look forward to the next chapter!