Thanks to Risa, we have an update on the exact date in the story. Her birthday (July 13) was 2 days ago, so it is July 15 in Ch. 373. Final exams have already ended, and summer vacation should have started, but somehow the SC Rangers are still studying at school. Why?
According to Yukiji’s message on the blackboard, the SC Rangers are having supplementary lessons, which means that the girls must have performed badly in the exams. It seems that Hayate’s private tutorial lessons with Izumi have gone to wastes. Meanwhile, as Hayate is not having lessons with them, it seems that he did okay in the exams, despite suffering from a cold, a loss of blood and everything…
One interesting small detail is that Yukiji only want the girls to study 4 pages (P. 62 – 65). Any Featured Article by Doughnut Gunso is more than 4 pages.
So, back to the topic on Risa’s birthday. She isn’t very happy with the “celebrations” she had with Hayate, because it was a rather cold reception. Hayate started with just a simple “Happy Birthday”, and then he turned away as if he had no more business with her. Risa then insisted that he had to give her a present, and Hayate gave her a bookmark which was made from a four-leaf clover. The only positive point about this present is that it is hand-made.
Risa finds this totally unacceptable, as she felt being treated unfairly. After all, both Hinagiku and Izumi got much more than her for their birthdays. Hayate said that it was because both Hinagiku and Izumi deserved their presents because they had helped him a lot, while he actually wanted an apology from Risa for some things she had done. Miki, however, is of the opinion that it was because of the difference in “popularity”: Hinagiku and Izumi got their presents because they were more popular girls.
Do note that “popularity” here should be entirely in-story. It should have nothing to do with the girls’ popularity in the real world. But then, by comparing the respective rankings of Hinagiku (1st), Izumi (6th) and Risa (21st) in the most recent Character Poll…. well.
Upon knowing that her popularity is inferior to that of Hinagiku and Izumi, Risa then decides to learn how to become popular. She gives a call to Hinagiku (who is almost like an office lady during summer vacation) and asks her directly how to become popular. Hinagiku, who arguably doesn’t even consider herself popular, finds the conversation totally pointless and asks her to study before hanging up.
Risa then decides to ask someone who wouldn’t get mad at her, so she settles on Nagi. Nagi explains, with her study on J*mp, that a girl is popular if she is cute, and a girl is cute when she blushes. In all honesty, this is completely… true. Even in the real world, boys love the moments when girls blush.
In the series, this is even more true. Hinagiku and Izumi both owe a lot of their cuteness to their blushing. But then, whether they live shameful lives is arguable. Hinagiku is embarrassed mostly because she is unlucky, so it is Hata’s fault. Izumi is embarrassed mostly because she is trolled, so it is Miki and Risa’s fault.
So, a girl blushes when she is embarrassed, so Risa begins to look for embarrassing moments. Hayate enters the room just in time (it appears that Yukiji asked him to help with the supplementary lessons again), but his embarrassing moment is one of the oldest cliches, so he gets ignored. Izumi then shares her own moment: she arrived at school in pajamas. That was very, very embarrassing.
Speaking of Izumi’s embarrassing experiences, Miki suggests that Izumi does have an awful lot of panty shots – in fact, her panty-shot-to-appearance ratio could be the highest among the girls in this series. Risa then decides to do an experiment: in order to see whether a girl becomes cute when she blushes, Risa would have Hayate lifting up Izumi’s skirt.
We do not really know why, but Izumi has come up with an idea: instead of having Hayate to lift up her skirt, she could lift it up herself. As she lifts up her skirt, she blushes very fiercely, and – BOOM! BOOM! – Miki and Risa are shocked at how cute Izumi has become. They praise and thank her for showing them the Gandhara of cuteness and popularity.
For me, the main problem of this chapter is not that it is a filler – in fact, I don’t really mind fillers. Rather, I am concerned this is indecency playing straight. Are you really sure that this series is for kids to read, Hata?
Do embarrassing moments like panty shots make female characters popular? Not really. Hinagiku has no panty shots before Ch. 300, and by then she has already won the Character Poll three times straight.