While Hinagiku has told us that her sister Yukiji once dreamt of becoming a musician, a little flashback in this chapter tells us that Yukiji has given her guitar to a student. The general consent among readers is that the student in question is Ayumu, but so far it is still only a guess.
Hayate, who doesn’t know about the past of the Katsura sisters very well, is understandably shocked by Yukiji’s dream. Hinagiku finds an old recording (a VHS, as it was 10 or even 15 years ago) of her sister’s performance. It is interesting that Hinagiku is able to find something so effortlessly in a room which does not belong to her – my mother once told me she had difficulty finding her marriage certificate in our own house… It could be that Hinagiku has been to the night duty room far more frequently than we could have imagined.
Hayate is impressed with Yukiji’s performance on the stage, and offers his praises. This prompts Hinagiku to show her admiration for her sister’s coolness. This surprises Hayate – Hinagiku never ever has shown any positive emotions towards her sister in front of him. Perhaps Hinagiku realizes this as well, so she tries to justify her admiration: Yukiji might not look like it now, but she really was cool back then. But then, it seems that such justification isn’t necessary at all.
Hayate then comes up with a question: Why would Yukiji, who was so good with the guitar, end up giving up on it? Hinagiku, looking upset, replies that it could be her fault. She explains that her family had “a complicated household situation” – of course, all of us (including Hayate) know that she is talking about their debt and abandonment. Hinagiku guesses that Yukiji has given up on guitar because she didn’t want to cause troubles to the Katsuras and Hinagiku. After all, not every musician is Suirenji Ruka or Justin Bieber, and many musicians actually live a very difficult life. Teaching might not make you a millionaire, but at least Yukiji would know for sure she had the money to feed herself, so the Katsuras would not have to worry about her, and could focus on raising Hinagiku.
It all sounds noble and honourable, but the problem is that Yukiji has since adopted such a messy lifestyle that it is difficult not to worry about her. The claim that she gave up on guitar so that people would not have to worry about her, is therefore questionable. Sadly for Yukiji, even Hinagiku isn’t sure about what she has just told Hayate.
Hinagiku wants to drop the subject and resumes cleaning, but Hayate chooses this moment to make a critical comment: Hinagiku loves her sister very much. This is an observation nobody in the story has ever made – everybody more or less assumes that Hinagiku doesn’t like her sister. Somehow, when we tut-tut about Hayate’s ignorance of Hinagiku, he is the only one in the story who is getting the truth.
I said “in the story” because every reader of this series should already know. No?
Hinagiku is very surprised by Hayate’s comment as she blushes furiously, saying that Hayate’s words make her back itch. This is just the way she behaves whenever she faces her love issues, isn’t it? In fact, I am of the opinion that Hinagiku isn’t exactly a Tsundere driven by the hatred of losing, but that she is simply extremely shy and finds love an embarrassing matter. Her major problem is that she doesn’t really know how to deal with her embarrassment properly.
To our surprise, Hayate is helping her out with it. Despite Hinagiku’s yelling – always taken as “Hinagiku-san is always getting mad at me” by Hayate – the butler does not back down. Instead, he encourages her by saying that there is nothing wrong with such love. After all, it seems that Hinagiku is concerned that people would see her love for Yukiji as ridiculous, so she might not want to admit it.
Hayate doesn’t even need her to admit it, as he simply assumes her answer to be a “yes”. In fact, her answer could well have been a “yes”, because with her blushing and yelling, she did not deny that she loved her sister. Hayate then asks Hinagiku what she likes best of her sister – something I guess nobody has yet a clear answer to. This boy shows that he is getting the idea of how to get the true feelings out of Hinagiku, and if he uses these skills correctly, he is not far from her best kept secret that she loves him.
You might wonder why Hayate is suddenly so skillful with Hinagiku’s feelings, but let us not forget that Hayate has an elder brother as well. Ikusa and Yukiji both served as the protectors of Hayate and Hinagiku respectively, so if there is anyone who can understand Hinagiku’s feelings for her elder sister, it would be Hayate. Vice versa, maybe?
Hinagiku hesitates a bit, but she is quick to figure out the answer: she likes the coolness of Yukiji as she promised to take care of her younger sister even if they did not have parents. Hinagiku later grows into a young girl who is rather cool herself, and perhaps this is influenced by Yukiji.
There is one question which bothers Hinagiku so much, and she finally asks Yukiji about it as she returns: “Why did you give up on your dream?” Hinagiku says in tears that if Yukiji has stopped singing because of her family, then she has done enough. Hinagiku would want her sister to keep singing, instead of living her current life as a teacher. Contrary to what we would have expected from “model students”, Hinagiku doesn’t look down on jobs like musician – or mangaka, as she supports Ruka to pursue her dream as one.
Hinagiku has said those words in tears and good intention, but she has given Yukiji a predicament without knowing it. The truth is that Yukiji has not really given up on her dream of becoming a musician. It is true that she has suspended her dream for the family, but later she has simply become lazy because of the comfortable and stable life as a teacher. It is not that she has given up her dream, but that she has not picked up her dream (and guitar) ever since.
The predicament for Yukiji is that she cannot really tell Hinagiku this, as this is so “uncool”. She is worried that a disappointed (or even angered) Hinagiku would not help her cleaning up the room, so she has to tell her something cool. “No matter how hard you work, some dreams will never fill out” are her chosen words.
There words are indeed very cool, but then something happens: For some reason Yukiji has mispronounced “dreams” (ユメ, yume) as “breasts” (ムネ, mune), and we all know how much Hinagiku hates it when people insult her chest size. She becomes angry, gives Yukiji a Hina punch (we haven’t seen it for quite a while) and leaves the room. As Hayate remarks on how bad Yukiji was with her words, he must be silently grateful that he is (finally) not on the receiving end of Hinagiku’s wrath.
Both Hayate and Yukiji has a tendency to try to fool Hinagiku when they think that the truth would make her angry, but whenever they do not tell the truth, Hinagiku does get angry. Perhaps honesty is indeed the best policy when handling Hinagiku, because I have yet to find one example when Hinagiku gets angry at an honestly told truth.
Hinagiku has left, but Hayate remains to clean up the night duty room – he cannot allow her to live at the apartment, after all. As he starts cleaning, he warns Yukiji that she has to shape up, because Hinagiku, who really admires her sister, should not be let down. Yukiji replies that she is well aware of it – proof that the bonding between the Katsura sisters is extremely strong, despite all the bickering and fighting. After all, Hinagiku is harsh on Yukiji because she wants her sister to be as cool as ever.
With Hayate’s efforts, the room becomes shinny and tidy, and Kuzuha finally agrees to “think about” forgiving the rent. With 40K yen “excess money”, Kuzuha expects that Yukiji would use it to buy alcohol, but Yukiji says no. Instead, she is saving up to buy a new guitar – perhaps to start practising again, and perhaps to start picking up her old dream again.
So we have a short arc about the Katsura sisters. It is both touching and funny, but we are still nowhere near their biggest mystery: what had happened when Yukiji was 18 and Hinagiku was 6. Perhaps time has not yet come for that mystery to be revealed, but at least we know much more about the Katsura sisters in this arc – not only about their past, but also the emotional bonds that exist between them. Their relationship is not as bad as some of us would have thought.