Before we go into the virtual world of anime, let’s talk about something that is happening in the real world!
On 5 December 2012, Itou Shizuka-san (Hinagiku’s CV) announced her marriage. The identity of her husband has not been revealed, but at least we are sure that it is not Nabatame Hitomi-san (Yukiji’s CV).
The interesting thing is that, Itou-san becomes the third major CV of the Hayate no Gotoku! anime to get married this year. Tanaka Rei-san (Maria’s CV) was married in May, while Shiraishi Ryoko-san (Hayate’s CV) was married in September. A joke on Kugimiya Rei-san (Nagi’s CV), who remains single, seems inevitable:
Of course, there is still time in Year 2012, and even if she doesn’t make it this year, there is always next year.
While we witnessed Hayate being stabbed in the chest in the last episode, we are quickly assured that he is not dead. Through a chat with Nagi, the demonic woman reveals that she needs Kurotsubaki to grant her eternity. She believes that Kurotsubaki could give the “King’s Power” to the one being stabbed by it. If this is the case, the first thing the woman would do once she gets hold of Kurotsubaki, is to stab herself.
Nagi doesn’t seem too interested in the “King’s Power” whatsoever. What she cares about now is Tsugumi. We can say that she is looking down on Tsugumi by mentioning how “useless” she is (which, in all fairness, is not entirely true), but we can also say that she is not happy with the idea that Tsugumi is doing something which she is not capable of. Obviously, this is another form of care.
We cannot expect the woman to understand Nagi’s concern for Tsugumi, and indeed she interprets Nagi’s words from another point of view: Tsugumi is indeed useless, so it is time for her to do things by herself. If every villain shares this insight, then we would have a lot fewer gangs and gangsters. Of course, it also means that unemployment rate would rise.
With the usual OP which doesn’t really fit into the mood of the story at this point, we come back to Hayate and his
If we have ever hoped for a Shirosakura vs. Kurotsubaki battle, there is a let down here, as Hinagiku shows no intention to fight the blonde ponytail at all.
BOO!!! Instead, she checks on Hayate with Izumi and Tsugumi to see if he could possibly be alive. From a certain point of view, we could say that she cares more about Hayate than fighting the bad guy(s). This is a more preferable route for her to take, isn’t it?
To the girls’ joyful surprise, Hayate rises from the ground with no visible injury at all. Yet there is something about him that is different. Yes, he remains polite, but his tone is a lot colder and more distant than usual, and it seems like he is not the same person at all. But then, he is still smiling at them, so no girl seems to have noticed any change in him.
There is no time to find out either. A huge tree trunk emerges from the ground, which then beats around the area like the Whomping Willow while the demonic woman yells from within. It soon turns into a robbers vs. kidnapper showdown, which strategically speaking our heroes should not interfere. As such, as a grenade from the blonde ponytail blows up the trunk, Hayate stands watching, while Hinagiku and Izumi stand screaming.
Yet, it isn’t even necessary to stand still in such a dangerous place. As such, Hinagiku finally makes the suggestion to run away from the scene. For some reason, Hayate decides to stay behind, so Hinagiku escorts Izumi out of this place. For those who have expected Hinagiku to do anything at all in this action-promising set up, you are unfortunately let down.
However, we would also be let down if we have anticipated Hayate to go into action with his new power (if any), because he looks usually calm when the woman suggests to exchange Nagi with Kurotsubaki. This surprises us and annoys Nagi, but her protests are interrupted by the woman, who goes into berserk mode once again.
If we are looking for actions, we need to turn to Isumi, who has arrived to save Nagi. Wearing Ginka’s mask (presumably to hide her identity from Nagi) she successfully knocks the demonic woman to the ground with her spells, which also knock Nagi to the ground. Our action boys and girls in this series do not really know how to hold back when they are saving someone from the villains, do they?
A lot of things then happen in the next few minutes. The robbers take this chance to run with all the money with the car. Yukiji, who indeed is the rightful owner of the money, goes chasing after them on her feet. Tsugumi is angered by Isumi because the latter attacked her mother, and the two girls get into a fight. The woman struggles on the ground as her body ages with every passing second. Shidou comes to her aid and tells her to return to “sanctuary”. Hayate stands still as the woman (whose name is Dolly) reaches her hand to him, mumbling “Kurotsubaki”. Isumi intends to stop them, but she is interrupted by Tsugumi again. Tsugumi herself is then told by Shidou to retreat, so she reluctantly rises into the air and disappears. I don’t know what her trick is, but it definitely is not Systema…
Then it all becomes quiet as the action has stopped. A large piece of burning ruins falls to the ground and almost hits Nagi, who has to crawl her way to Hayate instead of being saved by him. In fact, Hayate is looking at her with very cold eyes. This is all so strange for Hayate, so Nagi thinks that he might be angry with her for before – of course, she is referring to her yelling at Hayate in the hotel. She apologizes for her behaviour, but it doesn’t seem like accepted.
As always, the police arrive at the scene when everything has ended. Hayate wants to run away, but Nagi grabs his arm, declaring that she is not done with him yet. Hayate insists that he is free to go for his own business, which irritates Nagi: to her, there is no other “business” for Hayate other than protecting her. For some reason, Hayate looks like his is totally fed up, so he resigns.
Poor Nagi could only watch as Hayate disappears into the darkness.
Ayumu arrives with the police. The girls are happy with the reunion, but they all look worryingly at Nagi. Ayumu moves forward to check on Nagi, whose tears begin to fall down, for Hayate has left her. The only thing that seems to be moving is the flame which is engulfing the buildings…
In the next morning, Maria, Hinagiku and Ayumu gather to see Nagi putting up a “brave front”, which is fooling nobody at all. Still, there is no point to argue with her, so everyone could only silently agree with Nagi’s suggestion to go sightseeing. For Nagi, this is of course her way to temporarily forget about the sadness of losing Hayate.
As they visit different places, they meet Kaoru, who has suddenly arrived in Las Vegas with a brand new car. It turns out that Kaoru has purchased the car at Yukiji’s promise that she would pay him back. Of course, Kaoru has agreed because he wanted to impress Yukiji, but still it is an absolutely foolish act to count on her paying him back later. Hinagiku and Maria are speechless as they think of the fact that Yukiji is no longer able to pay this poor man back… The interesting thing is that Kaoru does have so much savings to buy a car with cash. You could only imagine how wealthy he is.
Men love cars, and they love to show off their cars to women. As such, Kaoru offers to take the girls on a ride to, say, Area 51 (as an Otaku himself he is probably interested in the UFO stories). Nagi agrees at once, but the other girls have other plans. Upon knowing that her sister has gone missing, Hinagiku decides to go looking for her. She also asks Maria to go looking for Hayate, as it appears that they can’t expect Nagi to go looking for her butler herself. This leaves Ayumu to stick with Nagi, to take care of her.
Owning a car doesn’t mean that you can charm girls successfully, if you have poor communications skills. Ten seconds into their conversation, Kaoru asks what could not be asked: what has happened to Hayate? To make things worse, as Nagi says that Hayate is not always with her, Kaoru insists that he has always been with her. This upset Nagi, and the conversation cannot be continued. There is a very awkward pause.
Ayumu has to think on her feet to change the subject, and she pulls out Kurotsubaki – now back into its clock form – from nowhere. She reveals that she has stumbled across it on the previous night, after the fight and everything. It means that we have a blonde ponytail who threw Kurotsubaki away after knowing that it was a reliable weapon. We also have Shidou and Dolly, who made a mess of everything but failed to spot the clock/sword lying on the ground. Since when have our main villains become so stupid?
Let us not forget that Kurotsubaki, in its clock form, brings bad luck to its owner, and things happen to Ayumu and co. The rear tire of the car suddenly breaks, and the car loses control, goes off the main road and heads into the desert. The brakes also choose this moment to fail, so the car is unstoppable – until it hits… what, I don’t see it crashing into anything! So what’s with the crashing noise?
Ayumu thinks she has lost Kurotsubaki, so she goes looking for it. Kaoru needs to look for help on the main road, so he leaves as well. This leaves Nagi alone in the car – Nagi, despite being unsociable, is not used to being left alone.
Nagi finds Kurotsubaki under the seat, and it is not really known why Ayumu, like the blonde ponytail, wasn’t able to spot it before. Perhaps Kurotsubaki has the ability to hide itself from the people it doesn’t want to be revealed to? On the clock, Nagi suddenly sees the reflection of Hayate, and Nagi is reminded of her missing butler. As she has a certain hatred of losing, she refuses to admit that she misses him, and instead insists that she is perfectly fine on her own.
Finally, we arrive at the “flashforward” we have seen in the first episode. We now understand why Nagi is in America. We now understand why she is left alone in a car. We now understand why she says that Hayate is no longer her butler. We could have had a lot of theories on this, and we now know whether we have been right or wrong. Now, it is time to move on.
Nagi feels very hopeless and lonely in the desert, and as she recalls her days with Hayate, crying uncontrollably, she understands that he is simply indispensable in her life. She is not okay to live without him, and she would do anything to get him back. She is willing to listen to his lectures and become a better girl, if she could bring him back by doing so.
Ayumu then returns to her, suggesting to go looking for Hayate together, so that Nagi could tell him how she feels. Ayumu gives Nagi the hand of friendship, and the latter takes it. Together, they would go and find Hayate.
The funny thing is that, Hayate is found. We don’t really know how she manages to do so, but as she kidnaps one of the robbers, she finds Hayate as well. She needs Hayate to help her asking the whereabouts of her money, because she thinks that Hayate, as a student at Hakuou Academy, speaks English. Apparently Yukiji, as a teacher at Hakuou Academy, doesn’t.
If there is one thing about Hayate that has not been changed by Kurotsubaki, it is his inability to turn down a woman’s request, so he helps with Yukiji’s interrogation. While Maria suggested that Hayate did not speak English, he speaks in this episode the best English we have heard so far in this anime. The robber, who obviously doesn’t want to die under a chainsaw, reveals that their gang would meet at Room 1203 at the Starside Hotel…
As I have been looking forward to an even more climatic episode than this one, I have to say I am a bit let down. However, this episode provides with us much to discuss, so let me forget about my personal let down and go through some things one by one.
1. Dolly (and Shin)
The ability to manipulate tree trunks and branches, the desire to look for eternity, the speed aging of her body when out of her sanctuary, the fact that she is in every way a supernatural being… it seems that Dolly is the apple tree nymph in the “fairy tale” Ruka told us in Episode 7. The only thing lacking here, of course, is an apple from her trees. It turns out that some fairy tales could be true, after all, although it has become so… ugly.
We have several close-up shots on her ring, which looks exactly like the wedding rings of Yukariko and Shin. Some might wonder whose ring was it, but I am fairly sure that it was Shin’s. If you recall the wedding ring box we were shown in Episode 7, there was a bigger ring (with six edges) and a smaller ring (with four edges). In Episode 6 we know that Yukariko had the four-edge ring, so Shin must have had the six-edge one. The ring on Dolly’s finger is shown to be the six-edge one, so it is very likely to be Shin’s ring.
If so, we could assume that Dolly got the ring from Shin. If Shin really has had an affair with Dolly (giving birth to Tsugumi their daughter), then Shin could have given his ring to her. Dolly’s motive might not be that “pure”, as she could have been targeting Kurotsubaki, which was with Shin by then. Unfortunately for Dolly, Shin died in a car crash, and for some reason she could not get Kurotsubaki for 13 years.
What is lacking here is the true identity of Shidou. It is apparent that he cares a lot for her, but we do not know if he is the prince from the fairy tale, or anybody else.
2. The King’s Power
We know that Yukariko was the prime suspect for stealing the King’s Power from the Royal Garden. Now it is revealed that the King’s Power, which could grant a person “eternity”, is in Kurotsubaki. The very straight conclusion is that Kurotsubaki was once in the Royal Garden, and Yukariko took the clock away. This is plausible: Yukariko was the owner of Kurotsubaki before Shin.
If Dolly’s knowledge of the Power is true, then Kurotsubaki could grant “eternity” to the one being stabbed by it. Yet the term “eternity” is rather vague – nobody can be sure if it really makes a person live forever. Yet, it might be safe to assume that the Power would at least make Dolly young without needing to stay at her “sanctuary”.
It seems that the Power would change the personality of people – Hayate changes from a warm-hearted gigolo to a cold-hearted jerk. It also appears that the Power grants Hayate the ability to speak English. This is rather weird, but convenient: there is no need for international students to have EAL lessons any more.
A recurring theme of the series is the separation of Hayate from Nagi. If I remember correctly, while in previous cases Hayate was unwillingly forced away from Nagi and he was determined to reunite with her, this is the first time Hayate willingly severs ties with Nagi. This makes the anime a little more “fresh” than what we have seen in the past.
Apparently the King’s Power – or whatever is that from Kurotsubaki – causes a change of heart in Hayate. We are not entirely sure why he becomes so frustrated with Nagi all of a sudden, but it isn’t that he has forgotten about Nagi or something. He, after all, called her “milady” before he left.
A rather interesting fact is that while Hayate speaks coldly to Nagi and acts all moody at Yukiji, he remains relatively patient to Hinagiku. He might sound a bit more distant than before, but at least he has been smiling at her, without showing a hint of hostility. Nobody knows why.
The Can’t Take My Eyes off You anime would come to an end in two episodes, and things look quite straightforward. Nagi needs to claim her butler back, while everyone else need to come together to fight against the gang of robbers, Dolly, Shidou and Tsugumi. I think two episodes would be just enough to give everything a satisfactory end, so let us hope that the production team could get the best out of these two episodes. This season is not always of the highest quality, but with a good end everything can be forgiven.
But then if it doesn’t end well…