You might not believe this, but after seven chapters of the Rainbow Village arc, the date is still 20 July 2005. Apparently, time doesn’t always fly.
Personally, I think the Rainbow Village arc has been a flop. While it looked so promising at the beginning – a Hayate-Ruka kiss, a debate on whether Nagi could live on her own, the Sanzen’in inheritance – the only apparent outcome of the arc is an even more heated rivalry between Nagi and Ruka on their manga. True, the rivalry would be very much needed if Nagi is to step up to beat Ruka at Comiket, but are you telling me that this has been the whole point of the Rainbow Village arc in the first place?
An even bigger problem is Hata’s attitude as he ended the arc in gag-style, while declaring that “this is the reality of this manga”. Clearly, while Hata has proved himself able to make his story serious, he did not plan to do so with the Rainbow Village arc. As such, the arc has been a flop either way: it flopped as a serious story because of the gag-ending, and it flopped as a gag because of the serious start.
So, as the “reality” of gag manga resumes, we say goodbye to the “fantasy” of serious story. It was almost like a dream…
While we have expected the Violet Mansion to be “cleared out” as all the residents have some business here and there, it turns out that this is not the case. Hinagiku, who was expected to be on a Kendo Club training camp, has returned to the Violet Mansion for a high fever. This is the second time in the series – and indeed in Year 2012 – Hinagiku has fallen ill. Apparently, she is not as strong as we would have thought.
I don’t know if Hinagiku has already met up with her fellow club members before she left the camp, but if she has, then it is quite funny that nobody has had the sense to escort her home. Clearly, the idea of earning “points” at the school idol’s heart by helping her when she is weak has not come across the male club members’ heart. This is why you guys fall behind that gigolo Hayate. Come on now, boys!
As Athena is not around, the best place for Hinagiku to go when ill should be her own home. However, her foster parents have gone on an overseas trip (on a romantic holiday, perhaps?). Yukiji cannot be reached (not even by SMS?) and is not helpful anyway. Kayura is in Hokkaido and is not helpful anyway. Athena is at Mikado’s castle and is not helpful anyway. The other residents have all gone to the Rainbow Village
and are not helpful anyway. It is a very bad timing for Hinagiku to get ill.
The narrator (who seems to have a tendency to speak a lot more in Hinagiku chapters) tells us that Hinagiku is in a very bad situation. Hinagiku feeds us with further updates that she has a hazy mind, is thirsty but is unable to get up or hold a cup. In other words, she is in a horrible state.
It is not a pleasant experience to stay alone in bed when you are so ill. You have a lot of physical needs (food, water, and easing of the symptoms), but you also know that nobody could fulfill them for you. You also begin to think whether you would die alone. Hinagiku is no exception, and in her hazy consciousness she recalls a very similar experience when she was small. Now and then, tears drop from her eyes, and she calls for help from the bottom of her heart.
We don’t know if there had been anyone to save her when she was small, but as she opens her eyes now, she sees Hayate. Nobody knows why he is here – he was expected to either return to the Rainbow Village to look after his “life in itself”, or to go to help Wataru and Saki in Akiba. In other words, there is no reason for Hayate to return to the Violet Mansion – other than the “fact” that Hinagiku called help.
Whatever we say about Hayate, we cannot deny that he is at his best when taking care of people. His treatment of the sick Hinagiku is correct and innovative – to be honest, I didn’t know about the tea pot trick. Hinagiku immediately feels much better, and finally she could talk about her next need: a warmer blanket.
As Hayate goes to get her the blanket, Hinagiku reflects on the boy she falls in love with. Sometimes even Hinagiku herself doubts why she has fallen in love with Hayate, and the answer is clear here. It is not (only) about physical attraction, or the similarity between their background or souls. It is that, when the usually strong and tough Hinagiku calls for his help, Hayate would always come to her aid.
She might not need him to repay 150M yen. She might not need him to stay with her 24-7. She might not need him to save her life. She might not need to ask him to be her boyfriend. She only needs him to do such simple things as taking care of her when she is ill and lonely. As Hinagiku doesn’t get ill or feel lonely that often, she is not asking for much here.
As Hinagiku watches Hayate go, she notices something that is lying on the floor. Although she could not think of what it is immediately, she has a feeling (the “sixth sense” of girls, perhaps?) that it is very important to her. As she searches harder and harder in her brain, she finally knows what it is: that’s her pajama bottom!
One might wonder how she could go to bed without putting on her pajama bottom, but Hinagiku explains (in her head) that she was so ill she could not stand up to put the pajama bottom on. Some would argue that a decent girl should at least try to put it on no matter what, but as we all know, Hinagiku is not known for perfect decency.
Well, not wearing a pajama bottom in bed is usually not a problem – nobody gives a damn if you sleep completely naked in your own bed. The problem is that Hayate has promised to change Hinagiku’s blanket with a warmer one, and by doing so he would have to take away the thinner one. It means that Hayate would definitely see her underwear, and Hinagiku doesn’t want it.
It seems that no matter how many times Hayate has seen her naked body or underwear, Hinagiku thinks the less he sees her, the better. The funny thing is that she is worried about her dignity as “Student Council President”, not her dignity as “a girl”. Well, as so many things have happened between them, I guess her dignity as a girl has already lost…
In any case, Hinagiku has no way to fight for her dignity, as she is simply too weak to say no or to hold the blanket tight. She could only quietly wait for her underwear to be seen by Hayate. Finally the blanket is taken away, but is then quickly over her body again. Clearly, Hayate really has seen the thing he is not supposed to see. Our poor butler might not have expected to step into a mine field…
In an awkward moment of silence, Hayate looks for and finds Hinagiku’s pajama bottom. Hinagiku wonders what he is doing with it, but she realizes soon enough: apparently he wants to put the pajama bottom on her! And sure enough, there goes Hayate, trying to put the pajama bottom on Hinagiku, while reassuring her that he couldn’t see a thing.
As Hinagiku would tell you, the issue is not whether he could see or not, because he now has his hands touching embarrassing parts of her body. The shock is too big for Hinagiku, but she couldn’t even scream out loud. In the end, Hinagiku’s mind shuts down – quite likely, she has already fainted. As such, Hayate would not be punished for trying to help Hinagiku – at least for now.
The funny thing about the relationship between Hayate and Hinagiku is that, the positives and negatives always come in equal measures. Whenever Hayate manages to charm Hinagiku, he would finally self-destruct. Whenever Hayate makes Hinagiku angry, he would compensate for his mistakes. On the basis of “Hinagiku loves Hayate, while he certainly cares for her”, these two have been playing zero-sum games all along. There is no particular event which brings them closer, or separates them further. It means they are not making real “progress”, but it also means that their relationship has been fairly stable.
Speaking of “progress”, there is one very odd thing on which Hinagiku is making “progress”. For whatever reason, Hinagiku has had a lot of “dignity”. Such dignity acts more or less like a self-defense mechanism, so that Hinagiku would keep telling herself and the others that there are things – things which embarrass her – that she couldn’t and wouldn’t do.
Since she has fallen in love with Hayate, the boundary of her “dignity” has been pushed to lower and lower limits. In this chapter alone, Hinagiku’s limits have been tested twice: the panty shot and wearing the pajama bottom. And guess what? Even though she claimed that these things could never happen to her, life goes on for her in the end.
I am not going to say that this chapter is of any importance. Quite simply, it is not supposed to be as serious a chapter as the Rainbow Village arc, let alone the Comisun saga or Athena saga. Yet, I find this chapter highly satisfactory, because Hata has filled a comedic chapter with gags. As the previous, serious arc failed miserably, a successful gag chapter is more than welcomed.
Hinagiku is a very lucky girl. While everyone has something serious to worry about – life or death, win or lose, 150M yen, astronomical inheritance – all Hinagiku has to worry about in this chapter is her dignity, although we are almost certain that Hayate would not think any less of her even if her dignity is “lost”. Some say that Hinagiku’s role is reduced with all these “filler chapters”, but as I have put above, a comedy – love comedy – should not be tainted by serious matters.
Let the others fight over serious matters as they please. Here, we enjoy the harmless and lighthearted love comedy about dignity and embarrassment. It’s not like we would have too many chapters like this anyway – after the break next week, let’s see what would be offered on Boxing Day!