Enough is enough. I have said this at least twice in the past, and now I am saying it once again: Hata simply should give up making time jumps, and try to stay with a more… stable timeline. The problem is that, simply put, time jumps cause confusions, and we are having bad times trying to figure out the sequence of events, and as time goes by we are tired of it.
Take our most recent case as an example. By the end of Ch. 387, we would expect Hayate to go and help Wataru and Saki with their business. As it turned out, Hayate went to look after a (very) sick Hinagiku, so one could be forgiven if he thought that Hayate would go to Akiba the following day. However, we are told in this chapter that Hayate has actually been to help Wataru and Saki before finding a sick Hinagiku in the Violet Mansion. In other words, we have yet again read about a prior event after a following event. If you find this confusing, congratulations: you understand what I meant above.
Yes, this is just a very small jump over some trivial events, and it certainly would not affect our understanding of the chain of events. However, I think that for good presentation of a story, the less confusion it causes the better. Of course, sometimes confusion is caused on purpose to create suspension and invite debates, but Ch. 387 to Ch. 389 are not such a case.
Okay, let us have a look at what has happened before Ch. 388, in Ch. 389.
If you recall, Mikado was going to tell how Nagi could once again have the right to inherit the wealth of the Sanzen’in family before Saki bombarded everyone with phone calls. Mikado felt that the mood for his big revelation was ruined, so he decided to call Hayate the following day for further discussion. However, at the beginning of this chapter, we could see Mikado making his call to Hayate in tears. Perhaps it is that his mood was ruined even more by the fact that Aika was leaving him for a vacation with her fiancé.
The “big” revelation was not that “big” anyway. Let’s go back to the basics: Nagi was disinherited because she has destroyed the King’s Jewel that was with Hayate, which represented Nagi’s right to compete for the inheritance. As Nagi is the direct descendant of the Sanzen’in family, Mikado had to disinherit Nagi to deny her any legal right to his wealth. This is why Nagi was denied the comfortable Sanzen’in Mansion and almost everything that her family own. Now, whatever we say about the rules that were laid down, Mikado has now confirmed that Nagi’s identity as one of the competitors of the inheritance would be restored if Nagi could get herself another King’s Jewel – whichever one it is.
This task is both easy and hard. It is easy because Nagi seems to have quite a lot of choices. Mikado confirmed that he has obtained a total of 9 King’s Jewels. Three of them have now lost (if “lost” could mean losing functionality, then we can count Hayate’s first, Hayate’s second and Aika’s), so there are six remaining (one is, of course, with Wataru). Now, as they are all “missing” now, it is possible that some of them might not be in anyone’s possession. Even if they are all occupied, it is quite probable that some of them may not know these stones are the keys to astronomical sums of money, so Nagi might be able to persuade (or fool?) one of them to give her the stone.
The task is hard because nobody other than Aika and Athena seem to have any idea as to where the King’s Jewels are. That said, there is no guarantee that these two girls really would know the whereabouts of the stones (particularly Athena, whose powers and memories have mostly lost), so we might have to prepare for the worst. Unless Hayate and Nagi could find a way to locate them (some kind of “Jewel Radar”, anyone?), it is almost impossible to find them in a short time. Seriously, it could be easier to simply make money out of doujin sales or stock investment.
Of course, finding one of the King’s Jewels doesn’t make Nagi the successor to the inheritance – she would merely earn her right to compete for the inheritance back. However, Hayate doesn’t have to worry about that just yet if his short-term goal is to restore Nagi’s previous lifestyle. If Nagi’s relationship with Mikado is restored, she would enjoy the rights of being the direct descendent of the family: as long as Mikado lives, Nagi is under his custody, so his wealth is technically hers. To put it simply, Nagi could return to the Sanzen’in Mansion, enjoy the service and protection from the employees of the family (including Klaus of course), and live the way she used to, before destroying the King’s Jewel of Hayate.
To put it even more simply, it is almost like the Athena saga never happened.
It would’t have taken you three minutes to read the above, so it also wouldn’t have taken Mikado three minutes to explain the rules to Hayate in words. As such, he could have told this to Hayate before sending him to help Wataru and Saki, instead of letting everything slump back to “the reality of this manga”. Of course, Mikado wanted the mood, so he might not be willing to explain even if he had time, but I don’t think that he was in the mood in this chapter anyway.
What’s worse, I doubt if Hayate was in the mood to listen to him either. Yes, he understood the situation and he was determined to find one of the King’s Jewels for Nagi, but for most of the conversation he was not paying full attention. Of course, it would be hard to concentrate for a conversation if you have other business (pun intended) to take care of, but the lack of attention is quite weird for someone who is listening to something which is very important to someone who is so important to him.
I don’t really see how helpful he was at Wataru’s store either. Moving things around doesn’t bring you a lot more customers. They would need something else.
Hayate tried to call Aika, who was in Tahiti with her fiancé. Said fiancé picked up the phone, but he made a mistake by calling Aika “milady”. Obviously, he is her butler, so he would call her “milady”. However, as they were on vacation alone, Aika would prefer her fiancé to treat her like a fiancee instead of his mistress. She punished her fiancé by not picking the phone, but it was Hayate who suffered, as his questions went unanswered. His other alternative was Athena, who did not own a cell phone, but she seemed to be on her way back to the Violet Mansion. As such, Hayate headed back to the apartment to wait for her.
So, after a few pages of past events, we are returning to the present, when Hayate is back at the Violet Mansion and Hinagiku has just had the most embarrassing moment of her life so far. Suddenly she has become a lot better, as she is able to sit up and speak, although she is still suffering from a headache. Hayate comments on how rare it is for Hinagiku to collapse, and funny enough the conversation involves a reference to Detective Conan. We know that Hinagiku doesn’t know much about manga, and she has not shown manga knowledge other than Gundam and “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”. It seems that her knowledge has now extended to Detective Conan, although it could be shallow.
Manga is still not an easy topic for Hinagiku, and her head hurts again because of the topic. Hayate tells her to get some sleep again, while casually telling her that nobody else is coming home this night. As usual, Hinagiku’s mind goes wild. A devil and an angel appear to make a suggestion to their master. The devil suggests Hinagiku to make use of this chance to have Hayate spoil, while the angel suggests her to do nothing and simply goes to sleep.
The two then argue over the reason for Hinagiku to have next to zero progress in her relationship with Hayate – meaning that her love life has been more of a laughing mater than serious business. Arguably both have a point: the devil is right that Hinagiku has not been taking the chances as they come, while the angel is right that Hinagiku is very incompetent with love issues. Somehow, I find the words of the angel more offensive, while the suggestion of the devil is rather… unambitious – of all the ways a girl could be spoiled, the devil goes for “peeling an apple”, I ask you.
Time has come for Hinagiku to deliver her verdict on the debate. She chooses to cover the devil with a cup, so one (including the angel) assumes that she has chosen to simply go to sleep. However, as she turns away, she asks Hayate for an apple – meaning that she chooses to listen to the devil after all. To sum up her verdict, we could say that she agrees that she has to go to sleep, but she would want a bit of spoiling – not much, just a bit. She is just asking him to peel an apple for her, you see.
As Hayate peels the apple at her request (honestly I don’t know what “apples which look like rabbits” should look like, but apparently Hayate knows…), he reflects on how rare it is for Hinagiku to rely on the others. Then he remembers something: another girl who usually works hard but relied on him all of a sudden – and kissed him and confessed to him. Yes, we are talking about Ruka, although I find it weird for Hayate to say that Ruka was “relying” on him. Apart from asking for a body towel and some changing clothes, I don’t really think Ruka was relying on him. Perhaps Hayate could only think of affection for him as “relying” on him?
Hayate used to think that no girl would ever love him. Ruka’s confession (together with Athena’s and Ayumu’s) seems to have changed his opinion, but he is still very certain that Hinagiku would never, ever have any feelings for him. It is fair to say that there are so many hints for him to pick up: Hinagiku “relies” on him again to feed her the apple, then she asks why he couldn’t treat her so kindly all the time. Next, she compares herself to Nagi, leading Hayate to once again think of Ruka’s suggestion to quit being Nagi’s butler. Finally, Hinagiku asks him to hold her hand until she falls asleep, and specifically says that she wants some “milady treatment” occasionally. It is quite an achievement for Hayate to miss all these “hints”. Either he is just so dense, or he really doesn’t understand what romantic love really is.
Not that he has much time to pick the hints up anyway. Just as he takes hold of Hinagiku’s hand, Athena bangs into the room – she shares the room with Hinagiku, after all. Both Hayate and Hinagiku know better than to carry on with the “milady” game, so nothing happens. An interruption, a misunderstanding, and a funny joke. This is some discrimination.
Despite my complaints, I am glad to see that there are some new development between Hayate and Hinagiku: our tough and independent Student Council President wants Hayate to spoil her for a bit. She is not entirely dependent on him, but she is not entirely independent either. In most cases she responses to Hayate’s requests, but occasionally she has requests that she wants Hayate’s response. This makes their interaction dynamic, equal and thus healthy. Hayate could now understand that Hinagiku is not merely his helping hand, as there is some demands from her that need addressing. Hinagiku could now understand that she doesn’t always have to be independent, as it is perfectly fine to be a little dependent, occasionally. For me, this is just lovely.
We are all aware that Hinagiku and Ruka are rather similar. As Hayate pointed out, they are both hard working. They have both been abandoned by their parents and had a huge debt to repay. Both love Hayate. In fact, people would expect that whatever happens to Ruka regarding her love for Hayate would happen to Hinagiku as well, and indeed there was a comment that 4 out of 5 “reasons” I presented in this article apply to Hinagiku as well – but then there has been no logical argument presented to me for consideration, so I could only take those words as bluffing. However, despite clear similarities between these two girls, there are at least two things on which they differ, and if there would be any difference to their endings, these differences could be key.
The first thing is that Hinagiku has already repaid all the debts (most credits go to Yukiji) and is living a happy and wealthy family life, while Ruka has yet to repay her debts and her parents are still missing. It means that Hinagiku is living with a lot less stress than Ruka. Indeed, while Ruka desperately needs to make earnings and prove herself to be a capable mangaka, Hinagiku has nothing to prove or to worry about. What she “needs” to do is to be a good student, and to be a better girl in the eyes of Hayate. This, of course, is nothing compared to Ruka’s burdens.
This difference leads to the second difference: when two girls are of similar toughness, it would be the amount of burdens that decide who is the more vulnerable. As such, Ruka would be more vulnerable than Hinagiku, needing more care and companion. This is one of the reasons why Ruka is much more “aggressive” than Hinagiku: while Hinagiku is fine on her own most of the time, Ruka constantly needs companion, and what is better than a caring boyfriend who (presumably) understands her problems because he has similar problems as well? Indeed, “losing” Hayate to other girls could be more damaging to Ruka than Hinagiku – as long as the latter doesn’t go insane because she “hates losing”.
These differences have already surfaced and affect their decisions, actually. Ruka is going gung-ho on Hayate, and she wants Hayate to quit his job as Nagi’s butler. Hinagiku is only asking Hayate to spoil her “a bit”, and only “occasionally”. You can compare and contrast how much they want from Hayate, and how much pressure they are putting on our poor butler. The main issue is that Hayate is not yet ready: now his priority is to find one of the King’s Jewels and restore the wealth Nagi could enjoy, so for him love is something he has to wait. Tell me, of Ruka and Hinagiku, who can wait and who cannot?
It is funny. Ruka has the advantage of already making her confession, but Hinagiku has the advantage of already settling her financial problems. There are things which are better to be done ahead of your rivals, but some things are not decided on who moves first, but who moves at the right timing. Sometimes, moving first means you crash into a brick wall first.
I am not saying that Ruka would crash while Hinagiku wouldn’t, but let’s see.