Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 397

Okay, there are too many words this time.

Okay, there are too many words this time.

I am not sure if anybody pays attention to the words on the cover page, but there is an important announcement this time: the new anime of Hayate no Gotoku!, “Cuties”, will start airing on 8 April. So, anime on Mondays and manga on Wednesdays – you could imagine my workload.

I have already started another post for pre-airing discussion of the anime. Please make your comments or express your excitements over there, and allow this post for chapter discussion only. Violators would be trolled by Doughnut Gunso.

For fear of being trolled by myself, I shall return to Ch. 397 immediately…

Look at that face of a loser...

Look at that face of a loser…

For whatever reason, Hayate travels all the way from the Rainbow Village to the Dark Rainbow Village. He reports to Nagi that he would be marrying Ruka if she wins in the competition. Nagi is understandably surprised: the change in the bet has not been communicated to her before. Would she be bound to honour it should she lose in the competition?

It could be argued that there has been no change at all. The bet between Nagi and Ruka remains that if Nagi loses, Hayate’s debt would be relieved, so he would then be free. What Hayate does as a free man has no business with Nagi, so he is at perfect liberty to marry Ruka.

Yet, Hayate doesn’t look as if he is very happy with his promise to marry Ruka. Instead, I could almost see the words “It’s not like I could have done anything about it” scribbled across his face. Come on, man! There is nobody forcing you to make a promise you do not want to fulfil!

From now on I wont' believe in any promises he makes.

From now on I wont’ believe in any promises he makes.

Hinagiku and Chiharu do not get the whole thing. They tend to think that it is “some kind of light punishment” – more or less like the “wearing embarrassing costume” Hinagiku and Athena got for the Third Character Poll: something light-hearted and reversible. But Hayate says it is not. He has to match the sincere feeling of Ruka with a sincere promise, so he is not backing on his words.

This sounds cool and manly, but he then reveals that he is counting on Nagi to win the competition so that he won’t have to marry Ruka! I couldn’t help but feel that Hayate is being cunning instead of sincere. There is no “sincerity” in a promise if there is such a hidden agenda – it actually beats the point of making a sincere promise. Really, what is Hayate thinking?

I scratch my head hard for an answer, but there is none. Meanwhile, a pound of my hair falls onto the ground.

Answer: start drawing.

Answer: start drawing.

In a non-serious way, Nagi now has a taste of her own medicine. Usually it was her who blindly believed in Hayate’s powers and gave him a lot of troubles. Now it is Hayate’s turn to blindly believe in Nagi’s abilities and gives her all the pressure. I don’t know what you would make of such “trust” in each other, but I think it shows that the lady and the butler do not know each other very well.

Now Nagi is in trouble. She could of course only reassure Hayate that she would win, but she knows that she is deep in trouble – in her own words, she has “99% odds of losing”. Her manga quality is one thing, but the bigger trouble for her is that she might not even be able to finish her manga in time. Without a manga, she would lose automatically.

This is quite some strength...

This is quite some strength…

To tackle her problems, Nagi decides to lead everyone – Hinagiku, Chiharu, Ayumu and Ashibashi-sensei, that is – to a book store. Chiharu assumes that she is going to look for inspiration just like the pros do, but apparently Nagi is taking the wrong way. Granted, I don’t really know what the pros would do, but surely they would not be reading self-help books?

We could see that Nagi is desperately trying to look for clues to win, but mysteriously she seems to have forgotten about Ashibashi-sensei and Hinagiku, the two advisers she has recently recruited. If she is not going to ask for their advices, why has she recruited them (to be fair to her though, Ashibashi-sensei was recruited by Ayumu) in the first place?

I scratch my head hard for an answer, but there is none. Meanwhile, another pound of my hair falls onto the ground.

Why so late / early...?

Why so late / early…?

Hinagiku and Chiharu seem happy to be mere spectators, but Ayumu becomes worried, so (finally) she asks Ashibashi-sensei for advices. The mangaka proves himself to be a great storyteller, spending 3 whole pages to tell a rather scary ghost story which scares the Hell out of Ayumu and Nagi.

But he has a point: “the most effective means of making an interesting story is to use an interesting experience you want to tell people about”. Indeed, manga is a means of storytelling, and it would be much easier if we can find interesting story to tell from our own experience. We won’t have to make a story out of nowhere, to say the very least.

Of course Ashibashi-sensei’s advices would be great for someone who doesn’t already have a plan or a story, but I doubt if it works for Nagi. After all, Nagi already has her own story – about the anime-loving girl who is dead – and honestly we couldn’t have too much experience with dead people, could we?

Coming up next...?

Coming up next…?

In any case, Nagi is taking his advices, and she begins to look for an interesting experience in her life. I expected her to think of her daily life with Hayate, and begins drawing Hayate no Gotoku!, but she does not. Instead, She thinks of going on a trip, “where only unexpected things happen”. Sounds like nothing in her life so far is interesting enough for a story.

Wait a minute: are they not already on a trip to the Dark Rainbow Village? Does it now mean that Nagi is going on a trip when she is already on a trip? And what does she mean by “we”? Is she taking her whole “team” to this trip in a trip?

I scratch my head hard for an answer, but there is none. Meanwhile, the rest of my hair falls onto the ground. I am now bald.