The main heroine of Episode 5 is Katsura Hinagiku, currently the most popular character as well as the Undesirable No. 1 in the Hayate no Gotoku! series.
One of the biggest surprise in this episode is that the studio decided to animate the beach volleyball arc (Ch. 221 – Ch. 223), which is a part of the Athena saga. For the very first time since the Big Bang, there is something about the Athena saga (with the exception of Athena herself, that is) being animated, and it takes a Hinagiku episode to do that. Ironic, huh?
To be honest, I never expected the beach volleyball arc being animated at all…
With the benefit of hindsight, however, this decision makes a lot of sense. While Hinagiku has her appearance and chapters here and there, they are either too fragmented to be made into a coherent plot, or are too related to the Comisun saga which doesn’t fit into the current timeline at all. If the studio is to find a long and good enough arc to show some high points of Hinagiku, then the beach volleyball arc is the only sensible choice, especially when most (if not all) other possible arcs have been animated already.
So, what are the “high points” of Hinagiku the studio showed us? Here they are:
The ability to destroy multiple robots with volleyballs (WHAT?!)
Hinagiku helps Hayate protecting Nagi’s wealth through the beach volleyball game
She makes the right choice to kick Gilbert’s ass, which leads to Hayate’s victory
Ponytail and swimsuit – what else can you ask for?
Answer: Bigger boobs.
We can see that the studio has put a lot of efforts into the plot. In fact, the beach volleyball arc makes little sense without the underground labyrinth arc (which led to Hinagiku worrying that she was not “fragile” enough) before it and the “Silky Heart” arc (which was originally Hayate’s attempt to show his gratitude) after it. The studio solved this problem by wrapping the arc with Ch. 340, which supplies the necessary elements to make up of the lost connection between the arc and the Athena saga.
To make things even better, Ch. 340 shows Hinagiku’s academic abilities and romantic inabilities, so it helps giving us a complete picture of Hinagiku as a character. I would go as far as to say that this episode is a textbook illustration of Hinagiku. If someone new to the series wants to learn more about her, it would be a good choice to show them this episode.
Sometimes I think that Hinagiku is worried about her chest size only because she thinks it is an indication of femininity: the bigger the chest, the more femininity the girl is. After all, she is not happy to be considered “masculine” by her friends, and she is worried that Hayate would not love “masculine” girls. If chest size really is an indication of femininity, then obviously Hinagiku would worry about it.
Then again, if chest size really is so important for a girl to be attractive, then I fail to understand why Yukiji thinks it is a good idea to sell Hinagiku DVDs, or why Hinagiku could provide fanservices, or why she could be popular at all. Clearly, the importance of boobs has been exaggerated, while other qualities have been underestimated.
Massaging is of course a kind of service, but to certain people it is also a sign of intimacy. Obviously Hinagiku is the kind of people who see massaging in such a romantic manner. Maybe it is time for her to go to massage clinics, where she could pay for professional massage services. That might make her understand that, sometimes, massaging is just massaging. No more, no less.
Unlike some annoying Tsunderes, Hinagiku doesn’t show her jealousy too often. She hid her jealousy especially well at crucial moments in the Athena saga, so instead of making Hayate feel any worse, she gave him the motivation he needed to try to talk to Athena. In this episode we have a totally different scenario: when things are casual and trivial, Hinagiku does show her jealousy. Well, when a girl could pick her timing so well, I would tolerate expression of jealousy – although it is not entirely desirable for me.
The incompetence of Hinagiku in romantic issues is best illustrated by her failed attempts to make plans and take actions. As the brain behind Ruka’s successful Comiket, there is no doubt that Hinagiku could make plans that work out well. However, her “plans” to get Hayate to offer her a shoulder massage, as well as the outcomes, are miserable. I have already posted a long enough essay on this subject, so… just read that, please.
Remember Hinagiku’s favourite motto? “You must sit on a rock for three years.” This motto of course shows how important hard-working is, but it also shows that sometimes our goal is so difficult to achieve that it takes so much effort to succeed. Even Hinagiku gets upset that her “plans” did not work out, and very surprisingly it is Athena who suggests her to give one more shot. Not only Athena knows that Hinagiku loves Hayate, she apparently is cheering Hinagiku on as well. Then again, this is the Athena who has no memories of being Athena, so things could change once the “real” Athena is back.
Meanwhile, this brief moment of Hinagiku-Athena interaction makes me asking for more.
One of the things that “wows” me in this series is the wealth of the Sanzen’in family, and all the crazy things and even lands that Nagi owns. These are all taken away in the current “Poverty saga” – or should I start using the term “age” already? – which is to me a huge disappointment. Fortunately Nagi’s wealth has been restored since CTMEOY, and in this episode I found that sort of things which “wows” me again: a private artificial beach. Wow!
When you start realizing that this is a substitute to the Mykonos beach – we are not in the Athena saga after all – double wow!
Clearly, Hayate never wanted the SC Rangers into (as it is in an enclosed building, so “into”) the beach, but he couldn’t get them out either. Apparently Hinagiku is “tasked” with satisfying the SC Rangers’ demand – Why would they want Hinagiku to join them if they are so afraid of her temper? – so that Hayate can finally get rid of them. It is, however, very tactless of Hayate to ask Hinagiku to change into a swimsuit he has prepared for her. What the Hell is he thinking?
“With much money comes much danger.” When Nagi was living in “poverty” in the Violet Mansion, there had been no kidnapping nor inheritance-challenging. As Nagi got her inheritance back, the people who want her wealth are also back, starting (?) with Gilbert, Sakuya’s illegitimate brother. Does he count as Nagi’s illegitimate cousin?
In the Athena saga, Gilbert bet the King’s Jewel of Hayate on the beach volleyball game. Here, he has not stated exactly what he wants to bet, but I assume it to be the entire wealth of Nagi’s. I know that the two bets are basically the same – winning the King’s Jewel almost guarantee winning Nagi’s inheritance – but I kept laughing at the idea that Gilbert expected to win Nagi’s wealth on a beach volleyball game. I mean, seriously?
I must say that I have been looking forward to Hinagiku’s ponytail for ages. Now that I have seen it, I can return to the Land of our Father in peace. The ribbon that ties Hinagiku’s hair is in yellow, which is a better match with her outfit than black. It is such a pity that this outfit didn’t last long – why do you have to take out the ribbon, Hinagiku?
For Eight’s size, his spike that hits Hinagiku sounds extremely weak (the ball does bounce up high, though). I would expect nothing less than a loud “bang” to actually sound powerful. Hinagiku doesn’t seem to be hurt in any way either – she hasn’t even got a “hot spot” on her face which indicates that she is genuinely hit. Of course, Hinagiku would want to act like she was hurt no matter how hard she was hit, but given how poor her acting skills are, maybe she could act better if she has felt some (if any) pain…
Gilbert really is hopeless. His insult of Hinagiku’s chest is of course his main cause of death, but in this episode he manages to piss off Maria, who isn’t even in the eye of storm, as well. Should Hinagiku turned out to be incapable of pulling herself together for the game (?), I am pretty sure Maria would take her place for vengeance.
Luckily, Hinagiku comes to her sense and sees that it is better to be insulted by Hayate (“wild beast”) than by Gilbert (“lack of breasts”). The destruction of the robots is not shown, possibly because it is just too violent… However, we could judge from the crowd’s comments that Hayate is more involved than expected. At least he seems to be hitting a few balls…
It turns out that Hinagiku has put on the swimsuit given by Hayate. Obviously she is not giving it back, so we may treat it as a gift for her from Hayate. It doesn’t really qualify as a thanksgiving gift, for Hayate chooses to lecture her for a lack of “shame” instead of thanking for her help. All the girls around are all speechless, either for Hinagiku’s lack of shame or for Hayate’s lack of sensitivity, or both.
A Hina punch is exactly what Hayate deserves, but it doesn’t help Hinagiku’s quest in getting closer to Hayate – or even getting her shoulders rubbed. Things then take an unexpected turn, when she is not planning anything at all.
Nor has she been following her original plan either. Here we have Hayate, taking the initiative to offer her a shoulder massage. Hinagiku begins by denying that she would need a rub (instead of simply saying “Yes, please!”), but Hayate then takes the best possible action: doing nothing, thus giving Hinagiku her time to pick up some courage. Finally, Hinagiku accepts his offer, and gets her well-deserved reward.
Most importantly, it is a reward that makes her happy. It is just a shoulder massage that she has desired, not a dinner in Athens. There is no Ch. 239, no “Silky Heart”, and no heart-breaking. It seems that Hinagiku has finally come out of her Dark Age, as she is given an alternate ending of the beach volleyball arc, in which all is well.
Hinagiku also has come a long way since the horror of CTMEOY Episode 3. Artwork in this episode is adorable. Ponytail Hinagiku seems to get a lot of people excited, while the portrayal of her femininity is at the very best. I really can’t find anything to complain about this episode, and I absolutely loved it.
Even better, I finally have one prediction that goes right:
Hinagiku’s ED is “Hatred is the Beginning of Love”.