To a certain extent, CTMEOY and Cuties are direct opposites. CTMEOY was mostly original story, with occasion animation of manga chapters. Cuties, on the other hand, is mostly animation of manga chapters, and only in the final two episodes are we having original story. The “original story” in these two seasons, though, turn out to be highly related. It appears that we still have some unfinished business with Kurotsubaki and the Tanuki…
There is yet another character who I am not sure whether I should consider “new”. Clockman is now a friend of Tanuki, and he shares the same voice actor (the Sugita Tomokazu) with Shin Hayek, Nagi’s father. They might have the same voice, but while Shin is mostly cool and calm, Clockman is mostly a joke. So far, I really cannot relate Clockman to Shin. The very sad truth (for him) is that my favourite line by him is “Break! Break!”, and as he screams I go ROLMFAO. This, by no means, is a legitimate villain.
Speaking of “legitimate villains”, it appears that both Tanuki and Clockman – referred to as the Freakamons below – are not the main villains. The “Big Bad”, so to speak, remains Kurotsubaki, which has sent Nagi into the limbo (in the “Inception” context) for no apparent reason. The Freakamons seem to be helping Hayate to save Nagi, but I still don’t consider them Hayate’s ally – the manner they show as they announce the time limit really bugs me.
Maybe that’s why I love Clockman screaming “Break! Break!” so much.
As expected of Hata, who writes this original story, time jumps back and forth in this episode. This could create huge confusion in the presentation, and I frequently asked myself “Where am I now?” as I watched this episode very early in the morning. The main source of the “chaos”, however, is not Hayate. Yes, his scenes switch between his dream world and the real world, but the “failed list” he has made is mostly (with the exception of Maria) in chronological order – proof that, when Hayate is the main focus of the episode, there is no messing up with the time.
Surprisingly, the one who has turned the timeline upside-down is Hinagiku. It is her who recalls a 5:00 moment and then an 8:30 moment at 12:30. It is also her who recalls a 15:00 moment and then a 12:15 moment in the evening. In her case, it is better to follow her train of thought instead of the time. At 12:30 she is prompted by a suggestion to kiss Hayate, which reminds her dream at 5:00 and Hayate’s request at 8:30. In the evening she thinks of the missing Hayate, which reminds her of what she was thinking at 15:00, which reminded her the same question she asked Hayate at 12:15…
We can finally appreciate just how complicated a girl’s mind is.
I tend to think that these two episodes would be another version of Sleeping Beauty. That is, in order to save Nagi, Hayate needs to kiss no one else but Nagi, thus waking her up. A part of me is quite willing to accept this as the ending, because in this context Hayate would not be doing any justice to the other girls if he is to kiss them in order to save Nagi. A kiss is not just an action, but an expression of thoughts and feelings. If the message sent through the kiss is not love (or at least care), then there better be no kiss at all.
I guess the girls have sensed just so much. Funny enough, while most of the girls (arguably with the exception of Chiharu) he asked for a kiss are in love with him, almost all of them (undoubtedly with the exception of Ayumu) refuse to kiss him. The reason, of course, is that such a kiss is “wrong”. There is no way a girl would kiss a boy so that he could save someone, especially when they do not know that “someone” is a girl who they care.
Meanwhile, Hayate is either too single-minded or too loyal to Nagi, that he goes around the girls trying to get his kiss. He actually could have succeeded with Ayumu, but our dear Hamster has arguably been a little too aggressive, that even Hayate feels the weight (or guilt?). Oddly, when asked by Tanuki whether he has kissed anyone or not, Hayate only recalls that he has kissed Athena. He might have forgotten about Izumi, but Ruka…?
In order to fully appreciate just how much trouble Hayate is in, four pieces of information are needed. The first is that Nagi is in the limbo (known by Maria and Hinagiku). The second is that Hayate is threatened by the Freakamons (known by Isumi, Sakuya and Hinagiku). The third is that Hayate would need a kiss for a purpose (known by Izumi, Miki, Risa, Isumi, Sakuya, Aika and Hinagiku). The fourth is that Hayate has gone missing (known by Maria, Ayumu and Hinagiku). As such, we can see that only Hinagiku is able to get the full picture.
So far Hinagiku is much more involved in the main plot than I would have expected. When Hayate knows that he has to kiss someone in order to save Nagi, the first person he asks (according to his “failed list” anyway) is Hinagiku. When Hayate needs to explain his actions and especially his dream, one of the only three people present is Hinagiku. When Maria realizes how bad things have become for Hayate (missing) and Nagi (suffering), the one she calls is Hinagiku. By putting their trust in her, Hayate and Maria are providing valuable information for Hinagiku, which most probably would help her taking appropriate actions to save Nagi.
Needless to say, Isumi would be another one who would know about the situation. It’s just that she needs not be told.
This actually reminds me of the Hinamatsuri Matsuri (I actually hate this stupid name) arc, in which Hayate was supposed to beat Hinagiku in order to remove a curse on him. In the end, though, Hayate was saved by Nagi’s anger, and no fighting with Hinagiku was necessary. Maybe – just maybe – we could have something similar here: instead of playing according to the terms of the “villains”, maybe Hayate could simply defeat them and get Nagi out of the limbo.
Not that the Freakamons want to keep Nagi, anyway. Once again Nagi is trolling her kidnappers so much that Tanuki keeps calling her “slave driver”. If every hostage is as tricky as Nagi, I think nobody would want to be kidnappers any more. For the sake of our younger generation, Nagi should put her skills into theories and teach the world.
Two relatively regular male characters have made their appearance as well. As we have expected, Klaus occasionally goes to serve the girls at the Violet Mansion. I actually think that, with a smaller apartment but more people, Klaus would feel a little less lonely and a bit more happy. Kaoru successfully asks Yukiji out for a date, although I guess Yukiji would say yes to anyone who could treat her with alcohol. It turns out that Hinagiku is just so dense that she doesn’t even know Kaoru is in love with her sister…
Despite the timeline being screwed up
by Hinagiku, I actually find this episode very funny. Moments like Hayate rushing towards his death in the Student Council Room, Kayura taking pictures of Kaoru and Yukiji, Athena stunning Hayate with an electric stun gun, Isumi’s “monster antenna”, Hayate’s bickering with the Freakamons… all make me laugh. In contrast with the CTMEOY finale, seriousness has been toned down a bit. Still, there is a lot of tension in the wake of the finale, and I am looking forward to that.
The ED is “Sunday on Wednesdays” by Kayura – “Sunday” stands for Shonen Sunday here. We don’t have CM Theatre or the Tanuki Easter Egg, but we still have Hinagiku fanservice.