Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties – Comments

Before you read…

How should we describe Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties?

To me it is like a textbook with 11 chapters (Episodes 11 and 12 are combined into one chapter), with 11 authors writing on 11 different topics, and minimum supervision from the editor-in-chief. No attention has been put on cohesion between these 11 chapters, so that even if you miss one, two or even ten of them, you won’t be missing anything useful for the coming chapter.

The different “chapters”, of course, tell different stories about different girls, save for Episode 1 (about a boy) and Episodes 11 and 12 (a supposedly romantic story). The objective of the stories appears to be introducing the girls to the world, so that everyone would get to know about just how many lovely girls there are in the world of Hayate no Gotoku!. You may also call it a beauty contest or a girl show – these are all basically the same thing.


The good thing about this approach is that, everyone can simply find the episode(s) they like, while completely ignoring the rest of the season. As most people would simply find the episode(s) they like “the best of the season”, each episode could become “the best of the season”, so no one can complain that the season sucks to the root.

The bad thing about this approach is that it makes the whole season fragmented – or, to use less technical terms, the season does not tell a story. Each later episode does not build itself on the previous one, so as we come to the last “chapter”, we have actually started watching something anew, and it takes time for the new story to develop. You might even treat Episodes 11 and 12 as an OVA or a movie, which arguably should have been done so in the first place.

Fragmentation: What the heck is going on here?

A problem with CTMEOY has become even more apparent in Cuties: the fragmentation confuses both the manga readers and the anime-only watchers. For manga readers, the switching between the Sanzen’in Mansion and the Violet Mansion is hard to understand, and some things that should have happened before Cuties appear to be cut – for example, Ruka, Izumi and Ayumu’s kiss with Hayate. For anime-only watchers, the reappearance of Athena is mysterious to say the least, and it is difficult to understand why so many girls are currently living in the same apartment.

That, of course, is the inevitable consequence of not picking up the animation from where they had stopped in Season Two. Now that we have come so deep into September with Cuties, it becomes harder and harder to believe that the “blank period” would be animated at all.

Even within an episode there is a high probability of fragmentation. The materials for the majority of the episodes are taken from the original manga which are not related to the current Mangaka age. We all know just how random the remaining chapters could be, and unless there are occasional short arcs which could be made seamlessly into a 22-minute episode, we run the high risk of getting lost within an episode.

Worst cases come into mind are Episodes 4 and 6, in which it seems like the production team doesn’t even care about putting the random chapters into one single piece. Nobody says that it can’t be done this way, but I honestly find myself enjoying the more well-knitted Episodes 1, 5 and 7. This really depends on how capable is the script writer – or, more likely, how willing he or she is to put efforts into the script.

So, essentially, Cuties is a girl show with no story to tell. Sounds familiar, huh?

CTMEOY continuation


Ironically, when Cuties does make a reference to previous work, it is not from the same series, but another previous series: Can’t Take My Eyes off You (abbreviated as CTMEOY for your sake). The link between the two animes is Kurotsubaki, a clock-sword hybrid (?!) which is supposed to be destroyed. For reasons not explained, Shin and Yukariko, Nagi’s deceased parents, have some unfinished business following the end of CTMEOY, and they return to finish it in Cuties. If we are to believe what we have seen on screen, then Yukariko has become the Tanuki which appears in Episodes 1 to 10 as Easter eggs. Some say that she has been spying on the girls to see who should be getting the “kiss dream” in Episode 11, but this is not proven.

Speaking of “unfinished business”, the continuation of the CTMEOY story in Episodes 11 and 12 makes me think that Hata is trying to address a problem that is left in the previous season: Hayate’s reaction to Nagi’s confession. It is arguable that Hayate’s response doesn’t amount as an acceptance. He simply acknowledged Nagi’s feelings, but other than telling her to treasure her feelings, he didn’t say anything else much. In Cuties Hayate has to make a choice on which girl he is going to kiss, and the most obvious observation is that “Hayate has chosen to kiss Nagi”. Forget about context and everything: this appears to be the message Hata is trying to tell with Cuties.

So that’s a message Hata is trying to tell along with 10 episodes of irrelevant stories. It is Hata’s third straight strike (the movie, CTMEOY, and now Cuties) on the Hayate-Nagi ship, and to a certain extent we must appreciate just how strong Hata’s Nagi-mania is: all kinds of supernatural beings, from Hayate’s grandma to Nagi’s parents (all dead) are trying to push these two people together. We might start to believe that should another girl get too close to these two, she might suffer her own Final Destination.

As Hata presents his most precious creation with the biggest prize in Cuties, we can see that she remains the main heroine of the series, not a certain Katsura Hinagiku as some people have moaned at the beginning of the show.

Hinagiku: Finally well done


Let’s start this section with a question: “Who said anything about Hinagiku being the main heroine of Cuties?”

Granted, she sings the OP, and she features very heavily in the OP sequence, but it still doesn’t make her the main heroine. Instead, she obediently remains a powerful supportive character, who contributes to every part of the story without getting the final prize. An analogy I like to use is that Hinagiku is the Xavi behind Nagi the Messi: Messi easily gets all the spotlights and love, while the silent contribution of Xavi could only be appreciated by the pros.

In fact, if there is one thing I would praise about Cuties, it is that it is the only anime season which has done Hinagiku correctly. For the sake of the argument, the Heaven is a Place on Earth movie is not considered.

“Huh? What about Season 2?” you may ask, but the haters have always made this point clear: Hinagiku stole too much spotlight in that season. To a certain extent I agree: when a supporting character makes more appearance than the main heroine, you know that the former is going too far. The results announcement of the Second Character Poll in Episode 14 was completely unnecessary, and I went as far as to doubt the motives of the production team.

Yes, everyone knows that Hinagiku appeared too much in Season 2, but nobody seems to care about why. My answer is that, it is the fault of Season 1.

Of the 52 episodes in Season 1, 17 episodes are completely original ideas by the production team. While it is debatable if these episodes were funny enough, the crucial point is that they ate into the opportunity of animating the manga. The animation of manga chapters covers up to around Ch. 130, but certain arc have been cut. Care to know which arcs have been cut? Answer: The Freedom Marathon arc, the Butler’s Den arc, the Valentine’s Day arc, the Katsura Household arc, Hinagiku’s Birthday arc, and the White Day arc.

So, from a certain point of view, Season 2 has merely animated those arcs which have been left out in Season 1. As the previous season has, for whatever reason, left out all these arcs (which are so heavily related to Hinagiku), the only choice for Season 2 was to animate them. In other words, it is not that Hinagiku was unfairly focused on in Season 2, but that she was unfairly ignored in Season 1!


CTMEOY has actually done a rather nice job on Hinagiku. She has resumed her supporting role, with occasional highlights and interesting interaction with Hayate. The problem is, of course, the Episode 3 Abomination, which has become so infamous that some people would only think of Episode 3 whenever CTMEOY is mentioned. Conspiracy theory aside, nobody knows why it was Episode 3 which was done so horribly, while the other episodes have been… not that bad.

Finally we come to Cuties, in which everything seems to go well for Hinagiku: Singing the OP, check. Spotlight episode, check. Frequent appearance in other episodes, check. Strong supporting role, check. Interesting interaction with Hayate, check. Nice artwork, check. Things to complain about, none.

In fact, until the last 10 minutes of Episode 12, Hinagiku still has a large enough role to be considered a reasonable receiver of Hayate’s kiss. So much efforts have been put on her internal struggles about the kiss, and her quest to find and help Hayate, that one can only say that her efforts are wasted, not that she has not contributed anything. Still, it is often not up to us to decide whether our efforts would pay off, so I could only leave this case here.

Promotion hoax

If we say that Hinagiku’s efforts have been wasted, there are several things in real life we can add to the list.


There is her OP song, “Haru Ulala♥Love yo Koi!”, which means “Spring Ulala♥Come, Love!” – now sounds more and more ironic as we listen again. There is the Shonen Sunday cover above, and what the Hayate figure says is “The sakura of love would certainly bloom!”. In promotional videos of Cuties, it is Hinagiku doing the voice over with Hayate. All these hint that Hinagiku would have an exceptionally prominent role in this season.

Now that the romantic kiss is not for her, and she returns to a supporting role, I can’t help but think that I have been made fun of. I believe that the above expectations are reasonable given the way the production team used Hinagiku for promotion, and now that these expectations are not fulfilled, I can only conclude that the entire promotion campaign has been a hoax.

Nobody would complain that Hinagiku is not doing the promotion. They would only complain that Hinagiku is being brushed aside in the final minute after all the heavy and promising development.

So, what’s next?

There are still plenty of chapters not yet animated, most notably the End of the World arc, the Athena saga and the Mangaka age. Yet animating these materials means that time has to roll back for about 4 months, and as Hata is having so much fun with months way ahead of the current manga, my prediction remains the same.

Of course, given how bad I am with predictions, you might possibly see the news soon enough. When it happens, remember to remind me to start predicting Hinagiku would never win Hayate’s heart.

Does Hata need another original story to promote Hayate-Nagi? I don’t really think so. In fact, after 3 straight attempts, I think that he has made his point clear enough. Any more promotion could be annoying, and I don’t think Hata wants his preferred ship to sound annoying.


Doughnut Gunso would score Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties 6 out of 10.

Pros: Artwork, a proper Hinagiku, CTMEOY continuation
Cons: Fragmentation, promotion hoax
In 5 words: Good until the last episode

19 comments on “Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties – Comments

  1. Pretty much agree with everything you wrote. My solution to that fragmentation problem is simple, I don’t regard them as canon, but rather some tidbits from the manga in animated form for entertainment purposes. That’s why I am somewhat puzzled by that Hayate – Nagi ship scene in the end, which I regard as completely unnecessary.

    • Even if we argue that it is not canon, the pairing would be sealed in the mind of the audience, so unless there is a new development, the influence of these “tidbits” is the same as canon.

  2. I actually really, really loved this season; I think I’d put it on par with season 1 if it wasn’t for the fragmented last episode. But what really spoiled it for me was as you said the over hype and promotion the producers and Hata gave us. I don’t know, I feel, duped. I’m not going to go make some silly drama over all this but as a fan, I still want to be treated with respect since we are watching their anime and reading their manga and buying their stuff and to hype something only to fail to deliver on a so called promise is not cool. Whatever they say though, I’m still shipping Hinagiku and Hayate and will continue reading the manga. I feel that neither anime are really canonical anyway.

    • There is the saying that we “vote with our money”. Let them see what benefit them the most. 😉

      As for the canon… Let’s see what would Hata be drawing for September in the manga.

  3. Pretty much everything covered… well minus the who has the most “fanservice” count for this season ( no need to guess who, happened twice even on an episode) and as for the time continuity, I guess Isumi took it somewhere and got lost somewhere in her own world.
    Not that surprising who gets the “kiss” on the last episode ( no matter how much it is hoped to be the otherwise. trolled?)

    So i’d rank cuties below season 1 and 2 and above ctmeoy, still having issues with the hair-head sizes but uh well.

  4. If you ask me, the character designs in Cuties are the best since it follows Hata’s current character designs.

    Obviously, this anime is not for those who expect an actual plot. I guess you could say Cuties is more of a fan service since it does not move any plot but appeals to the fans by animating the best character spotlight chapters….. and more fan service for those who were disappointed with the lack of fan service in CTMEOY.

    Overall, I’m happy with this anime. Now back to the manga….. unless news of a new HnG anime comes out a few days after Cuties ended like what happened last time after CTMEOY ended.

  5. HIAPOE’s ending = CTMEOY’s ending > Cuties’ ending, really

    Shin and Yukariko > my preferred Hayate pairings (two of them) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> all other pairings of Hayate no Gotoku

    I guess the anime-only Hayate media will not affect whatever the manga will be continued on. Nothing happened afterwards anyway. Hayate Ayasaki is still the combat butler of Nagi Sanzen’in, unless the manga or another future anime season will give us an entirely new plot whose ending may not be ‘Hayate saves the day (and Nagi)’. I started have the feeling that this pairing isn’t going elsewhere but being truly the butler-mistress relationship, unlike Shin Hayek and Yukkyun Sanzen’in. After all, the first person Hayate prioritizes for his mission is Hinagiku Katsura (and fails?) and then since there are no other options who will be deserved for his kiss (from Maria down to Chiharu Harukaze), he decides to do it with Nagi. That’s the whole story.

    Good story I would say but things are not much romantic unlike the previous anime seasons and mostly, the manga, honestly.

    • Quite agree with your rankings.

      You know, if not for all the hearts after the kiss, and the emphasis from Hata and the production team that it is “romantic”, I would believe that the kiss doesn’t mean anything beyond platonic love. Context is important, after all.

  6. The premise for any series (at least for me) is that it should tell us a story. So, what’s the story of “Cuties”? And that’s the problem. I really enjoyed it as a whole, but at the same time I feel it was the weakest of all the HnG seasons.

    The last two episodes really felt out of place. Suddenly picking up the plot from CTMEOY in such a sloppy manner after a season full of “fillers” doesn not make any sense.

    Without a story or even just a background, we can’t “bond” with the characters, Just think of it. Why are the “EotW” and”Golden Week” arcs so popular? Because they have a meaningful story to tell, they convey the feelings of the characters and we actually can feel like we are “living” them. That’s why A-tan is so popular. Heck, I don’t think I would like Hina as ,much as I do without the Hinamatsuri arc, the “I love Hayate-kun” arc with Ayumu and even ch. 239 (yes….).

    The same applies to the Hayate-Nagi shipping. If all Hata can give us to build up their “romantic” relationship are these fragmented animations, the movie (which was pretty much random), Nagi’s out of the blue confession in CTMEOY and that half-assed “have-to-kiss-someone” mayhem here, then I’ll never be able to take this seriously. If he wants to tell the story of an Ojou-sama and her butler, he should do that properly! If he does that, I can accept any ending. And I really mean it, ’cause after CTMEOY, ShinxYukari became one of my favorite pairings! Actually simply telling us an story from start to finish and convincing us that such a story could be true is enough.

    • BTW, I give this series a 7. 🙂

      Nothing personal against Hata or Manglobe though. I just can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable with how they are dealing with the anime series….

    • The apparent problem is that Hata seems to be too greedy. On the one hand he upholds the Hayate-Nagi ship, while on the other hand he keeps hinting at other ships. People like myself have been able to build up theories based on the materials, so really these other ships are really conceivable.

      The sad thing is that the other ships somehow look better than the “official” one, so Hata is not doing himself a favour by sinking other ships while asking us to jump to his preferred one.

    • I really, really to say your words straight to that mangaka’s face. Plus “your ship sucks hard.” at the end of that. it won’t change anything and he probably will laugh at me, or course, but it will be very satisfying.

  7. Forgot to add this on my comment:

    This Hayate anime season seems to be lacking of one thing, especially when comparing this to other Hayate anime seasons: having a Hayate-Hinagiku date episode {Each of the anime seasons has at least one episode [S1 = 48, S2 = 6,7, and 13, CTMEOY = 3 (minus the animation)] about them together in a date (effectively more favorable than the Hayate-Nagi scenes)}. If there would be a 13th episode of the Cuties (impossible to happen, I know), I wish it could be about them. If it might happened, I would rather give the season 7.5/10 from 6/10. The author might have forget this ‘tradition of sorts’ so the season has been given 7/10 on the average at best, because he is too much focused on his preferred pairing.

    • Arguably Episode 7 might count as Hayate clearly only intended to take Hina to Ruka’s concert. Until they got company and then separated they could well be on a date.

      My biggest complaint with Cuties is the promotion hoax, which would take more than a date episode to fix. At least the context of the forehead has to be rectified – the simplest way to do so is to remove those swan hearts.

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