Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties Episode 12



So here it comes, the “grand” finale!

That said, I fail to find the Cuties finale to be grand enough – the CTMEOY finale has been way better. I think the main problem is that this episode has been wasting time here and there, slowing down the pace and intensity. There are scenes explaining how Hinagiku meets with Ayumu and the SC Rangers in the restaurant, how Hayate ends up crossdressed after meeting Ruka, and how Hayate asks for Chiharu’s kiss without seeing her in maid uniform. To be honest, these scenes have little importance in this episode, and should have been shown in the previous episode in the first place.

Best scene of the episode?

Best scene of the episode?

The dragging is so serious that as I watched the (quite well-made, to be fair) action sequence between Hayate and Yukiji, I kept checking the time, thinking: “What the heck? We have a little less than 9 minutes left, and we are still not making any progress beyond last episode?!” If this is what other people would think at that moment, then I guess the money spent on this sequence (it is expensive!) has gone down the drains…

My duty has always been to speak for the weak.

My duty has always been to speak for the weak.

Of course, some scenes can be considered necessary. Hinagiku needs a couple of minutes to show her understanding of the situation, her determination to help Hayate, and her action of taking the girls for Hayate to “choose”. Chiharu and Athena, who are not with the others, have to get to the park somehow, and that must be shown. The fight between Hayate and Yukiji, which has started in the previous episode, has to be settled. Yet there are also scenes like the anime references by Kayura and the SC Rangers which are borderline unnecessary, and when you bundle the necessary with the unnecessary, the whole thing would be considered unnecessary.

Maybe that also explains why there are so many “filler chapters” in the manga, yet so many plot elements could be traced back to them.

Suddenly everyone's here.

Suddenly everyone’s here.

In any case, the build-up to the “crowning moment” has been so poor that I actually failed to get involved in the situation, and by the time I (thought I have) catched things up, everything started to rush. All the girls suddenly stood before Hayate, asking him to choose one to kiss. Nagi suddenly appeared and dismissed this approach of saving her. Hayate then suddenly realized that he has been wrong, and suddenly he knew whom he should be kissing. While still trying to catch up with the emotions, I suddenly found the episode – and the entire season – has ended.

Admittedly I am crestfallen after watching this episode, but rather than the fact that the kiss didn’t go to my preferred girl, it is the pacing of the episode which concerned me.

The wake up kiss.

The wake up kiss.

It turns out that my suggestion of an “alternate” solution to save Nagi has not come true, so we have the Sleeping Beauty scenario instead. As argued in the last Episode Review, the only sensible outcome of such a scenario is that Hayate kisses Nagi in order to wake her up. I suggested that I was willing to accept such an ending, and I stay true to my words.

The point, as Nagi has made when she is temporarily awake, is that Hayate shouldn’t be kissing other girls in order to wake her up. This is unfair to Hayate (who has to make a cruel choice among the girls) and the girl he chooses (who has to receive a kiss that is not out of love or care for her), so this makes nobody happy.

Ayumu: "Please don't make it sound like you are going to be crucified."

Ayumu: “Please don’t make it sound like you are going to be crucified.”

Now that Hayate chooses to kiss Nagi, it is at least justifiable: Nagi still needs the kiss to be waken up, and we can see Hayate’s care for her through the kiss. If we do not insist that our beloved girl(s) should get the kiss – just listen to Hinagiku, who sounds like she is treating the prospect of kissing Hayate like a sacrifice – I would say that Hayate’s choice is acceptable.

It is revealed at the end that Clockman and Tanuki are Shin and Yukariko respectively. Maybe it explains why Nagi is allowed to leave the limbo and wake up temporarily, as parents can never go too hard on their children. That said, the “curse of Kurotsubaki” – sometimes I feel like it is a lame excuse for Shin and Yukariko to enjoy the show – seems to remain effective, so I wonder what would happen if Hayate finally decides to kiss no one. Maybe – just maybe – Shin and Yukariko have a Plan B to take Nagi with them to… wherever.

Arguably the only pairing that doesn't have to go through ship wars.

Arguably the only pair that doesn’t have to go through ship wars.

As they are leaving the world – I thought they had already left by the end of CTMEOY – I think it is understandable that Shin and Yukariko would want to make sure Nagi is fine. The definition of “fine”, though, seems to be a little unclear. It appears to me that the entire event has been set up to test if Hayate would kiss any girl in order to save Nagi, but as Hayate gives arguably the best possible answer, their conclusion is that Nagi is fine because “she has all these great friends by her side”. As such, I am not sure if Shin and Yukariko are looking for Hayate’s loyalty or Nagi’s popularity as guarantee that she would be “fine”.

Everyone looks happy... for now.

Everyone looks happy… for now.

Luckily, Nagi would be fine in both cases. You may say that Hayate has finally responded to Nagi’s confession of love in CTMEOY by kissing her in Cuties, thus completing the circle. Meanwhile, Nagi and Hayate’s friends prove that they would do anything they can to help Hayate, even if it means indirectly helping Nagi. As the fates of Hayate and Nagi are so tied together that helping Hayate most probably means helping Nagi, she would in the end benefit from her friends’ help.

The motive is not entirely pure...

The motive is not entirely pure…

The feeling of the girls are understandably mixed. On the one hand, they know that the kiss with Hayate would mean nothing for them, and it definitely won’t be proof that Hayate loves them. On the other hand, a kiss is still a kiss, and it might still be “enjoyable” if they can fool themselves to not consider the meaning behind it. As such, we can see Hinagiku blushes as she considers a kiss with Hayate, while sounding like she is going to kill herself in order to help him. We can also see Athena approaches Hayate for a kiss, while getting absolutely furious as she is reminded that “any girl will do”.

Once again, I am actually glad that the girls are saved from this dilemma, although I am disappointed that their “wrong” concept of kissing Hayate – as well as Hayate’s of kissing the girls – has to be called out by Nagi. They should have had much more dignity than this.

You call that the forehead?

You call that the forehead?

But then, who is to be blamed for a “wrong” concept, when the whole incident is built on a fundamental difference in understanding of a kiss? We can see that the girls are shocked as Hayate reveals that he has always planned to give a forehead kiss instead of a lips kiss. Then again, we may have to wonder whether he was true to his words as he approached Athena’s lips with his.

Apparently the girls find that it is okay for Hayate to kiss Nagi – and themselves, for the matter – on the forehead. They show no jealousy, they rejoice as Nagi awakes, and they were actually relieved that it wasn’t a lips kiss! It seems that they think that forehead kiss and lips kiss have totally different meanings. I tend to think that a forehead kiss is intimate enough for shipping, but maybe it is just me.

Hata: "Make sure those things look like hearts, okay?"

Hata: “Make sure those things look like hearts, okay?”

No matter how hard we try to argue that the forehead kiss doesn’t imply romantic love, the point is that Hata and the production team appear to think it does. We have already seen this picture, in which the Hayate figure says “The sakura of romantic love will certainly bloom!” Twitter messages from the production team also keep on suggesting that this episode is the one full of romantic love. It appears that Hata has finally decided to make the theme clear: the emotion between Hayate and Nagi is romantic love.

The problem is that the presentation of the theme comes too rushed and too lame. How many minutes has Nagi got in the last two episodes? Seven in total, I suppose. Meanwhile, the majority of the air time has been shared among other girls, with Hinagiku silently driving the plot to the point where all the girls meet Hayate. I am not Hayate himself, so I do not know what kind of revelation he has had in those 7 minutes he spends with Nagi, but the outcome is that Hayate has a romantic kiss with Nagi. It is as if watching the 1999 Champions League Final, in which FC Bayern dominated the entire match only to lose to Manchester United in stoppage time. The most natural response from non-United fans would be: “WTF?!”

Sure enough, United fans – and Nagi fans in our case of Cuties – won’t find it a problem. At all.

"Fine, the author has told us to go home and f**k ourselves..."

“Fine, the author has told us to go home and f**k ourselves…”

Of course I am not happy with the Hayate-Nagi ship – I am the shameless Doughnut Gunso, after all – but I would accept a Hayate-Nagi ending if it is presented nicely. I think that both the HIAPOE movie and the CTMEOY anime have done a much better job than Cuties. In both previous cases I have given the Hayate-Nagi ship a nod – see this and that, if you don’t believe me. For Cuties, however, I would have to shake my head furiously.

Don’t try it. I approve the kiss, not the ship.

Do note that Hata contributes to all three scripts, so you might say that Hata is extremely determined to confirm the Hayate-Nagi ship with the animation. Again, it falls into the trap of spoiling the ending too early, and soon enough Hata would find his teasing of other ships not appealing to readers any more: why are we wasting time on things we know that are deemed to be false?

"This is the kind of anime you are watching!"

“This is the kind of anime you are watching!”

The poor presentation leads to yet another problem: as the finale began with a serious tone and ended with a childish one, there are some expectations it hasn’t lived up to. It is almost like an anticlimax as Hayate clarifies that he has only planned to give a forehead kiss. Of course this is typical Hata comedy – everything is built around misunderstandings – but to throw a “misunderstanding” bomb near the end? Not the very best way to paint the finale in good colours.

As always (since when?), I would write an overall Comments post without any picture as a conclusion. Those who are not afraid of my boring-as-Hell posts, stay tuned.

20 comments on “Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties Episode 12

  1. Good things is, I’m not really interested in this series anymore, with an author I always considered somewhat annoying and such before even this anime begin. Well, I still can have some mocking laugh, then again.

  2. While the time jumps were annoying, I can’t deny that there were moments that kept me in suspense. I never expected the finale to be like CTMEOY cause from the very start, Cuties was much more light-hearted than CTMEOY. To me, I find the finale satisfying.

    As I guessed, back during CTMEOY Ep 12, Yukariko was the Tanuki all along. She trolled her husband, and now the couple trolls the butler XD. They probably left Maria out of the mess since although they’ve never met her, Maria is still family. Heck, they probably think of Maria as another daughter.

    The Yukiji fight was AWESOME!! Who knew alcohol makes her stronger XD? In the previous episode, I actually thought she was Dolly who came back for revenge XD.

    The scene where Nagi pointed out how wrong it was for the girls to kiss Hayate out of necessity was my favourite scene. Its great that Nagi continues to prove that she’s not completely helpless.

    I’m surprised to see that Alice is still okay with Armageddon.

    I’m just relieved that it was only a forehead kiss. I had a feeling that the Tanuki and Clockman had a different definition of “kiss”. Still though, it pisses me off how Hayate neglected to clarify what kind of kiss he meant. Oh well, Hayate will always be Hayate.

    I hope they continue to make more HnG anime in the future.

    • There is still a theory that Maria is related to Yukariko, and that hasn’t been proven right or wrong yet…

      I think Alice still likes Armageddon a lot no matter what. She is still more or less a lone child so she needs a passionate friend like Armageddon.

      Maybe Hayate didn’t think that he needed to clarify his kiss. I think he simply presumed everyone would understand that a kiss would be a forehead kiss. This appears to be “common sense” to him. I don’t know about Shin and Yukariko, but in any case their “rule” did not forbid a forehead kiss, so it passed.

  3. That last minute truly was the heck of a long minute. Hah, why Nagi… At least in Oreimo I got the result I wanted, heh.

  4. – To tell you the truth, I want this season have more episodes (not just 12 ep). I can’t enjoy just only 12 eps and need to wait for next season. T3T 52 eps are the best.

    – I think character design of this season is awesome. I forgot who did this character designs but I hope they will keep this person do the next season.

    – I agree with calamariluqe about time jump is confusing for me. They shouldn’t do that just like 10 eps before.

    – Yukariko wants the last game and cause Hayate got trouble such as got hit by a truck and lighting strike from A-tan, etc? That’s too much. If Nagi knew about this…

    However I think jokes in the end are awesome.

    • Personally I am relieved that it is a short season. Reviewing 52 episodes will kill me… Still, I think that it would be good if we have one or two more episodes.

      Yes, the character design could be the best so far. Let us hope that whoever has done it stays.

  5. To be honest, I find the way Hata and the production theme are making out the whole kiss on the forehead to be romantic annoying and unnecessary. Watching the show and CTMEOY, I never felt that there was more build up to a Nagi and Hayate ship because even though Nagi declared that she loved Hayate, I didn’t feel that she said it in a wholly romantic kind of way; I feel she said it in a more platonic kind of way with some hints of romantic love thrown in. I always felt that Hayate looked upon Nagi as someone who is younger than him and was never really romanticlaly in lvoe with her.

    What bothers me is how a simple forehead kiss is to be taken as romantic when the anime itself didn’t really indicate it was you know, romantic.

    • It did seem like it was a “take what you see” attitude, without really paying attention to the true meaning of “romantic”. If this is their understanding of romance then I worry about any love story in this series…

  6. Watching this episode was rather traumatic. I seriously couldn’t concentrate on it because all the cuts and time jumping. I was about to start pulling my hair out when I heard Hina asking that “who are you going to kiss?” question for the third time….
    Then, came the last half. What I liked about the ending is that they managed to make it light-hearted enough so it fit with the rest of the season. But, it was still very anti-climatic .

  7. Hayate’s bizarre definition of common sense never fails to piss me off. I would have wanted a Hina Punch moment but in the end, had it not been for his stupidity we wouldn’t have gotten such a good outcome. Nagi’s friends prove their loyalty and kindness and Hayate doesn’t end up taking away any of the girls first kiss.

    I think neither Shin and Yukariko expected this outcome. I doubt they would have kept Nagi asleep forever nor would they be cruel enough to forcibly bring Nagi to the afterlife had Hayate failed to kiss anyone in time.

  8. Why Nagi…
    Give him A-tan!!

    As for why he goes for Athena’s lips, I guess if the manga is canon for this anime, is reflex. He used to kiss her lips when they were… what? 4 y.o. kids? 😀

  9. Am I the only one thinking that Shin and Yukariko are terrible parents? Seriously, I don’t care if everything would have “worked out in the end” you don’t put sleeping curses on your own children like that. It fits with the series overall pattern at least…

    And yeah, Sleeping Beauty ending like we all called last episode. Not surprised, but having him kiss anyone else would be been all kinds of trouble due to the implications, reasons, etc. I thought you were a little hard on Hina though Sarge. You gotta see it from a Japanese perspective; this would be Hina’s first kiss (an enormously huge deal) and she was going to give that up (once again a huge deal) for what she knew was not going to be a romantic kiss (I cannot stress enough what a huge deal that is). Remember how she felt after Hayate said he loved Athena? Now imagine her after she kisses Hayate, knows it doesn’t mean anything, all so some other girl’s sake. And she’s willingly going to put herself through that again. Sure her motives may not be entirely pure, like all the other girls’ too, but the best they could possibly hope for was that it led to something later.

    Honestly, filing this, CTMEOY, and the movie as an alternate continuity. Like Universal Century Gundam vs. other Gundam series type continuity difference.

    Hata has had over 7 years and 400 chapters to develop Hayate and Nagi as a romantic couple, and Hayate still sees her as a child he needs to take care of, who is shown to still not be able to take care of herself (is only just barely starting to get there around chapter 410-ish), still acts like a child, and he’s even had Hayate come out and say that he can’t get a girlfriend because of his obligation to Nagi and that he is planning on quitting as Nagi’s butler once she gets the inheritance back and she is able to live better without him around. All this while Hinagiku and Athena have actual, properly developed romance ARCS complete with character development centered on romance, relationship advancement with Hayate, and being the driving characters of the serious plots along with Hayate.

    Frankly, I’d consider it to be a cardinal sin of writing if Hayate ended up romantically with Nagi. If Nagi was the official love interest, then Hinagiku and Athena should NEVER have been developed as far or as deeply as they have been. I’m personally rooting for Hinagiku, after the beautiful clock tower scene on her birthday and the (very) slow but noticeable changes in her relationship with Hayate I couldn’t support another couple. I can accept Athena with him because The End of the World and the serious parts of the Greece were just that good. But I would greatly prefer no romantic resolution to Hayate suddenly developing feelings for Nagi and invalidating all of the great development we’ve had so far.

    • Or maybe Shin and Yukariko were too stupid to think of the consequence should Hayate failed his quest…

      I do acknowledge Hina’s willingness to give up her first kiss for Hayate to save Nagi, that’s why I take such willingness as “sacrifice”. Overall I think she cares more about the happiness of others (Hayate and Nagi) than herself. Maybe I didn’t make my point clear, but I wasn’t trying to criticise her.

      As Hata and Nagi use the animations as reference to the outcome of Comiket, I think that Hata sees them as canon – at least partially. Anyway, canon or not, the impression given to the audience is that Hayate kisses Nagi, and it is defined to be romantic. Impression is the key, rather than canonicity.

      I think I understand your frustration. The final two episodes actually sum up the trend in the manga: for so long Hata makes conceivable, beautiful cases for other girls while that for Nagi is not being addressed, but then out of the blue the story makes a sharp turn reminding Hayate his devotion to Nagi, and suddenly everyone has to accept that this is romantic love. This at the very least is horrible presentation of a theory.

      You all see me writing piece after piece on Hayate-Hina theory. It is not only because Hayate-Hina is my personal favourite, but also because there are so many good points for me to put into a theory. I could also do it for Athena (if I am in the mood) and even Ayumu (acceptable third choice for me), but I see nothing on such level between Hayate and Nagi. Yet Hata repeatedly chooses to throw the good ones I see into the trash bin, and then tells me that Hayate-Nagi is the good ship. I am like: what the heck?

      The Hayate-Nagi ship may not be problematic, but the presentation never persuaded me that there is anything romantic between Hayate and Nagi. Hata’s point – assuming that this is his point – is never communicated to me. Maybe this resonances with the main trope of the story: poor communication kills.

      My stand has always been simple: convince me. I am convinced about Hina (hence my theories), Athena and Ayumu, but not Nagi. If Hata keeps on presenting his story this way, not ever.

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