We might think that we always have to fight for our love, and indeed some people keep on saying that our lovely girls must lock horns with each other to win Hayate’s heart. Surely I can’t speak for any one of you, but as I finally see a girl being as aggressive towards her love rivals as Ruka, I am starting to think that something is going very wrong.
The thing is, Ruka is currently being overreactive as to who is having feelings for Hayate. She already had a brief battle with Ayumu – our pacifist Hamster, for God’s sake. She thought Chiharu had confessed to Hayate and failed, based on an ambiguous statement by our indebted butler. She challenged Nagi to a bet on Hayate in Comiket, so the event for doujin lovers has been mysteriously turned into a death match. Now, she is cornering Izumi, whose feelings for Hayate remain underdeveloped, and was sent to face Ruka against her will – just like a sheep being forced into a lion’s den.
To me, Ruka now behaves like a hedgehog, which attacks intruders with its spines. Her primary motive is to protect herself – or her chance to be with Hayate – but the course of action she chooses is to attack other girls. People who suggested that we need the girls to be “aggressive” should reconsider their statements.
Poor Izumi, she must be wondering why, all of a sudden, she is forced to either admit or deny that she loves Hayate. For the matter, she does neither. Although blushing fiercely, it seems that Izumi (at least in the beginning) hasn’t decided whether she loves Hayate or not. To me it is quite a typical crush: this girl definitely has some interest in the boy, but she is still not sure that it is “love”. For some people, the word “love” is always saved for something bigger, until he or she finds the thing that is big enough.
Given Izumi’s (lack of) intelligence, the fact that she is panicked and there being a devilish mastermind in her glasses, it is almost guaranteed that she would make a verbal blunder and cause a misunderstanding. It duly arrives as Izumi mentions that Hayate helps her study “alone together after school”, while Risa adds with perfect timing that it points out to “a purely physical relationship”.
I won’t tell you what kind of “study” would lead to “a purely physical relationship”.
Of course, Hayate – the god of verbal blunder – won’t make life easier for Izumi. He very kindly points out that he has been giving “a lot of hands-on lessons after school” to Izumi. I don’t really know what kind of after-school tutoring is “hands-on” – maybe Hayate has been demonstrating the Benedict’s test to Izumi – but that’s Hayate for you: if there is more than one way to say something, Hayate would always choose the most ambiguous way. This boy really should be sent back to kindergarten to learn how to speak properly.
Now that Ruka firmly believes that there is a special relationship between Hayate and Izumi, she once again wants to confirm if Izumi really loves Hayate. Izumi finds that, in Hayate’s presence, she cannot answer the question. It more or less indicates that she actually loves him, but of course that is not really surprising to us. To a certain extent, it could be a good thing for Izumi to finally sort this out for herself.
Ruka, in her hedgehog mode, seizes this opportunity to attack. She makes a point that Izumi’s weakness is actually her strength: while Izumi (and several other girls) cannot tell Hayate in his face that she loves him, Ruka could. The one thing Ruka could be implying is that, by being better than other girls in this area, she should be considered the winner of the Hayate contest. This is of course a very childish argument – the ability to talk about your feelings doesn’t necessarily win you the heart of your beloved – but apparently a lot of people are buying it, so…
Risa, in an attempt to make this “battlefield” as heated as possible, decides to ask Hayate exactly this: What does Hayate like about Ruka? Does he like her ability to confess to him? Or does he like her for something else? This is something that Ruka would want to know as well, so she ignores Izumi’s provocative words and stares straight at Hayate for an answer. Obviously, “I like nothing about her” is not a option.
It turns out that Hayate shares similar ideas about Ruka with Nagi, as both of them saw Ruka as something like a goddess when they first met her. I am not entirely sure if it means that Hayate loves Ruka, but maybe it’s just me – I am Doughnut Gunso, after all.
What interests me here is that Izumi isn’t shown to react badly to Hayate’s comments on Ruka. Most probably Izumi is not jealous about Ruka. If she really loves Hayate, then it’d be expected that she shows some jealously towards Ruka. As there is no such jealousy, then my only conclusion is that Izumi is probably not that head-over-heel for Hayate… yet.
While the “battlefield” is temporarily resolved, Hayate receives a call from Atsumari, who informs him that there would be a concert Ruka needs to go to the following day. At the concert, Ruka would have to make an announcement in front of her fans on whether she would continue as an idol or retire.
I couldn’t find a word other than “ruthless” to describe the whole setup. There is no discussion between the idol and the company, and Ruka is forced to do it or die (as an idol) with no third option in between – no hiatus, no delay, no postponing. Obviously Atsumari is playing “show hand” with Ruka, and I am sure she is confident that she won’t lose. Ruka, after all, is in a huge debt of her company, and there is no way for her to repay that huge sum if she is no longer an idol. The only option for Ruka, therefore, would be to give up on her preferred life and return to her role as an idol.
Ruka has on her shoulders the dream of her parents that she becomes a successful idol. She also has her own dream of becoming a mangaka, as well as marrying Hayate. It seems to be time for Ruka to make a choice between these two dreams.