The Japanese title to this week’s Hayate no Gotoku! is “僕ら、駆け行く空へ”. As you all know, that is the name of the Opening Song to Heaven is a Place on Earth. I take that as a piece of indirect evidence that the said movie, the anime seasons of Can’t Take My Eyes off You and Cuties, are all canon. “No matter how you try to spin this, um, what can you say?” – Steve Jobs.
For your information, I am not too excited about it either…
Last week I dedicated 4 paragraphs bashing Hayate for a stupid move I thought he was going to commit: buying Ruka’s remaining doujinshi, thus turning Nagi’s victory into a draw and complicating his own future. As it turns out, he is not the one offering to buy Ruka’s doujinshi, so I will spare the butler’s life for another week.
As the one to buy Ruka’s manga turns out to be her father, everything suddenly makes sense to me. Mr. Suirenji has every reason to buy a copy of Ruka’s manga, and he is doing that only because of his love and guilt towards his daughter, without considering the outcome of the love battle between Nagi and Ruka. He also has no reason to root for Nagi, so he would not – and should not – find it wrong to take away Nagi’s victory.
The very simple conclusion is that, everything is simply better if Hayate is not involved.
Still, Mr. Suirenji – and yes, Mrs. Suirenji as well – has a long way to go before really reconciling with his daughter. The first step of this “long way” is to tell a long story on what had happened to them after abandoning Ruka. It turns out that they were involved in a serious car accident, and of course it is reasonable that it would take them over half a year to recover – in fact, the unreasonable part is that they managed to survive the accident in the first place.
They then read about Ruka’s leave of absence because of her illness – the Comiket is perhaps the bigger reason – and they were worried. They would want to go to Ise, most probably to the Grand Shrine where they could pray to the gods for Ruka’s health. Dr. Kurosu, who was treating them, took their place instead. Hinagiku (yes, we would come to her later) comments that it is an “old-fashioned thing to do”, but it is not entirely fair. To express your care and love, we might just need a little old-fashioned.
It means that Dr. Kurosu had just begun her journey when she met a collapsed Nagi. She then travelled with Nagi and her happy friends (do note that the number kept on increasing…) to Kyoto, then to Ise, then to Tokyo, then back to Hokkaido, and finally to Akiba. I have forgotten when she had come to the conclusion that Nagi was someone with “amazing luck”, but in the end she was right. To say the least, she was introduced to the right person/people (depending on whether you would want to count Hinagiku), and in her words, “it worked”.
This has explained what took the Suirenjis so long to find Ruka, and what had Dr. Kurosu been up to all along, but it did not explain – meaning, justify – their abandoning of Ruka in the first place. They have not apologised – not yet – and Ruka still has no reason to forgive them. You can see the slight hostility in her eyes when she asks why her parents are there.
That is when Hayate is mentioned – not by name, but by title. For some reason the Suirenjis decided to tell this complete stranger “everything”. I am not entirely sure if “he had been abandoned by his parents too” is a good enough reason, because… well, put it this way: Do I confess that I have killed someone’s parents to someone else whose parents have been killed? If everyone would reveal their “dark secrets” this easily, interrogation would be a lot easier.
Did an additional reason of “he is a friend of Ruka” make the Suirenjis more willing to talk? I don’t know…
Anyway, after listening to their story, Hayate offered his speech of the week. He explained to the Suirenjis that they might not be forgiven, but if they really felt guilty for what they have done to their daughter, they could “start over from the beginning”. The deciding words might not even be the speech above, but the final two words: “unlike me”. There are families like Hayate’s which may never reconcile because of a lack of heart, so why should the Suirenjis not give it a shot if they have hearts?
That much has explained why Dr. Kurosu has invited Hayate to Hokkaido: he is in a situation very similar to Ruka’s, and he definitely is in a position to tell what Ruka would think about her missing parents. In fact, the only difference between Hayate and Ruka in terms of family situation seems to be that Hayate’s parents are rotten to their core, while Ruka’s parents are… not.
In other words, Hayate has been “chosen” by Dr. Kurosu not because of his intelligence or physicality, but his simliar background to Ruka’s. It appears to me that Dr. Kurosu’s knowledge of Hayate’s background has come from Hinagiku. Do remember that Dr. Kurosu asked Hinagiku about Ruka on the way back to Tokyo. Dr. Kurosu might have suggested that she would want someone to help persuading Ruka’s parents, and I am quite sure that Hinagiku could have answered “Ayasaki Hayate”. She is friend to both Hayate and Ruka, and their similarity would be too obvious for Hinagiku to miss.
Other than that, I am not sure what Hinagiku has done to warrant gratitudes from Dr. Kurosu and (surprise!) Atsumari. I thought Ruka’s manager didn’t even know this girl, let alone offering her coffee… Equally mysterious is why Hinagiku looks exhausted – clearly a ride from Hokkaido to Akiba wouldn’t have tired her this much?
Not everyone would want to know about what Hinagiku has done, but I would.
So, the Suirenjis bow to Ruka, making their apologies and even offering remedies. By some means they have found ways to repay their debt, and to start their idol office again. The source of their new money is a mystery, but for now let’s just allow the ends to justify the means. The “ends” are that Ruka is no longer responsible for the debt, and as such she is free to choose her own future. If she wants to be a mangaka, so be it. Yet, when she is given the freedom to choose her own future, Ruka decides that she would continue as an idol.
No, she might have come to that decision before this, because she has put her thoughts into her revised manga. The protagonist of her manga – a certain Murasaki Shikibu – might have abandoned writing, but she found her body beginning to disappear as soon as she made that decision. She didn’t like that she was almost “destined” to only have novels in her life. She thought about giving up writing – thus her existence – and simply enjoy her life and her love, but she found that she couldn’t. She had been so into writing, that she realised that she loved it. Once she realised that, novel ceased to be something “given” or “assigned” to her, and became her own dream.
The same goes for Ruka. After a long journey of rebellion (and a lecture from Kayura), Ruka has realised that she actually loves music. She was clouded by her debt and her love of Hayate, and thought that she did not like music at all. Now she knows that she was wrong. Indeed, it was impossible to go through all the hardship of training and performing if she was driven by the will to repay her debt alone. She would need passion – a true love of her career – to swallow the bitterness. She never knew it, but now she knows it.
If we are all in agreement that Ruka was holding her last copy of manga from selling on purpose, we might now find the true reason. It is not that she is convinced that Hayate belongs to Nagi, but that she does not belong to the manga world as her love for music is even greater. A loss to Nagi – even if it is staged – may convince herself and the world that she should find a career that suits her more. Given that it also means giving up on Hayate, we may see just how much her love is for music.
I am going to confess this: it is a truly wonderful ending to a saga that (honestly) does not always impress me. In the end both Nagi and Ruka have shown considerable growth: Nagi has learned to stand on her own feet and work hard for what she truly desires; Ruka has come to terms with herself that music is her true career, and from now on she would work more happily in a career that she truly likes.
There is one more thing: Mr. Suirenji is such a handsome guy that he should be an idol instead of being an idol manager, while Mrs. Suirenji is arguably the most beautiful adult woman in the series (I hear protests from Yukariko fans). That said, Atsumari is also gorgeous.