Let’s cheer for the 450th chapter!
Having a long life span and large chapter number doesn’t necessarily mean that the series is great – how would you compare Hayate no Gotoku! to, say, Fullmetal Alchemist (108 chapters)? Yet the series has also survived the death of other popular series – yes, I am looking at you, The World God Only Knows. Either those in charge of Shonen Sunday are incredibly stupid, or that Hayate no Gotoku! is still not horrible enough to warrant a death sentence yet. Either way, we shouldn’t fear too much for the series for now, as I am quite confident that it could live on for a bit longer – at least, we should be able to see Ch. 500.
Recent development of the series is not entirely bad anyway, as it sets out to please the (supposedly) two biggest fan bases in the series: that of Hinagiku and Athena. For Hinagiku, there was the short but interesting arc of her adventure with Hayate, which probably could quiet the “Hinagiku is not doing anything!” camp for a while. For Athena, her story with Ikusa continues, in this celebratory chapter which comes with a Hayate no Gotoku! magazine cover and a coloured crosspage (she doesn’t appear in either one, but whatever…). How about that?
One of the biggest talking point certainly is on the last page, in which Athena gives thanks to Ikusa, with tears and a blushed face. The still-not-yet-sailing ship between Ikusa and Athena has finally got the attention of the general public and the rage that comes with it has… well, signalled The End of the World (pun intended). While I certainly understand how those readers feel (Ch. 239, anyone?), I think it is too early to put a bounty on Hata’s head. After all, Athena is merely thanking Ikusa for saving her. She hasn’t confessed her love for him or even attempted to touch him gently. No matter how enthusiastically Doughnut Gunso is shouting “Good ship! Good ship!” there is no ship sailing yet, so why are people trying to kill Hata for something he has not done yet?
Anyway, let’s not allow the unwarranted rage blind ourselves from something we have been looking for: the advancement of the plot(TM)! Isn’t Athena here to push forward the plot(TM)? So why are we forgetting about the plot(TM) and get angry about trivial lovey-dovey when Athena is finally here to push forward the plot(TM)? Come on people!
At least Doughnut Gunso is proven wrong this time
like most other times: Athena has not chosen to return to her true self in order to get too romantic with Ikusa, but to do serious business with him. In simple terms, Athena wants to know if Ikusa was the one who took the Power of Royalty from the Royal Garden. Assuming that Athena would want the Power back, admittance to possession of the Power means either being robbed or being killed. Even if Ikusa had his memories intact, it may be smarter to deny possession of the Power.
Things get even more difficult for Athena as Ikusa apparently has indeed lost his memories, so before Athena could persuade Ikusa to share his knowledge of the Power, she must first help him to restore his memories. I am not sure if we should take Athena’s attempts as comic relief, but surely the hammer she summons are going to hurt…? I sincerely hope that this won’t lead me to a “Athena would hurt people in order to get her things done” argument, but what else can I say about that?
I guess this more or less suggests that Athena doesn’t have much care for Ikusa at the moment, so maybe we can say that there is no ship sailing at this point.
To add more weigh to the argument that there is no ship, we may point out that (un)fortunately, Athena doesn’t seem to be a particularly important person to Ikusa. Bearing in mind that Ikusa has a “saving people thing” that is obviously bigger than that of Harry Potter, and that he has in fact been saving people more often than the Boy Who Lived, it becomes hard to persuade ourselves that he would think Athena as someone particularly special. For Athena, it is one of those strange moments when you are saved by an “everyone’s hero”: it most probably is the most wonderful moment in your life, but for the hero it is nothing more than one item on his very long list of “accomplishments”. So, Athena would need to push very, very hard if she wants to be remembered by Ikusa as someone particularly important.
So we might take all those deadly hammers as Athena’s attempt to “push very, very hard”, I guess. Indeed, heroes do not really come across love interests who attempt to kill them very often. By making the hero think that you are “the girl who I saved and now is trying to kill me”, you are making a very unique impression about yourself. This alone is worth the remaining 10 minutes or so in your full form – and by using so much power to summon deadly weapons, my bet is that Athena’s 10 minutes will become tremendously shorter.
In all honestly, though, Athena is not too far away from achieving her non-romantic goal: to help Ikusa get his memories back, so that she would know more about what happened after Ikusa rescued her from the prison that is the Royal Garden – we might actually start calling it the Royal Prison, by the way. Ironically, it isn’t the hammers the recall any of Ikusa’s memories, but mere words. Yes, by merely talking in a civilised way, two fragments of Ikusa’s memories awake: one more important, one less important.
The less important piece of memory explains why Ikusa left a sleeping Athena with Shirosakura, instead of taking her to the hospital or the police. Here it is revealed that Ikusa, a not-your-friendly-neighbourhood sort of person who is holding a sword and an unconscious little girl who had just stopped crying, was highly suspicious in the eyes of the police officer. Ikusa didn’t really have a choice.
The more important piece of memory says something very interesting about the plot(TM). It is revealed here that Yukariko indeed entered the Royal Garden after Athena and Ikusa were out. So, Yukariko is our primary suspect to the theft of the Power of Royalty… wait, didn’t we know about that already since Ch. 260?
In fact, if we are to look for new talking points about the plot(TM), our attention should turn to Yukariko’s words. Obviously she knew Athena already, and she reckoned that Athena had been missing for a long time. It is also clear that Yukariko knew about King Midas, and that she was going into the Royal Garden in order to save someone. It’s less obvious, but I think it is certain that Yukariko had already been into the Royal Garden before Athena and Hayate were even there. The only question is: who could that person be?
Unfortunately, we won’t get an answer even if Ikusa gets his memories back, as he most probably wasn’t there when Yukariko and her friend first entered the Royal Garden. Yet I think it is not that difficult to make a guess either: we don’t know many “friends” of Yukariko, other than Wataru’s mother and Isumi’s mother. So…