Finally Hayate (and Hinagiku) has got the curry packs, and once again I was wrong: I thought that Hayate wouldn’t settle for something as ordinary as curry packs, but it turns out that he would settle just for that. As we can see, he throws all the curry packs in and makes… curry. Even Doughnut Gunso, who is as much a cook as Nagi, can do exactly that.
How about having Nagi make the curry?
I am not entirely sure whether I should fault Hayate for his tactic. On the one hand, he indeed can earn almost 100% profit, as there is almost no cost in the first place: all he has to do is to throw in things that he has picked up somewhere else, and no other ingredient is needed. On the other hand, this is one of the most uninspiring way to make food, and how would anyone make big money by uninspiring means?
What does it mean? It means that while Hayate can definitely make money, he can definitely not make 8.7 million yen in two days. Things might be a little different if he gives an extra touch on the curry, but pouring all the curry packs into one pot is hard to be considered “an extra touch”. In fact, his attempt in making curry is so lame that it bores most girls around him into declaring they are going to bed.
If anything, only Hinagiku and Athena have legitimate reasons to call themselves tired. Hinagiku endured much horror in the cave and the village, and fought her way out of the “trap from above” with Shirosakura and Hayate, so understandably she is mentally and physically exhausted. Athena has used most of her recharged “battery” trying to knock senses into Ikusa, reviving his memories, and as she is now out of “battery” again she returns to her Alice form. Cue the big “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
Ayumu is the only girl around who is not going to bed, and as a girl who is very sensitive about love, she sees it as a chance to “go on the offensive”. Unfortunately Hayate reverts to his “bad employer” mode which he briefly showed during the day, and sends Ayumu to take out the trash. From a certain point of view they really act like a married couple – somebody has to take the trash out, after all – but the weight of the trash most probably means that Ayumu will not be happy about it.
Luckily for Ayumu, there is someone else who is more than happy to help people (especially young girls, perhaps?): Ikusa. For me, what is most characteristic about Ayumu is her readiness to connect with strange people, especially adult men. We saw her totally owning Ashibashi-sensei (and Koutarou, but then he is not an adult) in the Mangaka saga, and now she is having her second conversation with Ikusa – an achievement bigger than the good ship Ikusa-Athena.
Does it mean that there is a ship between Ikusa and Ayumu? I guess not. Good public relations skills are Ayumu’s weapon in helping Hayate and Nagi, not in seducing men much older than her (Ikusa is almost in his 30s, so…). Instead of conjuring love bubbles around her with tears (save your finger), Ayumu calmly explains why the King’s Jewel is so important to Hayate, and also why Nagi is so important to Hayate – though her failure to describe Nagi by any of her “useful” descriptions is pretty sad.
The way I see, Ayumu’s summary of the relationship between Hayate and Nagi is the first key to soften Ikusa’s heart. It is only after the conversation that Ikusa is willing to reveal that he has been making a joke out of Hayate. As such, let us never look down on the “normal” Ayumu, because sometimes a normal person is what it really takes to get a crazy man back to normal.
Of course, we cannot ignore the second key to revealing that Ikusa has been lying. To say the very least, Ikusa hasn’t forgotten about his name, and he is not exactly a poor guy with a huge debt. The evidence is in the name of the hotel Hayate and co. are staying: it is named “ASUKI”, and if we spell the name backwards, we get “IKUSA”. Sure enough, Ikusa himself is the owner of the hotel, and it doesn’t seem to be doing too bad either.
There is one thing about Nagi I want to make note of. While describing Nagi as a lazy child with no sense of direction, Hata seems to be giving Nagi an artistic license in travelling from time to time which allows her to appear out of absolutely nowhere to reach Hayate. The use of this license give results that range from annoying (e.g. Ch. 384) to touching (e.g. Ch.432). This time I remain neutral, as Nagi’s appearance comes with both a lousy quote and intelligent information.
At the beginning of the current arc, we have been told that Ikusa is suffering from amnesia. Now I think we are having a clearer picture on how much he still remembers. He certainly remembers his name, that he has a brother, and some flashes of his meeting with Athena and Yukariko. It is still unclear whether he remembers that Hayate is his brother.
Maybe this is why he has been making a joke out of Hayate. It actually makes sense to see the competition as a “trial” to assess Hayate as a person. Ikusa, as the owner of the hotel Hayate and co. are staying, has all the resources to spy on his brother. An almost impossible mission can test Hayate’s skills (passed with merit), temperament (failed miserably), sociability (marginal pass) and his determination to win the prize (passed with distinction).
Whether it has been a joke or a test, it is all over now as Ikusa is going serious about Hayate. Let’s see what Ikusa is going to do!