In my opinion, the best way to introduce background information about a character is through the progress of the story itself, so the readers can come across such information naturally as they read. For example, we learned that Ruka used to be a Student Council President through her conversation with Hayate and Hinagiku; while it provided information that was previously unknown to us, we did not really feel like reading a “character guide” because there was the context of the story. Ruka’s past of being a Student Council President was relevant to how she felt about the conflict of her life and her dream, and I think most of us allowed this piece of information to sink, while having our focus on the plot of the Comisun arc.
A worse way of introducing character information, on the other hand, is by having someone to recite it in a dialogue box as thick as a loaf of bread. While it is much more efficient and easy for the author, we as readers will not be able to shake the feeling of directly reading from a “character guide” or the author’s notes. When this happens, I can only say that there is a genuine mishandling of the character being introduced – in other words, Hata is being lazy about introducing Ikusa.
Of course, the use of Isumi to introduce Ikusa in such a manner could point to a possibility that Hata is aware of what he is doing, and he still does it because it would be fun. Still, if I were Ikusa, I guess I would be bound to wonder what kind of treatment I was getting from the author. “Duh, of all the awesome ways in the world to introduce me, you are settling on a joke by Isumi to make fun of the situation?”
By the way, I swear I do not care how Isumi has come to know so much about Ikusa. I swear…
Isumi recites so much about Ikusa so to let Fumi know about the man she has just fallen in love with. Yet as we have seen between Hinagiku and Miki on Hayate, basic personal information does not interest a girl as much as some other aspects of him, namely his reputation among his peers, or the type of girls he is likely to fall in love with.
We do not know why, but Isumi is being very emotional and active around Fumi. Her facial expression of utter disgust is priceless; she is being so bluntly direct at Ikusa about Fumi’s crush on him that she has essentially confessed to Ikusa on Fumi’s behalf; Fumi’s reaction out of total embarrassment is arguably her most adorable moment since she was introduced. Very good job there, Isumi!
Unlike his brother who gives idiotic answers to a girl’s confession, Ikusa is somewhat more considerate, sensible and cool with his answers. He tells the girls outright that he is not expecting a girlfriend at the moment, but he might fall in love with a certain kind of girl. He has rejected Fumi without being blunt, but he has also shown that he has a “soft spot” without losing his cool. Such maturity is exactly what we would expect from a person of Ikusa’s age – he is 28, by the way.
So, let’s head straight into the most interesting part of the discussion: who could be the girl Ikusa would fall in love with? Ikusa has said that such a girl must share his desire of helping anyone in trouble, so our question becomes very simple and specific: which one of the girls in the world of Hayate no Gotoku! has a desire of helping anyone in trouble?
As a blogger who has proposed the Ikusa-Athena ship, I guess I have the obligation to pronounce that it is thus sunk. The reason is very simple: Athena does not have a desire of helping anyone in trouble, while her desire to achieve her own goals often makes trouble. Of course, we have seen her helping Hayate and Nagi, but two people do not qualify as “anyone”. In other words, while Athena might not be the “evil queen” Hinagiku has accidentally suggested, she is not a philanthropist either.
I do admit that she qualifies as a genius, a billionaire and a playgirl, though. You should have understood that reference…
In Athena’s defense, Ikusa’s demand is a tall order for any of the girls in the cast. Many of the girls are either devoted to serve particular individuals (e.g. Maria), or generally do not help people unless asked by individuals (e.g. Chiharu and Kayura). We may argue that Hinagiku could come close, but in her case “helping other people” is often a side quest to her true desire of “helping Hayate”, and that differs from Ikusa’s demand. Ayumu has her eyes on more people than Hinagiku, but she lacks the ability to really help, so she either gives up easily or in turn cries for help. While one lacks the desire and the other lacks the ability to help everyone, both Hinagiku and Ayumu do not qualify as Ikusa’s love interest.
So, we’ll need a girl with Hinagiku’s abilities and Ayumu’s desire. Does such a girl exist in the current cast? Bizarre it might sound, but Doughnut Gunso would like to introduce you to Yukiji. I know, she is a heavy drinker, a loser and everything, but if we see beyond these things, you would find that Yukiji is often out there helping people. In this chapter, she has come to the beach because she heard that Hinagiku is sick. She also flew from Italy to Greece simply because Hinagiku sounded upset over the phone. She saved Ashibashi-sensei from the Yakuza, and she came to defend her students from a huge bear. She helped convincing the bank robber to surrender, and she beat the thieves who took the money away from Wataru. In a sense, Yukiji is a very unique hero that we do not appreciate: she has her flaws, weaknesses and even darkness, but when other people are in trouble, we are – oddly – never surprised to see her making a cool entrance and clearing up the mess.
Even if we talk about Yukiji’s weakness, Ikusa is the last person in the world who could point a finger at her: Yukiji lusts for money, but so does Ikusa; the thought of making money turns Yukiji into a nasty person, but Ikusa has turned into a jerk as he transferred his debt to Hayate. You see, Yukiji doesn’t just share Ikusa’s desire for helping others, she shares his desire for money as well. And don’t forget – these two are even of the same age! What do you say to such a girl, Ikusa?
Of course, things would get very complicated if we try to ship Ikusa-Yukiji. Let us not forget about Kaoru – that poor bastard has not made any progress with Yukiji for a while now. Let us also not ignore the fact that it would be extremely boring if we are to have two Ayasaki-Katsura couples. Let us also consider what kind of abomination we would be thrown into should a Yukiji-Ikusa-Fumi triangle forms – although it might be quite fun for us to do a Joker and enjoy watching the world burn.
For now, though, we still have to solve Hayate’s problem of earning 8 million yen. Fumi, motivated by her love for Ikusa, sets out to help Hayate, for he is probably the person most in need of help in the area. Surprisingly, she has made a suggestion which is not utterly ridiculous – at least, it is no more ridiculous than Hayate’s idea of running a seaside restaurant. If Hayate cannot get any help from his friends, then he should do something that can be done on his own: selling takoyaki.
For your information, takoyaki is my second favourite Japanese food after chilled soba noodle.
If we assume that one piece of takoyaki sells for 100 yen, then Hayate needs to make 80,000 pieces. It would be 40,000 pieces a day, 1,667 pieces per hour, and 28 pieces per minute. Given that the likes of Hayate and Maria can pull out food in an instant from absolutely nowhere, 28 pieces of takoyaki per minute doesn’t seem to be too ridiculous for Hayate, does it?
Of course, nobody can guarantee that you have – assuming that the takoyaki are sold in 8 pieces per box at 800 yen, and that is bloody expensive – 10,000 customers to buy your takoyaki in two days, but when compared to running a restaurant with only two waitresses, selling takoyaki seems to be a better option. When you have two impossible missions, at least you should try to choose the less impossible one…
As this is Fumi we are talking about, the sensible part of her suggestion ends right here. Her suggestion to pour water into the batter is totally ignorable, but unfortunately Hayate seems to have elected to ignore the “selling takoyaki” idea altogether, so there seems to be no takoyaki for me. Yukiji then suggests FX – properly known as margin foreign exchange – which is more or less a make or break deal for amateur investors, and… does any of the characters know anything about investment?
In any case, a shonen manga which is aimed at young teens should do better than teaching kids to throw money into margins. That is basically suicide.