With her entrance into the scene, Nagi has turned the (supposedly) intense battle with Higanman into – more or less – a joke, and it is both bad and good.
The “bad” mainly points to the fact that Nagi has killed the moment by screaming at dead jellyfish while there is a war out there. I know, dead jellyfish can be scary, but I – as well as Hayate – cannot shake the thought that Nagi’s scream is totally misplaced. It is just like mourning over a puppy killed in a disaster while a dozen of people have also lost their lives in the same incident. Do this and people would come to ask: Don’t you think your attention should be on something else?
The “good” is that Nagi proves once again that sometimes brain is more important than brawn. The Higanman/Yukiji combination is so formidable that even Ikusa, who is assumed to be much more powerful than Hayate, is facing a difficult battle. The power boost from the King’s Jewel would surely make Higanman the most dangerous “boss” since King Midas. Yet with a simple but very smart tactic, Nagi almost crushes Higanman from within.
The “within” is, of course, Yukiji. Instead of allowing Higanman to manipulate Yukiji’s body, Nagi decides to let them fight each other at a cost of 500 yen initially, which later triples to 1,500 yen. The idea is that Yukiji would do anything for any sum of money, and that she would try to free herself from Higanman’s control for 1,500 yen. This certainly confirms Yukiji’s unhealthy obsession for money – seriously, is she really getting all excited by a mere 1,500 yen?
It could be interesting to note that this tactic, although simple, could well be a Nagi specialty. Hayate doesn’t have 500 yen – let alone 1,500 yen – to begin with, so he could only fight Higanman/Yukiji with his fist. Hinagiku would hate the idea of spoiling her sister with money, so she would fight Higanman/Yukiji with Shirosakura. Isumi doesn’t seem to be interested in anything other than the evil spirit of Higanman, and she would proceed to exorcise him. As such, none of our usual Big Damn Heroes would do what Nagi is doing here.
Higanman suddenly finds his new body rejecting him, but he refuses to lose, and the only way for him to “win” is to return to the basics. His primary objective is to teach Hayate a lesson about loss, so in the end Higanman is trying to make Hayate suffer a loss. The quickest way to accomplish his objective before losing control on Yukiji’s body is to sink the King’s Jewel into the ocean, so he makes a huge throw.
I guess I am not exaggerating with the words “huge throw”, because it takes the Ayasaki brothers to combine their strength to get close to the King’s Jewel. Yet a series of attack comes and 1) knocks the King’s Jewel out of Hayate’s reach and 2) cuts it into pieces. So, what Hayate has been aiming at for the past 10+ chapters is now… gone. As far as Hayate is concerned, he has failed his mission.
This seems all wrong from the beginning. Hayate came to the beach and found his brother, but almost all the time he has not been thinking about his brother, but something he possessed. He agreed to a ridiculous competition against his own brothers, while making use of his friends and hurting their feelings. Even by the end of his failed mission, he still had his concept wrong: that was not “milady’s stone”, as it has never been what she owned in the first place – he only presumed her ownership of the stone. So, as the stone is now destroyed, a part of me is actually happy that this madness can now come to an end.
No, I am not worried about Hayate at all. Most likely Nagi will offer him comfort, and together they would come up with a new way to regain the right to the inheritance. For so long Hayate and Nagi have been playing Mikado’s game, and why must anyone play according to his rules if they – especially Nagi – do not like him? Of course, as Ikusa holds Hayate tight in his arms, we are now very certain that the Ayasaki brothers are getting on very fine even though Ikusa might still be missing his memories. For Hayate, maybe this is his biggest gain from going to the beach.
As to who has made the finishing moves to the King’s Jewel… I think Higanman is still my primary suspect.