“How much would Hayate give for Nagi?” It seems to be a question that has been asked for a long time, but the recent arcs really have pushed for an answer that Hayate himself might not even know yet – no, the almost clichéd “I would give my life for milady! (sparkling)” does not count.
Although it violates our ultimate animal instinct – we would do everything we can to survive – giving away our lives for other people is in fact a pretty easy moral choice. All you need is the (enormous) courage to make this decision, and the determination to stand still until you die. If you could do that, you are guaranteed a heroic legacy, and your conscience would tell you that, ultimately, you have made the most noble sacrifice.
I have no doubt that Hayate would sacrifice his life for Nagi. He has said this on many occasions with apparent ease, and he has almost given his life for – and sometimes because of – her several times. Giving away his life for Nagi isn’t the hardest choice to make. Quite on the contrary, it is one of his first options. I am not saying that Hayate inclines to self-destruct – although, apparently, he does – but that his conscience tells him that this is an appropriate choice to make. He can almost make this choice happily.
What fascinates me most about Ch. 463 is not the video-game-ish challenges Hayate has to face. Rather, it is that Hayate is being challenged twice on his conscience. He has to make choices to help Nagi which would hurt his conscience. Making these choices would not be happy, and this makes the choices difficult for Hayate.
With the two challenges in this chapter, my leading question can now be rephrased into: How low would Hayate fall for Nagi?
Hayate once said to Hinagiku that he could become a devil for Nagi, and we can actually see him taking the necessary steps to becoming one during the first challenge. The fact that the “weak puppy” transforms into a giant monster isn’t an issue: Hayate has already decided that he would harm the “weak puppy” for Nagi’s cause.
As if it isn’t enough for Hayate to prove his conscience – or his decision to abandon it – with a dog, he has to face another test after a M*rio action sequence. This time he confronts a young girl whose name is Makise Konoha, and in one way or another she is hiding the button to the “secret bridge”. Now, Konoha seems to be in deep financial troubles so she is “working” to hide the button, and she will be basically fired if Hayate gets the button from her. She will not reveal the whereabouts of the button willingly, and Hayate would face legal actions should he lay a finger on her…
So, Hayate must tackle a series of issues. First he must decide whether he has to make an innocent (?) girl financially poor so that Nagi doesn’t have to be financially “poor”. Then he must decide how he should proceed: does he turn the area around to find the button, or does he do anything to Konoha to get the button and then do anything to shut her up?
In the end, this might be a critical moment for Hayate, because he is about to prove what he really is: is he still a human being with a conscience who is simply trying to do his job properly, or is he more or less an android which is “programmed” to do everything “for Nagi’s sake”?
This may not be a moment which bothers Nagi (and her fans), because no matter what, Hayate’s loyalty to her is well-proven, and lady and butler will no doubt live happily ever after when Nagi’s wealth is restored. The real issue here is whether Hayate would put his relationship with other people – boys and girls – at breaking point by choosing to become an android.
As you can already see with the case of the “weak puppy”, the mindset of an “android Hayate” is that he would do anything for Nagi. This time it is beating up a puppy, next time it could be betraying anyone of the people he knows, and in the end it could be killing a girl he truly loves. I know I am talking slippery slope, but I think it is not a fallacy because an “android Hayate” has agreed to slide to the bottom of the slope already: he could do “anything” for Nagi, after all.
If it turns out to be the case, then maybe it is better to sink all other ships, because “android Hayate” simply does not have a heart for them. Essentially, it means that Hayate would be shutting the door to “telling someone who he loves her” – except Nagi, of course – should he fully devote himself to restoring Nagi’s wealth.
It is an irony, really: Hayate was thinking that he may fall in love once again after he compensates Nagi for her financial loss, but as he work harder and harder to push toward that goal, he is in truth isolating himself more and more from any relationship other than lady-butler.
And it will be the readers’ choice to like this development, or to hate it.