I don’t know if you think there is a little deja vu with this chapter. Not for the first time in the series, Hinagiku witnesses Hayate interacting intimately with a girl. She is deeply troubled, but then gathers herself and confronts the problem – whether it is Hayate himself or the girl in case.
What is noteworthy about Hinagiku’s reflection on Ayumu’s actions is that she realises that she could not do things like Ayumu did. This is a very rare case of Hinagiku accepting defeat, but in a sense it is a good thing. I have said that it would be important for Hinagiku to pick her games instead of trying to win at any challenge. If she has to play that “hatred of losing” game, she could attempt to seduce Hayate in even less cloth than a school swimsuit, but then it would “win” her the reputation of a slut. Nobody in their right mind would want to be the biggest slut in the world, and fortunately Hinagiku still have more common sense than hatred of losing.
Let us also not forget that even Ayumu herself was starting to find her “attacking stance” extremely ridiculous. So whether Ayumu has learned this stance from Ruka or not, it is not worth copying or even surpassing.
Interestingly, Hinagiku gets the most important message in Ayumu’s line. The word “too” as in “Will you kiss me too?” certainly means that Hayate has recently kissed another girl. What I do not understand here, though, is the reason for Hinagiku to think that she would find out whom Hayate has recently kissed by following him. I can only hope that she is not stupid enough to ask Hayate directly about this.
In the end, she doesn’t have to as she can witness Hayate rejecting Konoha. Things are more peaceful than you would expect of a rejection, though. It begins with Konoha apologising for kissing Hayate, and he also apologises for not dodging it. He then adds that he cannot date her, and she accepts it and leaves the scene quietly. A part of me is certain that she is going to cry, and boy do I sympathise this girl.
Kudos to Hayate as well for rejecting Konoha in a clear manner. It is a very cruel thing to do, but if he has no intention to start a relationship with a girl, it would be a good thing to reject her as early as possible. Another day of non-rejection would be another day for the girl’s feelings to grow for him. Killing something big is always more painful than killing something small.
Disclaimer: Doughnut Gunso is not promoting abortion.
Understanding the “affair” between Hayate and Konoha is like putting two and two together, and at least Hinagiku doesn’t fail on this one. The only thing that she doesn’t know, rather understandably, is the reason for Hayate to reject a cute girl as Konoha. The thing she must understand, though, is that cuteness doesn’t really give you a free pass to man’s heart.
I know all men are jerks, but still…
Hayate seems to be reflecting on his handling of girls as he realises that there has been misunderstandings, although he seems to be blaming the girls instead of himself for making these misunderstandings. His reflection, thus, is not very helpful.
What Hinagiku does next is very clever for a girl so dense about love: she uses herself as an “assumption” of a girl who is truly in love with Hayate. It helps conveying Hinagiku’s message that girls may truly love him, while she can also test his reaction to the prospect of her loving him. That being said, Hinagiku being Hinagiku cannot resist to add the totally unnecessary “clarification” that the case is just hypothetical …
There is yet another bit of deja vu here. As Hayate explains his mind, Hinagiku comes to the decision that she can go on and confess her love for him. Hayate does not appear to have heard any of her words, but instead says something that makes Hinagiku realise that she better swallow the confession down her throat. Doesn’t it look similar to Ch. 239? Of course, the drama is a lot milder in this case, but the same thing happens again: Hinagiku is interrupted from making a deemed-to-fail confession; she is then required to put aside her emotions and help Hayate with his problems.
In all fairness to other girls, I must tag this chapter as a “Silky Meh” moment. The lack of cross-page heart-breaking drama says it all.
Anyway, with a smart question, Hinagiku gets all the answers she is looking for, and she has a view of the bigger picture on both sides. On the one hand, she can confirm that Hayate would be very happy of the prospect of her loving him. On the other hand, she is told that she would be rejected at this point, because he is a butler with a debt of 150 million yen.
To be honest, I am a little confused here: has Hayate ever said clearly that he cannot date any girl because of his debt? In Ch. 383 Hayate told Ruka that he cannot date anyone because he was Nagi’s butler, whereas in Ch. 264 he told Athena that Nagi was his “life in itself (sparkling!)”. I don’t really remember any case in which he used his debt as a reason/excuse of not dating anyone. If this is true, then there could be two possible conclusions: either Hayate has invented yet another excuse of not dating girls, or he is finally telling the truth deep down in his heart – to Hinagiku.
I am inclined to believe in the latter case, but not because of Hinagiku. It is simply that I have always assumed that the debt has been the biggest obstacle for him to date girls again. The problem is, I cannot remember how I have reached this conclusion. Have I read from somewhere – the manga, other blogs, or forums? Quite simply put, I lost track about the discussion, yet the conclusion seems fixed in my mind for no reason at all.
In any case, Hayate’s reason/excuse does make some sense. He is a boy who has been taught to take the responsibility of feeding his partner. With a debt of 150 million yen, he couldn’t even feed himself if his employee benefits do not include food and shelter, let alone feeding another person. What’s more, it would take 40 years for him to clear his debt and to start his life over; it would be very irresponsible to ask a girl to wait 40 years for him.
Not only is the debt a matter of responsibility, it is also a matter of self-esteem. With girls like Hinagiku, it requires Hayate to have a certain level of self-esteem to feel “worthy” of them. What kind of self-esteem does a butler with a debt of 150 million yen have? Come to think of it, this self-esteem issue might explain why Hayate has no problem with Nagi’s affection for him: Nagi knows full well that he is an indebted butler (this is an understatement in itself, but whatever…), and yet she accepts him and requests his service. Hayate finds his own value as Nagi’s (indebted) butler. As such, he does not have a self-esteem crisis with Nagi, whereas with other girls he is much more insecured.
Everything being said, he now seems to be the only one at the Sanzen’in household who remembers the debt. While he cannot assume that the debt does not exist any more, I do have the feeling that he is too willing to tie himself up with the debt. My wild guess is that Hayate actually finds some security in the debt: with the debt, he is Nagi’s butler and is thus valuable. What would he be without the debt?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hinagiku’s reaction to Hayate’s reason/excuse is similar to Ruka’s: they both try to kill the problem. Ruka thought she could not date Hayate because of his duty as butler, so she attempted to remove the job. Hinagiku thinks she could not date Hayate because of his debt, so she attempts to remove the debt.
It is unclear as to whether removing the debt is equivalent to removing the job, but I certainly hope not. After all, the first taboo of the series is to take Hayate away from Nagi. Any attempt to do so would result in serious punishment – just look at Ruka. Of course, Hinagiku may not have the intention to take Hayate away from Nagi, but if the debt itself is a bond between Hayate and Nagi, then Hinagiku would be heading straight into a minefield.
I have every reason to worry here, but maybe I should not forget that this is Hinagiku we are talking about. In terms of sorting out Hayate’s troubles, Hinagiku’s record remains stellar, and she does help advancing the plot from time to time. As this matter is (temporarily) not one of Hinagiku’s love issues, I think we may expect her brain to function properly. As we all know, Hinagiku never failed us when her brain was functioning properly.
As of now, there could be endless possibilities and we cannot predict how things would go on in the coming chapters. Unfortunately we happen to have a one-week break, so we are once again left with a longer-than-usual wait.