It has been a very long and eventful summer in the series, but like all other holidays, summer holiday would come to an end – no matter how abruptly.
I used the word “abruptly” because I truly did not expect the time to jump to 31 August 2005 in this chapter. However, Hata seems happy to explain this away by acknowleding the movie Heaven is a Place on Earth. A shameless Doughnut Gunso can make you feel like time has been long by quoting the whole movie review… nah, I was kidding.
Tie HIAPOE into the manga plot and there is an interesting observation: Hinagiku has not yet carried out any plan on Hayate over these few days, either to repay his debt or to change his perception about it. That role had been taken up, rather unwisely, by Grandma Suzune, who then received her punishment for committing the cardinal sin. Upon witnessing something like this with her own eyes, I think Hinagiku would do better than, well, this.
Now that all the pieces are coming together, we can see that the movie could fit seamlessly into the manga plot – then again, not much has been revealed in the movie
unless you count the lovey-dovey between Hayate and Nagi. In any case, we can see that Hata has had a very clear plot in his mind, at least up till HIAPOE.
Whether the same could be said about CTMEOY and Cuties is another matter, as new ideas intertwined with old materials with inevitable conflicts. In any case, Hayate has a lot of explanation to do for totally forgetting about Kurotsubaki, which he has already seen in the manga before his journey to Las Vegas.
Well, I would be a fool to expect good memories from a piece of ass, wouldn’t I?
Okay, let’s forget about the future and return to the most iminent problem in this chapter: summer holiday is coming to an end. This is bad news for most students in the world (well, some people are bored to death by long holidays, so they might like new semesters), and Nagi – at least for this time alone – is one of them.
Arguably Nagi has achieved every target for this summer: she has had a successful doujin event
(and a lousy one), and she managed to be reinstated as the rightful heir to her family wealth. Yet, as new semester approaches, Nagi realises that she is running out of free time, and she decides to make the most of it… by lazing around at home. A part of me does not disagree, really.
This does not please Hayate and Maria. We could see Hayate giving attitude very frequently in the chapter alone. This is not the kind of attitude I would expect of a butler when addressing his master, especially when Hayate has admitted that he still has a debt to repay. Personally I find Hayate’s lack of proper respect towards Nagi alarming. Of course, how we look at this matter is all about spinning.
So, in order to make the holiday “worthwhile”, Hayate takes Nagi to take the “Big Parfait” challenge at Cafe Donguri. Funny enough, Nagi doesn’t even seem to know that such a challenge exists at the cafe she works at. This challenge doesn’t seem attractive at all either, as we never saw anyone taking it in any of the previous Cafe Donguri chapters.
We can see that while Hayate is all fired up about the challenge, Nagi is not even remotely motivated. Here we could see their two different mindsets. Now that Nagi has got her wealth back, money is the last thing she has to worry about, so a free parfait or even a 500 yen coupon (a final day special bonus) wouldn’t mean much for her. Hayate, on the other hand, is still the bean counter who likes to take advantage of any prize offered.
In the current case, Nagi is certainly not sharing Hayate’s enthusiasm on free parfait or coupon, although she finds the parfait itself worth trying. Hayate, though, goes on full offensive and orders three parfaits – this guy certainly has the 1,500 yen worth of coupons in his mind. In reality though, asking girls (who reportedly do not have big appetites) to eat so many sweets (which make you fat) is not by any means sensible, and Hayate once again shows his lack of delicacy.
Yes, girls are creatures who love to eat sweets but do not like getting fat by eating sweets. The perfect solution to this apparent paradox is demonstrated by Maria: to share the sweets. She states that she wouldn’t be able to finish her parfait, and asks Hayate to help her out. While Hayate still has his mind on the coupon, Maria tells him off and gives him order on where to sit and what to do.
A lot can be made into the “ship-tease” scene between Hayate and Maria. For a starter, let us not forget that Maria is one of the two main heroines. Maria is, by default, as important to the story as Nagi, and she deserves a timely reminder that she is important, that she is a member of Hayate’s “harem”, and she does have an upper hand in her relationship with Hayate.
In fact, it can be argued that Maria is on the highest possible ground when it comes to a relationship with Hayate. She can instil enough fear into Hayate’s mind that he wouldn’t dare disrespecting her, but Hayate also knows that Maria would not look particularly down on him because of his debt – just as Hayate can be certain that he is Nagi’s butler, he can also be certain that he is Maria’s colleague. This delicate balance between security and insecurity brings about the “relaxed” scene: Maria totally dominates Hayate, while Hayate is happy to let her take dominance.
Whether Maria can take full advantage of her high ground remains to be seen. In a way I have the feeling that Maria isn’t as interested in Hayate as some other girls. She isn’t trying to win Hayate’s heart or tackle his problems, but merely having small but relaxed moments with him. I am not entirely sure if this is the right way to win the “harem” battle, but Maria seems to have a way to overcome any challenges in her way – with ease – so it would be wiser if I do not rule her out of the “competition” just yet.
Alright, let’s go back to Hayate’s plan of getting 1,500 yen worth of coupons. So, how did the Sanzen’in trio do?
Hayate ordered three parfaits. The first one he finished in like a minute, so not only he got that one free, he got a 500 yen coupon as well. The second one was Maria’s, and she finished it with help from Hayate, so although they did not get the coupon, they at least got it free as well. The third one was Nagi’s, and as she was left fighting alone, she couldn’t finish it and Hayate has to pay 2,000 yen for it. So, instead of making a 1,500 yen profit (in coupon), Hayate ended up making a 1,500 yen net loss (in cash). Oops.
From another point of view, Hayate was expected to pay a total of 6,000 yen for the three parfaits. Yet his net expenses ended up to be 1,500 yen, meaning that he has managed to save 4,500 yen. This, most certainly, can be regarded as a success. Of course, how we look at this matter is all about spinning.
I have a feeling that I have repeated myself.
I definitely wouldn’t count Maria out as Hayate has had a crush on her since forever. Given that she hasn’t shown any particularly great interest in Hayate though, I feel that it would be extremely unfair to everyone else. Fortunately, I really can’t see any good way to resolve the current ongoing plot threads in this manga with a Maria ending.
I was surprised at how positive the reaction was to the HayatexMaria parfait scene. I can see why, though. The scene was rather… sweet XD
I was happy to see a HIAPOE reference. I think Hayate’s attitude towards Nagi isn’t unwarranted seeing as how he risked his life trying to create a memorable summer for Nagi specifically so that she wouldn’t complain about summer break ending.
In fact, Hayate’s attitude towards Nagi isn’t really any different than how Maria is towards a complaining Nagi. Its more so that the both of them act like parents to her rather than servants. Heck, Maria rarely ever acts like a loyal maid to Nagi. The only instance when she acted like a loyal maid to her was in CTMEOY where she bowed to Nagi for the first time but CTMEOY’s status as canon or not remains in question.
Ayumu’s thoughts on Maria’s closeness with Hayate was similar to that episode where Maria “disguised” herself as a nurse to see how Nagi was doing in her part-time job. Like in this chapter, Ayumu was worried about how close Maria and Hayate were.