Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 492

I quite like her character design. Honestly.

I quite like her character design. Honestly.

So, it is confirmed by Hinagiku, an authoritative figure when it comes to Hakuou Academy, that Tsugumi is in fact not a Hakuou student. The obvious conclusion is that Tsugumi has lied to Hayate and Nagi, and the general idea is that a liar is, more likely than not, up to no good.

We have not failed to notice that Hayate has, so far in this arc, failed at his job as Nagi’s butler. First he went skateboarding with Hinagiku on his own, leaving Nagi to struggle at her skiing lessons. Then he let his guard down and allowed Tsugumi to take Nagi on with the orientation merely because his clothes were wet. Now that he realises his mistakes, it finally looks like Hayate would get back to his “butler mode” and rescue Nagi.

I am not entirely sure if Hinagiku should go along with him. Strictly speaking, the Sanzen’in family is none of her business.

She looks like someone from Hata's own doujin.

She looks like someone from Hata’s own doujin.

The thing is, Tsugumi looks like she is sincerely helping Nagi with the orientation. Not only that she has not tried to do any harm to Nagi, she is actually defending Nagi from the one who wants to hurt her. The person we talk about is, of course, Sonia. Sure enough, it turns out that the “girl” Nagi swore about in the flashforward turns out to be Sonia, instead of Tsugumi.

To me, Sonia is a particularly disappointing character because she has diminished so much since her debut. Her hostility towards the Sanzen’in family has not changed, but while in the early days we knew what her motive was – a very bizarre one, but still – in this chapter we don’t even know why she is hunting Nagi anymore. In a sense she is no different from the bear in Ch. 489, and when we compare a recurring character to a random wildlife, we know the character has a problem.

Have care where you look.

Have care where you look.

Anyway, thanks to Sonia’s attacks, Tsugumi reveals that she is Nagi’s younger sister. We know that her anime counterpart did the revelation with a bombshell, which sounded so ridiculous that the door was slammed in her face. In this chapter, Tsugumi starts off by dropping hints while helping Nagi, then makes her declaration to protect Nagi during a fight, and then states it again as she reunites with Nagi at the end of the chapter. This certainly makes her claim more acceptable for Nagi, and as we can see Nagi is not as hostile towards her “sister” as she was in CTMEOY.

Before I go on, let me say that this chapter instantly makes Tsugumi more adorable. She looks genuinely concerned about Nagi, and it somehow hits my soft spot. A part of me is suddenly crying for her official inclusion in the Sanzen’in family, because the way it looks now, there is huge potential that she and Nagi could build up a good relationship as siblings.

Could this have been staged?

Could this have been staged?

Yet the entire “accepting Tsugumi as Nagi’s sister” thing looks too easy and convenient here. Somehow I suspect that the assault by Sonia is set up by Tsugumi herself. In fact, this might actually be the reason why Sonia could give no reason for attacking Nagi: if the entire fiasco is staged by Tsugumi and herself, then obviously she cannot say anything about it to Nagi. As such, I think it would be wiser if we reserve judgement on whether Tsugumi is as likeable as she really deserves.

Then again, if it is Tsugumi’s intention to befriend Nagi, then it is head-scratching as to why she has first approached Nagi like a jerk. I am not sure if she wants to show that she is a smartass, or that she is very poor at acting cool, but she ends up giving me the impression that she is a villain. If Tsugumi has wanted to be friendly to Nagi, then she has a very funny way of doing so.

It remains to be seen of Tsugumi’s true identity and – more importantly – intention. There is no way to tell if manga Tsugumi would share a similar backstory with her anime counterpart, and in any case I am starting to forget about the fine details of CTMEOY anyway.

I cannot say she is unwise.

I cannot say she is unwise.

Back in Hotel Hell Prison, the other girls continue to suffer. The most significant change from last chapter is that we finally have a named character who drops out. Arguably, Risa would not be a surprising “casualty” for Hata and the readers. If someone is to be “killed off” this early, it has to be someone who is not very smart (rule out Aika and Chiharu), determined (rule out Kayura) and popular (rule out Izumi). That leaves us with Miki and Risa. Either Hata picks Risa by chance, or that he is saving Miki for the future plot.

It doesn’t really have to mean that Risa is totally out of the plot, though. While the students who have dropped out are having a good time at night, we still don’t know what would happen to them during the day when they have to stay indoor. An “insider’s view” from Risa could be valuable if the School Trip is even more complicated than we could imagine.

"Butler" is not a free pass to a love relationship.

“Butler” is not a free pass to a love relationship.

Another fun fact is revealed as well. It turns out that Aika is told by her fiancé to join a school trip on her own. We learn that Mr. Fiancé thinks that Aika has been relying on him too much, and basically he wants her to toughen up and become more independent. I don’t know, but Mr. Fiancé sounds so dismissive and confrontational that his love relationship with Aika seems to be problematic. Funny enough, Love Master doesn’t seem to have any idea on how to handle problems with her lover, so it might prove that some good coaches indeed are not good players.

Is there any significance with Aika’s motive of joining School Trip Level 5? I would say yes. I have been under the impression that Aika is working with Kananiwa on the School Trip, and that she is joining the trip in order to keep an eye on things. If it is true that she has joined the trip simply because her fiancé dared her to, then I should give up my suspicions and accept that Aika is just another participant.

This guy actually looks suspicious.

This guy actually looks suspicious.

Of course, Aika wouldn’t tell us even if she is indeed working with Kananiwa, and her “argument” with her fiancé could well be a fake story, but the key point here is that she has not told Chiharu – who actually asked her the question – the fake story in any detail. The explanation is given to us – the readers – through a flashback inside Aika’s head. Unless Aika is the most spectacular liar to have existed, there is no way she could lie insider her own head.

Anyway, we still have a lot to learn about the School Trip and Tsugumi, so let’s look forward to further revelations!

8 comments on “Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 492

  1. I can’t say I’m surprised with Tsugumi proclaiming to be Nagi’s sister, I’m sure she has a motive as well. Just like the anime, she is probably being kind of used, that’s why she seems honestly friendly at times (she’s probably not a bad person). I’m also curious about Aika’s fiancé (because he is a male character? Yeah, probably).

    I’m no good drawer, but some of the facial expressions here are downright embarrassing in my opinion, he was starting to draw better again dammit.

  2. I have to admit I have a soft spot for Tsugumi from CTMEOY…. It’s a little bit reasuring to see that she’s doing the “imouto” act in the manga too.
    My bet is that she is working for Kananiwa, which is also not that different…

    I always thought she didn’t receive the development and screentime she deserved during the 2nd half of that season. Hopefully it will be different here.

    By the way…. what happened to the Kurotsubaki? I wonder what kind of role it will have in the manga.

  3. I agree that Sonia is a horribly diminished character. She’s a ruthless assassin but she’s not a bad person at heart. In fact, I think Hata’s weakness is his handling of minor characters i.e. Eight, Makimura, Gilbert, Kotetsu, etc who are victims of flanderization. This is mostly a comedy manga built to last for a very long time so surely instead of making filler chapters about characters we already know about, chapters showing slight character development of minor characters are a better alternative. I happen to enjoy the Fumi chapters as they are its own self-contained story with good character development for Fumi.

    I got excited when Tsugumi called Nagi “Sister” but you have a point about how it could have all been some kind of a setup and that Tsugumi has an ulterior motive… just like in CTMEOY, more or less. That said, it has always been kind of a running gag in CTMEOY that Tsugumi would always try to act villainous at first only for her villainous facade to break immediately afterwards in a hilarious fashion.

    I do think Sonia’s appearance makes sense though. First, there’s a 150 mil yen reward and Sonia is quite greedy and it was easy for Yukiji and Tsugumi to pretend to be participants. Secondly, Nagi got her inheritance back which once again, makes her a target for people like Sonia.

    Aika’s fiancee/butler was being cold but I think he had good intentions for her. As established in this manga before, butlers aren’t just servants but are also meant to help guide their masters to be a better person. In that aspect, Aika’s fiancee/butler isn’t too different from Hayate or Maria or the other butlers.

    • The difference between Mr. Fiancé and Hayate/Maria is that the former is Aika’s fiancé, not a mere butler. I think that it is quite harsh for Mr. Fiancé to treat Aika , his fiancée, like this.

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