The orientation has come to an end, with Hinagiku taking the first place. This might have been expected considering that she has a track record of winning any competition
with the exception of those she competes against Hayate, but we should also take into account the fact that she has lost time to falling into a lake and then a sauna battle. All in all, her victory is still impressive.
We might take a moment to observe her initial reaction towards knowing that she has won. She has spent no time celebrating, but instead asks the whereabouts of the other contestants. We can conclude that Hinagiku genuinely cares for the safety of her fellow students, especially her friends Hayate and Nagi. I think it proves that there are still people who want to win the competition without wishing all her “enemies” are dead.
Even more impressive than Hinagiku’s victory is Nagi coming second. Of course, the snow bike and a head start over Hayate and Hinagiku do their part, but let us not forget that Nagi and Tsugumi have gotten into trouble with Sonia, and the snow bike is most likely lost in the fight. As such, it is very possible that Nagi has a considerable distance to walk. At the very least, Nagi is putting some of her own efforts into this orientation.
Tsugumi has apparently gone missing, and we are once again left to ourselves to figure out why. She was there when Kananiwa explained the orientation, so it seemed that she was trying to “blend in”, without worrying about being seen. As such, it is head-scratching that she chooses to go into hiding now that she has won Nagi’s trust – a trust that has led Nagi into scolding Hayate for badmouthing about Tsugumi. A part of me is rather sure that Tsugumi has no business in tearing Hayate and Nagi apart. On the evidence thus far, the “argument” seems to be collateral damage.
It is more or less expected that Hayate would come last in this orientation, yet we all know that he could have done much better. He has planned to look for Nagi for 30 minutes, and he has reached the goal 30 minutes after Nagi did. The simple conclusion is that, has he not wasted time looking for Nagi, Hayate could have at least been on par with Nagi.
A final observation on the rankings is that Hayate ranks 9th, meaning that only 3 people out of the 12 contestants in the orientation have dropped out. Given that Tsugumi doesn’t count as one of the 12 contestants, we thus have a total of 9 people whom we do not know who they are, including Ms. Number 8. Unfortunately, she is indeed very likely to drop out – it is one thing to stay in prison right after skiing, and another thing to stay in prison after an extra orientation session.
There seems to be a rule that whoever wins the very first (and usually very trivial) competition would end up not winning the final (and usually the biggest) one, while whoever comes last in the first competition would end up being the final winner. Unless Hata is going to step in with his special blessings for Nagi, it seems that Hayate is going to be the final winner of School Trip Level 5.
Creator’s design aside, there is a legitimate reason that Hinagiku would not be the final winner: the card with 10 million yen credit. You might find my statement ridiculous: after all, a credit card with so much credit would guarantee Hinagiku excellent meals and shelter, so she would recover much better than the people who stay in “prison”.
Yet Hinagiku seems to have very little idea on how to spend the money properly, and Risa has “volunteered” as arguably the worst possible kind of coach. While it is incredulous that Hinagiku would want a room for free, it is equally not sensible for her to spend over a million yen a day just for a better experience at night. Nagi, on the other hand, seems much wiser on money as she wastes no time in buying Hayate a favour with her 2 million yen. Of course, Hinagiku is inexperienced with having so much money at her disposal, but the fact remains that her lack of experience would lead to at least two disadvantages.
The first disadvantage is that Hinagiku could become so used to the comfort at night that her determination for the competition could be weakened. The difference between the toughness of the competition and the comfort at night could be so huge that Hinagiku might not be able to adapt. If she ever shows the slightest hint of mental weakness, it would be exploited by the other participants.
The second disadvantage is that everybody hates an unequal society, and everybody loves to overthrow whoever is on top of that society. Hinagiku’s extra resources could motivate capable contestants to challenge her – nobody has ever said that the credit cards are personal. Even if this Battle Royale scenario does not happen for whatever reason, Hinagiku would still be someone who has no idea how the other participants suffer at night, and more and more she could become isolated from everyone else.
Of course, as this is Hinagiku we are talking about, it could be very wrong to underestimate her and simply assume that she would sit there watching her world fall apart. There is a chance that she could learn how to utilise her funds in ways that surprises everyone, including Kananiwa. For now, let me trust in Hinagiku and hope.
Funny enough, this chapter is yet another example of Hinagiku being the Big Eater of the series. The difference between a single room with breakfast (80K yen) and a single room without breakfast (10K yen) is 70K yen. The logical conclusion is that Hinagiku is willing to spend 70K yen on breakfast. This, ladies and gentlemen, is luxury.
So, a new challenge awaits all remaining contestants at 14:20 on the next day in what looks like a tropical rain forest. Hata seems to have given up on counting down, so let’s do him a favour: if my calculation is correct, we will have 172 hours 40 minutes left.