Maybe it is just me, but the opening of this chapter was unnaturally… slow.
On the one hand, the leader of the terrorists (now named/nicknamed Ginga Banjou) is keeping his ultimate cool despite having two waves of his men taken out on floor 15. It isn’t until Yukiji mocks him over the radio that he suddenly decides to lose his calm and walk straight into her trap. My impression of him is that he is utterly stupid…
On the other hand, Hayate and Hinagiku are walking along the hotel corridors like nothing has happened, despite the fact that Hayate has narrowly escaped a deadly gunfight just a moment ago. In fact, they are still asking if anything has happened at all, while something clearly has happened. Sure enough, once Hinagiku casually states the obvious, both of them enter panic mode and decide to jump into action. I think you would expect better than this from a seasoned combat butler and the student leader of a prestigious school…
The only person who is showing enough intelligence is – surprise, surprise – Yukiji. Her plan to neutralise the terrorists in the lobby works admirably: lure Banjou and some mooks away and take out the remaining few. She then proceeds to put her students into an ultimate predicament: either you press your Completer and be rescued, or you do nothing and be captured by Banjou again. This is a very effective threat, and Yukiji might have successfully forced the majority of the students to give up has Hinagiku not turned up with… a harisen.
Apparently, Hata has realised that Shirosakura is too dangerous for comedic relief and decides to give Hinagiku a harisen to do the job. No sword, no Hina Punch, just an ordinary harisen. Once again, Hata seems to be restricting the amount of violence out of Hinagiku – mind you, we have just seen a “Haru Punch” from Chiharu in the last chapter.
What happens next is the classic Katsura sisters debate, but as we drag Hayate into this, it is almost a Good Angel, Bad Angel scenario for Hayate. Twice in this chapter Yukiji the Bad Angel persuades Hayate to prioritise taking out the other students (including Hinagiku), while Hinagiku the Good Angel snaps him out of such ideas.
Interestingly, Hayate is easily agreeable to Yukiji’s ideas. Instead of pointing out any selfishness behind Yukiji’s plans, Hayate actually thinks they are good ideas. In contrast, Hayate has difficulty agreeing with Hinagiku’s ideas despite her wrath (his wooden response says it all). While I am proud with my theory that Hayate and Hinagiku are “parallel people”, I have to admit that sometimes Hayate’s mind resembles Yukiji more than Hinagiku.
This is hardly surprising when we really come to think of it. Both Hayate and Yukiji had to fight for money to repay their debt and to stay alive, so their mind prioritise money-grabbing over anything else. In contrast, Hinagiku has been sheltered well by her sister so she has the “luxury” to develop the more idealistic morality. In every sense, Yukiji willingly ruins her life to make sure Hinagiku grows up well.
As we all know, Hinagiku is well aware of Yukiji’s sacrifices, and one way she repays her sister’s favour is to stop her from becoming the slave of money. Bottom line: Hinagiku wants Yukiji to be reasonable with money, both in making and spending it. Hinagiku’s point is clear in this chapter: Yukiji can act greedy, but she has to save people’s lives first.
While Hinagiku argues with her sister, she is also attempting to keep Hayate’s morality in check. Perhaps Hinagiku also senses the similarity between Hayate and her sister – the two people she loves most, in different ways – and therefore the importance of snapping Hayate out of the “evil” ideas before it is too late.
What I found extremely satisfying in this chapter is that Hayate is still afraid of Hinagiku’s wrath. Ever since Hinagiku moved into the Violet Mansion, Hayate has become less and less afraid of Hinagiku’s temper, to the point that he isn’t even aware that Hinagiku can be upset with him. Either he is this oblivious or he is so confident in his relationship with Hinagiku, but there are times when Hayate mistreats Hinagiku (most notably during the Lifesaver arc), and the poor girl seems no longer to have anything under her sleeve to fight back. Fortunately, this chapter has confirmed that Hinagiku’s wrath is still an effective weapon, which Hayate still tries his best to avoid.
This actually brings an equilibrium to the Hayate-Hinagiku dynamic. Early in the series, Hayate is unnecessarily afraid of Hinagiku’s temper, even when she is not exactly in a bad mood; this hindered them from developing a trusting partnership. More recently, Hayate seems immune to Hinagiku’s temper, even when she is angry. Now, finally, Hayate isn’t constantly afraid of Hinagiku, but knows he has to behave himself when she gets angry. In terms of a relationship between equals, this is a good sign.
Anyway, Hayate’s choice doesn’t really matter. A returning Banjou makes the terrible mistake of getting into the heat of the Katsura sisters’ argument, and is promptly knocked out by Yukiji. In her very own way Yukiji has saved the day, and in a certain way Hinagiku does bring the best out of Yukiji.
Finally the crisis is over, and Kananiwa appears out of nowhere to announce the final destination of School Trip Level 5: Las Vegas. We would not fail to notice that this development may lead to a convergence with CTMEOY, to whatever degree. At the very least, a part of me is certain that this scene will happen in the manga:
Speaking of Las Vegas, what would the final orientation be? A gambling competition to see who wins 150 million yen first?